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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Medford in Jackson County, Oregon — The American West (Northwest)
 

A Town is Born

 
 
A Town is Born Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Douglass Halvorsen, July 11, 2018
1. A Town is Born Marker
Inscription.  Destined to become the region’s largest city and a major economic hub, Medford began in 1883 when the railroad came to Southern Oregon.

In the fall of 1883, four property owners deeded part of their land to the Oregon and California Railroad for a depot and surrounding town. Before the year was over the unbroken prairie had been surveyed and a town site platted. Houses and commercial buildings rose as quickly as the short supply of lumber and brick allowed, and by early spring two hotels, a few saloons, a livery stable, and a dozen businesses already dotted the muddy streets of this rapidly growing railroad town. By mid-1884, a business district clustered on Front Street facing the depot and spread down 7th Street, known today as Main. Families settle into their newly built homes, women planted flowers in their gardens, and the fledgling town quickly became a community.

During that first year several babies were born, a fatal shoot-out took place, the first of many churches organized, a schoolhouse was built, and trains began shuttling freight and passengers to Portland. As if to say “we have arrived,”
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Medford’s citizens brashly hosted a Fourth of July gala for the whole Rogue Valley.

Medford incorporated in 1885. As the small town grew into a city, the board of trustees tackled the challenges of providing water and sewer systems, electric streetlights, and police and fire protection. With its central location and railroad connections to national and world markets, young Medford attracted forward-thinking individuals from other parts of the country. They swiftly joined local entrepreneurs in shaping the city's future as it eagerly embraced the modern world of the 20th century.

Inset photo of railroad engine: Typical of the men and equipment that laid track through Medford in 1883, this work crew and engine helped complete the railroad over the Siskiyou Mountains four years later. SOHS #6215
 
Erected by City of Medford; Southern Oregon Historical Society.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Settlements & Settlers. A significant historical year for this entry is 1883.
 
Location. 42° 19.596′ N, 122° 52.309′ W. Marker is in Medford, Oregon, in Jackson County. Marker is at the intersection of North Central Avenue and East Main Street, on the left when traveling south on North Central Avenue. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Medford OR 97501, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within
A Town is Born Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Douglass Halvorsen, July 11, 2018
2. A Town is Born Marker
Markers can be seen on the side of the Haskins Drug Store building in the distance. View is looking southeast from the corner of Central and Main.
walking distance of this marker. Medford Boomed As Orchards Bloomed (here, next to this marker); The War Brings Change (here, next to this marker); Cuthbert Building (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Medford Auto Company Building (about 600 feet away); Historic Land Survey Monument (approx. ¼ mile away); Medford Townsite (approx. 0.3 miles away); Scion of the Washington Elm (approx. 0.3 miles away); The Shone-Charley House (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Medford.
 
More about this marker. Marker is one of three mounted on the side of the historic Haskins Drug Store building and facing Vogel Plaza.
 
A Town is Born Marker inset image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Douglass Halvorsen, July 11, 2018
3. A Town is Born Marker inset
In 1888, a modest hotel and smaller wooden shops lined Main Street. These structures stood behind your left shoulder at the northeast corner of Central and Main. Southern Oregon Historical Society #932
A Town is Born Marker inset image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Douglass Halvorsen, July 11, 2018
4. A Town is Born Marker inset
Jacksonville's Democratic Times reported that by noon, two thousand people had assembled at the southwest corner of 8th Street and Central Avenue for Medford's first Fourth of July celebration in 1884. Festivities included music, speeches, and a barbeque picnic, followed by sports and games.
A Town is Born Marker inset image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Douglass Halvorsen, July 11, 2018
5. A Town is Born Marker inset
By the early 1900s multi-story brick buildings replaced most of Medford's original wooden structures, giving the city a more cosmopolitan feel. This view looks east down Main Street from Front. The corner of the 1900 train depot, Medford's second, is visible in the right foreground.
A Town is Born Marker inset image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Douglass Halvorsen, July 11, 2018
6. A Town is Born Marker inset
Leather buckets, hooks, and ladders were the first fire fighting equipment purchased by Medford's Trustees in 1886. Protection Hose Company No. 1 organized in 1890, and a second hose company joined them in 1903. Until 1912, about when this photo was taken, Medford had an all-volunteer fire department.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on August 3, 2018. It was originally submitted on August 2, 2018, by Douglass Halvorsen of Klamath Falls, Oregon. This page has been viewed 155 times since then and 11 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on August 2, 2018, by Douglass Halvorsen of Klamath Falls, Oregon. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.

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Apr. 14, 2024