History of Oregon by Oregon Historical Society
homeAs Long as the World Goes On: The Land and People of Southwestern Oregon

As Long as the World Goes On: The Land and People of Southwestern Oregon

As Long as the World Goes On: The Land & People of Southwestern Oregon explores the geography of southwestern Oregon, the Native cultures of the region, and the history of Euro-American contact and settlement, as well as prominent regional themes including mining, agriculture, logging, community growth, and the environment. The narrative reviews key and often contentious political issues and examines the growing emphasis on recreation, the arts, and heritage tourism. These themes unfold within a landscape that has shaped human life in the region by sheltering inhabitants in isolation from one another and by providing natural resources to support life throughout the centuries. Local historian Kay Atwood, author of Illahe: The Story of Settlement in the Rogue River Canyon, Mill Creek Journal, and other works, lives in Ashland. Archaeologist Dennis Gray specializes in the study of Native American groups in the Upper Rogue River environs.">

compiled by Kay Atwood with Dennis J. Gray

 
Introduction

The southwestern Oregon landscape has sheltered its inhabitants in isolation and offered life-supporting natural resources for thousands of years.

Where Living Waters Flow: Place & People

Indigenous peoples sustained life in southwestern Oregon for millennia before the arrival of Euro-Americans. This segment examines the region’s terrain, vegetation, and climate; the occurrence of floods and fires; what is known of the development of Native cultures; and the disintegration of those traditions in the face of sudden, destructive occupancy of the area by miners and settlers.

New Names on the Land

The half-century between 1850 and 1900 saw the destruction of Native traditions and the entrenchment of Euro-American settlers in the region. This section examines fur trade exploration, settlement, and the establishment of the mining, agricultural, and timber industries. It also explores the presence of Chinese miners in the gold fields and the development of Jacksonville, southwestern Oregon’s oldest community.

 

Boom & Bust

Following the depression of the 1890s, easterners and mid-westerners relocated to southwestern Oregon, hoping to find new opportunities. This section examines the development of the timber industry, the expansion of federal management of forestlands, the development of the Rogue River Valley orchard industry, and the political tensions that simmered as long-time residents grew resentful of those they deemed elite. Finally, it considers the Depression of the 1930s, when local residents struggled to survive economically.

Back to the Land

The post-war economy in southwestern Oregon boomed as new roads and technologies took the timber industry into the region’s mountains. This section looks at how the landscape changed as people moved from town to country. It reviews the gradual depletion of timber resources and the rise of environmental issues such as air and water quality, land-use planning, and wild area preservation. During this period, the arts, heritage tourism, and recreation gained prominence. 

Conclusion et cetera

The conclusion, the writers’ biographies, and a bibliography.



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