Originally printed in the March 26, 2003 edition of the Illinois Valley News
There are many people who have moved to southern Oregon because of the small town atmosphere. Small towns frequently have people who have to work closely together to solve the problems which occur. Selma is one of the smallest of the small towns, but it is growing because of the flavor which is found there. Selma was originally known as Anderson and in 1897 the name was changed to Selma. This was to remember Selma, Iowa, the hometown of Miriam Churchill. She and her husband Robert established a post office, a rest stop for the California stage, and a supply location for miners in the area.
In 1947 a young family moved into Selma to establish their home and raise their children in this small town atmosphere. When George and Ida Blue started converting a barn into a temporary home the roads were somewhat different that they are today. Hogue Drive was the main highway and it was with difficulty that two trucks could be on the small Deer Creek Bridge at the same time. In the early 1960s the state bypassed what is now Hogue Drive and a wider bridge was built over Deer Creek. This also gave easier access to Lake Selmac, a reservoir which was dedicated in 1961.
In 1947 Norman Road crossed Clear Creek and continued south into the Deer Creek valley. This is the first road which turns right from Hogue Drive south of Selma. That bridge was destroyed in the floods of 1964 which wiped out other bridges in the valley and forced new roads to be built. The Blue’s house was right next to that bridge on Norman Rd., where the storage units are now located, and in 1964 the floods came right up to their back door.
In 1947 George Blue first worked as a clerk in the Selma Store which was located where the Union 76 Station is now. Later a new store was built across the street where the post office is now . And still later a new store was built across the highway where it is today. He worked at many other jobs including driving trucks carrying chrome ore from the area near the Kalmiopsis Wilderness, across the Illinois River near the Swinging Bridge and in to Grants Pass over Hays Hill. At one time ore trucks could unload at the railroad which stopped at Waters Creek on the north side of Hayes Hill but the railroad was discontinued in 1924. George also drove log trucks and worked 20 years for the Josephine County Road Department.
George and Ida Blue raised nine children in their small temporary home in Selma. Eight of them attended Selma Elementary School and all nine graduated from Illinois Valley High School. It was almost required that George be a leader in the Selma PTA organization. He also served as a leader in the Masonic Lodge and the Grange. After moving to Cave Junction he served as Mayor of Cave Junction for two years from Jan.1985 to Dec.1986. He also operated a snow cone – hot dog stand in the parking lot of Select Market. George always liked to be a leader and he did this also as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “Brudder Boo” will be especially missed by the children who received candy from him every Sunday. George Blue died March 6, 2003 and has left a rich legacy and a large vacant spot in the Valley. His example of work, love, leadership and friendship will be continued by his additional legacy of children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren who will carry his work into the future.