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Since You Asked: No delta and a little water

We live adjacent to Delta Waters Road in Medford, and wonder if you could advise the origin for this street name? It is not on a delta and other than a couple of ponds there is no nearby water. Thanks,

— Dick O. Medford

This question comes in to the Since You Asked headquarters every few years, Dick, probably because we've yet to turn up the whole, definitive answer. We talked to historian Bill Miller, a freelance writer for the Mail Tribune, because everyone we asked said, "You need to talk to Bill Miller."

He said there was a Delta Water and Land Co. in the vicinity, roughly around 1918 to 1925, but with only a phone book as a source, he didn't want to commit to those dates. The folks at the Southern Oregon Historical Society have a 1920s-era panoramic photo of the countryside around Coker Butte that was made by an enterprise called Delta Water and Land Co.

Jackson County acquired the property to make the road, and in 1937, determined the road would be named "Delta Water Road." Notice there was no "s."

The road connected the old Crater Lake Highway (now Crater Lake Avenue) with the county road between Eagle Point and Phoenix (now Foothill Road).

Ashland historian Kay Atwood identified a Delta Waters Orchard (note the "s") in the same area around 1925 in her book, "Blossoms and Branches," a history of the Rogue Valley fruit industry. Miller said the area was close to the irrigation ditch, so maybe that's the "water," but that's just a guess.

"I never could nail that thing down," he said.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to youasked@mailtribune.com.