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MailTribune.com
  • MT booster editions were common 100 years ago

  • Back in 1909, the local papers weren't bashful about being Medford boosters, observed Ben Truwe.
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  • Back in 1909, the local papers weren't bashful about being Medford boosters, observed Ben Truwe.
    "They swept bad stuff under the rug and boosted, boosted, boosted," he said. "The Medford Mail would print booster issues a couple times a year. They would write how wonderful it is, then print big runs and send them all over the country. So, in a way, the newspapers fueled the orchard boom."
    Indeed, an article in the Nov. 28, 1909, edition of the Medford Mail Tribune boasted that the burgeoning berg had $2 million in bank deposits, a new $350,000 gravity-fed water system, 25 miles of sewer systems, three miles of paved streets, a free mail delivery system, free library, electric lights and power, the best hotels and restaurants south of Portland and a fire department.
    It neglected to mention that Skinny and Rastus, the city's first fire horses, were too small for the job. They would be replaced by Tom and Jerry in 1910.
    "Medford spells progress and municipal advancement," the article declared. "It is the most metropolitan small city in the world and its population the most cosmopolitan, a citizenship that has the utmost faith in the city's future and works as a unit to realize its destiny: the metropolis of that vast region between Portland and San Francisco."
    The article went on to report the city had the "finest climate in Oregon, in the center of one of the earth's richest, fairest and most picturesque valleys. On the west the hills are underlaid with gold, on the east with coal. A little farther back on the one hand is an immense belt of timber, on the other one of the world's largest copper districts. Through the valley winds the Rogue, most beautiful of the many beautiful rivers of Oregon, wasting more power than Niagara in its tumbling course to the sea."
    There is more.
    "Here are 50,000 acres of commercial orchards that cannot be equaled on the globe, whose apples win the sweepstakes prizes at world's apple shows, whose pears sell to England's epicures at $10 a box, whose peaches take first awards at world's expositions, whose products command the highest price in the world's markets ..."
    It further predicted there would soon be a quarter million acres or more in local orchards.
    Finally, it estimated there were eight billion board feet of merchantable standing timber, half of which was sugar and yellow pine, in the area.
    "To cut this timber will require seven sawmills cutting a hundred thousand feet each per day for 300 days a year for a term of 40 years ... over 10,000 (freight) cars a year during the entire year, insuring labor for over 2000 employees, or a payroll in manufacturing lumber of $3,000,000 a year," it read.
    "Medford has more natural resources than any place in the country, and the Commercial Club offers $5000 for proof to the contrary," it concluded.
    There is no evidence that anyone ever collected the money.
    Reach reporter Paul Fattig at 776-4496 or e-mail him at pfattig@mailtribune.com.
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