This adventure began as so many others do ...

When your nose hairs turn to icicles and the fog hides your shoes, you're probably on the Boulevard hunting up some clues.

It was one of those shivering January mornings and my wife, Debbie, and I were in Ashland, walking down the grass median that divides Siskiyou Boulevard.

I was glad she remembered to bring her heavy coat and gloves. As long as she's warm and not hungry, Debbie's a real trooper and loves helping me search for the next Sunday Snapshot.

The grass was wet as we walked north from Sherman Street. A few cars honked and their drivers waved at us. I wondered if we might get a stiff warning should an Ashland police officer drive by, but the median was wide and seemed safe enough.

This adventure began as many do, sifting through the vertical files of the Southern Oregon Historical Society. A 1978 Mail Tribune clipping talked about rediscovering the forgotten Sam Prescott Memorial. The article said the stone was on the center divider at Siskiyou Boulevard near Union Street, the place where Prescott had been murdered in 1931.

By the time we reached East Main, Debbie and I had only seen a line of light poles with utility boxes at their base. No memorial.

On the chance that the stone had been moved to the side of the boulevard, we retraced our route on the western sidewalk and then back up the eastern side, scanning the street from curb to curb. Still no memorial.

We looked up and saw someone enter the Ashland Library. At the same time, the fog seemed to be clearing and a welcoming sun was shining on the steps.

Of course! Amy Blossom.

Blossom is the Ashland library branch manager and can usually be found at the reference desk. We had met her last year when we were looking for the Nabokov House.

"I thought the memorial was still there," she said. "I'm pretty sure I've seen it recently, but I'm not positive."

We told her we would let her know what we found out and headed off to City Hall on the plaza.

It was a busy Monday morning for administrative assistant Sonja Akerman, but she was determined to find the monument for us.

"It was moved about three years ago," she said, "but I don't remember where."

She quickly made three or four phone calls, leaving messages on one voicemail after another. Then, almost at the same instant, we all thought of the same thing — police department.

Akerman called and reached Kelly Haptonstall, who said she thought she had seen the monument in front of the department. Braving the icy morning temperatures, Kelly rushed outside to check. Monument found.

A few minutes later, Debbie and I were taking pictures of the stone and suddenly were faced with an added complication. There was another name on the memorial. Who was Victor Knott? That would mean some more historical research.

We walked into the police department and waved our thanks to Kelly through the protective glass.

Debbie and I are so lucky. Once again, we've met some wonderful people, and in the end, that's always been our favorite part of the search. Now, with another case closed there's another story to write, but first, let's get something to eat.

Bill Miller is a freelance writer living in Shady Cove. Reach him at

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