Frank TouVelle [too-VELL] had compassion for troubled boys. He invested both his energy and his money in his efforts to encourage them to turn their lives around — usually through learning a trade or continuing their education.

TouVelle was a young lawyer — a graduate of the Cincinnati Law School — when he came to Medford in 1905. Investing heavily in apple and pear orchards, he became a successful orchardist and civic leader. He served as a Jackson County judge from 1913 to 1919, and was a moving force behind paving the first section of Pacific Highway between Central Point and Ashland. Later he served on the state Highway Commission

Frank TouVelle died at his home in Jacksonville in 1955. The trust fund he established continues to support the interest he took in giving neglected and underprivileged youths the opportunity to work for a better life.

Judge TouVelle may be best remembered as a promoter of better roads, and for the gift of land that created TouVelle State Park on the banks of the Rogue River. But he is also remembered as the man who had faith in education as the tool that could best help troubled youths turn their lives around.

Source: Putnam, George, “Pioneer Highway Builder of Southern Oregon Passes,” Sept. 9, 1955. Author’s personal involvement as former member of TouVelle Trust Fund committee.

— 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