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JPR Feature
The Jump-Off Joe Community Hall   
Tuesday August 23, 2005
By Craig Stillwell

Welcome to As It Was: Tales from the State of Jefferson

The importance of community buildings was no less obvious a century ago, especially in the rural areas of Southern Oregon. Around 1908, the community of settlers living near Jump-Off Joe Creek, north of Grants Pass, Oregon, realized they had outgrown the one-room schoolhouse that had served as a local meeting place. After selecting a piece of land upon which they had often picnicked together, the community went about gathering materials to build a new hall.

Everyone pitched in. Some families donated lumber, nails, window glass, and other building materials, new and used. Bachelor miners contributed scraps of tarpaper left over from the construction of their shacks. Women supplied pieces of cloth to use for curtains. Those who lacked materials shared their skills and labor. As the building went up, women kept the workers fed, while the children fetched cool drinking water from the nearby creek.

For many years the building became the focal point for many community activities, such as potluck dinners, dances, wedding receptions, public lectures, and political debates. Unfortunately, the Great Depression forced many families to move away. Little used and dilapidated, the Jump-Off Joe community hall was finally torn down in the mid-1930s.

Today's episode of As It Was was written by Craig Stillwell, the program engineer is Raymond Scully.  I'm Shirley Patton. As It was is a co-production of JPR and the Southern Oregon Historical Society.  To Share stories or learn more about the series visit asitwas - dot- org

Nevera, Judy " The Jump-Off Joe Community Hall." In Patch Work: Memories of the Rogue Valley. Grants Pass, Oregon: Rogue Community College, 1975. pp. 30-31

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