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Artesian Well Provides Cool, Refreshing Drink

Known as the “artesian well” in the early 1900’s, a free-flowing spring ran through an orchard off Colver Road between Phoenix and Talent, Ore.

The well became a popular stop for people who brought tin cups to the site for a cool, refreshing drink of its water.  An early photo shows William Quackenbush and his daughter Mae at the site.  Mae lived to the age of 107, leaving people wondering if the spring water contributed to her long life.

Orchard owner M. L. Pellett dug the well around 1906 to improve irrigation.  He got a good flow of water at 980 feet, but decided a few years later to increase capacity by “shooting” the well, a method used by oil drillers.  At the time it consisted of lowering a casing of dynamite into a well and detonating a blasting cap with a fuse.  Later, the method evolved to using blasting gelatin, a mixture of nitroglycerin, guncotton and wood pulp.

Pellett used a bundle of dynamite.  The well collapsed on itself and its waters never resurfaced again. 


Sources:  Wright, Jan. Images of America Talent. Charleston, SC Et.al.: Arcadia Publishing, 2009. 90. Print; "Rogue River Courier (Grants Pass, OR) 1886-1907" 31 May 1907. Web. 13 June 2016. ; "Oil Well Shooting." wikipedia.org, Apr. 2016. Web. 15 June 2016. .

Luana (Loffer) Corbin graduated from Southern Oregon College, majoring in Elementary Education.  The summer after graduation she was hired to teach at Ruch Elementary, where she taught for 32 years. After retiring, Corbin worked for Lifetouch School Photography and then returned to Ruch as an aide helping with reading instruction and at the library.  More recently, she has volunteered at South Medford High.