© 2024 | Jefferson Public Radio
Southern Oregon University
1250 Siskiyou Blvd.
Ashland, OR 97520
541.552.6301 | 800.782.6191
Listen | Discover | Engage a service of Southern Oregon University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

As It Was: School Building Serves as Church Rectory

Soon after its founding in 1883, the Medford community needed a school for its children. The first school was a one-room building on South Central in Medford, a subscription school that cost $5 to attend. William A. Williamson was the first teacher.

During the summer of 1884, the city bought land from C.C. Beekman and built a second public school, a wood-frame, two-story building at Eighth and Oakdale streets, the site of today’s courthouse. Walter Gore served as the first principal in 1885 and May Crain, Belle Stronk and Sophia Wilson taught the primary classes.

The school grew and soon offered a full eight grades and a three-year high school that taught three courses. Additionally, three more teachers were hired to teach the upper grades. Gore served until the late 1880s when William Crawford took over as principal. By 1891 Medford needed a larger school, so the building was sold and moved to West 10th Street where it survives to this day. It has been a private residence, office building and is now the rectory for Sacred Heart Church.

Sources: "A History of Medford Up to 1932." Mail Tribune 23 Feb. 1932 [Medford, Or.]. Web. 16 May 2015. http://id.mind.net/~truwe/tina/1932history.html; Bryden, Vicki Anne National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination Form: South Oakdale Historic District. August 1978.

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.