It’s History Trivia Tuesday!

Historic Jacksonville shares tidbits from Jacksonville history every Tuesday on our Facebook page. Like us at Historic Jacksonville (historicjville) and enjoy our tales and stories of the people and places that made Jacksonville the major hub of southern Oregon in the late 1800s.

Greenman House

June 20, 2017

Like a number of other Jacksonville buildings, the 1 ½ story house at 340 N. Oregon Street was moved from its original location—the corner of California and 5th streets. By 1866, Dr. E.H. Greenman had acquired the property at the California intersection and constructed a small rectangular building. Regular advertisements in local newspapers soon promoted Dr. Greenman’s services. In 1869, Greenman sold the property to Dr. Will Jackson, for many years the local dentist. It’s unclear whether Jackson’s office survived the catastrophic fire of 1874, but the present structure appeared on that site by the early 1880s. Jackson appears to have occupied the building for the next decade, after which it housed another doctor and then a notary public. The structure is believed to have been moved to its present N. Oregon Street site in the late 1920s.

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Luy House

June 13, 2017

The Frederick Luy House at 490 S. Oregon Street in Jacksonville was probably built in the 1870s. Early maps and photographs of Jacksonville do not include the southern area of the town so it’s hard to date the structure. Luy’s wife was Frances Young, the elder daughter of G.W. Young who had purchased the property in 1864. Frederick Luy, a native of Baden, Germany, was a boot and shoe maker by trade. He came to Oregon in 1852 and probably arrived in Jacksonville a year or so later. Luy initially obtained a position with Nathan Langell, an established local cobbler, then later went into business for himself. Frederick and Frances had 8 children. A son, Frederick Jr., became a barber in Medford. A second son, George, inherited the family home in 1905. The house as since undergone significant alterations.

Ganung House

June 6, 2017

160 E. California Street in Jacksonville, now home to Pico’s Worldwide, was once the site of Lewis and Zany Ganung’s residence. The Ganungs had traveled west from Ohio, arriving in Jacksonville in 1854. Lewis Ganung was a doctor, and Zany frequently acted as his nurse. On June 11, 1861, so the story goes, Zany returned home tired and exhausted after spending the past 24 hours with a very sick patient. Overnight, someone had erected a flagpole flying the Confederate “palmetto and rattleshake flag” across the street from her front door. No one knew who had raised it, and no one ventured to remove it for fear of starting a local civil war. Without a word to anyone, Zany entered her house, returned with a hatchet, crossed the street, and chopped the pole down. She then untied the flag, returned home, and used the flag to stoke the stove. The “rattlesnake flag” never again flew over Jacksonville.

Caton House

May 30, 2017

The house at 135 South 3rd Street in Jacksonville was either built or moved to this location around 1902 as home to Captain Milo Caton. Caton came to Jacksonville in the 1850s and for many years was proprietor of a California Street boot & shoe store. He fought in the Mexican and Indian wars and served as a captain during the Civil War. Caton later served as town constable and then as deputy sheriff. He occupied the house until his death in 1913 from “old age.” Since that time the house has intermittently been used for retail businesses and as a dwelling. It’s one of the featured houses on Historic Jacksonville’s Haunted History walking tours.

Wilson House

May 23, 2017

The 1867 house at 410 East D Street in Jacksonville was home to members of the James A. Wilson family from about 1870 to 1940. One of the last owners was Wilson’s grand daughter, Grace, the second wife of noted Southern Oregon architect Frank C. Clark. The couple took up residence here following their marriage in 1924, and the house saw the birth of four children. In 1930, shortly after the last child was born, Frank Clark built the dream home he specifically designed for his young family at 1917 E. Main Street in Medford. At almost sixty years of age, with two major projects in Medford just completed (the Holly Theatre and Washington School), the architect could afford this gift to his wife and children.

Union Livery Stable

May 16, 2017

Following the death of Dr. Franklin Grube in the Jacksonville smallpox epidemic of 1868-69, the house at 410 East D Street, originally constructed for pioneer Henry Judge a year earlier, was purchased by James A. Wilson. The Wilson family retained ownership for nearly 70 years. Wilson was a prosperous livery stable owner who for 6 years operated in partnership with Kaspar Kubli. Their imposing 2-story frame structure at the Northwest corner of California and C streets where the Umpqua Bank is now located was known as the Union Livery Stable.

Judge’s House #2

May 9, 2017

We’re continuing our saga of the house at the corner of 6th and D streets in Jacksonville, commonly called the “Sheriff’s House” but constructed around 1867 for pioneer harness and saddlery businessman Henry Judge. Within a year, Judge sold his new residence to Dr. Franklin Grube, an Oregon newcomer. Grube, a graduate of Yale College and the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, had served as a member of the Kansas House of Representatives prior to enlisting as an assistant surgeon in the Union Army’s Pennsylvania Volunteers during the Civil War. Grube’s tenancy here was brief. In December 1868 Grube wrote a letter to the Oregon Sentinel positively identifying the existence of smallpox in Jacksonville and recommending treatment for the dreaded disease. Smallpox soon reached epidemic proportions and by late spring had taken the lives of over 40 town residents. Grube himself succumbed to the disease only a year after he purchased this residence. He is buried in the Jacksonville Cemetery.

Judge’s House #1

May 2, 2017

The house known as the “Sheriff’s House” at 410 East D Street in Jacksonville was actually built for Henry Judge around 1867, shortly after he married Anna O’Grady (shown here). Judge, a pioneer in the harness and saddlery business in the West, had arrived from San Francisco in the mid-1850s, and on several occasions returned there for 3 or more years at a time. At various times, Judge was also in partnership with Jeremiah Nunan, who later married Anna’s sister, Delia O’Grady. Judge became one of Jacksonville’s wealthiest residents, and on at least 2 occasions served as a Trustee for the City.

Wilson House

April 25, 2017

The simple rectangular residence located at 370 S. Oregon Street in Jacksonville is believed to have been constructed around 1880 for James A. Wilson. Arriving in Jacksonville in the early 1860s, Wilson was for several years part owner and proprietor of one of Jacksonville’s most well established livery stables—the Union Livery Stable. Prior to 1879, the elongated narrow Oregon Street lot had a succession of 7 owners, including some of the towns more successful merchants who commonly invested in property in and around Jacksonville. Wilson owned the property until sometime after 1885, and it’s possible that the house was constructed for Wilson as a rental property since he and his family occupied a house at 410 East D Street during that entire period.

Herberger House

April 18, 2017

We fell behind schedule in posting our History Trivia this week so we’re making up for lost time!
In 1876, John Herberger was deeded almost the entire block on which the house at 415 W. Oak now stands. He had probably arrived in Jacksonville only shortly before he purchased the property. Born in Austria in 1839, Herberger was a carpenter by trade so very likely constructed his home around 1877, providing his future family a lovely view of town and valley. Sometime after 1880 he married. He and his wife, Belle Elizabeth, had one surviving child, Mary Barbara. John died of “consumption” (tuberculosis) in 1899. Per the 1990 U.S. Census, the widowed Belle became a landlady, running her home as a boarding house until her own death in 1911.

Greer House

April 11, 2017

Because the history of the house at 250 N. Oregon Street in Jacksonville is one of change, adaptation, and alteration, we identified the wrong house on 2/7/17 as the home of Dr. G.W. Greer! Here’s the correct image and info: Dr. G.W. Greer, a prominent early physician, had arrived in town by 1856. Originally from Missouri, Greer was a Benton County representative to the Oregon Territorial Council of 1854. Soon after coming to Jacksonville, he married his second wife, Irene Lumbard, who purchased this property in 1858. Mortgage documents indicate the house was constructed soon after. Greer placed regular ads for his medical services in local newspapers and leased “hospital buildings” at 3rd and C streets and then 3rd and California. However, by 1865, the Greers had sold this house and moved on. Subsequent owners have altered windows and doors, added the front portion of the house, reconstructed chimneys, made numerous changes to the rear addition, and extended the porch roof.

Griffen House

April 4, 2017

The house at 410 S. 3rd Street in Jacksonville was built between 1862 and 1864 for William M. Griffen, the eldest son of Burrell and Sally Griffen. The one-story portion of the house with its mortise and tenon floor joints would have housed William, his wife Mary Ann, and at least five of their 13 children—two of whom were born there in 1864 and 1866. William arrived in the Rogue Valley from Kentucky in 1852 with his parents who took out a donation land claim in the area of the creek which still bears their name. According to the 1860 census, William also engaged in farming, but by 1870 had become a “wagon trader.” It appears, however, that he had moved his family back to the Griffen Creek area at least 2 years earlier. In 1871 the property was deeded to Patrick McMahon, a local Irishman known for his real estate investments, whose family apparently occupied it until McMahon’s death in 1886

McMahon House

March 28, 2017

The house located at 525 South 3rd Street in Jacksonville was built as a rental property around 1880 by Patrick McMahon. McMahon, a native of Ireland, was known for his speculative real estate investments. Aside from his involvement in real estate, he was also a “mail contractor” and owned the Jacksonville and Crescent Stage Line. McMahon was also part owner of the Union Livery Stable. In the summer of 1886, McMahon died of a heart attack at age 46. His obituary described him as “a man of great energy, …one of [Jacksonville’s] most industrious and enterprising citizens.”

Cameron House #2

March 21, 2017

When Theodoric Cameron married the 33-year old widow Mollie Krause in 1892, she already owned the 1-story wood frame dwelling located at 425 South Applegate Street. Cameron had come to Oregon with a brother 40 years earlier. He had mined for 2 years before taking up a donation land claim near Eagle Point. In the late 1850s he operated a bakery at Sterlingville then moved to the Applegate where he resumed farming. 1861 found him again engaged in mercantile pursuits, this time at Uniontown—a venture that lasted over 30 years. In 1872, Cameron opened the very productive Sterling Mine, the largest hydraulic mine in Oregon. He later developed other mines in Galice and Waldo. After marrying Mollie, he managed his various business interests from Jacksonville. Cameron also played an active role in state politics, being elected as State Representative in 1885 and again in 1890, and State Senator in 1896. Despite Mollie being 30 years his junior, Cameron outlived her by 10 years, passing away in 1914 at the age of 85.

Cameron House #1

March 14, 2017

In 1890, Mary Krause bought the 1-story wood frame dwelling located at 425 S. Applegate Street for $1,000. The house now consists of 3 adjoining rectangular blocks. The first was probably constructed in the 1860s by the original owner, E.G. Reiman; the other 2 sections added in the 1870s by Andrew Hauser and his wife, Margaret Krause. Mary (better known as Mollie) Krause was Margaret’s daughter-in-law and the young widow of Frank Krause, who had been proprietor of The Oregon Sentinel newspaper for several years in the 1880s and ‘90s. Mollie subsequently married Theodoric Cameron, a prominent merchant, miner, businessman, and politician. The house is now known as the Cameron House.

Sterlingville Cemetery

March 7, 2017

Both John Cantrall and Patrick Fehely, featured in our last 2 History Trivia Tuesdays, mined in Sterlingville, located about 6 miles south of Jacksonville. An entire town sprang up after miners James Sterling and Aaron Davis struck gold in 1854 in nearby Sterling Creek. With the gold miners came boarding houses, saloons, general stores, a casino, a dance hall, a barbershop and blacksmith shop and many houses. Within 2 years Sterlingville was home to over 800 people; at its peak Sterlingville had a population over 1,500. Jacksonville’s South 3rd Street (shown here in front of the Fehely House) connected to the Sterlingville Road. In 1877, the Sterling Mine Company built the Sterling Ditch, diverting water 23 miles from the Little Applegate River for hydraulic mining. Sterling Mine quickly became the largest hydraulic mine in Oregon. But as the gold diminished, so did the township. After the Great Depression, what little business and population were left slowly faded away and nature eventually reclaimed the buildings. Today, the cemetery is the only remaining sign of Sterlingville’s existence. Patrick Fehely and his wife, Sarah Jane, are both buried there.

Patrick Fehely House

February 28, 2017

When 34-year-old Sarah Jane Fehely died from typhoid in 1871, she left her husband Patrick with 7 children to raise. Following the Fehely’s marriage 20 years earlier, the birthplaces of their children traced their travels in pursuit of gold from Wisconsin to Jacksonville. “Fehely Gulch” near Lewiston in Northern California marks one of their stops. The Fehelys arrived in Jacksonville prior to the 1860 census, which shows Patrick as a “farmer.” During the next decade he appears to have periodically left his wife and children, venturing to gold fields in Idaho and Montana and engaging in farming near Seattle. He had returned to Jacksonville prior to Sarah Jane’s death, and 2 years later built the 2-story brick home at 710 South 3rd Street to house his family. The 1870 census shows Patrick employed as a “brick maker.” He is credited with constructing many of Jacksonville’s early brick commercial buildings, possibly in partnership with fellow Irishman P.J. Ryan. Fehely’s brickyard was reportedly located behind his house on Daisy Creek and considerable amounts of brick have been found in the area.

William Moore House

February 21, 2017

The Jacksonville home currently being restored at 635 South 3rd Street was built in 1878 for William Moore. In 1899, Moore and his wife Rebecca sold the house to Sarah Cantrall. Sarah had moved to town 9 years earlier after the death of her husband John. John had come to Southern Oregon in the late 1850s and mined Sterling Creek during the boom years. In 1865, the Cantrall family left Sterling Creek and took up an 80 acre land claim across the Applegate River from Uniontown. Cantrall continued to mine and farm for the next 25 years, also purchasing adjoining land. From pioneer days to the present, a rock rimmed pool on the Cantrall’s Applegate River property was a natural swimming hole. In 1960 the Bureau of Land Management built a bridge across the river just above the swimming hole to access some of its forest tracts. The bridge made it possible for the Jackson County Parks Department to purchase 45 acres and develop a large park, now known as the popular Cantrall-Buckley Park in honor of the Cantralls and their neighbors.

The Rogers House

February 14, 2017

Dr. Will Rogers was a popular Jacksonville dentist from the late 1860s to the late 1880s. Actually, he was probably the only Jacksonville dentist during that period. Although he pulled teeth and supplied “nice natural looking teeth…for those wanting,” he is also believed to have been the first dentist in the Valley to use fillings as an alternative to extraction. His house at 235 E. California Street was his second home at that location, constructed in 1873 after a fire took out most of the block. His dentist office was “12 feet east” where Quady North’s tasting room now stands. The entire corner of California and 5th streets was originally the site of the corral and stables of Cram & Rogers, the company that brought C.C. Beekman to Jacksonville, but from 1857 on, that corner housed a succession of doctors’ offices.

The Greer House

February 7, 2017

The history of the Greer house at 250 N. Oregon Street in Jacksonville is one of change, adaptation, and alteration. Dr. G.W. Greer, a prominent early physician, had arrived in town by 1856. Originally from Missouri, Greer was a Benton County representative to the Oregon Territorial Council of 1854. Soon after coming to Jacksonville, he married his second wife, Irene Lumbard, who purchased this property in 1858. Mortgage documents indicate the house was constructed soon after. Greer placed regular ads for his medical services in local newspapers and leased “hospital buildings” at 3rd and C streets and then 3rd and California. However, by 1865, the Greers had sold this house and moved on. Subsequent owners have altered windows and doors, added the front portion of the house, reconstructed chimneys, made numerous changes to the rear addition, and extended the porch roof.

The Prim House

January 31, 2017

The site the Jacksonville Buggy Wash now occupies on North 5th Street was originally home to Judge Paine Page Prim. A successful lawyer, Prim represented Jackson County at the Oregon Constitutional Convention, served as a state senator and a Circuit Judge, and was a Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court for 21 years. In 1860, local contractor, David Linn, built an attractive home at this location for Prim and his growing family. However, Prim’s young wife Theresa, left at home with 2 small children, grew tired of his extended absences and disenchanted with him. She told him she no longer loved him and publicly declared him to be disagreeable and offensive. In order to save face, Prim sued for divorce. However, he never followed through and the couple eventually reconciled. A third child was the result, and Theresa learned to endure Prim’s absences by opening a millinery shop.

Keegan House #2

January 24, 2017

The Owen Keegan house located at 455 Heuners Lane in Jacksonville was actually built around 1865 for Thomas Devens—a substantial dwelling for someone listed in the 1860 census as a “common laborer.” Subsequent owners used it for speculative purposes until it was acquired in 1874 by another “laborer,” Thomas Bence, who retained ownership until 1893 when he committed suicide. Keegan acquired the property that same year and resided there until his death in 1912. In the late 1800s, Keegan served as Jackson County Jailor for over 20 years. In 1906 he was the courthouse janitor, and in 1910 he served as Jackson County Bailiff. In recent years the house has not been maintained and is currently owned by a bank. The City of Jacksonville and a local neighborhood group are trying to prevent the property from becoming a victim of “demolition by neglect.”



Strickland House – 415 East C Street

January 17, 2017

The small house now located at 415 East C Street is not only one of Jacksonville’s oldest wooden buildings, but also one of the most frequently moved. Constructed some time in the late 1850s, the house “built by Strickland” was purchased in September 1859 “for the County Clerk’s office, Sheriff’s office, and jury rooms…and removed to the Court House block” where it stood at the corner of 6th and C streets. For 25 years, all the daily business of Jackson County’s Clerk and Sheriff were conducted in this small, wood frame building. When the County Clerk and Sheriff moved into the new brick courthouse, their old offices were “set apart for the use of the Court House Janitor,” possibly as his dwelling, even though the tracks for the new railroad connecting Jacksonville with Medford were laid only a few feet from the building’s southeast corner. Sometime after 1907, the house was moved to its present site.

Henry Klippel


January 10, 2017

German-born Henry Klippel became one of Southern Oregon’s most prominent pioneers, achieving success in mining, politics, business, and ranching. Klippel mined for gold in Jackson and Josephine counties before becoming part owner of the Gold Hill quartz mine which employed the first stamp mill in Oregon. He later became engaged in large scale hydraulic mining at Squaw Lake. When Jacksonville was incorporated in 1860, Klippel became the town’s first Recorder then President of the Board of Trustees. He was elected Jackson County Sheriff in 1870; appointed one of the commissioners for construction of the state capitol in Salem in 1874; and chaired the State Democratic Central Committee. In 1880 and 1884 he served as Jackson County Clerk. He also ran a “first class tin and stove establishment” in Jacksonville before becoming actively involved in stock raising in Lake County. Klippel died in 1901 and is buried in the Odd Fellows section of the Jacksonville Cemetery.

Henry Klippel House


January 3, 2017

In 1868, Henry Klippel and James Poole (one of Jacksonville’s founders) platted a subdivision in the eastern part of the town which became know as the Poole and Klippel addition. At about the same time, Klippel constructed this 1 ½ story home at 220 North 8th Street. A native of Germany, Klippel became a prominent figure in Southern Oregon, best know for his successful mining activity and his involvement in state politics.e residence.

Magruder House


December 27, 2016

When the Magruder House, located at 455 E. California Street in Jacksonville, was constructed in 1871, Catherine Fleming Magruder was 60 and her husband Edmund, a retired farmer, was 70. A brief note in the April 1st edition of The Oregon Sentinel noted that the house was almost complete even though Catherine had purchased the land from the town’s founder, James Cluggage, only the previous month. Fleming and Magruder had been married in 1856, second marriages for both, and both families were associated with prominent figures in Oregon history, boasting a U.S. Senator, U.S District Attorney, judges, an official lighthouse keeper, a postmaster, merchants, land barons, and more. Edmund died in 1875; Catherine in 1882. The house has passed through numerous hands in the interim but continues to be a private residence.

Britt Hill


December 20, 2016

We’ll wish you some very happy holidays with this photo from the late 1800s of sledding on Jacksonville’s Britt Hill. The vantage point is the corner of Pine and South Oregon streets. Herman von Helms house is on the left corner with stables and a shed behind it, and Peter Britt’s house can be seen at the top of the hill on 1st Street.


Mellisa Taylor House


December 13, 2016

Until 1888 a dwelling stood at the southwest corner of California and Oregon, now home to Las Palmas, Country Quilts, and the Jacksonville Review. By 1890, Melissa Taylor had converted it into a boarding house, expanding the property over the next 20 years. Although she apparently sold it to the Abbott family after her husband’s death in 1908, a 1930’s Sanborn map still shows it as the Taylor House apartments. By 1953 it was operating as Lulu’s Café and Tavern which, according to a Jackson County Vice Report, offered “flagrant gambling on pinball machines…bootlegging illicit whiskey…[and] after hours harlots especially on Friday and Saturday nights.” The current cinderblock buildings, constructed in the 1950s, originally housed Jacksonville’s Pioneer Club and the town’s post office.

Samuel Taylor House


December 6, 2016

Melissa Taylor had the Queen Anne style cottage located at 255 South 5th Street in Jacksonville built around 1910 after the death of her husband, Sam. Samuel Taylor came across the Oregon Trail in 1851 and moved to Jacksonville the following spring after the discovery of gold. He mined off and on for the next 30 years, spending 2 years as Superintendent of the Steam Boat placer mine. In the late 1850s, Sam served 2 terms as Deputy Sheriff of Jackson County. He is also said to be one of the first stage drivers in Oregon, and later operated a freight line between Jacksonville and surrounding communities until his death in 1908. In 1872, Sam had married Melissa Rogers, who was 21 years his junior. She survived him for 34 years.

Aaron Maegly House


November 29, 2016

Aaron Maegly arrived in Jacksonville sometime after 1880 where he became the chief clerk in prominent merchant Gustav Karewski’s hardware store. By 1884 he was a partner in Bilger and Maegly, one of the 3 largest local manufacturers of agricultural machinery and implements, a competitor to Karewski. Two years later Maegly had established his own business, A.H. Maegly and Company, dealing in stoves, tinware, hardware, and agricultural implements. In 1885 Maegly married Cecelia Levy, Karewski’s stepdaughter from his marriage with Joanna Levy. The young couple occupied the Jacksonville house at the corner of 6th and D streets, which Karewski and Maegly had built as a rental. Around 1890, the Maeglys moved to Portland where Aaron became a very successful real estate and mortgage broker. Their mansion in Portland’s Arlington Heights is on the National Historic Landmark Register. Cecelia retained ownership of the Jacksonville property until 1931.

Hattie Reames White House


November 22, 2016

Hattie Reames White House at 640 E. California Street in Jacksonville is not white. White was the married name of Hattie Reames, the oldest daughter of General Thomas Reames. Although folklore says the house was built in 1892 as a wedding gift for Hattie and John F. White, the house appears to have been built before 1890. A previous residence on this site may have been occupied by Hattie’s parents prior to moving to or constructing their home at 540 E. California. White was a partner in Thomas Reames general merchandise business, Reames and White. In 1898, after the railroad bypassed Jacksonville, the Whites moved from their East California Street home to Medford where White became part owner if the first real estate firm in Medford. The 1906 John F. White Building on West Main Street is part of the Medford Downtown Historic District.

Engine #1


November 15, 2016

The Rogue River Valley Railway, which operated from 1891 until 1925, was Jacksonville’s attempt to maintain regional economic supremacy after the main Oregon & California/Southern Pacific railroad line by-passed the town in favor of the flat valley floor. The RRVR hauled gravel, bricks, timber, crops, livestock, mail and passengers over a 5-mile, single track spur line that connected Jacksonville with Medford. The Railway’s first steam engine, Engine # 1—fondly called the “Tea Kettle” and the “Peanut Roaster”—proved underpowered to haul heavier freight loads up the 3% grade from Medford. It was soon replaced by larger engines like the one shown. Engine #1 was relegated to passenger service, pulling a single Pullman car. In 2014, Mel and Brooke Ashland arranged for the purchase and restoration of Engine #1. It now sits on original track on the Bigham Knoll Campus at the end of East E Street.

Jacksonville Brick & Tile Co.


November 8, 2016

The banks of Jackson Creek across from Mary Ann Drive and Reservoir Road are the site of The Jacksonville Brick & Tile Co., one of the biggest brick kilns in Southern Oregon. Incorporated in 1908 by German immigrant Peter Ensele and his sons, the brickyard could burn 200,000 bricks every 6 weeks. The steep banks of nearby Jackson Creek had previously been the site of a major gold strike. When the gold played out, the rich clay supplied the bricks for major projects in Jacksonville, Ashland, and Medford. But with gold flakes still sprinkled throughout the site, “rich clay” took on a new meaning. To this day, flakes of gold still work their way our of Jacksonville Brick & Tile Co. brick buildings.

Brick Buildings


November 1, 2016

Look closely at Jacksonville’s historic brick commercial buildings. Most are second generation structures constructed in the late 1800s after fires wiped out the original wooden buildings. The bricks used in these buildings were fired locally, often on site. They would be stacked into an igloo shape, forming their own kiln, with holes left for the firewood. While convenient, this firing method produced inconsistent results—the middle bricks would be good, but the bricks closest to the fire would be blackish brown and overdone. The bricks on the outside would be peachy pink and underfired. Over and underfired bricks are porous, allowing water to seep through, so most of the Jacksonville brick buildings were originally painted to seal them from the elements.

Ghost Signs


October 25, 2016

In the late 1800s Jacksonville was the hub of Southern Oregon’s commerce and government. During this “exuberant period of American capitalism,” some of Jacksonville’s brick buildings also doubled as billboards featuring large painted signs promoting local businesses. When ownership changed, a new sign might be painted over an old one. These historic brick business ads, known as “ghost signs, were painted by “wall dogs.” Wall dogs, who were usually itinerant sign painters, were a unique combination of muralist and rock climber. Their designs and execution were done by hand while the painter hung from the side of the building. Each wall dog typically mixed his own paint formula, but all formulas contained large quantities of lead—the element that has ensured the survival of these ghost signs to this day.

Obenchain House


October 18, 2016

What’s known as the Obenchain House at 355 North 4th Street was actually built for David Hopkins around 1868. Hopkins, known for mining, farming, and lumber, supplied all the timber for the 1867 Jacksonville schoolhouse built on Bigham Knoll. Minnie Obenchain purchased the 4th Street house around 1901. Madison and Minnie Obenchain had been early Jacksonville residents, but moved to Klamath County in 1881 where they established a ranch. After the death of her husband Madison, Minnie returned to Jacksonville. She later married George Lewis, the proprietor of the Union Livery Stable.

Old City Hall Jail Cells


October 11, 2016

From 1881 until the 1930s or ‘40s, the two cells in the rear of Old City Hall were used as the town’s drunk tank. Some time around 1940, the City built a small jail alongside Old City Hall. The shed between the two buildings was the Public Works Department. When a new Public Works building was completed at the west end of C Street, the shed was torn off, but the now unused jail continued as public works storage. Around 1985, the City Council had the jail torn down to make way for the current parking lot, but the old cell bars can be found leaning against an oak tree in Jacksonville’s Pioneer Cemetery. (Courtesy of Jacksonville Historian, Larry Smith)

Union Livery Stable


October 4, 2016

From the mid-1850s until at least 1907, the northeast corner of California and 4th streets in Jacksonville was the site of the Union Livery Stable. Horses, saddles, wagons, buggies, and tack could be rented as needed, and drivers could be provided. Carriages for residents were stored there and horses stabled. George N. Lewis owned the Union Livery Stable from 1900 to 1907. By 1911, the Union had been replaced by the Bailey Livery Stable. But before long “horseless carriages” replaced horses, and by 1930 the site stood empty. Today that corner houses the Jacksonville branch of Umpqua Bank.

The Warehouse Store


September 27, 2016

We wish the Jessers well with their new Ashland store, the Culinarium, although we bemoan our loss of the Jacksonville Mercantile. However, the building at 120 East California Street has seen a lot of reincarnations over the years. Built as a warehouse around 1861, it was later home to The Oregon Sentinel and the Luy and Keegan Saloon. In 1931, it was Amy’s Café—a combination of saloon, restaurant, market and bookstore. It was subsequently a grocery store, then a book store, before becoming the Mercantile. Who knows what it’s next incarnation will be!

Beekman & Reames Banking House


September 20, 2016

In 1887 Thomas Reames joined his California Street neighbor Cornelius Beekman as a co-partner in the C.C. Beekman Bank, creating Beekman & Reames Banking House at the corner of California and North 3rd streets in Jacksonville. In addition to general banking, Beekman & Reames invested heavily in county warrants and large land holdings. The partnership continued until Reames’ death in 1900 from complications from a cold. However, Beekman continued to use the Beekman & Reames imprint for some years afterwards—after all, why waste perfectly good stationery and business cards….

Thomas G. Reames House


September 13, 2016

The Thomas G. Reames house at 540 E. California Street grew along with Reames’ family and his prosperity. In 1852, a 13-year-old Reames had driven a wagon across the Oregon Trail and then worked as a stevedore for the Hudson Bay Company. The lure of gold and land brought him to Jacksonville 2 years later. Over the next few years, Reames served as deputy sheriff, ran a livery stable, and finally opened a mercantile business. By the time he was 28, he was sufficiently prosperous to court and marry his wife Lucinda and purchase the deed to this property. The Reames house began around 1864 as a rectangular structure with a porch across its length. By the turn of the century, it had become one of Jacksonville’s more palatial homes.

Rogue River Electric Company #2

Ray Substation 2

September 6, 2016

The Charles R. Ray Electric Substation at 225 E. California Street is located on an historic parcel of land that once was part of Jacksonville’s Main Street. The original wooden buildings subsequently became Jacksonville’s Chinatown, the oldest Chinatown in Oregon. Although the Chinese were greatly discriminated against and denied property rites, this site was conveyed to Lin Chow in 1859 and later to Leong Chow in 1872. In 1888, a fire originating n David Linn’s furniture factory across the street destroyed the entire block. The lot sat vacant until 1905 when the present brick building was constructed as the substation that brought electricity to Jacksonville.

Rogue River Electric Company #1

Transmission Station

August 30, 2016

The Alaska Gold Rush brought electricity to the Rogue River Valley. When prospective Alaskan gold mines did not pan out for Dr. Charles Ray in 1900, he checked out Southern Oregon and purchased the Braden mine in Gold Hill. But to make it productive, it needed electricity. He began construction of the Gold Ray log “crib” dam in 1902, discovering in the process that electricity was more valuable than gold. By 1907, the Rogue River Electric Company supplied power not only to numerous gold mines in the region, but also to the cities of Medford, Jacksonville, Central Point, Grants Pass, Rogue River, and Gold Hill. The transmission line to the small one-story brick building at 225 W. California Street in Jacksonville was completed in 1905, and the building remained in service as an electricity substation until 1940.

Judge & Nunan Saddlery

Judge and Nunan Saddlery

August 23, 2016

The small brick building at 166 E. California Street, tucked between the Jacksonville Inn and the U.S. Hotel, originally housed the H. Judge and Nunan Saddlery and Harness Shop. Constructed in 1874 following the disastrous fire that had wiped out the entire block the previous year, the building replaced Horne’s Hall, a 2-story building with rooms and offices below and “a steel sprung floor on the second floor expressly made for dancing.” One year later, Henry Judge, one of the town’s first trustees, broke his partnership with Nunan. Jeremiah Nunan continued to operate the business but by the early 1880s was dealing in general merchandise rather than saddles and harnesses.

Keegan House

Chris Keegan House

August 16, 2016

What’s known as the Chris Keegan House at the corner of D and North 3rd streets was actually built for Minnie Obenchain around 1907 when she moved back to Jacksonville from a ranch in Klamath County after her husband, Madison Obenchain, passed away. It is one of only four residences in Jacksonville with board and batten exterior sheathing. Chris Keegan and his family apparently occupied the home for several years before Keegan purchased it in 1919. For many years, Keegan and Harry Luy were partners in the Luy and Keegan Saloon on California Street, currently occupied by the Jacksonville Mercantile—at least for another month….

Excelsior Livery Stable

Livery Stable

August 9, 2016

The northwest corner of Oregon and C streets was home to the Excelsior Livery Stable for over 40 years. It can be seen in today’s picture as the tall building behind Jacksonville’s train station, now Visitors Center. Established by Sebastian Plymale in 1866, it was purchased by his brother William in 1875 when he, wife Josephine, and family moved into Jacksonville from the Applegate. The Plymales provided transportation for fellow citizens by driving and renting out horses and buggies to paying customers. Josephine assisted William with the enterprise, even driving horse teams for clients when needed. She was described by one such client as a “gallant lady pilot, efficient and successful at her business.”

Plymale Cottage


August 2, 2016

The house at the corner of North Oregon and C streets now known as the Plymale Cottage was originally constructed for local saloon keeper, Henry Breitbarth, possibly by contractor and furniture maker, David Linn. When Breitbarth was unable to pay off his debt, the property reverted back to Linn. When Linn’s planing mill and furniture factory burned in the fire of 1888, it also destroyed William and Josephine Plymale’s home which was located where the Jacksonville Visitors’ Center now stands. The Plymales and their children escaped with only the clothes on their backs. Linn sold the Plymale Cottage to the family, and the family resided there until William’s and Josephine’s deaths.

Judge Hanna House #2

Hanna House 2

July 26, 2016

It was not until sometime after 1885 that Judge Hiero K. Hanna purchased and resided in the house at the corner of 1st and Pine streets in Jacksonville. The house had been built in 1868 for Judge, L.J.C. Duncan. A native of New York, Hanna headed west in 1850 when he was 18. He realized some mining success in California before moving on to Josephine County where he was elected District Attorney. Only after opening a law practice in Jacksonville in 1874 did Hanna actually study law. He was subsequently elected District Attorney for the area covering Jackson, Josephine, Lake and Klamath counties. In 1884 he was appointed circuit court judge and in the 1880s also served as a trustee of the City of Jacksonville.

Judge Hanna House #1

Hann House

July 19, 2016

What’s now known as the Judge Hanna House at the corner of 1st and Pine streets in Jacksonville was built in 1868 for another Judge, Legrand J.C. Duncan. Duncan, born in 1818, was older than most of the fortune seeking miners when he arrived in Jacksonville. After serving as Sheriff of Jackson County, Duncan was elected Jackson County Judge in 1860, a position he held for the next 10 years. Following his retirement, he took up the gentlemanly pursuit of gardening, perhaps inspired by his neighbor across the street, Peter Britt. Duncan died of typhoid pneumonia at age 68.

Peter Britt #4


July 12, 2016

Here’s one final story about pioneer photographer Peter Britt’s home on South 1st Street in Jacksonville before we move on. What started as a plain one-story building in the mid 1850s was transformed a few years later into an early version of Victorian Cottage Gothic architecture by the addition of decorative “gingerbread” trim. By the mid 1860s, Britt added a second story, gaining more living space and moving his photography studio upstairs. When Nunan Square was being developed, one of the property owners chose this version of Britt’s house as the model for his own home. You can see the “then and now” versions in today’s History Trivia photos.