Friday May 27, 2005
By Dawna Curler
Welcome to As It Was: Tales from the State of Jefferson
Glen Wooldridge knew the Rogue River coming and going. He was a whitewater
pioneer who blazed the fluid trail for Southern Oregon's river guide industry.
Raised along the river, he was drawn to it. As a boy, he fished the turbulent waters and studied its currents and seasonal changes. In September 1915, nineteen-year-old Wooldridge and a Native American friend, Cal Allen, got the hair-brained idea to float the Rogue in a small wooden boat from Grants Pass to the coastal town of Gold Beach.
No one in recorded history had done this before. They didn't know if it was even possible. With youthful daring, the boys proved it was. Thirty-two years later, Wooldridge decided to go the other way. In 1941, with two others as crew, Wooldridge steered a motorboat up-river from the ocean to Grants Pass.
In 1917 Wooldridge started his river guide service, the first to do so on the Rogue. For more than sixty years he provided transportation, advice, and stories to hunters and fishermen. In the off season he built specialized riverboats and developed boat accessories.
Thanks in part to Glen Wooldridge, the Rogue River is now a major recreational destination that contributes significantly to Southern Oregon's economy.
Today's episode of As It Was was written by Dawna Curler, 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
McCourtney, Zane. "Glen Wooldridge (1896-1986): River Conqueror," Southern Oregon Heritage Today, October 2000, Vol. 2, No. 10, pp. 8-13.