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As It Was: Woodruff Meadow Named after Musical Family

Woodruff Meadow is a rare flat spot in a mountainous area of the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, about 10 miles southwest of Prospect, Ore. The meadow took its name from a family that settled there before 1900.

According to Jack Hollenbeak of Prospect, Ore., the Woodruff’s were great musicians who traveled to regional dances to play. One girl in the family played the violin, guitar, and banjo. They lived in the meadow mostly in the summer months, where they had a log cabin and a hay barn. During the rest of the year, they traveled a musical circuit.

In an attempt to earn a steady income, the family built a toll road up the west slope of Huckleberry Mountain, where people from all over Southern Oregon had traditionally gathered to pick native huckleberries. When it turned out the road was so steep that it took four horses to pull a wagon up the slope, the project was abandoned.

Soon after, in 1908, their meadow became a part of the Crater National Forest. Considered squatters and forced to leave, the Woodruffs moved to Union Creek, where they continued their musical lifestyle in town.

Sources: Recollections: People and the Forest, Oral History Interviews. From the Upper Rogue to the Dead Indian Plateau ed. Vol. III. Medford, OR: Rogue River National Forest, 1990. Web. 17 Apr. 2015.

Amy Couture has a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Oregon, a master’s in teacher education from Eastern Oregon University, and a master’s in history from Minnesota State University, Mankato.  A former teacher and cross-country coach, she is the author of 14 historical vignettes in the book, Astorians: Eccentric and Extraordinary.