The following news items were drawn from the archives of the Mail Tribune 100 years ago.
Jan. 28, 1919
HOW TO PUT MEDFORD ON THE MAP AGAIN
The Medford Commercial club came into existence about 15 years ago, superseding the Old Medford Board of Trade, then almost as dormant as the present Commercial club.
Medford at that time was a sleepy village of about 1,500 inhabitants, with no paving. Its streets, mud holes, almost impassable; its sidewalks mostly single file board walks.
A few old timers got together and proceeded to wake things up. Among them were W. I. Vawter, Judge Wm. M. Colvig, J. E. Envart, J. D. Heard, J. D. Olwell, J. S. Howard, J. A. Perry, Dr. J. M. Keene, I. L. Hamilton. Dr. J. F. Reddy, Dr. C. R. Ray, Dr. F. B. Pickel, and many of the business men in town and the country.
A soliciting committee was appointed and proceeded to go round up all the rest of the merchants and business men in town to join the club and incidentally assessed them from $1 to $15 per month and the banks were held up for from $25 to $35 per month.
A fund of about $600 was soon raised for advertising the resources of Medford and the surrounding country.
A committee was sent to Portland and obtained an agreement from the Southern Pacific railroad, that they would print the literature at cost and would advance at least as much money for advertising as the Medford Commercial club.
This started the Southern Pacific advertising campaign among all the principal towns and counties in the state of Oregon.
The need of a good live newspaper was apparent, so a committee was appointed to get busy, and they did. The Mail Tribune was the result.
Medford is languishing today. Not because it was over-boomed and decidedly not for lack of resources, but simply for lack of advertising and a spirit of pessimism among its merchants and business men.
There is more reason today for optimism then there was 15 years ago. The town has six times the population. Its streets and sidewalks are the best in the state. It is becoming the leading wholesale and manufacturing center in southern Oregon. Its bank deposits and business transactions have increased manifold.
In the past, Medford business men have dug up as high as $5,000 per year for advertising and promotion and to the subscribers, it was acknowledged, the best investment they ever made.
What has been done in the past can be done in the future and on a much larger scale, because there is a better foundation to work upon.
A city is made by the optimistic spirit of its citizens. “Optimism promotes growth, pessimism decline.”
For more stories like this, check out “The Archive,” a podcast series at mailtribune.com/podcasts