March 3, 2007

Strange Disappearance

Category: History :: Permalink

Recently, I’ve been reading Land in Common: An Illustrated History of Jackson County, Oregon, in an attempt to understand the history of the region where God has placed me and called me to plant a church.  The chapter I read today was about the “roaring 20s,” which happened here mainly in the 1910s.  Back then, Medford appears to have been a little ahead of the rest of the States in those sorts of things.

A number of Easterners moved out to this region in that decade, many of whom were given to the fast life.  The young men spent their time in the Nash Hotel.  Grace Fiero recalled  that “Champagne was always flowing, just like water.”  Grace Fiero and her husband Conro were friends with George and Rhea Carpenter, who has a bungalow with its own swimming pool, tennis court, and Japanese garden.

But one party hosted by the Carpenters in the late 1910s was dry.  Grace Fiero recalled that everyone, knowing the party would be dry, had dinner parties beforehand so that they came to the party already “cheery.”  And then at the party, people spiked the punch.

Did the Carpenters know?  Were they offended?  We don’t know.  But here’s the strangest part:

Whatever it was, sometime afterward the Carpenters left town — and never returned.  They left everything behind: the Steinway piano with photographs on it, glasses on the kitchen counter, sixteenth- and seventeenth-century antiques in the living room.  The Carpenters refused to rent or lease their Medford home to anyone, including high-ranking military officers during World War II.  The house stood untouched until the early 1960s, when most of its contents were auctioned off (p. 58).

Very mysterious. 

Posted by John Barach @ 7:20 pm | Discuss (3)

3 Responses to “Strange Disappearance”

  1. Jake Says:

    Very! Does the house still stand today? Were they ever heard from again, and did they relinquish the title to their house, or does some member of the Carpenter family still hold on to it?

  2. John Barach Says:

    As far as I know, that house is still standing on or near Carpenter Hill Road. My wife recognized it. The Fiero’s house is now Mon Desir Inn near Central Point.

    The book didn’t mention if they were ever heard from again, though the reference to them “refusing” to rent or lease it sounds as if someone was in touch with them, as if there was a request and then a refusal.

    Something must have happened for the contents to have been auctioned off in the 1960s, but I don’t know what. The book doesn’t say, and I haven’t been able to find anything online either.

    I wonder how I could learn more.

  3. duane vandenberg Says:

    If you want to know more, the municipal or county office would have records of the property changing hands, if it ever did, as well, if the auction was by any chance held to pay back taxes, that would be who ordered it

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