A photo of Toledo from circa 1910. (Photo provided by Oregon Historical Society)

When Lincoln County was established in 1893, Toledo was chosen at the county seat, a designation it did not relinquish until voters in 1954 moved it to Newport. Folks today may know Toledo for its old Victorians, a railroad museum or simply the last small town you hit before reaching Newport and the coast.

The community with a population estimated at nearly 3,600 is located about 36 miles west of Philomath. Toledo ended up as the lead-in to this week’s From the Past column because of an education-related news item published 125 years ago.

The following appeared in the Aug. 19, 1898, edition of the Lincoln County Leader, published in Toledo by J.F. Stewart back in the days when a one-year subscription cost $1.50:

“The school board of the Toledo district held a meeting last Wednesday night and elected teachers for the ensuing term of school. Three teachers will be employed during the term. This is rendered necessary as two teachers cannot handle the school longer owning to the increase in enrollment.

“For principal, the board employed Prof. R.F. Holm, of Philomath, and as intermediate teacher and they elected Miss Julia Taylor, also of Philomath. The primary teacher selected was Miss Bessie Collison of Salem. The primary department will be conducted in the old school house and other departments in the new building. The wages paid the principal will be $45 per month and the other two will be paid $27.50 each.”

Holm, whose full name was Rufus Francis Holm, in 1894 had won the position of Benton County school superintendent.

“He is a man of good moral character and is fully qualified in every way to fill the position and is and has been for years interested in school work as a teacher,” a pre-election article in the May 25, 1894, edition of the Corvallis Gazette reads. “I trust the intelligent class of people who read this will ponder it seriously.”

It was not uncommon in the 19th century for teachers from other communities to travel to smaller towns to teach the schoolchildren. Taylor, for example, taught in various other schools such as Shedd, Albany, Ashland and others. She resigned from the Toledo job in April 1899 “on account of the illness of her mother, who resides in Philomath,” the Lincoln County Leader reported.

OK, on with other news items through the years.

150 years ago

New principal: We would call the attention of our readers to the advertisement of Philomath College under “New this Week.” From Rev. J. Harritt, Resident Agent of this institution, we learn that the services of Prof. R.E. Williams, graduate of Western College, Iowa, have been secured as Principal. Mr. W. will arrive in Oregon previous to the opening of the school, September 9th. Miss Mary Lawrence, of Salem, an experienced teacher, will have charge of the Primary Department. (Published Aug. 16, 1873, in the Corvallis Gazette).

125 years ago

News items: A.M. Austin has built an addition to his residence. … R.L. Jones, of Oregon City, and Charles McHenry, of Corvallis, moved into the city last week. … Agent Parker and Prof. Emerick are in Lane county in the interest of Philomath College. … Miss Luella Dixon closed a successful term of school at Five Rivers, and returned home last week. (Published Aug. 19, 1898, in the Corvallis Gazette).

100 years ago

Nebraska invasion: Nebraska people to the number of 150 met Sunday for an all-day picnic at the Bert Taylor grove near Philomath. The affair is an annual one, staged on the second Sunday of each August by the Nebraska association of which Mrs. J.W. Rife of Corvallis is secretary. (Published Aug. 21, 1923, in the Corvallis Gazette-Times).

75 years ago

Semipro baseball: Pete Kruger set down the Kings Valley Hawks with four hits in a Coast Semi-pro league game at Philomath yesterday as the Philomath Babes romped to an 8-2 victory. In going the distance for the Babes, who have won their last three league starts, the local fireballer threw the third strike past 17 Kings Valley batters. He also aided his own cause with a home run, a terrific smash to left-center field. (Published Aug. 16, 1948, in the Corvallis Gazette-Times).

50 years ago

Radar gun: Easy on the gas pedal when you’re driving through Philomath … the police department has a new radar unit. Twenty or more drivers already have found out the expensive way, reported Police Chief G.J. (Joe) Murphy. He said Philomath police began testing a portable “radar gun” Aug. 2 and since then have issued more than 20 citations totaling approximately $850 in bail money. “We’re not trying to ‘stick’ motorists,” said Murphy, making it clear that he doesn’t plan to turn the town into a speed trap. He said speeding tickets issued so far have averaged 23 miles per hour over the posted speed limit. The radar unit is on loan from a manufacturer who would like to sell one to the police department. (Published Aug. 21, 1973, in the Corvallis Gazette-Times).

Brad Fuqua has covered the Philomath area since 2014 as the editor of the now-closed Philomath Express and currently as publisher/editor of the Philomath News. He has worked as a professional journalist since 1988 at daily and weekly newspapers in Nebraska, Kansas, North Dakota, Arizona, Montana and Oregon.