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loggers from early 1900s

Jeff LaLande presents “When Timber Was King: The Rise and Decline of Southern Oregon’s Timber Industry” on Thursday, March 8, 2018 at 4 pm at Southern Oregon University’s Hannon Library (Meese Room). This event is free and open to the public.

In the early days, men felled the big trees with just an axe and dragged timber out of the forest with mules and oxen. Steam donkeys, two-handled saws, railroad lines and trucks changed the landscape and Rogue Valley mills ran 24×7. Today, most of Southern Oregon’s mills are silent, and a truck with a three-log load is rare indeed.

In this unusual presentation, LaLande describes the legislation, corporate powers and political changes that have altered the Oregon landscape forever.

About Jeff LaLande

Forest historian and archaeologist Dr. Jeffrey LaLande, now retired, worked with the U.S. Forest Service for nearly 50 years. He has traipsed the land, seeking out the equipment and traces of the timber industry’s history from long ago to more contemporary times. He photographed his findings for the Forest Service, cataloging places that few know of and fewer even have seen. LaLande also wrote narrative and scientific histories of the region’s great timber industry that drove Southern Oregon’s economy for a hundred years.

LaLande’s wide-ranging research interests include Southern Oregon’s Good Government movement, early Oregon political history, the Oregon Trail migration and the Rogue Valley’s donation land claims among other topics.

Thanks to a 2017 Library Services and Technology Act grant to Hannon Library, LaLande’s collection of historic timber industry photos are being digitized and will made available through the Southern Oregon Digital Archives (SODA) in the Stories of Southern Oregon Collection. LaLande’s earlier SODA contribution, a set of 647 images in the Rogue River National Forest Historic Images Collection, is available now.

Southern Oregon Digital Archives

Hannon Library’s Southern Oregon Digital Archives display eighteen collections that present a rich set of images, text and video on topics that range from locally discovered Chinese material culture, butterflies, First Nations, musical instruments, wine, agriculture and more. The Southern Oregon Digital Archives can be accessed at http://soda.sou.edu.

More Info

For more information on the March 7, 2018 program or the Southern Oregon Digital Archives, call 541-552-6442. If you need disability accommodations to participate in this event, please contact Disability Resources at 541-552-6213 or dss@sou.edu.

silhouette of pears

Sue Naumes presents “Pear Box Labels: the History of the Rogue Valley” Thursday, February 1, 2018 at 4 pm at Southern Oregon University’s Hannon Library (Meese Room). This event is free and open to the public.

Pear box labels tell the story of Southern Oregon’s agricultural history, its economic wealth and, thanks to Sue Naumes, the story of Southern Oregon.

By 1910, Southern Oregon was in the throes of a land boom, the result of commercial pear cultivation and the railroad that brought those pears to national markets. Every box of pears packed had a label on its side, a bright and colorful label that pronounced the quality of the fruit and the excellence of a Rogue Valley’s company brand.

Naumes has been collecting pear box labels for most of her adult life, and each tells the story of a Rogue Valley grower, packer or shipper. Her collection is brilliant, graphically compelling and a fascinating insight into the politics and power struggles that began at the turn of the century. She’s found labels in burned out buildings, old warehouses, on eBay, at shows and in thrift shops. Her collection is extraordinary in its comprehensiveness and beauty, and Naumes knows the story behind every label.

Thanks to a 2017 Library Services and Technology Act grant to Southern Oregon University’s Hannon Library, Naumes’ pear box labels are being digitized and will made available through the Southern Oregon Digital Archives (SODA) in the Stories of Southern Oregon collection.

Naumes’ grandparents, John Peter and Dillie Naumes, settled in the Rogue Valley in 1929 and helped start the Associated Fruit Co. and began an agricultural enterprise that would become one of the largest in Southern Oregon. Naumes, Inc. was established in 1946 as the Nye & Naumes Packing House by Naumes’ father, William Joseph “Joe” Naumes Jr. and Stephen G. Nye Jr. selling product under the NANPAK label at 619 South Grape Street in Medford, Oregon. It was the first ground level fruit packing plant in the northwest setting a new efficiency standard in fruit packing house design. David Lawry bought up Associated Fruit in 1950 and in the mid-late 1960s Joe Naumes bought out Nye’s interest. In the 1970s, Joe Naumes’ children, Mike and Sue Naumes, returned to help manage the company.

Joe Naumes died on July 4, 1989. At the time of his death, the Naumes family owned 7,000 acres of fruit and nut trees in Washington, Oregon and California and was said to be the largest producer of Bosc pears in the world. Today, Mike Naumes, Laura Ernest Naumes and their children, Joe, Cynthia and Sean manage the family enterprise.

Hannon Library’s Southern Oregon Digital Archives display 18 collections that present a rich set of images, text and video on topics that range from locally discovered Chinese material culture, butterflies, First Nations, musical instruments, wine, agriculture and more. The Southern Oregon Digital Archives can be accessed at http://soda.sou.edu.

For more information on the Feb. 1, 2018 program at Hannon Library or the Southern Oregon Digital Archives, call 541-552-6442. If you disability accommodations to participate in this event, please contact Disability Resources at 541-552-6213 or dss@sou.edu.