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As It Was: Plant Artist Frederick Walpole Gets Start in Southern Oregon

Artistically talented Frederick Andrews originally came to Southern Oregon to find a homestead site.  He eventually became known as the best artist of plants in the United States.

Walpole was born in New York in 1861. When his family moved to Chicago in 1871 he became a pupil of a landscape and portrait artist.  In 1882, Walpole headed West.  He was 21 years old.

Traveling by rail and on foot he first arrived in Redding, Calif., intending to catch a stage to Jacksonville.  A ticket cost $36.00, so Walpole shipped his baggage and walked the rest of the journey. Exploring the country as he walked, he eventually claimed land in present-day Trail, Ore.  The claim included present-day Walpole Creek. Walpole also produced and sold sketches of the surrounding towns and settlements.

Famous botanist Frederick Colville happened to see Walpole’s excellent illustrations and persuaded him to take a job as an Artist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  While on government field trips with staff botanists, Walpole produced many drawings. At the time of his death in 1904, he was considered the best plant artist in the country.

Sources: “Walpole, Frederick Andrews." WikiName-Islapedia, 21 Jan. 2016, islapedia.com/index.php?title=WALPOLE,_Frederick_Andrew. Accessed 4 Sept. 2017; Brindle, John V. "Persons, Collections and Topics Walpole." Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation, Hunt Institute, 1973, www.huntbotanical.org/art/show.php?13. Accessed 4 Sept. 2017.

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.