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Bill Miller

‘Hello ... Central’

There was a time when the comforting voice and sympathetic ear of a telephone operator could soothe the public’s fears about a mysterious new technology. The fi...

Stop-and-go ... and whistle

Great Depression or not, Medford streets were filling up with a flood of cars and accidents. Not long after a weekend in 1937 when police responded to 15 automo...

Scribbling in a stagecoach

Until the stagecoach connected Oregon and California in 1860, if you wanted to go to Portland or San Francisco from our neck of the woods, it was either walk, r...

Grandma John, ‘beloved pioneer woman’

It had been a long time since Mary Godfrey had seen her husband, but soon they would be together again. Nearly two months earlier, all alone, she had left New Y...

Pain at the pump

It was the 1849 words of French writer Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr, which we remember as, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” You might even ...

Flight O’ Time

On June 11, 1930, the Rogue Valley adopted the nation’s latest fad — what most were calling “midget golf.” The idea of miniature golf courses had been tried in ...

Diary of a soldier’s wife

With the 1898 sinking of the battleship U.S.S. Maine in the Havana harbor, the United States went to war. Alice Applegate Sargent, diary in hand, was one of onl...

Around the world to Medford

Just before 3 in the afternoon, Dec. 30, 1930, Mildred Bruce swooped into Medford’s new airport, missed the runway, slid through the weeds and mud, while her la...

The lady with the cheerful disposition

If Jessie Worman had wanted to marry, it wouldn’t have been easy to find a husband. Described as “refined and cultured,” she had spent over two years studying a...

The lady and the piano man

Stuck in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, Edwin and Susan Worman almost never made it to Medford. This was Edwin’s second crossing, having already made the tre...

‘Paulina’: What’s in a name?

If you had to choose the most honored individual’s name given to geographic locations and features in all of Oregon, what name would you chose? To be honest, I ...

The fair weather rah-rah

Fans were nervous as the 1929 high school football season was about to start. Over the previous six years, the boys on the team, the “Tigers,” tore through the ...

To Save His Passengers

Timing, they say, is everything. If so, it was timing that took Ray Boudreaux’s life. In March of 1931, Pacific Air Transport, a West Coast aviation company tha...

Oil boom dreams

It began tempting the get-rich-quick-crowd over 100 years ago. Oil! Texas Tea! That oozing goo that could turn a humble valley into a rich industrial powerhouse...

George Nichols’ memories

In the spring of 1853, 1-year-old George Washington Nichols left Missouri in a prairie schooner for what must have been an uncomfortable and bumpy ride for him ...

A howling terror of a storm

Out by the Table Rocks, just as the farmers began to plow, the rain brought everything to a stop. What would become the biggest flooding event in Jackson County...

The Black Tornado and the Chinese ‘Reds’

The Communist interrogator touched the pistol on his belt. “You lie!” he screamed. “Go back to your cell and think!” Dick Applegate didn’t know what he was supp...

Up close with the flood

One of the difficulties of looking into the lives and history of everyday residents in the 19th century is that newspapers almost never interviewed or even prin...

History Snoopin’: Bags of gold

By August 1848, the secret was out. James Marshall had found gold along the American River in California. It was a literal golden opportunity for those hearty s...