In 1883, Squire Stanford Aiken arrived in Deskins, Oregon, seeking a town with a good school and good roads. Although he found neither, he set out to create what was lacking. And he renamed the town Prospect.
Traveling through Prospect, people often stopped overnight, staying with the Boothby family. The Boothbys weren’t running a hotel; they simply had a large house and a good cook. Clearly a hotel was needed, and so in 1893 the Boothbys built a roadhouse hotel with 10 rooms — the Boothby House.
By 1912, the Boothbys had sold their place, which was now called the Prospect Hotel. By then the trip from Medford to Crater Lake had become an “easy two-day drive” in the new-fangled automobiles. The hotel was a good halfway point to stop, fuel up, and stay the night, and many famous people stayed there, including presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Herbert Hoover, writer Jack London, and orator William Jennings Bryan.
Today the fully restored and operational Prospect Historic Hotel is on the National Register of Historic Places. Although the roads have improved over the years, and Crater Lake is only hours away from Medford, travelers are still happy to stay overnight and enjoy the great food.
Source: Claflin, Terrie, “Prospect,” in Land In Common, Medford, Oregon: Southern Oregon Historical Society, 1993, pp. 148-149; “Prospect Historic Hotel Bed and Breakfast Motel and Dinner House,” http://www.prospecthotel.com.
— 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.