On the wall of the 1912 Sunset Schoolhouse in Fort Rock, Ore., is an Oregon map from the 1920s. It shows the major towns of Ashland and Medford along the Oregon and California Railroad line through the Rogue Valley, and smaller communities that no longer exist.
Between Medford and Phoenix, the map shows the towns of Whitman, Vandyke, Voorhies, and Gasworks.
South of Ashland, the map shows the communities of Clawson, Mistletoe, Elba, Steinman, Siskiyou, White Point, Colestin, and Gregory, before finally reaching the California border.
One of these towns, Mistletoe, was about 6 miles southeast of Ashland beside today’s Neil Creek Road. Established in 1891, it was known first as Ayers, or Ayers Spur. Before a flume was built in the early 1900s, mule teams skidded logs downhill to Ayers from the forested hills near the Siskiyou Summit. The Ashland Box and Lumber Manufacturing Company Mill sawed and planed the logs and sent them to Ashland by train. In 1910, more than 100 mill workers and their families, including 33 Chinese, lived in Ayers. Today, nothing remains of the community except the wigwam burner that once turned the mill’s sawdust and wood waste into smoke.
Sources: Sayre, Tom. "Have You Ever Heard of Ayers, Jackson County, Oregon?" The Rogue Digger: Rogue Valley Genealogical Society 49.1 (2014): 1-8. Web. 9 June 2014.
— As It Was is a co-production of Jefferson Public Radio and the Southern Oregon Historical Society. As It Was stories are broadcast weekdays on Jefferson Public Radio and are available online at asitwas.org.