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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

A Fresh Start

"The look was mirrored on both of their faces; a combination of frustration and despair. Their good fortune had run out."

Nearly fifteen years prior,  the world had been their oyster, possibilities endless. They'd first settled just over the Oregon border on Daisy Creek, upstream from the burgeoning gold rush rag town of Table Rock City. Nuggets were thick like fleas on a dog; there for the picking. That was the winter of 1852. It was cold and wet, but the easy pickin's more than outweighed the creature discomforts. Jackson Creek was rich in placer gold, and a man with a pan and a rocker could make easy wages when things got too crowded over on Daisy. Things got "citified" quick and soon Table Rock City had its name changed to Jacksonville. It sounded more "civilized". The tent city soon saw framed houses replacing rag tents and a couple of brick buildings sprang. Yep, the rest of the world had caught up with Southern Oregon, and so the pair of miners moved on.

Rumor had it that gold had been discovered about 60 miles north, in a town that would later become Canyonville. "Pickin' it up in chunks" was the word. And so north they trekked; pans, picks, shovels and supplies strapped to their trusty mule. Sure enough, there was gold. Lots of it. Their claim paid. Not richly, but enough to keep them in beans, bacon and whiskey. But suddenly, almost fifteen years to the day, the pay streak pinched out.  The look mirrored on both of their faces was a combination of frustration and despair. Their good fortune had run out.

Just as well, they thought, Canyonville too had become "citified". Besides, word had it that another rich gold strike had been made. And so they strapped pans, picks, shovels and supplies to their trusty mule, and headed out, only this time back south. South to the Rogue Valley and what was now The State of Jefferson; back to their roots.


My wife & I moved to the Rogue Valley of Southern Oregon back in 1975; two kids wet behind the ears, just out of San Jose State. We'd heard that the area showed promise, and knew that the Bay Area no longer held anything for us. Like the miners in days of old, we trekked north to Southern Oregon, only in a 1971 Toyota Land Cruiser instead of on a mule (now that I think of it, there were similarities). There was a bottle club here back then; "The Gold Diggers". They'd been around for years, and the shows back then were held in Jacksonville. A couple of years later, due to folks moving, dying off, losing interest, etc., the Gold Diggers disbanded.  Almost immediately, the Siskiyou Antique Bottle Collectors Association was formed with the annual show being held upstairs in the US Hotel Ballroom in J'ville. That club was active for several years, but ultimately suffered the same fate as the Gold Diggers. 

Enter the Jefferson State Antique Bottle Collectors; or "JSABC". Tradition was cast to the wind and the shows were held at a variety of less than stellar locations ranging from a rundown Grange Hall northwest of Medford, to a Scottish Rite Temple out in the pucker brush of east Medford. 

Seven Feathers ("7F") entered the picture shortly after 2000. It was a great facility, and the show gained momentum for years. Starting with roughly 40 tables, the show peaked out at over 70. But, 7F became increasingly difficult to deal with. A 33% increase in lease fees for the facility in 2015 put the writing on the wall. The straw that broke the camel's back occurred just before Christmas, when I received word that they'd 1) increased costs yet again and 2) broken their promise that we'd remain scheduled annually for our traditional  first weekend in October. Merry Christmas... Nearly fifteen years of hard work building the show, gone. The look on my face when I got the call was no doubt the same as that on the miners faces 150 year ago; a combination of frustration and despair.  Stick a fork in Canyonville, it was a done deal; a good run while it lasted~.


Sometimes the solution to a problem is right under our noses and it just takes a kick in the pants to see it. Boy, did 7F ever give me one. A couple of weeks ago, out of the blue, I got a phone call from Greg King, owner of "Glory Days Antiques" in Medford. Glory Days is the premier antique mall in Southern Oregon. Greg has helped push the Canyonville Show for years through word of mouth advertising and by handing out flyers to anyone coming through his doors. Greg was negotiating with the Jackson County Expo to produce a highly anticipated regional venue by the name of the Rogue Valley Antique Show. Would I be interested in co-producing  the JSABC Antique Bottle and Insulator Show in the same building on the same weekend? My answer was an immediate and resounding YES! Back to our roots!

It is with great pleasure that I announce the first annual "Jefferson State Antique Bottle and Insulator Expo" to be held May 5, 6 & 7, 2016 at the Jackson County Expo complex just off of I5 in Central Point, Oregon (only 2 minutes north of Medford). This venue will replace the now defunct Canyonville Show. We are signing the contracts this week and have the tentative table and booth locations drawn up and submitted to the Fire Marshall for approval. We will initially start out this year with 50 tables for bottle and insulator dealers, which will occupy roughly half of the 10,000 square foot building.

Stay tuned for updates as planning progresses.

Thanks for your patience, understanding and continued support.

Bruce Silva

Show Chairman

2016 Jefferson State Antique Bottle and Insulator Expo

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