Ashland, Oregon (December 29, 2024) – As the towns of Ashland and Medford grew in the 1880’s, residents sought a place to gather for musical, dramatic, educational, and social entertainments. Medford had many theaters that varied widely in quality and longevity, but their presence made Medford the county’s entertainment capital. Ashland, however, wanted something to call its own and the elegant Ganiard Opera House was built in 1889.          

While live performance and vaudeville eventually gave way to movies (and television), during their heyday, Medford theatres hosted Broadway roadshows. It was a simpler, easier time when people extensively and regularly gathered for their public amusement and the locations for such events held great significance.

On Wednesday, January 3 from 12:00-1:00 PM in-person and online at the Medford Library and Wednesday, January 10 in-person at the Ashland Library from 12:00-1:00 PM, Ron Kramer will share the history of these theatres and some of their stories. He has served as the Southern Oregon Historical Society’s executive director since 2021, previously was executive director of Jefferson Public Radio from 1974 – 2012 and is the author of two books about Oregon history.

The monthly Windows in Time lunchtime lectures feature well-known writers and historians and bring alive the people, values, and events that shaped our southern Oregon heritage. Lectures are jointly sponsored by the Southern Oregon Historical Society (SOHS) and Jackson County Library Services. Programs are presented in Medford (first Wednesdays, in-person and online) and again in Ashland (second Wednesdays, in-person). Recordings of Medford presentations are available on the JCLS Beyond YouTube channel.