We're new in Medford, and I'd appreciate knowing how Barnett Road got its name.
— Wendell, via email
Wendell, we ought to begin with a bit of a mea culpa, as we've been sitting on your query long enough that you may no longer consider yourself a newcomer. Here at Since You Asked headquarters, we wholeheartedly and rather belatedly welcome you to our fair city.
Now that we have your welcome out of the way, on to the inquiry.
We began by checking with our friends at the Southern Oregon Historical Society research library. We soon discovered why your question sat unanswered for so long.
Thanks to the help of a friendly volunteer, we were able to dig up an Aug. 27, 1910, Mail Tribune article mentioning a "prominent orchardist" named J.S. Barnett. The article covered a patent Mr. Barnett had received on a fruit-picking pail that according to the article was "destined to revolutionize the picking of all fruits."
But that Mr. Barnett's ties to Medford are loose, as he and his nursery were in Central Point. So we looked to our history sleuth Bill Miller for other ideas.
Miller didn't find anything concrete, but he did find a possible clue in the form of an advertisement in the May 8, 1910, Mail Tribune. The ad was for a 258-acre tract of land called "Barneburg Heights" on the Barneburg Hill near the present Rogue Valley Manor.
The property was being sold by an "Aylor & Barnett High Grade Investments."
No one knows for sure, but a link might be drawn between that land owned by Aylor and Barnett and a road that may have led to the property.
Then again, maybe not. You could say we've reached a dead end, Wendell.
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