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As It Was: George Calhoun Gains Grants Pass Business Reputation

Born in Hartford, Conn., in 1867, George S. Calhoun moved West with his parents in 1888, eventually making Grants Pass his home where he operated a grocery store.

The Calhoun Grocery Co. became well known with its horse and buggy parked in front of the store waiting to make a delivery.  It advertised itself as a store that would “always have what you wanted to eat for yourself, your horse or cow.” 

Three cans of string beans, peas, corn or tomatoes could be bought for 25 cents, today’s equivalent of $4.07, even though the store admitted they were not their best brands of canned goods.  They also sold clover, wheat, grass, hay, rolled barley and other such items. Grocery stores did not have refrigeration so people made frequent runs to the stores.

Calhoun moved to California for two years, but returned to Grants Pass and opened a men’s clothing store called the George S. Calhoun Co.  At Christmas, he offered a free turkey with every suit ordered on Monday or Tuesday and urged customers to “Keep your money west of the Rocky Mountains.”

Sources: LaPlante, Margaret. Images of America Josephine County. Charleston, SC, Arcadia Publishing, 2016, pp. 61-63; Atwood, Kay. "Calhoun, George House." National Register of Historic Places Inventory---Nomination Form, US Dept of the Interior, 8 Oct. 1980, heritagedata.prd.state.or.us/historic/index.cfm?do=main.loadFile&load=NR. Accessed 28 May 2018; "Calhoun, George." Biographies of Citizens of Josephine County, Chapman Publ. Co., 1904, www.genealogytrails.com/ore/josephine/bio.html. Accessed 28 May 2018.

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.