Rogue River Valley, Oregon - Southern Oregon is divided into three main river basins; the Umpqua River, the Rogue River, and the Klamath Basin. The Umpqua meets the Pacific at Reedsport, the Rogue mouth is near Gold Beach, and the Klamath empties at the Redwoods National Park in Northern California. All three rivers have their headwaters in the Cascade Mountains on the slopes of Crater Lake, Oregon's only national park. The Rogue River is a designated National Scenic River, and formed much of the backdrop for the Meryl Streep movie "The River Wild." Jet boat trips and white water rafting are very popular.

Rogue River Valley

Rogue River Valley, Oregon - A beautiful place to visit, a wonderful place to live. Come and find a place to call your own. Southern Oregon is a great place to own a home and grow your family.

Rogue River Valley

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Rogue River Valley - Oregon Travel Guide

Articles from the Historical Society in Josephine County Oregon


Ox Team and Log Wagon

A Moment in Time

It was Monday the Sixth of April 1903, a beautiful spring day in Grants Pass. The hypnotic spell of the warm pine scented afternoon was interrupted by a man shouting about a six-ox team pulling an empty logging wagon across the Rogue River Bridge. A crowd of curious onlookers was soon falling in step behind the wagon.

Five mill men escorted the wagon as they proceeded to their destination. The Oxen and wagon were from the Nipper Johnston sawmill at Murphy and were going to the railroad depot to pick up a six ton boiler that had been unloaded several weeks ago from a railroad car to a special built cribbing of timbers beside the track.

The oxen plodded slowly down Sixth Street gaining an ever-increasing number of curious onlookers. There was even time to find a camera and record the historic event. Oxen had not been in use for hauling duty in town since the 1880's so when the mill hands arrived with the oxen and a logging cart, it raised quite a stir.

The prehistoric wagon had solid rear wheels made from the round block of a log banded with a steel rim. It took several hours to load the six-ton boiler on the wagon. When the oxen were hooked on, all the people in sight gathered open eyed to watch the start. Many of the old-timers were very familiar with oxen and just what they could or couldn't do, after all, many of them had crossed the plains with them.

There were a few that took bets that the cattle would not be able to budge the heavy six-ton load. The oxen walked off with their load calmly, deliberately without apparent effort and with an imperturbable and even contentious air. Bets were taken concerning the probable disastrous fate of the outfit before it reached its destination. Some argued the likely hood of it going through the Rogue River Bridge while others maintained that it would upset on the road to Murphy. One old gentleman in particular declared that it would tip over before it got to the first divide. He used to "pack" deer, he said, across this 1 divide, "Big fat Bucks" 30 years ago, 2 with his trousers pulled up, and he knew.

The boiler made it to its destination at the Nipper- Johnston mill site near the middle ford on the Applegate without any mishaps.

Its new 60 horsepower boiler would help boost production at the mill to 25, 000 feet per day. This sawmill was one of many satellite mills located in the sugar pine belts of Josephine county sawing lumber for the Sugar Pine Door and Lumber Company sash and door factory and mill in Grants Pass.

Click image for larger view

The photo shown is the actual recorded event of this moment in time, the spring of 1903.

1. The divide is known as Luther divide and is the highest point when traveling to Murphy on the Williams Highway. All creeks on the south side of the divide empty into the Applegate.

2. "With his trousers pulled up" was a common term used by loggers. When walking in the brush (timber) pant legs were usually cutoff above the boot tops, or hiked up so as not to get your cuffs caught on limbs etc.

By Michael Oaks

Copyright 2002-2016 TUPINC
Rogue River Valley, Oregon - The Siskiyou Mountains stretch between the Cascade Mountains and the Coast Range at the California border. The entire area is more vertical than most other parts of the state, which leads to numerous waterfalls, lots of whitewater rapids, and some spectacular scenery. Rogue River Valley is outside the main population centers of the state and the area has a very rural flavor. Major industries are tourism, wood products and agriculture. The climate is generally milder and more Mediterranean than North Western Oregon. Average rainfallis about 20 % lower and the temperatures are a bit higher.