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As It Was: Gold Hill Features Potato Polo in Early 1900s

In the early 1900s, Southern Oregon communities often held events to boost the economy and bring attention to their uniqueness.  One type of celebration, the industrial fair, publicized not only the civic organizations, but also the community’s businesses.

The Gold Hill Industrial Fair was just such an event. In 1900, the parade featured floats depicting area groups, including one by the Red Cross memorializing its activities during the 1898 Spanish American War.  

In September 1914, vintage cars advertised the parade by lining up in front of a grocery store, saloons and the brick opera house above the Lance and Company’s Dry Goods Store.

Gold Hill offered spectators a different approach to the game of polo.

Usually, players mounted on horses try to outscore their opponents by striking a wooden ball with long-handled mallets, sending it into the opposing team’s goal-post netting.

In the Gold Hill version, the rules were the same, but the game was rougher and the wooden ball replaced by a potato.


Sources:  Powers, Dennis. Gold Hill Images of America. Arcadia Publishing, 2010, pp. 113-15; Booth, Percy T. Grants Pass The Golden Years Memories in the Dustprints of Time. Coos Bay, OR, B&B Publishing, 1984, p. 49; "Polo." Wikipedia. , 2018th ed., en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polo. Accessed 20 Sept. 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.