Ben Hur Lampman
Thursday June 2, 2005
By Marjorie O'Harra
Welcome to As It Was: Tales from the State of Jefferson
The people of Gold Hill, Oregon, didn't want their connection with Ben Hur Lampman to be forgotten. In 1947, they dedicated the park you can see along the banks of the Rogue River in his name. And, they named a road after him. Today, a collection of his literary work is prized by the Gold Hill Historical Society.
Lampman came to Gold Hill in 1912 to publish the weekly Gold Hill News. If his 500 subscribers had to wait for their paper, they knew he was fishing. His columns about his love of nature and the outdoors caught the attention of the Oregonian. In 1916, he was enticed to Portland by a salary of $25 a week. He was with the Oregonian for thirty-five years, the last twenty-nine as an editorial writer.
Lampman's editorials, poems, articles and stories were reprinted across the nation and around the world. Literary critic Alexander Woolcott once called him "the greatest writer of Americana today."
Honors and fame were his, but Lampman, who died in 1954, is remembered for having said, "Sometimes I wonder if leaving Gold Hill wasn't a mistake. There's no more beautiful place than this section of the Rogue Riverů And a fellow could always go fishing"
Today's episode of As It Was was written by Marjorie O'Harra, 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
"Ben Hur Lampman Dies After Lengthy Illness" Medford Mail Tribune Jan. 25, 1954 " Recognition as Oregon's Poet Laureate Proud Day in Life of Ben Hur Lampman," The Oregonian , Jan. 25, 1954 "The Oracle of Gold Hill" Newsweek, June 23, 1947