In August 1909, Judge C.B. Watson eulogized the old flour mill in Ashland, which had been torn down and burned two weeks earlier to make way for what would become Lithia Park.

Speaking to pioneers gathered at Ashland's Chautauqua building, Judge Watson observed, "The pioneers are passing, one by one, and so, too, are the material structures of their handiwork." He added, in the flowery oratory of the time, "Yet it seems a fit and proper thing that it (the mill), like the pioneers themselves, should be laid away while yet there are tears in the fountain."

Watson said the mill, which opened in 1854, was "held almost sacred in (the) memory of many pioneers," whose "faces brightened in the thought of a more luxurious living" when the mill began grinding the first flour south of Roseburg. He said it had remained the "most familiar object from pioneer days to the present."

Watson suggested erecting a granite monument at the mill site, dedicated "to the memory of all pioneers between the Columbia and Northern California."

Today, a statue of a pioneer with his rifle rises above the Plaza near where the old mill once stood.

Sources: Watson, C.B. "The Passing of a Landmark, Held Almost Sacred in Memory of Many Pioneers." Ashland Tidings, Ashand, Ore. 1909, as published on the Internet: Viewed Dec. 13, 2009.

— 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