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As It Was: Ashland, Ore., Faces Frequent Armed Robberies in the 1920s

In the mid-1920s, armed robbery was frequent in Ashland Ore.

For example, Adam Beagle reported that while driving into town in his roadster about 9 o’clock at night someone was swinging a flashlight in the middle of the road near Mountain View Cemetery.   Beagle stopped and the highwayman commanded, “Keep your back to me and keep your hands in the air.”

Beagle complied, and with a gun in his back, surrendered his Elgin watch and about three dollars in change, the equivalent of about $38 dollars today.  He was then ordered to drive to town and not look back.  Beagle couldn’t describe the thief.

Another incident involved 10-year-old Evelyn Grace Engle.  Her grandparents ran the Park Hotel in Ashland, where she arrived home from school each day to help her mother make up the rooms.  As she came into the hotel lobby, she saw a man with his hand in the till.  Engle started screaming “Robber, robber!” and chased the thief from the hotel and down Main Street.

Her mother heard the screams and called the police, who caught the robber.  That’s when Engle learned the man had been packing a loaded gun.

Sources: Rhodes Family genealogy in the “Rhodes” vertical file at the Southern Oregon Historical Society Research Library; “Lone Bandit Robs Victim at Cemetery." Ashland Daily Tidings, 10 Apr. 1926.

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.