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As It Was-Courtship Flourishes as George Geil Paves Ashland Streets

George Geil had time in 1910 to carry on a flourishing courtship while paving Ashland’s streets and plaza.

One afternoon, he took a break from his job paving Main Street to write to his sweetheart, Lorena “Babe” Mingus. 

Addressing Mingus by her nickname, Geil poured out his everlasting devotion, vowing he would do anything to win her love, even saying “no” to offers of intoxicating liquor.

He wrote, “As I have said before, I would do anything for you Babe.”  He noted that he was moving  next week to pave East Main Street.  Mingus wrote back the next morning, lamenting the day he would finish his job and leave town to find another. 

She wrote, “I think I’ll get out and be a booster for having more streets paved…” She teased that she wouldn’t be able to watch him when he paved far-away East Main, adding, “there is no telling how many girls will be after you.”

In less than a year, the love-struck couple married, having exchanged more than 100 letters.  Their grandson, John Waade Geil, donated the letters to the Southern Oregon Historical Society.


Sources: "A Fine Romance - The Love Letters of Lorena and George Geil." Southern Oregon Heritage Today, vol. 1, no. 2, Feb. 1999, p. 5.   

Sharon Bywater of Ashland, Oregon grew up in Southern California. She taught English literature and writing at Syracuse University in New York, where she also wrote and edited adult literacy books and published freelance articles in local media. Later, she lived in Washington, D.C., where she worked as an international telecommunications policy advisor at the U.S. Department of Commerce. She has Master’s degrees in English and Communications Management.