Thomas Doty – Storyteller

1965: Bank Opening in Jacksonville


Here are my parents Shirrel and Fredene Doty dressed up in period garb for the grand opening of U.S. National Bank in Jacksonville, Oregon. Located in the historic U.S. Hotel, the bank was built to fit in with the 1800s flavor of the Gold Rush town. My father started working for the bank rolling coins in Medford before World War II. He retired as Asst. Vice President of U.S. Bankcorp in 1983. This photo was taken in the living room of our Medford home on January 18, 1965.

My job at the opening (I was 12) was to inflate balloons with helium and give them out to children. With the help of the gas, I created all kinds of funny voices, and this delighted me. However, the highlight of the event was when Jacksonville police chief Frank Carter shot himself in the foot while showing a gathering of children how quickly he could draw his pistol. In its 1965 year-end review, the Medford Mail Tribune included these two items: "Jacksonville branch of U.S. National Bank opens amid festivities, parade" and "Frank Carter, Jacksonville police chief, undergoes surgery for treatment of gunshot wound."

On a side note, I've always had an interesting connection to Jacksonville. My first schooling was near Jacksonville in a converted barn called Miss Pat's Kindergarten and Dance Studio, and when I was in high school I was cast as an extra in the Jacksonville filming of The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid. I know I'm in that movie somewhere but have never been able to spot myself.

In the early 1970s, long-haired and wild-eyed, I worked briefly as a fire truck driver for the Forest Service at Starr Ranger Station a few miles past Jacksonville in the Applegate Valley. At 5:00 a.m. on a Sunday morning, I was on a fire call and ripped through Jacksonville at a pretty good clip. I was on my way to the station to get the fire rig and was in my own car, a green 1963 VW beetle with oversized tires and a Love Bug sticker on the back. With no one in sight in town, I ran the stop sign doing 40 miles an hour over the speed limit, and was pulled over by Frank Carter. As he waddled up to my car, convinced he had this long-haired hippy firmly in his legal grasp, he asked me rather sarcastically (I kid you not!), "Where's the fire, Sonny?" I told him Blackwell Hill, flashed him my official ID, and the most amazing thing happened: he gave me a police escort all the way to the fire station!