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Since You Asked: Did Savage Creek host women of ill repute?

Can you confirm the story that there once was a "Take-It-Easy Lodge" on Savage Creek Road which was frequented by movie stars like Clark Gable, and which featured "cabins of ill repute" across the street? I don't know how to track the truth about this. It must have been during the 1930s or '40s.

— Kurt R., via e-mail

Portland had its Shanghai tunnels, Medford had its opium dens, but it's hard to say whether Savage Creek had women of easy virtue.

First let's get everybody on the same page. Where's Savage Creek, anyway?

This little stream flows into the Rogue River midway between Grants Pass and the little town of Rogue River, near the Jackson/Josephine county line.

About a mile downriver from Savage Creek, on Highway 99, you can still visit an old fishing lodge called We-Ask-U-Inn that's well known as one of Clark Gable's favored hangouts during the 1930s. Back then, there were still more fish than people in Southern Oregon, and the remote little inn along the river was a place where Hollywood types could pretend to be just like the rest of us for a few days.

Now this is where things get interesting. Tracy Williams, who works at the Inn, says she met an old man who used to visit We-Ask-U in its heyday, and he told her ... there used to be some cabins "down the road" where a man might find "companionship" if he was so inclined.

Unfortunately, Williams didn't ask for details, and the man didn't offer any.

Of course, one old man's story doesn't make it so. Rose Scott, director of the Josephine County Historical Society, said she'd never heard this particular story before.

Neither had Mike Oaks of Grants Pass, a local historian, although Oaks mentioned he's heard rumors about Gable having flings with local women and lots of kids being born with big ears like Gable's.

"But how do you confirm that?" Oaks said.

Maybe some of our readers can help shed more light on this aspect of local history?

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. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.