Ashland’s Lithia Park

IMG_1410 ASituated beneath the Siskiyou Mountains is a 93 acre refuge called Lithia Park.  The park was built in 1915 by John McLaren and retains some of its original features.  It is in the town of Ashland Oregon and meanders along the sparkling Ashland Creek.  In recent years, crowds have become a major problem, so weekdays are best.  The lower part of Lithia Park features a pond of floating swans that marks the entrance to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.  The upper part offers a waterfall, a pond of ducks, a band shell, used for concerts and a series of intriguing steps and bridges.  Lithia Park is a favorite spot for hikers, actors, who want to rehearse in the shade of trees and families seeking a beautiful picnic spot.  Children love to play in the shallow, clear water of Ashland Creek, and are heard often, laughing and cavorting.  I offer some photos of the upper part of Lithia Park.

An aside:  For visitors that are new to Southern Oregon, one must realize that the towns of Medford and Ashland are like different countries, so great are the differences.  Ashland has had a teacher’s college for years(Southern Oregon College).  It recently became Southern Oregon University.  However, it is a university in name only.  It offers no doctoral programs.  That was the agreement reached with other Oregon universities to avoid competition for students.  In general, Oregon has been a state of ecological awareness, but poor education.  At one time, it ranked 49th out of all the states, outranking only lowly Louisiana.  But the Oregon Shakespeare Festival brought in many people from the arts, and Ashland offers more educational opportunities than any other Southern Oregon town.  People throng daily to walk the streets and investigate the many shops the town offers.  By contrast, Medford is not a town of walkers, and does not attract many visitors.  West Medford is notorious for crime, poverty and drug use.  Type 2 diabetes is the illness of choice for women, since obesity is rampant.  Alcoholism is the illness of choice for men.  The youth prefer pot or meth, because of its availability and relative cheap cost.  Medford abounds in single mothers with multiple fathers, while Ashland has the region’s largest gay community.  The poverty is so bad in Medford, that during a recent teachers’ strike, the Medford Superintendent, Long, stated that more than half of the children were either receiving free lunches or were getting them at a discount.  This does not mean there are no poor people in Ashland.  Just that they are less visible among the teeming citizens.  Ashland is the most liberal community in Southern Oregon.  Medford, and all other communities in the region are far more conservative.  A friend of mine, when he arrived from the Bay Area, told me he thought of Medford as a different country.  And, in a way, he’s right.IMG_1235IMG_1243IMG_1248IMG_1249IMG_1306IMG_1269IMG_1341IMG_1285IMG_1355IMG_1408IMG_1234

About Robert M. Weiss
From an early age, I've taken great pleasure in reading. Also, I learned to play my 78 player when I was quite young, and enjoyed listening to musicals and classical music. I remember sitting on the floor, and following the text and pictures of record readers, which were popular in the 1940s and 50s. My favorites were the Bozo and Disney albums. I also enjoyed watching the slow spinning of 16s as they spun out tales of adventure. I have always been attracted by rivers, and I love to sit on a boulder with my feet in the water, gazing into the mysteries of swirling currents. I especially like inner tubing on the Rogue River in Southern Oregon. Since my early youth, I've been interested in collecting minerals, which have taught me about the wonderful possibilities in colors and forms. Sometimes I try to imagine what the ancient Greeks must have felt when they began to discover physical laws in nature. I also remember that I had a special passion for numbers, and used to construct them out of stones. After teaching Russian for several years, I became a writer, interviewer, editor, and translator. I continue to delight in form, and am a problem solver at heart.

5 Responses to Ashland’s Lithia Park

  1. What a wonderful park! This is a place I would certainly enjoy.

  2. berlioz1935 says:

    An interesting description of the “two worlds” the two towns inhabit. People with no perspective seem to sink into into a “ersatz” world promised to them by drugs (wrong food too) and alcohol.

  3. rommel says:

    The fact that they celebrate the Shakespeare Festival alone is worth visiting it. It looks as lovely as what they usually show in depictions from Shakespearean works. But whoa to the neighborhood there. I don’t know about alcoholism or single parents and all that but when I went to Watts Towers, walking the rough neighborhood in that part of LA was nerve-wracking.

  4. Beautiful park, lovely flowers ! 🙂

  5. Thank you! It’s one of my favorite parks!

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