The National Endowment for the Humanities Common Heritage Program funded the Stories of Southern Oregon project with a grant to Southern Oregon University to collect and preserve agricultural, logging, mill, and mining family histories in Jackson and Josephine Counties. Co-investigators Maureen Battistella (Assistant Professor Affiliate and Research Anthropologist at Southern Oregon University) and Dr. Victoria Sturtevant (SOU Sociology Professor Emerita) will work with SOU students, local libraries, historical societies, and youth groups to identify heritage families who will participate in the project.
“This project is important because it helps Southern Oregon’s largely rural communities trace, preserve, and share their rural heritage,” says Battistella, “It will document how and why population growth, economic development, and new agricultural opportunities have affected Southern Oregon’s heritage industries.” Stories, photographs, and memorabilia discovered in during heritage day events will be digitized and made available to the public thanks to the expertise of SOU librarians, and the Southern Oregon Digital Archives (SODA) at Southern Oregon University’s Hannon Library. The Southern Oregon Digital Archives is a publicly available digital portal, making stories available to the world over the web. Dr. Jeffery LaLande, US Forest Service (ret.), consulting historian, Joe Peterson, Southern Oregon University History faculty (emeritus), and Maryann Mason, Medford School System, History Teacher (ret.) are consulting historians.
While some of Southern Oregon’s landscape has changed dramatically over the last hundred years, there are many families who still work the land and harvest timber in the forests. In some areas though, historic family farms have yielded to housing developments, pear trees have been pulled out to plant vineyards, and timber harvests are limited. This project is designed to increase awareness of heritage agriculture, timber work life, and the many ways that Southern Oregon folks made their living on the land. This project is about the of preserving and sharing community memories, community values, and our shared heritage.
The Stories of Southern Oregon project builds on and extends the heritage preservation model developed for earlier grants awarded to SOU by the Oregon Heritage Commission, the Rogue Valley Winegrowers Association, and the Erath Family Foundation.
Meet the Stories of Southern Oregon Team
There’s dozens of us, you know! All historians and writers eager to hear your family stories of logging, ranching, and farming here in Southern Oregon. Here’s just a few who don’t mind their photo posted to the web! – coming soon