My family moved to Jefferson in the Spring of 1946 from Southern California following World War II. My father worked in the shipyards and my mother ran a boarding house there.
We came to Oregon so the family could work in the fields which we did, starting with strawberry picking, mint hauling, bean picking, corn picking, etc as all were done by and before mechanization of those crops. There was no minimum age limits, so we all could work, and did all summer. We were all responsible for making enough for all school clothes and expenses. When we came to Jefferson, there seemed to be a lot more business than today.
Downtown had a Confectionary where we could go for ice cream, milk shakes, etc. There was a drug store, Doctor, Theater, two active lodges (Masons, Eastern Star Oddfellows and Rebeccas), a blacksmith, variety store, several grocery stores, several service stations and cafes, just to name the first part of the business area.
The “Terminal” was on the highway (Second Street) and was the bus terminal as Greyhound busses came through regularly. This was prior to the construction of Interstate 5 and highway 99 was the main north/south highway going through Jefferson.
Having been born on the Texas Plains and raised in Southern California among the Palm Trees, the thing that amazed me most was how high the fir trees grew! And I never knew that mint was a farm crop.
I have lived in Jefferson now for 57 years, married a Jefferson born native, raised a family, worked and retired in Jefferson and have see many, many changes take place in town. Major businesses destroyed by fire include the Evangelical Church, the Mari-Linn Co-Op and Freres Lumber Company, each of which have been replaced except the Co-Op.
A bank came to Jefferson in 1963, a new post office in 1960 and again in the early 1990s.
In 1946 there was one school that included all 12 grades. Now there are three schools as the population has grown to require a grade school, middle school and high school. Jefferson will continue to change.
–Margaret Hire Knight