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Medford Challenges Other Cities to Match Its Wonders

The Medford Commercial Club teamed up in 1908 with Sunset Magazine to produce an attractive, 64-page booklet about Medford, Ore., and the surrounding Rogue River Valley. The book reports on the climate, the orchards, land prices, building booms, the scenic wonders, lumbering, and mining for everything from coal and gold to copper and mercury. It was a heaven on earth.  Anyone in Medford would tell you so.

The Commercial Club and Southern Pacific Railroad Immigration offices distributed 30,000 booklets around the country. Confident of Medford’s wonders, the booklet’s back cover offered $1,000 to any community that could equal as many resources within a 40-mile radius as Medford. To emphasize the point, a target-like map was created with Medford in the middle and concentric circles showing what could be raised or found within 10 miles, 20 miles, and so forth.

The Gainesville, Tex., newspaper responded on Aug. 3, 1908, that its town had more resources within 20 miles than Medford had within 40. There’s no record that Medford ever recognized the claim.  The promotional booklet raised the reward to $5,000 in the following year’s edition.


Source:  Mullaly, Alice. "Windows in Time Lecture Series manuscript." Jackson County Library Services. Ashland and Medford, Ore. 6, 8 July 2016. Address.

Alice Mullaly is a graduate of Oregon State and Stanford University, and taught mathematics for 42 years in high schools in Nyack, New York; Mill Valley, California; and Hedrick Junior High School in Medford. Alice has been an Southern Oregon Historical Society volunteer for nearly 30 years, the source of many of her “As It Was” stories.