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You know you're from Ashland when ...

Everyone's hometown has unique nuances and idiosyncrasies, but scrolling though the thousands of posts in the "You know you're from Ashland when ..." Facebook group, it's apparent that Ashland has changed dramatically over the years, and in some respects hasn't changed at all.

Groups on Facebook created for members to reminisce about their hometowns are a new trend in the social networking world. This is how Bernadette Allen came up with the idea to create the Ashland group. Allen, now a resident of Bainbridge Island, Wash., created the "You know you're from Ashland when ..." group on Aug. 8.

The group went viral with more than a thousand members in just days. The forum has hundreds of posts each day, from older generations of Ashlanders posting black-and-white photos of saw mills and dirt roads, to 30-somethings posting memories from their days at Ashland High School.

Most posts in the group are designed to finish the opening sentence the group is named after. For example, you know you're from Ashland when ... "you have seen the beheading of President Abraham Lincoln more than once," posted Lucas Rex Morgan, to which he received 22 "Likes." Sarah Cotta posts, "You referred to the regular vagrants by pet names, long live the moseyin' cowboy!" Amalia Kieley wrote, "You know which banks used to be fast food joints."

Just reading through the posts, you get a picture of what Ashland was like before the tourism, the gourmet food and the theaters. Scott Reeder posts: "Been a part of Ashland so long they named the Reeder Reservoir after our family where Ashland gets it's drinking water." Ashland resident Geoff Eastman shared with the group a photo taken of the Ashland street overpass when it was just a wooden bridge. Near where Oil Stop and Bi-Mart are located today a big timber mill is shown. "That photo was taken the year I was born, I had no idea a mill used to be there," said Allen.

Reading through the posts, it's clear that many Ashland residents have shared experiences that collectively they can recall. There was such lamenting of the recent closure of Geppetto's that Nicole Paradis posted her own experimental recipe for their famous cheese-filled wontons and hot mustard.

"I think Ashland was such an unbelievable town to live in and grow up in," says Eastman. "When you tell people about the stories of your life, it's almost like they don't believe you, so when you can talk with the people that were there, it's comforting."

Eastman, along with a few others in the group, was born in the hospital where Stevenson Union is now. Eastman also posted a photo of his great-great grandmother sitting next to a swan in the lower duck pond taken in the early 1900s. His grandmother and her family settled in the Klamath Falls area after travelling on the Oregon Trail and eventually moving to Ashland. Another one of Eastman's photos that garnered many comments in the group was one of Ashland High School when Iowa Street ran through the school where the quad is now. The outpouring of memories from graduates of Ashland High School even spawned a spin-off group just for those who graduated from AHS and want to conjure up old memories.

Some things are universal with growing up in Ashland: being cited for underage drinking by police officers you knew on a first name basis; giving a ride to the Goat Man, sitting on Plaza and laughing while watching tourists try lithia water for the first time.

"You knew not to let the cat out of Bloomsbury or the shoe store." posts Elizabeth Kathryn Slaughter. "You had friends named after bodies of water, trees, birds and flowers," posted Alyssa Kalb. "The Oregon Cabaret Theatre is where you were baptized, not where you paid to see a play," posts Teresa Thompson Arcangel. "All your friends move to Portland... and then BACK to Ashland," posted Luke Reinhardt. "You grew up thinking it was normal for movie theaters to have a shaker full of nutritional yeast at the concession stand," posts Bonnie Campos.

"It's fun, it's like a big, huge reunion that you don't have to jump in the car and go to," says Eastman, "Even my grandmother is having a ball, just reading the posts."

The "You know you're from Ashland when..." group can be found on Facebook.com.