Not long after I began work on the Stories of Highway 99, I visited Ashland, my home town, again– putting my memories in order to tell my part of the story.  I did some local research and came back convinced I was ready- at least for my own part of the story.

When I began to write, I discovered I had gaps-often big gaps.  I made another trip to visit places I remembered and then added a little more.  Two more rips and I felt like I had a basic picture.  After all, I’m not trying to cover the history of Ashland, just the stories of the highway through it–a span of forty years or so, from 1926 when Highway 99 officially came into being until 1966 when ir was replaced by the freeway.

About the time I finished my research and formed it into a picture of the time, I received a surprise.  Another “Ashlander” had begun a Facebook page–Ashland Then and Now.  He was posting wonderful old pictures and, even better, people were adding comments–their own memories.

Reading the comments swallowed up a fair amount of time and kept my interest but, for the most part didn’t add to my knowledge.  Still, there are tidbits I haven’t found anywhere else.  I knew Ashland was a sundown city, as were most Oregon cities, anyone of color had to be out-of-town by sundown, when I was in high school but I didn’t really think about what that meant.  We had moved from a suburb of Pasadena and I had attended school with people of color although I can’t remember that there were any in our immediate neighborhood.  It wasn’t talked about in my family or even when we moved to Ashland. 

It was when I was doing the research on the Ashland part of the story, I had a question begin to bother me.  Many of the pictures showing the passenger train service in Ashland showed people of color working as porters and even in the early large dining room where the passengers were served.  I wondered where they lived.  It was as comment on the historic face book page that referred to a train car parked on a siding just out of the city limits that gave me the answer.  It also posed another question I haven’t had to deal with yet.  I have seen photos of the KKK marching in Ashland but so far, none have been offered so won’t be included. 



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