Author Archives: Kenneth Gregg

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.  And visit the Southern Oregon Historical Society Library and Archives for access to the historical images included in our posts.

Jacksonville’s Warren Lodge No. 10 of the Ancient Free & Accepted Masons, founded in 1855, was the first Masonic order south of Salem to construct a meeting hall.  The original 1858 lodge building stood on the block now occupied by new City Hall (the historic County Courthouse).  The current Masonic temple at the corner of California and Oregon streets was constructed between 1874 and 1877 by brick mason George Holt.  Carpenter and builder David Linn added a “neat and substantial balcony.”  When it was completed in 1877, it was described as “one of the finest buildings in Southern Oregon.”  It remains the oldest temple structure in Oregon in continuous use as a Masonic meeting hall.

Following a visit to Jacksonville in 1877, J.W. Bird, editor of the “Yreka Union,” wrote, “There are several fine brick buildings, especially the one recently erected by the Masonic fraternity at a cost of $12,000. It is two-story, and besides a very fine lodge room has a large club room also in the second story. The first floor is readily rented for business purposes.”

At the time of construction, the Worshipful Master presiding over the Warren Lodge was Thomas Reames.  Reames is credited with the concept of including retail space on the first floor of the Lodge which enabled the Lodge to operate from income received from the rentals. In the 1880s, a “City Brewery,” “Saloon,” and “Bakery” occupied the ground floor.  In the early 1890s, the post office and a cigar store were located on the first floor and later a “furniture warehouse.” Today the ground level is home to La Boheme, the Jacksonville Barber Shop, and Jefferson Farm Kitchen.

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.  And visit the Southern Oregon Historical Society Library and Archives for access to the historical images included in our posts.

April 6, 2021

Jacksonville’s Warren Lodge No. 10 of the Ancient Free & Accepted Masons, founded in 1855, was the first Masonic order south of Salem to construct a meeting hall.  The original 1858 lodge building stood on the block now occupied by new City Hall (the historic County Courthouse).  The current Masonic temple at the corner of California and Oregon streets was constructed between 1874 and 1877 by brick mason George Holt.  Carpenter and builder David Linn added a “neat and substantial balcony.”  When it was completed in 1877, it was described as “one of the finest buildings in Southern Oregon.”  It remains the oldest temple structure in Oregon in continuous use as a Masonic meeting hall.  

Following a visit to Jacksonville in 1877, J.W. Bird, editor of the “Yreka Union,” wrote, “There are several fine brick buildings, especially the one recently erected by the Masonic fraternity at a cost of $12,000. It is two-story, and besides a very fine lodge room has a large club room also in the second story. The first floor is readily rented for business purposes.” 

At the time of construction, the Worshipful Master presiding over the Warren Lodge was Thomas Reames.  Reames is credited with the concept of including retail space on the first floor of the Lodge which enabled the Lodge to operate from income received from the rentals. In the 1880s, a “City Brewery,” “Saloon,” and “Bakery” occupied the ground floor.  In the early 1890s, the post office and a cigar store were located on the first floor and later a “furniture warehouse.” Today the ground level is home to La Boheme, the Jacksonville Barber Shop, and Jefferson Farm Kitchen.

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St. Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church

 

March 30, 2021

St. Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church, now located at the corner of North 5th and D streets, was completed in 1854—the first church built in Jacksonville, the first church built in southwestern Oregon, and the oldest wood frame structure in town.  It was erected in 1854 and dedicated New Year’s Day 1855. It is also one of a handful of churches claiming the title of “Oldest Protestant Church West of the Rockies.”

Two pastors can be credited with its construction—Joseph Smith and Thomas Fletcher Royal. Both had arrived in Jacksonville in October 1853 as part of a “Preacher Wagon Train.” Smith is credited with beginning the church’s construction; Royal with completing it in 1854 as its pastor and guiding force. Royal’s wife, Mary Ann, was one of the women who visited various gold camps asking for donations toward its construction.

Royal went a step farther. In his memoirs, he recorded walking into a Jacksonville saloon and asking gamblers for help in building the church. When they questioned his willingness to use gambling money to build a house of worship, Royal reported replying, “Oh, yes. And we would put it to a better use.”

The building originally faced 4th Street but was rotated 180 degrees to its present location at the corner of 5th and D streets in Jacksonville when the new Jackson County courthouse was completed in 1884.  During the 1930s, it was one of the few buildings that the City of Jacksonville refused to permit Depression Era miners looking for any residual gold to undermine.

Mining Sink Holes

March 23, 2021

Given the response to last week’s Depression Era gold mining “glory holes” in the Jacksonville Woodlands, Historic Jacksonville, Inc. thought we’d follow up with a little more information on Jacksonville’s second gold rush. As an alternative to putting residents on the “dole” during the 1930s, the County gave out mining permits, allowing residents to dig for any residual gold lingering from the 1850s.  Some got lucky, but most latter-day miners only found enough gold to live from day to day.  Still $2 a day was more than most jobs paid—assuming you could find one. 

    Most mining shafts were dug in backyards, but some residents had sufficient moxie to burrow under the town’s commercial buildings.  According to 1935 newspaper accounts, 4th Street had several dips in it; on Main Street, “the bottom fell away from light poles, leaving them suspended by the wires on the cross arms.”  The shaft pictured here is in what is now the parking lot behind Jacksonville’s post office and Visitors Center, the old Rogue River Valley Railroad station.    

    Almost every inch of Jacksonville was “undermined.”  The result is periodic “sink holes” opening over old mine shafts around town.  In just the past few years we’ve had sink holes opening behind the Jacksonville Inn, in the post office/Visitors Center parking lot, and in Ray’s Market’s parking lot—all remnants of what individuals might do for what one journalist described as a “ham-and-eggs” existence.

Mining Glory Holes

March 16, 2021

On several of Jacksonville’s Woodlands Trails, hikers see deep mining shafts called “Glory Holes,” remnants of 1930s Depression Era mining.  They were named “Glory Holes” because they were get-rich-quick attempts at gold prospecting.  For most, these typically 10- to 20-foot-deep holes held little glory.

One of these shafts at the junction of the Rich Gulch and Petard trails is particularly well known—at the bottom is a 1950s GMC pickup truck.  A former owner of the Rich Gulch property reported 7 vehicles buried in various shafts.  Most were dragged and dumped during the last half of the 1900s as a way of getting rid of them.  It’s thought the truck was dropped into this 35-plus foot shaft to hold up the sides.  Most of the holes have since been filled in.  This particular shaft was designated as an “antiquity” under Rich Gulch’s National Historic Landmark status and has since been covered by a see-through metal lid for safety purposes.

Jacksonville’s original gold rush began in the spring of 1852, but during the 1930s Depression, Jackson County issued mining permits as an alternative to putting people on the “dole” (i.e., welfare).  A miner could eke out enough residual gold to live on, perhaps $2 a day—double local wages.  A few found actual riches.  As a result, most of the town itself was undermined, with the exception of a portion of North 5th Street that included New City Hall (the historic Jackson County Courthouse) and St. Andrews Methodist-Episcopal Church.  The City of Jacksonville refused to permit it. 

Barter and Credit

March 9, 2021

In mid-1800s Jacksonville, multiple currencies were in circulation and the value of most was unknown.  Gold and Mexican silver were the most trusted.  But miners and farmers seldom had those readily at hand.  Until the crops were harvested or the mine paid off, individuals and families relied on trade and credit to obtain needed services and supplies. But the merchants still had to pay their suppliers in order to bring in fresh merchandise.

Before each buying trip to San Francisco, or on the verge of arrival of new goods, each merchant would take out and ad in the newspaper calling in the debts owed him.  The first published ad that still exists was taken out in the January 5th issue of the Table Rock Sentinel by J.A. Brunner & Bro.  It read: “Notice!  Is hereby given that accounts due to our firm must be settled by the 31st of this month, otherwise they will be placed in the hands of the sheriff for collection.”

Lawsuits were common whenever a merchant had difficulty collecting money owed him.  Gustav Karewski may have set the record filing 32 lawsuits between 1873 and 1882.  Lawsuits were also common when the wholesaler who had supplied the merchant’s good were not paid.  Some merchants deliberately collected as much merchandise as they could on credit and then left the area and disappeared with as much of their merchandise as possible.

In the early 1850s, Abe Fisher forestalled paying packer Veit Schutz for the merchandise he had brought in, anticipating that Schutz might not survive the Rogue Indian Wars.  Unwisely, Fisher bragged about it to a mutual friend who told Schutz.  Fisher paid up after Schutz reportedly “took it out of his hide.”

Caro’s Corner

March 2, 2021

Although this 1-story brick building was constructed in 1861 for the Haines brothers, for many years this prime Oregon and California street intersection was known as Caro’s Corner.  By 1866 Isador Caro was conducting a general merchandise variety store at this site.  That same year, he was joined by his 16-year-old brother, Simon, who arrived in Jacksonville directly from Hamburg, Germany.  While in Jacksonville, Simon learned Chinese to more readily deal with the 800 Chinese miners in Jackson County.  Even when the brothers moved to Ashland in 1870, becoming among the first merchants in that city, the intersection retained its Caro’s Corner moniker.  And Simon did retain local business interests, entering into partnership with the Fisher brothers.  Simon apparently had a real knack for business since the 1870 census showed a 20-year-old Simon as having $500 in real estate and $3,000 in his personal estate and subsequent censuses showed him as head of household.  In fact, Simon was such a success that he was able to visit his mother in Germany every other year until her death.

The Deautremont Brothers

February 23, 2021

When the historic 1883 Jackson County Courthouse, located on Jacksonville’s North 5th Street Courthouse Square, was completed, it was declared “the crowning glory of Jacksonville.”  However, this “crowning glory” was almost “too little, too late” after the railroad by-passed Jacksonville in favor of the flatter Valley floor.  But Jacksonville and the historic Courthouse had one last glory moment in 1927 when the trial of the DeAutremont brothers attracted nationwide attention.  After a three-year manhunt that extended into Mexico, Canada and Australia, the three DeAutremont brothers were apprehended and charged with the murder of four railroad employees during a 1923 holdup in railroad Tunnel 13 in the Siskiyou Mountains.  Billed as the West’s last great train robbery, this was the final trial held in the courthouse before all legal business was moved to the new county seat of Medford and its newly erected courthouse. 

Last Hanging in Jacksonville

February 16, 2021

In 1885, scarcely a year after the historic Jackson County Courthouse was completed, it was christened by one of the most notorious events to take place in Jacksonville—the trial and execution of Louis O’Neil.  O’Neil, who had been having an affair with Mrs. Mandy McDaniel, was found guilty of the murder of her husband.  An appeal to the Oregon Supreme Court only intensified public interest.  The gallows were erected between the courthouse and the jail, screened by a 16 foot high fence and guarded by the Jacksonville Fire Department.  The execution was witnessed by 200 men, women, and children, the “lucky” ticket holders for the event.  O’Neil was the last person hung in Jacksonville; his body is interred in the County pauper section of the Jacksonville Cemetery.

Fraternal Organizations

Dwelling House

February 9, 2021

 Someone recently asked us about the building at 125 South 3rd Street in Jacksonville that now houses South Stage Cellars.  It’s sometimes known as the B.F. Dowell Law Office but that’s a misnomer—Dowell’s office was next door.  The building was originally P.J. Ryan’s “Dwelling House.”  A 23-year-old Ryan, a native of Ireland, had arrived in Jacksonville no later than 1853.  That same year he purchased the Palmetto Bowling Saloon, marking the dawning of a career as one of the town’s earliest and longest-term commercial property investors.  His specialty became “fire proof” brick buildings.  He had acquired title to this lot by 1865 and probably constructed the current building that same year.  There is no indication that Ryan actually “dwelled” here, but the term may refer to the use of the building as a hotel.  It appears to have been such from 1868 to 1871, and again from 1873 to 1883.  In other years it was a doctor’s office, a butcher shop, and an ice cream parlor.   In the 1960s it became the home of Robertson Collins, the individual credited with preventing Highway 238 from taking out 11 of Jacksonville’s historical homes and the leader of the organization that established the city’s National Historic Landmark status.

Ground Hog Day

February 2, 2021

It’s February 2nd—Groundhog Day.  So Historic Jacksonville, Inc. is treating you to a “special edition” of our new Holiday History blog!  And once again we have the Germans and the Victorian Era to thank for another U.S. holiday custom.

According to this tradition, if a groundhog comes out of its hole on February 2nd and sees its shadow, it gets scared and runs back into its burrow, predicting six more weeks of winter weather.  No shadow means an early spring.  The earliest mention of Groundhog Day in the U.S. is a February 2nd 1840 diary entry commenting on a Pennsylvania “Dutch” celebration. The first reported news of a Groundhog Day observance was arguably made by the Punxsutawney Spirit newspaper of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, in 1886.  However, it was not until the following year in 1887 that what is considered the first “official” Groundhog Day was celebrated there, with a group making a trip to the Gobbler’s Knob part of town to consult the groundhog.  

So how did a groundhog become a weather forecaster?  And just how accurate is he at this job?

Visit our new Holiday History “blog” at https://www.historicjacksonville.org/holiday-history/.  And while you’re on our website, enjoy some of our other virtual tours and regular history trivia!

Sterling Ditch Trail

January 26, 2021

If you’re feeling cooped up these days, the Sterling Ditch Trail just 8 miles south of Jacksonville offers year-round intermediate level hiking, mountain biking, and equestrian opportunities.  But silver was never mined here, so where does the name come from?  Sterlingville was founded in 1854 when two miners named James Sterling and Aaron Davis discovered gold in nearby Sterling Creek (named after Sterling of course).  Word leaked out that gold had been found, and within two years Sterlingville was home to over 800 people.  Soon there were general stores, a warehouse, boarding houses, a bakery, a casino, a dance hall, saloons, a blacksmith shop, a barber shop, and many houses.  At its peak Sterlingville had a population of over 1,500.  It even had a school district and a post office.  In 1877, the newly founded Sterling Mine Company built the Sterling Ditch, diverting water 23 miles from Little Applegate River for hydraulic mining of gold and chromite.  Sterling Mine quickly became the largest hydraulic mine in Oregon, and possibly the entire western United States.  But as the gold ran out, the population of the town declined.  During the Great Depression, Sterlingville saw a revival of hydraulic mining, but after the mines closed in 1957, the town was abandoned, and nature eventually reclaimed the buildings. Today, the cemetery—and the Sterling Ditch Trail—are the only remaining signs of Sterlingville’s existence.

Old Stage Road

January 19, 2021

Have you ever wondered about the names “Old Stage Road” or “South Stage Road” for the streets leading north and south from Jacksonville?  Well, you can’t have stage service without roads.  Regular stage service for the area did not begin until the mid-1850s and the stops were Ashland, Jacksonville, and Rock Point (near Gold Hill).  

The route to Yreka was not a road; it was a rough and difficult passage best made on foot or horseback.  The Siskiyou Mountain Wagon Road, a toll road and the first “engineered” road over the mountain crest that separates California and Oregon, did not open until August 1859.

Stages could now run from Sacramento, California, to Portland, Oregon.  The stage and freight companies carried passengers at a charge of 12½¢ per mile. Freight was hauled for 4¢ per pound, in large, heavily built wagons.  What made the service profitable was a lucrative contract to carry the U.S. Mail. This 710-mile route was the second longest stage run in the U.S.

So why the strange 90 degree turns in the road?  If a land claim holder refused permission to pass through his property, the road had to go around it.

Although pack trains occasionally carried passengers, the stage and freight wagons were the principal methods of transportation and passenger travel until 1884, when the railroad entered the Rogue River Valley.  With completion of the railroad over the Siskiyous, the last stagecoach traversed the pass on December 18, 1887, the day following the official Golden Spike ceremony in Ashland.

Fires

January 12, 2021

As victims of the Alameda fire start to rebuild, we’re reminded of the major 19th Century fires that shaped historic Jacksonville as we know it today.  An 1867 kiln fire that began at David Linn’s lumber mill at the corner of California and S. Oregon also destroyed neighboring residences.  With only a bucket brigade and a hook and ladder wagon, Jacksonville’s Engine Company No. 1 could do little more than watch.  In 1873, a volunteer bucket brigade was outmatched by a fire at the first U.S. Hotel.  Within 15 minutes it did $50,000 in damage (equivalent to $1 million today) at a time when few had fire insurance.  We don’t believe it was a Fourth of July celebration but in the first week of 1874, 2 blocks at the southeast corner of California and Oregon went up in flames, destroying many of the town’s original wooden buildings including the notorious El Dorado Saloon.  Again, the bucket brigade could only watch and help salvage items from the stores.  In December 1984, a New Year’s Eve fire that began at the New State Saloon at the corner of California and 3rd streets (now the location of Redmen’s Hall) wiped out a block of businesses, the post office, and 2 homes. By this time Engine Co. No. 1 had a pump wagon, but an inexperienced volunteer forgot to attach a filter.  In September 1888, fire again engulfed David Linn’s business at the corner of California and Oregon streets, destroying not only his furniture store and planning mill, but also wiping out most of Jacksonville’s original Main Street business district which had become the 1st Chinatown in Oregon.  Although the 1899 Jackson County Jail fire is not considered a major fire, 3 inmates who were lodged in the jail when it burned on July 12th died in the blaze that destroyed the county’s 2nd jail building on this site.  One prisoner was due for release the next day.  The sheriff was supposed to have been spending the night in the jail, but 2 different versions of his “whereabouts” have him either in a local saloon or enjoying the attractions of a local hotel that accommodated a gentleman’s “needs.” 

Livery Stable

January 5, 2021

From the mid-1850s until at least 1907, it 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.   In 1911, the Union was replaced by the Bailey Livery Stable.  Before long, however, “horseless carriages” replaced horses and a Mobil gas station replaced the old livery stable.  It operated at this corner for a number of years, but by the 1950s there were FOUR gas stations in Jacksonville!  The Mobil station went out of business, and for a short time the building was occupied by a barber shop.  However, there were still 3 gas stations in town.  We’re not sure how many people had cars, but with lots of folks not having washing machines, what was needed was a laundromat.  Enter the Wash and Dry washateria.  It lasted until about 1970.  In 1972, the Jackson County Federal Savings & Loan took over the site, erecting a new building.  Founded in 1909, JCF S&L became part of Key Bank in 1993, which was subsequently acquired by Umpqua in 2014.  Whew!

P. P. Prim House

December 29, 2020

The acreage on North 5th Street from Blackstone Alley through the Jacksonville Buggy Wash 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. 

The Prim House burned in the early 1960s.  Now you can wash your car, shop for a home, have your taxes figured, have your teeth cleaned, and get a massage on the site.

“Like” Historic Jacksonville, Inc. (historicjville) on Facebook, follow us on Instagram (historicjacksonville) and enjoy weekly Jacksonville history trivia.  Explore a treasure trove of Jacksonville history on our website at www.historicjacksonville.org.

#nationalhistoricdistrict #oregonhistory #goldminingtown #jacksonvilleoregon #historicjacksonville #historiclocation #history #painepageprim #primhouse

Rudolph Red-Nosed Reindeer

We know that Santa Claus will visit Jacksonville this Christmas, so we’re sharing a special story this History Trivia Tuesday about Santa’s “leading light”—Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.  Many are not feeling much comfort or joy this year, and that was also true for Bob May as the 1938 holiday season approached.  A 34-year-old ad writer for Montgomery Ward in Chicago, May was exhausted and nearly broke. His wife, Evelyn, was bedridden, on the losing end of a two-year battle with cancer. This left Bob to look after their four-year old-daughter, Barbara.

One night, Barbara asked her father, “Why isn’t my mommy like everybody else’s mommy?” As he struggled to answer his daughter’s question, Bob remembered the pain of his own childhood. A small, sickly boy, he was constantly picked on and called names. But he wanted to give his daughter hope and show her that being different was nothing to be ashamed of. More than that, he wanted her to know that he loved her and would always take care of her. So he began to spin a tale about a reindeer with a bright red nose who found a special place on Santa’s team. Barbara loved the story so much that she made her father tell it every night before bedtime. As he did, it grew more elaborate. Because he couldn’t afford to buy his daughter a gift for Christmas, Bob decided to turn the story into a homemade picture book.

In early December, Bob’s wife died. Though he was heartbroken, he kept working on the book for his daughter. A few days before Christmas, he reluctantly attended a company party at Montgomery Ward. His co-workers encouraged him to share the story he’d written. After he read it, there was a standing ovation. Everyone wanted copies of their own. Montgomery Ward bought the rights to the book from their debt-ridden employee. Over the next six years, at Christmas, they gave away six million copies of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer to shoppers. Every major publishing house in the country was making offers to obtain the book. In an incredible display of good will, the head of the department store returned all rights to Bob May. Four years later, Rudolph had made him into a millionaire.

Now remarried with a growing family, May felt blessed by his good fortune. But there was more to come. His brother-in-law, a successful songwriter named Johnny Marks, set the uplifting story to music. The song was pitched to artists from Bing Crosby on down. They all passed. Finally, Marks approached Gene Autry. The cowboy star had scored a holiday hit with “Here Comes Santa Claus” a few years before. Like the others, Autry wasn’t impressed with the song about the misfit reindeer. Marks begged him to give it a second listen. Autry played it for his wife, Ina. She was so touched by the line “They wouldn’t let poor Rudolph play in any reindeer games” that she insisted her husband record the tune.

Within a few years, it had become the second best-selling Christmas song ever, right behind “White Christmas.” Since then, Rudolph has come to life in TV specials, cartoons, movies, toys, games, coloring books, greeting cards and even a Ringling Bros. circus act. The little red-nosed reindeer dreamed up by Bob May and immortalized in song by Johnny Marks has come to symbolize Christmas as much as Santa Claus, evergreen trees and presents. As the last line of the song says, “He’ll go down in history.”

“Like” Historic Jacksonville, Inc. (historicjville) on Facebook, follow us on Instagram (historicjacksonville) and enjoy weekly Jacksonville history trivia.  Explore a treasure trove of Jacksonville history on our website at www.historicjacksonville.org.

#nationalhistoricdistrict #oregonhistory #goldminingtown #jacksonvilleoregon #historicjacksonville #historiclocation #history #rudolph #rudolphtherednosedreindeer #Christmas #reindeer #santaclaus 

Schoolhouse #4

 

When a December 1906 fire razed the 3rd school to stand on Bigham Knoll, Jacksonville voters immediately approved another school bond issue. The new fire proof brick building, completed in 1908, was acclaimed one of the best appointed schoolhouses in the state with 6 classrooms, a large assembly room with a large stage fitted with electric footlights, and a steam heating plant.  A large gymnasium building, additional classrooms, and other outbuildings were added between 1924 and 1953.  But by the 1950s the structure had safety issues, and in 1959 the high school was closed, and the second floor of the building blocked off.  One year later, the cupola and bell tower were removed.  After a new elementary school was constructed in 1983, private schools occupied this structure through 2007 when the property was acquired by the Ashland family for their corporate headquarters.  With the goal of maintaining a learning environment for their employees, they have lovingly restored the buildings, recycling original materials and reintroducing many of the distinctive features of the 1908 school.

 

Schoolhouse #3


 

When Jacksonville’s 36-year-old wooden school house on Bigham Knoll burned in January 1903, within a month the School Board made plans to raise a new fire proof brick building.  S. Snook, contractor “for so many of the new school buildings of the better class in Oregon,” erected the new 5-room brick structure.  However, the best laid plans….  Four years later this “fire proof” brick structure was totally destroyed by fire on December 13, 1906.  Even though the building was not fully paid for, the voters quickly approved a bond measure for another school. 

 

Schoolhouse #2

 

 At the end of E Street in Jacksonville lies Bigham Knoll, the original 7-acre campus that was once home to Jackson County School District #1.  In 1867, when the County’s first public school was deemed inadequate, the school district directors acquired this property and converted an existing two room house into a school building until local builders could erect a new 2-story frame and “weather boarded” school house.  Students paid $5 per quarter in tuition until 1875, when the school levy was increased enough to do away with the tuition tax.  A year later, the increased school enrollment necessitated enlargement of the building and an addition was completed “sufficiently large to accommodate all the pupils of the district.”  This building served 3 generations of students for 36 years until it was destroyed by fire on January 25, 1903.

 

Jacksonville’s First Schoolhouse


 

The southern portion of the house located at 560 North Oregon Street in Jacksonville is believed to have been the first official schoolhouse in Jackson County.  In the spring of 1855, $600 in taxes was raised to construct a schoolhouse in this vicinity, but its precise location is unclear.  An 1864 town map shows a small “District School” located several hundred feet west on property owned by James Clugage, one of the town’s founders. By 1866, the population had outgrown the original structure and a new tax was levied to purchase or lease a new schoolhouse on Bigham Knoll.   Shortly after the new school opened, the original structure was deeded to R. Sergeant Dunlap in payment for the $137 owed him for digging a well, building fences, constructing walks, etc. at the new school.  The original building appears to have been moved to its current location at that time.

Jacksonville Brickyard


November 17, 2020

The banks of Jackson Creek across from Mary Ann Drive and Reservoir Road were 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 out of Jacksonville Brick & Tile Co. brick buildings.

“Like” Historic Jacksonville, Inc. (historicjville) on Facebook, follow us on Instagram (historicjacksonville) and enjoy weekly Jacksonville history trivia.

Explore a treasure trove of Jacksonville history on our website at www.historicjacksonville.org.

#nationalhistoricdistrict #oregonhistory #goldminingtown #jacksonvilleoregon #historicjacksonville #historiclocation #history #historicbuildings #brickyard #goldbrick

Jacksonville Politics

 

November 10, 2020

Jacksonville residents are usually so civil that we can’t imagine men “egging” a lady and burning her in effigy, but that was the case when Abigail Scott Duniway campaigned for women’s suffrage in Jacksonville in 1879.  Her offense was unearthing the past marital difficulties of one of the town’s most prominent citizens, Judge Paine Page Prim. She wrote scathingly in her newspaper, the New Northwest about Judge Prim having abandoned his wife, even though he and his wife had reconciled years before.  The editor of the Democratic Times wrote: “If these are the teachings of woman suffrage, it should be prohibited by statute.” Prim in turn prevented her from speaking at the region’s Fourth of July celebration. 

Duniway admitted in her autobiography, Path Breaking, that she was partly to blame for the incident, but dismissed the Jacksonville men as “old miners, or refugees from the bush-whacking regions of Missouri, whence they had been driven by the exigencies growing out of the Civil War.” But she also presented a more forgiving face writing that Jacksonville had become the “center of a large degree of Equal Suffrage sentiment.” Aside from her one unfortunate experience, she said she was always made to feel at home here.  

And Abigail eventually won the “battle of the sexes.”  After five previous attempts, Oregon gave women the vote on November 12, 1912, the 9th state to do so, and 8 years prior to the passage of the 19th Amendment.

“Like” Historic Jacksonville, Inc. (historicjville) on Facebook, follow us on Instagram (historicjacksonville) and enjoy weekly Jacksonville history trivia.  Explore a treasure trove of Jacksonville history on our website at www.historicjacksonville.org.

#nationalhistoricdistrict #oregonhistory #goldminingtown #jacksonvilleoregon #historicjacksonville #historiclocation #history #historicbuildings #voting rights #abigailscottduniway #women’ssuffrage #suffrag

Voting

November 3, 2020

Today is not only History Trivia Tuesday, it’s Election Day!  Historic Jacksonville, Inc. is taking the opportunity to remind everyone of how voting has been a hard earned right, one not to be ignored and one to be exercised with thoughtfulness.  In 1789, the U.S. Constitution gave property-owning or tax-paying white males the right to vote—only 6% of the population.  It was another 67 years (1856) before most states adopted universal white male suffrage.  In 1870 the 15th Amendment to the Constitution prevented states from denying males the right to vote on grounds of “race, color, or previous condition of servitude”—but it did not prevent them from disenfranchising racial minorities and poor white voters through poll taxes, literacy tests, grandfather clauses, and other restrictions applied in a discriminatory manner. 

Oregon gave women the right to vote in state elections in 1912, but it was 1920—8 years later and 100 years ago—when the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified giving (white) women the right to vote in national elections as well. 

In 1964, poll taxes were prohibited as a condition of voting and in 1965, the Federal Voting Rights Act protected voter registration and voting rights for minorities.  But that did not eliminate voter discrimination with some states still choosing to limit polling places, voting hours, and access to absentee ballots among other things.  In 1971, voting age was lowered to 18—if you were old enough to fight for your country, you were old enough to vote.  And in 1986, service personnel and U.S. citizens living overseas were given the right to vote in federal elections.

On November 7, 2000, Oregon became the nation’s 1st all vote-by-mail state—if you have an address, you receive a ballot.  However, in 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act, paving the way for states and jurisdictions to enact restrictive voter identification laws.  23 states created new obstacles to voting.  Oregon did the opposite.  In 2016, Oregon’s Motor Voter Law took effect, automatically registering to vote anyone applying for or renewing a driver’s license.

As individuals, we may have different visions of what we want our future to be, but Oregon has chosen not to limit our citizens’ participation in the conversation about that future.  Historic Jacksonville looks forward to a time when we will again be able to talk—and listen—to each other in search of the unity and compromise that made us the United States of America.

“Like” Historic Jacksonville, Inc. (historicjville) on Facebook, follow us on Instagram (historicjacksonville) and enjoy weekly Jacksonville history trivia.  Explore a treasure trove of Jacksonville history on our website at www.historicjacksonville.org.

#nationalhistoricdistrict #oregonhistory #goldminingtown #jacksonvilleoregon #historicjacksonville #historiclocation #history #historicbuildings

Halloween in Jacksonville


October 27, , 2020

In 19th Century Jacksonville, Halloween was all tricks, no treats, and of course, boys were the culprits.  Since Halloween is this coming Saturday, for today’s history trivia Historic Jacksonville, Inc. is sharing 3 documented pranks.

William Puhl, who had a barbershop in the Masonic building, kept a milk cow at his residence. One Halloween, several boys decided to take the cow to the barbershop.  Once the Puhl family was asleep, the boys stole “Bossy,” broke into the shop with a skeleton key, lured the cow in with bran, and then skedaddled.  When Puhl arrived at his shop the next morning, he found that Bossy had kicked over the barber chair and had generously “painted” the mirror, floor, etc.  We would not have wanted to be one of his customers that day!

Another year, lawyer Gus Newbury arrived at his law office one Halloween only to find it had been relocated.  His shingle was now hanging from an outhouse at the intersection of 3rd and California streets.  We’re not sure if that meant his legal skills were worth ….

On still another Halloween, several boys soft soaped the tracks of the Rogue River Valley Railroad near the school yard.  Crew sanded the tracks, but despite much snorting and puffing, the engine could not gain any traction. The train crew had to use gunny sacks to wipe off 50 yards worth of soft soap.  RRVR had a trainload of unhappy passengers and Barnum, the owner of the railroad, was “one angry gent”!

No wonder the 20th Century introduced treats as an alternative to tricks!

#nationalhistoricdistrict #oregonhistory #goldminingtown #jacksonvilleoregon #historicjacksonville #historiclocation #history #historicbuildings #halloweentricks

The Democratic Times #2

October 20, , 2020

A reader responded to last week’s history trivia about the Democratic Times building at the corner of C and North 3rd streets, noting that anyone who thinks political opinion is too radical in 2020 needs to look back to the election of 1876 and the Times’ coverage.  So, for this week, Historic Jacksonville, Inc. thought we would follow that train of thought and expand on Jacksonville’s Democratic Times. The paper was established by Charles Nickell, a boy genius, who became sole owner at the age of 17.  It was a solid success from as early as 1869 right down to the 20th Century.  Aside from Portland papers, it had the largest newspaper circulation in Oregon.  Nickell’s editorial policy embraced the Democratic party and championed its leaders.  [This was before the Republican and Democratic parties switched policy positions and the Democratic party, which had been pro-Confederacy, continued in that vein, promoting states’ rights and opposing civil rights for African Americans.]  No one could accuse Charles Nickell of being objective. Today he would be sued out of business before nightfall, but at that time, readers apparently appreciated an editor who told them how to think.  Nickell seems to have enjoyed the tacit dispensation to do just that.  He was a distinguished and influential citizen until the turn of the century when he unfortunately brought about his own downfall by entering into some shady deals that were beyond the limits of the law.  But that’s another story….

The Democratic Times

 

October 13, , 2020

Early Jacksonville had a succession of newspapers over the years, many of them competing and espousing opposing political viewpoints. When the Democratic News plant was destroyed in the fire of 1872, it rose again as the Democratic Times. Initially housed in the Orth Building on South Oregon Street, the Times soon outgrew that space and established its own offices at the corner of C and North 3rd streets. The Times lasted into the early 1900s when it merged with the Southern Oregonian. Depression era miners of the 1930s uncovered the Times door step as they undermined almost every inch of Jacksonville. The current private residence was built as a rental property in the 1930s over one of these old mine shafts.

John Miller

 
 
October 6, 2020

Although Jacksonville’s City Administrative Offices are now housed in New City Hall (Jackson County’s historic 1883 Courthouse), for almost 40 years they were “temporarily” housed at 110 E. Main Street in what was once one of several elaborate “Queen Anne” style homes built in Jacksonville during the late 1800s.   The Queen Anne structures represented a movement away from earlier modest architectural styles to houses celebrating financial success. 

In 1883, John Miller had purchased the entire block, consisting at the time of 2 wood frame buildings and a dense thicket of trees, later referred to as an “orchard.”  However, it was almost 10 years later that the Queen Anne home was constructed at the corner of 3rd and E. Main using house plans published in one of architect George F. Barber’s pattern books. 

“Gunsmith” Miller, born in Bavaria, was one of Jacksonville’s many German-speaking settlers, arriving in Oregon in 1860.  Miller was probably the town’s most successful gunsmith.  For at least 20 years his Hunters’ Emporium on California Street specialized in guns, and later hardware and cutlery.  Given that the house was built around the time of Miller’s death, it may have been constructed by his son, John F. Miller, rather than “Gunsmith” Miller.  John F. continued to operate his father’s hardware store well into the 20th Century and also served as Jacksonville Postmaster from 1898 to 1913.  The Miller family occupied the home into the 1930s.

In early 1944, a fire destroyed the top floors of the house.  The owner at the time, Harold Lind, remodeled the surviving first floor into the current L-shaped structure. 

Oktoberfest

 

September 29, 2020
 
Due to Covid-19, the official Oktoberfest was canceled for this year, but Historic Jacksonville, Inc. thought we would at least acknowledge the German brewers who brought German lager to Jacksonville. Although Viet Schutz and his Viet Schutz Hall may have been the most famous, the Eagle Brewery was probably Jacksonville’s first brewery, in operation no later than 1856 on the block between Main and California streets that now houses the Orth Building. By 1859 the Brewery was in existence at its current location, 355 S. Oregon Street, and under the ownership of German-born Joseph Wetterer. Two years later Wetterer “commenced the building of a large beer saloon in front of his brewery.” The complex of buildings eventually included a “malt kiln,” “mash tub,” “cooler,” “furnace heat,” and “beer kettle.” For the next 18 years, Wetterer and his wife Fredericka ran the saloon, advertising “the best lager beer in Southern Oregon.”
 

Jacksonville Stagecoach

 

September 22, 2020
 
This photo of a stagecoach arriving in Jacksonville is dated 1851. Whoa, Nellie! In 1851, Jacksonville didn’t exist. It wasn’t until gold was discovered the winter of 1851-52 that Table Rock City (later renamed Jacksonville) became a mining camp. Which also means there was no photographer around to take the picture. Not to mention there were no roads for stagecoaches to travel. The Siskiyou Trail mountain crossing was a rough and difficult passage best made on foot or horseback. Few wagons tried it, and only in summer months. Regularly scheduled local stage runs began in the early-to-mid 1850s and the stops were Ashland, Jacksonville, and Rock Point. They traveled what we know as “Old Stage Road.” Stage service to Jacksonville from Yreka first began in the summer of 1854. But it wasn’t until August 1859 that the Siskiyou Mountain Wagon Road, the first “engineered” road over the Siskiyous, opened. It was a toll road, owned and operated by Lindsay Applegate of Applegate Trail fame for the next 10 years. We think it’s safe to surmise that, while this may be a photograph of a stagecoach arriving in Jacksonville, it was not in 1851!”

James Mason Hutchings

 

September 8, 2020
 
In the winter of 1855, seasoned English traveler James Mason Hutchings spent time in Jacksonville, then a major hub in the vast Oregon Territory. He recorded the following in his diary: “The population is about 700 — 22 families — and over 200 families in the Rogue River Valley. There are 53 marriageable (women) within a circuit of 12 miles of Jacksonville — nine within Jacksonville”—and “there seems a number of long-faced religionists.” He listed 10 stores, three boarding houses, one bowling alley, one saloon, four physicians, one tin shop, one meat market, one livery stable, one church and one schoolhouse. He also noted that apples grown in the Willamette Valley were being sold in Jacksonville for 90 cents a pound.

Ghost Signs

 

September 1, 2020
 
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. They were called wall dogs because they worked like dogs and they needed to be tethered, or leashed, to the wall. Each wall dog typically mixed his own paint formula, but all formulas contained large quantities of lead—the element that made wall dog careers short lived but ensured the survival of these ghost signs to this day.

Shell Station

August 25, 2020
 
The array of businesses at the southeast corner of California and 5th streets were once home to a Shell service station as early as the 1920s owned by R.A. Childers and R. McKee. Although Jacksonville was becoming a backwater, “automobile-ing” was popular and the town even boasted a “car camp” where you could park and sleep overnight. The station was subsequently sold to Otto Heckert, and in 1950, Liz Shrout Legg Pursell and her first husband, Dick Legg, purchased the Shell station. Liz helped run the gas station, doing whatever was needed: picking up and delivering customers’ cars, chasing parts, doing the books, etc. The gas station (and liquor store) became known as the last stop heading out of town. The Leggs closed it when Rasmussen’s gas station opened less than a block away at the southeast corner of California and 4th street. The Leggs divorced. Liz joined the post office and became Jacksonville postmistress before retiring. Always a community activist, she especially focused on creating a Jacksonville Community Center and served as Secretary of its board until the new center opened. Liz passed away on July 9th at age 95. We will miss this longtime Jacksonville “fixture” who has been so much a part of its history.

Women’s Suffrage #2

 

August 18, 2020
 
It’s the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that gave (white) women the right to vote. But Oregon had an 8-year jump on the nation—the state granted women voting rights in 1912. One of the foremost leaders of the suffrage movement in the West was Oregon’s own Abigail Scott Duniway—teacher, author, newspaper publisher, and lecturer. Because of her efforts she was given the privileges of drafting the state’s Equal Suffrage Proclamation and being the first woman in Oregon to vote. Duniway made multiple trips to Jacksonville during her voting rights campaigns, but her strong determination and outspoken manner were not always well received by the local menfolk. During an 1879 tour, when an inflammatory editorial she had written was made known, she was burned in effigy and pelted with eggs. Abigail laughed it off saying, “Only one egg hit us and that was fresh and sweet.”

Women’s Suffrage

 
 
August 11, 2020
 
Since August is Women’s Suffrage Month marking the 100th anniversary of the adoption of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, Historic Jacksonville, Inc. is using the opportunity to recognize a Jacksonville suffragette—Josephine Martin Plymale. Josephine was in many ways a product of her time. She crossed the Oregon Trail with her family in a covered wagon, came to Jacksonville at age 17 as a teacher, and a year later married William Plymale. However, Josephine also defied the standards of her day.
 
In a time when anti-suffragists claimed women had no time to vote, Josephine raised 12 children and worked in the family livery business; became an orchardist and was a frequent speaker at Granges and agricultural societies; and was a journalist and served as Vice President of the Oregon Press Association. She was Vice President of the Oregon State Women’s Suffrage Association, described as “one of the most active workers in the Women Suffrage field…anywhere.” She was such an active suffragist that she once had an angry mob outside her Jacksonville home.
 
In 1892 Josephine officially filed for the position of Jackson County Recorder, but her name never appeared on the ballot. Not to be denied a role in politics, she obtained the position of committee clerk for the Oregon State Legislature and 2 years later clerked for the senate chamber. Josephine took her 2 youngest daughters with her to Salem to give them a taste of politics and to learn how laws were made.
 
Josephine died in 1899 at the age of 54. She never realized her political ambitions or the right to vote. But her daughters did. Oregon gave women the right to vote in 1912—8 years before the U.S. afforded them that privilege.

First Gold Found Here

 
 
August 4, 2020

Have you visited Jacksonville’s “Gold First Found Here” site where Applegate Street crosses Daisy Creek?  This is the approximate location where James Clugage and James Pool, two packers carrying goods to the mining camps in California, did a little panning in the creek and found their first “color.”  But the story is a little more complex than the marker would lead you to believe.  They were not the first Whites in the area to find gold.  That honor probably belonged to the son of Alonzo Skinner, the local Indian agent, and one of his employees, a Mr. Sykes.  They had found gold in nearby Jackson Creek the previous fall.  Cluggage and Pool learned of the discovery when they spent a night at the Skinner homestead so took time to pan a little before heading to Yreka.  And, voila! 

Clugage and Pool hightailed it south and immediately filed land claims on what is now most of Jacksonville.  They returned and spent the next few weeks mining, but then Clugage did something unheard of—he publicized his “find,” even boasting to California newspapers of taking out 70 ounces of gold a day from his claim.  And guess what!  Thousands of miners poured over the Siskiyous into the Valley, closely followed by merchants, gamblers, courtesans, and settlers—all needing a mining, business, or home site.  Clugage did indeed find gold—he made a fortune selling land! 

Hops Fields

 
July 28, 2020
 
Have you ever noticed the hops plants growing on the field at Bigham Knoll at the east end of E Street?  The German-speaking immigrants who contributed so much to early Jacksonville culture also brought with them their recipes for German lager with its pronounced flavors of malt and hops.  Joseph Wetterer and Veit Shutz were 2 of the most prominent early brewers.  Initially, these early brewmeisters probably grew their own hops, a flowering vine trained to grow on tall strings strung between posts. Really tall strings. So tall, in fact, that before the advent of hop harvesting machinery, farm workers had to use stilts to tend the plants. Harvesting hops was so labor intensive before mechanical harvesters were invented that entire families of migrant farm workers took part in the harvesting process, taking advantage of the plentiful work and employment opportunities. 

Anderson & Glenn General Store

 
 
July 21, 2020
 
The building at 125 W. California Street in Jacksonville now occupied by the J’ville Tavern was once the Anderson & Glenn General Store. Built in 1859, it was one of the few “fire proof” brick buildings to actually survive the major fires of 1874 and 1884 that took out all the surrounding structures. Anderson was one of Jacksonville’s first merchants. James Glenn joined him in partnership in 1859. Born in Virginia around 1825, Glenn was one of the 49-ers who came west seeking gold. He later turned his hand to farming and became a large landowner with investments in quartz mining and a flour mill. In 1859, he was Treasurer of Jacksonville when it was first incorporated and the town’s 3rd wealthiest citizen. In 1862, Glenn married Minerva Gass, 20 years his junior. Glenn apparently continued in the general merchandise business until the mid-1870s. By 1875, he had moved to Alameda, California where he was a “real estate investor.” The Anderson & Glenn brick store continued to be used as a general merchandise store into at least the early 1900s.

Brunner Building

July 14,2020

Last week Historic Jacksonville, Inc. shared the fact that Old City Hall stands on the site and is built from bricks from the first brick building constructed in Jacksonville—the 1854 Maury & Davis store. Directly across W. Main is the second brick building erected in town, the 1855 Brunner building. Although it has undergone numerous modifications over the years, it remains the town’s and Oregon’s oldest brick building still standing. Jacob Brunner was an early arrival to the young gold mining camp and by 1854 had established himself as a merchant carrying one of the heaviest stock of goods. A year earlier, Brunner had purchased the Main and Oregon corner lot at the new settlement’s first commercial street intersection. By January 1856 he was advertising his “fire-proof brick” store. An 1860 rear addition made it not only the “largest store building in Jackson County” but also “the largest south of Salem.” Brunner was among the first elected Trustees of Jacksonville after the town government was organized in 1860. However, by 1863 he had sold the “Brunner Building.” Belatedly catching “gold fever,” he appears to have moved on to the mines of southern Idaho.

Old City Hall


July 7, 2020

Since Jacksonville’s City Council will be meeting tonight, Historic Jacksonville, Inc. thought it would share a little history on what has been the Council’s traditional meeting place—Old City Hall. Jacksonville’s 1880 Old City Hall is the oldest government building in Oregon to remain in continuous use. It stands at the intersection of S. Oregon and Main streets, the heart of Jacksonville’s original business district, on the site of the 1st brick building in town—the1854 Maury & Davis Dry Goods store. Reuben Maury and Benjamin Davis had run a very successful general merchandise business at this location until 1861. Their partnership ended with the outbreak of the Civil War when Maury became an officer in the Union Army; Davis, a nephew of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, was claimed by family ties. Various enterprises occupied the original building until a fire in October 1874 gutted the interior. The burnt-out building sat empty until the Jacksonville’s Board of Trustees purchased the site for a town hall. Bricks from the original store were recycled into the current building’s construction. Completed in 1881, Jacksonville’s Old City Hall has continued to host City Council meetings, City commissions and committees, municipal court, various community organizations, and monthly movie nights until the current pandemic limited public gatherings. We look forward to the time when both city and community groups can gather again in this historic structure!

Jacksonville Inn Origins

 


June 30, 2020

With the successful reopening of the Jacksonville Inn and its restaurant’s “full house” for Father’s Day, Historic Jacksonville, Inc. thought we would remind you of the Inn’s origins. It was originally P.J. Ryan’s storehouse. Irish immigrant Patrick Ryan was perhaps early Jacksonville’s most prolific builder of “fire-proof” brick commercial buildings. In 1861 he constructed a 1-story brick mercantile store at 175 E. California variously occupied by Judge’s Saddlery, H. Bloom, and “M. Menzer Gen’l Mdse.” Ryan himself was occupying the building when it burned in the fire of April 1873. He suffered one of that fire’s heaviest losses—$30,000 in merchandise and, of course, the building itself. But within a year, Ryan was erecting a 2-story brick mercantile warehouse on the previous foundation. Months later, the building “continued heavenward” with a 3rd story wooden “pent house,” making it the tallest building in Oregon. The Oregon Sentinel proclaimed it to be “as fine a building of the kind as there is in any town this size in the state.”

Bank of Jacksonville


June 23, 2020

Since the historic Jackson County Jail was this weekend’s featured stop on Historic Jacksonville, Inc.’s Virtual Walk through History tour, we’re sharing a bit more information about one of the jail’s more distinguished “guests”—the President of the Bank of Jacksonville. In 1907 the Bank had opened on the ground floor of Red Men’s Hall at the corner of California and South 3rd streets. In August of 1920, W.H. Johnson was arrested and indicted on 30 felony counts including misstatement of the bank’s condition, receiving monies in a known insolvent banking institution, false certification of checks, and making false statements to a bank examiner. Johnson was not only bank President and cashier, he was also City Treasurer and deacon and treasurer of the Jacksonville Presbyterian Church. Johnson was convicted and spent 10 years in the state penitentiary. Dozens of prominent citizens were eventually charged with aiding and abetting the defrauding of the bank—including the Jackson County Treasurer. Depositors were both shocked and panicked—bank monies were not insured! In 1930, when the investigation was finally closed and the remaining bank assets liquidated, depositors received at best 17 cents on the dollar. Most lost their life savings; the County lost $107,000.

Mary Ann Harris-Chambers #2


June 16, 2020

Not only did Mary Ann Harris Chambers hold off an Indian attack that cost the lives of her first husband and son, she took in her daughter and 4 young grandchildren after her son-in-law died from tuberculosis in 1867. To accommodate 3 generations, she razed her old home and constructed what we know as the Harris Chambers house on Jacksonville’s North 3rd Street. When her daughter and a granddaughter died in a smallpox epidemic in 1869, she raised her 3 surviving grandchildren. Following her second husband’s death 6 months later, she moved with all the grandchildren to his farm, located 1 ½ miles outside of Jacksonville next to the J. Herbert Stone Forest Service tree farm on what we now call Hanley Road. Mary Ann Harris Chambers picked up the pieces and went on with her life. After all, that’s what she had learned to do—she was a survivor.

Jacksonville Library


June 9, 2020

With our libraries moving to the next phase of reopening, Historic Jacksonville, Inc. thought it would remind you of how lucky we are to have our library and all the services it offers. In 1885, Jacksonville residents began fund raising efforts for a public library, but it was 1908 before a free public library was finally established for town residents. The Library Association rented the “Beekman building on Main Street” and fitted up a reading room with table, bookcase, desk and chairs. It was initially stocked with 50 books from the State traveling library, 80 donated books, and a collection of Harper’s Monthly magazines dating from 1868. Library hours were Tuesday and Friday from 7 to 9 pm and Wednesday and Saturday from 2 to 6 pm. Books could be checked out for 1 week. There had been earlier town libraries—a subscription circulating library; a Catholic library established by the local priest; and a Young Men’s Library & Reading Room Club. In 1920 Jacksonville, with a population of 489, was the first town to respond to a cooperative arrangement with the County, finding a “suitable room” in the 1855 Brunner Building at the corner of S. Oregon and Main streets—the oldest brick building still standing in Jacksonville and the Pacific Northwest. On 2 afternoons and 1 evening each week Mrs. H. K. Hanna, the first librarian, supervised the circulation of 290 books. But long before the end of the 20th Century, the Brunner Building was a very “tight squeeze.” A 2000 County-wide bond measure funded construction of the current Jacksonville library on West C Street.

George Schumpf


June 2, 2020

The Classical Revival style home at the corner of Fir and South Oregon in Jacksonville is known as the Colvig House. Since Historic Jacksonville, Inc. recently had a Colvig family descendent ask about it, we thought we would share a little of its history. The house was probably built in the late 1870s for George Schumpf, the town barber. Schumpf, a native of Alsace, Germany, was the town barber for most of his life, also providing “bathing rooms and bathtubs” in his California Street shop. In 1887, Schumpf sold the house to William and Addie Colvig following his first wife’s death.

William Colvig, a lawyer, served three terms as Jackson County District Attorney. After this latter appointment, he finally got around to taking the bar exam. Colvig was an authority on Shakespeare and spoke fluent Chinook, the language of the local Indian tribe. He was also a soldier and was among the party of soldiers that first mapped Crater Lake.

The house is also known as the “Bozo the Clown House.” Vance “Pinto” Colvig, the youngest of the Colvig children, was the original creator of Bozo the Clown. Pinto worked as an animator for Walt Disney and supplied many Disney cartoon voices, including those of ‘Goofy,’ ‘Pluto’ and two of the seven dwarfs. He also wrote the song, “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf.”

Zany Ganung


May 26, 2020

Zany Ganung would have appreciated all of the American flags flown for Memorial Day yesterday. However, she did not appreciate the Confederate “palmetto and rattlesnake flag” she found flying across from her house at 160 E. California Street when she returned to Jacksonville on June 11, 1861, after nursing a sick patient all night…or so one story goes. Supposedly, she entered her California Street house, returned with a hatchet, crossed the street, chopped the pole down, and used the flag to stoke her stove. However, the story may have been confused with an 1855 incident, when town women protested their men folk leaving them unprotected during the Indian Wars. Local “wags” ridiculed them by hoisting a petticoat at half-mast on the post office flagpole. The women were greatly incensed but had no means of getting the petticoat down. A neighbor came to the rescue, hauling it down and allowing the women to march off with it in triumph. Zany was there at the time, having arrived in Jacksonville in 1854 with her husband Lewis, but no one knows if she was involved. The Ganung house was razed in 1965, having subsequently served as saloon and post office. The site is now home to Pico’s Worldwide.

Applebaker Barn

 


May 19, 2020

The Applebaker Barn, located at the corner of North 3rd and D streets, is one of the few remaining structures directly linked to Jacksonville’s early agricultural economy. The building was originally a steam grist mill, located in the 800 block of South 3rd Street. Constructed in 1880 at an estimated cost of $11,000, it was described in that December’s Democratic Times newspaper as 3 stories in height with a solid stone foundation. It boasted the “latest most improved machinery” that could grind the “finest quality flour” at the rate of 1,100 pounds of wheat an hour or 150,000 bushels a year—equivalent to all the surplus wheat grown in the Rogue Valley at that time. Businessman Gustav Karewski purchased it in 1881 and within three years it ranked third in the state in flour production. In 1915, Joseph Applebaker dismantled, moved, and reconstructed the reconfigured building at its present location to serve as his blacksmith’s shop.

Presbyterian Church


May 12, 2020

The historic Presbyterian Church, located at the corner of 6th and California streets, is one of Jacksonville’s most striking examples of Victorian Gothic architecture. For 24 years prior to its construction, the local Presbyterian congregation had been meeting in various locations throughout the Rogue Valley, including Jacksonville’s Methodist Episcopal Church, schoolhouses and private homes. Plans for their own “religious edifice” got underway in 1878 when William Hoffman and C.C. Beekman purchased the land. The design of the building may have been inspired by one of the architectural pattern books popular at the time or supplied by the Presbyterian Board of Church Erection. Brick mason, George Holt, laid the foundation; carpenter David Linn constructed the wood frame, roof and belfry. Beekman made a special trip to San Francisco to purchase a 1,000-pound bell for the belfry. While the estimated cost for the structure was $4,500, the actual cost was more than $6,000, half of which was contributed by Beekman. The church was dedicated on December 4, 1881. After its completion, it was eulogized in journals and newspapers as “a model of architectural beauty” and “the most ornate and handsome [church] in Southern Oregon.”

Saloons

May 5, 2020

Gold Rush Jacksonville purportedly had as many as 36 saloons opened by “entrepreneurs” following the “eruption of miners” who rushed to the Rogue Valley upon the discovery of gold. Initial saloons were simply tents or rough log structures with a liberal supply of whiskey. But by the summer of 1852, the notorious El Dorado was in business, also offering gambling, courtesans, and other enticements. Across the street were the Palmetto Bowling Saloon and the original Eagle Brewery. By 1856 Veit Schutz had erected a huge brewery that also featured a bar and elaborate dance hall. A second Eagle Brewery and Saloon was also in operation along with the New State Billiard and Drinking Saloon. In 1860 Von Helms and Wintjen constructed their brick Table Rock Billiard Saloon, and from 1864 to 1871 the Bella Union Saloon was in operation not to mention all the smaller saloons and the bars in every hotel. So why the proliferation? A perusal of the minutes of the early Jacksonville Board of Trustees revealed that much of their business involved the approval of liquor licenses. It seems that residents were averse to approving any property taxes and that liquor licenses were the sole source of funds for the town into the late 1870s!

David Linn

April 28, 2020
 

Today we’re using our imagination to visit a residence no longer on the map—the home of David Linn, one of the town’s most prolific early builders. Born in Guernsey County, Ohio, in 1826, Linn was a self-supporting carpenter and cabinet-maker at age 14 and an active contractor and builder by 25. Arriving in Jacksonville in the spring of 1852, Linn was instrumental in transforming the mining camp of Table Rock into the town of Jacksonville. During his active career, he built a fort, public and commercial buildings, 2 churches, houses, staircases, furniture, mining equipment, and coffins. Linn also served as Jackson County Treasurer for 14 years; was a member of the Jacksonville City Council and served as Mayor; and was on the school board. Around 1883, he constructed his large Italian Gothic “villa” at the corner of West F Street, across North Oregon Street from the home of his father-in-law, Squire William Hoffman. It’s possible that Hoffman gave the land to Linn or his wife, Ann Sophia. Linn died in 1912. The house outlasted him by 42 years, when it was razed to make way for contemporary housing.

Britt Gardens

April 21, 2020
 
On March 6, 2020, the Peter Britt Gardens became the newest Jacksonville’s landmark to be recognized on the National Register of Historic Places. Home to Swiss-American entrepreneur Peter Britt and his family from 1852 to 1954, his homestead fronting on 1st Street now houses the Britt Festival grounds, the Britt Gardens, and a popular Jacksonville Woodlands trailhead. Although he arrived in Jacksonville with only $5 in his pocket and a cart of photography equipment, Peter Britt became a renowned photographer, agricultural innovator, and capitalist. Britt’s photographs documenting prominent people, places and events in the second half of the 19th century were known throughout the Pacific Northwest. Britt helped pioneer the pear orchards that became a powerful driver of the region’s economy in the 20th Century and the grape cultivation and wineries that lead part of the region’s 21st century economy. Britt is also known for creating lavish Victorian botanical gardens on this property that became a popular Pacific Northwest tourist destination. The National Historic Landmark Designation, submitted by archaeologist Chelsea Rose, deems Britt’s homestead a landmark of statewide significance, home to two generations for over 100 years and augmented by a robust documentary record of photographs, diaries, letters, and family heirlooms. You can read the full story in the Jacksonville Review on-line: https://jacksonvillereview.com/jacksonville-landmark-peter-britt-gardens-added-to-national-historical-register/

Mercy Flights

April 14, 2020
 
With medical care in the forefront of the news these days, Historic Jacksonville, Inc. thought it would take the opportunity to give a shout out to Mercy Flights – our regional air and ground ambulance service and the nation’s first non-profit air ambulance. It was founded in 1949 by George Milligan, a Medford air traffic controller, after a friend died of polio, unable to survive the long, slow drive to Portland. Mercy Flights added ground transportation in 1992, creating a regional medical transportation network. Normal ambulance service can be expensive–$1,200 or more for ground; $20,000+ for air. Mercy Flights offers membership subscriptions that accept any insurance you have as payment in full and discounts costs by 50% for those without insurance. Jacksonville’s own Mike Burrill, Jr. is currently serving as Mercy Flights interim CEO. Mike has been a Mercy Flights board member for 12 years and board chair for 6, following his father and grandfather in Mercy Flights service. We’ve come a long way since 1851 when Jacksonville boasted the first ambulance service west of the Rockies!
 

Fires in Jacksonville

April 7, 2020
 
Fire was a significant hazard in early Jacksonville with major fires destroying portions of the town in 1867, 1873, 1874, 1884, and 1888. The town’s volunteer fire department, Engine Company #1, responded to the call of the Applebaker Fire Hall bell well into the 1950s. Fire was the impetus for most of the brick construction that now comprises Jacksonville’s historic commercial district. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say “fire insurance.” The City Fathers did not mandate brick commercial buildings until 1878. However, very early on, insurance companies penalized owners of wooden structures—and buildings adjacent to wooden structures!

Carrie Shelton

March 31, 2020

Did you know that Oregon had the nation’s first female governor? And it was 3 ½ years before Oregon women gained the right to vote? The woman was Carrie (aka Carolyn/Caralyn) B. Shelton. She was acting governor of Oregon for one weekend – 9 a.m. Saturday, February 27, through 10 a.m. Monday, March 1, 1909. It seems that the outgoing governor, George Earle Chamberlain, had been elected to the Senate and had to leave for Washington, D.C., before his term was over if he was to make it to D.C. in time to be sworn in with the rest of the freshman class of senators. Arriving late would make him the last man on the roster in terms of seniority. The incoming governor, Frank W. Benson, had gotten sick and couldn’t assume office early. So Chamberlain left his 32-year-old secretary in charge. For a weekend, Shelton, a woman who couldn’t legally cast a ballot, possessed the power to issue pardons, veto bills and sign executive orders. And in another wrinkle to the story, in 1926 Shelton married Chamberlain, her longtime boss and mentor, making them the first and only pair of former governors in U.S. history to wed.

Catalpa Tree

March 24, 2020

Historic Jacksonville, Inc. decided this week to address the reported toilet paper shortage. Jacksonville’s early settlers did not have the opportunity to “squeeze the Charmin.” A Sears Roebuck catalog was considered a welcome amenity in an outhouse. However, the large soft leaves of the Catalpa tree might have served a similar purpose. These quick-growing trees were certainly popular plantings in pioneer settlements throughout the West. For years, a huge Catalpa tree with its large heart-shaped leaves and popcorn-like clusters of flowers has been a prominent feature in the yard of Jacksonville’s historic Beekman House Museum at 470 E. California Street. Also known as the Indian bean tree, the Catalpa was valued for its medicinal uses. Tea brewed from its bark was used as an antiseptic to treat snake bites and whooping cough. A light sedative could be made from the flowers and seed pods, and the flowers were used for treating asthma. The leaves could also be turned into a poultice for treating wounds. However, prior to the days of indoor plumbing, the large, soft Catalpa leaves may have also been a welcome alternative to the Sears

Scheffel’s Toys #4

March 17, 2020

The corner of California and Oregon streets where Scheffel’s Toys is located is the oldest known business site in Jacksonville.

Early in 1852, soon after news of the gold discovery in Jacksonville spread to California, Kenny and Appler, two packers from Yreka, established the first trading post on this site. They stocked it with a few tools, clothing, boots, “black strap” tobacco, and a liberal supply of whiskey, essential items for an infant gold mining camp.

By 1856, their tent had been replaced by a wooden store and then by a brick storehouse. In 1860, merchants Abraham and Newman Fisher acquired this prime corner location for their dry goods and general merchandise store. Fires consumed their stores in both 1868 and 1874. Despite a $28,000 loss in the latter conflagration, the Fisher brothers rebuilt, and the 1874 A. Fisher & Brothers structure still stands today. Although it has been through a few changes.

One of its longest tenants was the Marble Corner Saloon also known as the Marble Arch Saloon. The saloon occupied the building from around 1890 to 1934. The saloon was presumably named after the Jacksonville Marble Works which relocated to the corner directly across North Oregon after the fire of 1888…or because the saloon’s recessed entryway was tiled with marble at roughly the same time.

Dr. Will Jackson

March 10, 2020

Dr. Will Jackson 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. A colleague remembered him as “quite a large man, with black hair…who wore that determined look that made the small boy in need of his services feel that he was not to be trifled with.” Jackson’s 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. It’s now home to the Miners Bazaar. Jackson’s 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.

DeRoboam House

March 3, 2020

Since our recent saga of Snafu, the yellow crested cockatoo, included Jackosnville’s 1893 DeRoboam house, we thought we would tell you more about the house itself. After Henrietta Schmidling DeRoboam used her own fortune to rescue the U.S. Hotel from foreclosure following her husband’s mismanagement, she decided she wanted her own residence. She commissioned the Queen Anne style home at 390 E. California Street in Jacksonville, replacing an 1855 pioneer wood frame structure. Although not from the same George Barber catalog of house plans that inspired the Nunan House and 2 other structures in town (which have since burned), its style and features indicate that its design did come from an architectural pattern book. It’s one of the few houses in town with a “jerkin head” roof—a combination of gable and hip roofs.

Early Newspapers

February 25, 2020

Early Jacksonville had a succession of newspapers over the years, many of them competing and espousing opposing political viewpoints. When the Democratic News plant was destroyed in the fire of 1872, it rose again as the Democratic Times. Initially housed in the Orth Building on South Oregon Street, the Times soon outgrew that space and established its own offices at the corner of C and North 3rd streets. The Times lasted into the early 1900s when it merged with the Southern Oregonian. Depression era miners of the 1930s uncovered the Times doorstep as they undermined almost every inch of Jacksonville. The current private residence was built as a rental property in the 1930s over one of these old mine shafts.

Snafu #4

February 18, 2020

And Snafu, the pet “cussing cockatoo” whose vocabulary had been “enriched” by 3 ½ years in World War II South Pacific army camps, is finally arriving in Jacksonville. So far Snafu and his uninhibited ability to mimic everything from profanity to hymns to fire sirens and alarms has had him kicked out by his owner’s family, a Portland pet shop, the Jackson County Jail, the County Fire Department and a local feed store. When we left him, he was resident in the Surge Dairy Supply store where he entertained the customers. He also proved to be a ladies’ man with a habit of whistling at any girl passing. On more than one occasion this left Traffic Officer Dick Baize in an awkward position since he was the only male in sight. In June 1947, Snafu moved to Jacksonville to the residence of Mrs. Frank (Bernice) Janosky, joining other cockatoos and parrots in her aviary at 290 East California Street for the next 8 years. There, Snafu finally found his medium. He joined “show business” and the Jacksonville Footlighters in a production of Moss Hart’s “Light up the Sky.” And we should mention there’s an “oops” to end our story. After moving to Jacksonville, Snafu laid an egg. He was not supposed to be that kind of bird…. His original owner’s sister was skeptical, saying, “Trust me, he was no lady!”

Snafu #3

February 11, 2020

We’re continuing our saga of Snafu, the pet yellow crested white cockatoo whose vocabulary had been “enriched” by 3 ½ years in World War II South Pacific army camps. So far Snafu’s uninhibited ability to mimic everything from profanity to fire sirens and alarms has caused the bird to be “kicked out” by his owner’s family, a Portland pet shop, the Jackson County Jail, and the County Fire Department. His travels and travails have been reported in newspapers all over the country, and his owner, Lt. Hugh Collins, now a local attorney, has received multiple offers to buy Snafu, but has refused to sell. Snafu’s next home was a feed store where he spent his time “moulting and pouting.” From there he moved on to the Surge Dairy Supply store where he apparently enjoyed performing acrobatics for visitors. In the process of putting on a show, Snafu fell off a wire, landed on his tail feathers, and broke off one beneath the skin. It became infected, and seeking relief, Snafu applied self-surgery, pulling out tail feathers and bursting a blood vessel in the process. Snafu was found on the floor near exhaustion and rushed to a pet hospital where a shot of thronorozion stopped the flow of blood and cured the infection. However, it took a few months for the tail feathers to regrow and for Snafu to resume next week’s reported antics.

Snafu #2

February 4, 2020

We’re resuming the story of Snafu, the pet yellow crested white cockatoo who became literally a “jailbird.” The fowl’s foul language, learned in World War II army camps in the South Pacific, had made him unadoptable. Arrangements had been made for Snafu to be housed in the Jackson County Jail where even the inmates were shocked by his profanity and the jailor himself learned many new swear words. But while in jail, Snafu began attending the weekly religious services. In the process he became more inclined to sing a portion of a hymn than to exercise his extensive vocabulary of cusswords. Deemed reformed, Snafu was paroled to the fire department. Snafu liked his new home, and mimic that he was, began imitating the fire bells and sirens. Unfortunately, he made such a clatter when the telephone rang that the firemen couldn’t understand reports of fires. Moreover, Snafu was a great attraction for the small boys in the neighborhood who then climbed on the equipment and generally got in the way. So once again, Snafu had to find a new home…and he still takes a few detours before arriving in Jacksonville. We’ll continue the saga of Snafu next week.

Snafu

January 28, 2020

So what does a yellow crested white cockatoo have to do with the 1893 Queen Anne style home at 390 E. California Street in Jacksonville? It’s a long story so it’s going to be a multi-part history trivia. Let’s start with the cockatoo. It’s name was Snafu. Snafu had been brought home from Biak Island in the Dutch East Indies at the end of World War II by Lt. Hugh Collins. During 3 years in Army camps, the cockatoo had acquired an extensive vocabulary of cusswords. Snafu’s fluency in profanity proved a problem for Lt. Collins’ father, Medford Coucilman James C. Collins, and the cockatoo was sent to a Portland pet shop. Unsurprisingly, Snafu was deemed unadoptable and was sent back to Medford where Collins arranged for Snafu to be housed in the County Jail where the cockatoo had the run of the jail’s corridors. County jailor, Tony Solger, reported the bird to be well behaved until it would let loose with streams of profanity that shocked even the inmates. We’ll share more of this “jail bird’s” story next week.

Orange Jacobs Law Offices

January 21, 2020

For 142 years, a small wooden building stood at the corner of 5th and C streets, kitty-cornered from the Mustard Seed. Built around 1865, it housed the law offices of Orange Jacobs, one of Jacksonville’s most prominent early attorneys and the editor and publisher of The Jacksonville Sentinel. Jacobs moved to Washington sometime in the 1860s, becoming Chief Justice of the Supreme Court for the Territory of Washington, representing the state for 2 Congressional terms, and serving as Mayor of Seattle. His Jacksonville office was subsequently occupied by prominent attorney C.W. Kahler and by E.B. Watson, who became Chief Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court. By 2007, the structure was too dilapidated to repair and became a victim of “demolition by neglect.”

 

Kahler Office

 
January 14, 2020

For many years, 155 North 3rd Street in Jacksonville was the site of law offices. By 1856, Paine Page Prim, Supreme Judge and ex-officio Circuit Judge of Jackson County’s 1st Judicial District, hung out his shingle here. In 1862, Joseph Gaston, lawyer and editor of the Sentinel took over the space.
Charles Wesley Kahler, a prominent lawyer and District Attorney acquired the property in 1874, but it was 1886 before he erected the current brick building, replacing what was by then one of Jacksonville’s vintage wooden structures.

Kahler Home

 
January 7, 2020

The northeast corner of 6th and D streets in Jacksonville is the site of the Kahler family home. Robert Kahler acquired the entire block in 1879 then sold this portion to his father 2 years later. His parents were one of the first pioneering families to settle in the Rogue Valley. Three of the Kahler boys did quite well. Robert, a druggist, dispensed drugs, books and stationery from his building on California Street. George was a practicing surgeon and physician. Charles Wesley Kahler was a prominent Jacksonville attorney. C.W. owned the building by the late 1890s. This house was either constructed by another family member after C.W.’s death in 1904 or the original house was redesigned from its original Classical Revival style to incorporate its current Queen Anne influences.

Dances and Fancy Dress Balls

December 31, 2019

Jacksonville’s Redmen’s Hall, the U.S. Hotel, the Masonic Hall, the Odd Fellows building, and Veit Schutz Hall all had ballrooms or dance floors, and weekly dances were a popular form of local entertainment. Masquerades, or fancy-dress balls, were particularly popular over the holidays. At masquerades, prizes were typically awarded for best costume. And it was also common for spectators to pay to watch the costumed partygoers entering the ball—like fans today paying to watch celebrities attend a gala or awards ceremony today. For Jacksonville’s 1901 New Year’s Eve ball, the local newspaper noted that a Portland costumer came down with trunk loads of costumes that could be rented or purchased for the occasion.

Telephone Exchange

December 17, 2019

As you use your telephone to connect with family and friends via calls or text this holiday season, Historic Jacksonville, Inc. thought it would share how telephone service came to Jacksonville. The plaque and display windows on the telephone exchange building at the corner of California and Oregon streets tell part of the story. After Alexander Graham Bell was awarded the first U.S. patent for the telephone in 1876, demand for this novel invention spread. Initially, pairs of telephones were connected directly with each other. In 1888, Jacksonville’s first telephone line connected the U.S. Hotel with the Riddle House in Medford. However, it appears to have been short-lived due to costs. Six years later, a syndicate installed a 2-point, 3-instrument Medford-Jacksonville line connecting the G. H. Haskins drug store in Medford with the county clerk’s office at Jacksonville’s county courthouse and the Reames, White & Co. store. A 5-minute talk cost 25 cents. By 1899, a regular telephone exchange serving 10 subscribers was established. An operator switched connections between lines making it possible for subscribers to call each other at any location on the exchange. By 1918, service had at least doubled since Carrie Beekman was listed as #22 in the Jacksonville telephone directory.

Lyden House

December 10, 2019

When J.C. Whipp moved his Marble Works to Ashland in 1902, John Lyden converted the old Jacksonville showroom at the corner of California and Oregon streets into the Lyden House, the site of today’s telephone exchange building. John Lyden and his wife Mary ran the boarding house, charging 35 cents for a night’s lodging in one of its 11 rooms. Rooms were furnished with washstands, a pitcher, a wash bowl, a chamber pot commode, a “well supplied” towel rack, an iron bedstead with ample bedding, and a good supply of “Buhac” used to discourage unwanted bedfellows. The hotel was usually full by nightfall. About 1903, Mary Lyden and 2 of her daughters started the “Hooligan Restaurant.” It became famous for its “good homey table” and “wonderful filling meals,” served for 65 cents. Special dinners could also be ordered. The enterprising Lydens also carried a good supply of items such as pots, pans, canteens, and other tinware in demand by miners and prospectors still hoping to strike it rich in the hills around Jacksonville.

Jacksonville Marble Works

December 3, 2019

Stone mason J.C. Whipp came to Jacksonville from Portland in 1883 to build the foundation for Jackson County’s historic courthouse, including laying its cornerstone. He opened his Jacksonville Marble Works around 1885. They were originally located “just north of town,” but after the 1888 fire destroyed David Linn’s furniture factory, he moved them to the corner of California and Oregon streets. Whipp was described as “doing the best of work,” and having “no peer in this part of the state.” Whipp may be best known for his many marble monuments in Jacksonville’s pioneer cemetery as well as cemeteries throughout southern Oregon and northern California, but he also built culverts and bridges. In 1887, he turned the Methodist Episcopal Church 180 degrees to face the new North 5th Street thoroughfare, and in 1893 he created a stone mantelpiece that won a blue ribbon at the Chicago World’s Fair. Whipp operated his Jacksonville Marble Works until 1902 when he was persuaded to move to Ashland.

California & Oregon Street Corner

November 26, 2019

One legend has it that the crossroads of California and Oregon streets were so named to avoid the tax collectors. Oregon tax collectors were supposedly told they were in California; California tax collectors were told they were in Oregon. True or not, many businesses have occupied the prime commercial location at the northeast corner of that Jacksonville intersection. One of the earliest was David Linn’s furniture factory, showroom, and planing mill. When it burned in an 1888 arson fire, J.C. Whipp’s marble works took its place. Around the turn of the century, millwright John Lyden expanded Whipp’s display room into the Lyden House which became a popular boarding house and restaurant. A 1962 Mail Tribune wrote the Lyden House obituary. Sometime after 1962 the Lyden House was torn down and replaced by the current telephone exchange building.

Cornelius C. Beekman

November 19, 2019

Cornelius C. Beekman came to Jacksonviille in 1853 as an express rider for Cram Rogers & Company, carrying gold, mail, and newspapers over the Siskiyous to Yreka 2 to 3 times a week—a 67 mile journey by horse or mule. When Cram Rogers went belly up in 1856, he purchased their horses and corral and opened Beekman’s Express at the southwest corner of California and 3rd streets in Jacksonville, a site he shared with Dr. Charles Brooks’ Drugstore. A large safe that he bought to store the miners’ gold made his office the oldest financial institution north of San Francisco and the oldest bank in the Pacific Northwest. When he became a Wells Fargo agent in 1863, he constructed his second bank building cattycornered across the street. Shortly thereafter, his old building became the Express Saloon until 1868, then the Pioneer Bit House which was subsequently renamed The Eagle Sample Rooms. The original building was destroyed in the fire of 1874. The “Express Office” now at that location is a reconstruction.

Catholic Rectory

November 12, 2019

Although the structure at 210 North 4th Street in Jacksonville is known as the Catholic Rectory, it was not purchased for that purpose until 1875. The house had been built around 1868, probably for Nathaniel Langell whose brother had acquired the property in 1859. For many years Langell ran a boot and shoe store and repair shop at various locations on California Street. He served as President (Mayor) of the Jacksonville Board of Trustees; he was elected in 1872 and again in 1896 as a Jackson County representative to the State Legislature; and for a period he was Master of the local Masonic lodge. Later in life he was appointed U.S. Forester of the Cascade Rogue Forest Reserve, i.e. Forest Supervisor of the Rogue River National Forest.

Henspeter’s Service Station and Motor Court

November 5, 2019

Last week Historic Jacksonville, Inc. celebrated the World Series and the early 1900s when baseball was “king” and our Ray’s Food Place at 401 North 5th Street in Jacksonville was the site of the town’s baseball field. Well, by the 1930s and 40s, the automobile had become “king” and the baseball field had been replaced by Henspeter’s Service Station and Motor Court—you remember the little cabins that used to house weary travelers before the current motel concept became popular. We’ve included the first image we’ve ever seen of Henspeter’s Service Station at the corner of 5th and F. And the pretty lady is Joyce Henspeter whose family owned the station.

Gold Bricks Baseball Team

October 29, 2019

We’re in the middle of the World Series, so it’s “batter up” for History Trivia Tuesday! Our friend Bill Miller’s “History Snoopin’” article in the October 28th Mail Tribune reminded us that before Medford had U.S. Cellular Field, baseball games were played at Miles Field—now the site of Medford’s south Walmart. Well, did you know that Jacksonville used to have a baseball field too? The city block on North 5th Street occupied by the local Ray’s supermarket was Jacksonville’s baseball field in the early 1900s, home to the Jacksonville Gold Bricks baseball team. Team owner, George “Bum” Neuber, was known to bring in “guest players” as a means of defeating visiting teams. Neuber was quite the character. He also ran a card room in town for adults while welcoming children to the petting zoo he set up in his backyard.

Kennedy’s Row – Carefree Buffalo Store

October 22, 2019

Carefree Buffalo at 150 W. California Street in Jacksonville was originally part of “Kennedy’s Row,” a block of shops owned by the first elected sheriff in Jackson County. Kennedy ran a “tin shop” at this location, which he sold to John Love and John Bilger in 1856. Sometime before 1861, Love and Bilger replaced the original wooden structure with the present stone and brick building. When Love died in 1869, Bilger continued to run the business, becoming one of Jacksonville’s wealthiest merchants. When Bilger died in the cholera epidemic of 1877, his wife, Amanda Schenck, took over the hardware store. By the mid-1880s she had expanded into manufacturing in partnership with a Mr. Maegly. Bilger and Maegly became one of the leading suppliers of agricultural machinery and implements in Jacksonville.

John Love House

October 15, 2019

John Love was a successful tin and hardware merchant and one of Jacksonville’s first trustees. He served on committees responsible for securing plans to build the town recorder’s office and fire station and inspecting and adopting the 1862 town plat. He was also instrumental in establishing the town cemetery. Around 1867, he built the house at 175 North 3rd Street for his growing family. Their stay, however, was brief. Within months John succumbed to tuberculosis; a year and a half later, his wife Anna Sophia and one of their daughters died in the smallpox epidemic of 1869.

Mary Ann Harris-Chambers House

October 8, 2019

The Mary Ann Harris-Chambers house at the corner of North 3rd and C streets was built around 1867, replacing her earlier home on this site. She moved to Jacksonville from a homestead north of Grants Pass after an 1855 Rogue Indian raid killed her first husband, George Harris, and her son. With her daughter reloading, Mary Ann had fired the family’s shotguns from various cabin windows, holding off the attack for over 5 hours until the Indians gave up and left. On Valentine’s Day in 1863, Mary Ann married farmer Aaron Chambers. They lived at this location until Aaron died 7 years later. This house remained in the family into the 1890s.

Minerva Plymale Armstrong

October 1, 2019

Minerva Plymale Armstrong and her husband Robert traveled with her parents and siblings from Illinois to Oregon in 1852 along the Oregon Trail. They settled on a farm 4 miles north of Jacksonville at the base of the western hills overlooking the beautiful valley to the east of Old Stage Road. One of their 11 children, Cornelius Jasper Armstrong, born February 24, 1853, is a contender for the title of “first child born in Jacksonville.” In 1890 the Armstrongs moved to town, purchasing the small “saltbox” style home at 375 E. California Street, historically known as the G.W. Cool house after the individual who constructed it around 1858. Cool had received his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the Baltimore College of Dentistry. He came to the West Coast in 1850, practicing first in British Columbia and then in Washington before settling in Oregon. The house was both residence and dental office. However, his practice appears to have been lackluster since a mechanic’s lien for construction costs was attached against the property. By 1861 Cool had moved on to Portland. The next decade saw him in San Francisco where he did experience success and was one of the first members of the California State Dental Association.

Patrick J. Ryan

September 24, 2019

Patrick J. Ryan was one of the most prolific “contractors” in early Jacksonville. From 1855 onwards he specialized in “fire proof” brick buildings. He’s responsible for at least 4 of the commercial buildings still standing in downtown Jacksonville including the 1873 Jacksonville Inn, the 2-story 1861 “Ben Drew Commission House” currently occupied by Quintessence, and the 1865 P.J. Ryan “Dwelling House on South 3rd, now home to South Stage Cellars. Little is known about Ryan himself. A native of Ireland, he had arrived in Jacksonville no later than 1853 at the ripe old age of 23. That same year he purchased the Palmetto Bowling Saloon and launched his career as one of Jacksonville’s earliest and longest-term commercial property investors.

Magnolia Inn

September 10, 2019

The Spanish Revival style building at 245 North 5th Street in Jacksonville was built in the early 1900s as a sanitarium and health spa. It was part of the “Wellville” movement pioneered by the Kellogg brothers. This approach to medicine advocated holistic treatments and vegetarianism, and such sanitariums typically focused on nutrition, enemas, and exercise. John Harvey Kellogg also created the “health food,” Kellogg’s Corn Flakes in hopes that it would reduce what he considered unwelcome sexual impulses. In the 1930s, the County began placing most of its poor in buildings in Jacksonville because property values were some of the lowest in the County and there were plenty of potential caretakers among the people looking for work. Mitchell’s was one of these “poor houses,” but it was as much hospital as sanitarium. Apparently, it was originally known as the Rogue River Sanitarium, but by the 1950s had been renamed the Mitchell Sanitarium. Today it houses one of Jacksonville’s popular bed and breakfast establishments, the Magnolia Inn.

John Boyer

September 3, 2019
 

The historic brick portion of the Bella Union Restaurant and Saloon at 170 W. California Street was constructed in 1874 by pioneer woodworker and builder David Linn after an April fire destroyed many of the original buildings in the western end of Jacksonville. That summer, John Boyer announced the opening of his “new store in Linn’s brick building.” Boyer, born in 1836 in Pennsylvania, had arrived in Jacksonville around 1871. Apparently, he soon became an active part of the community, opening a general store and joining the local chapter of the International Order of Odd Fellows. By 1876 Boyer had been named a Grand Marshall of the IOOF of Oregon, representing Jacksonville around the state. A general store remained at the Bella Union location into the 1880s and 90s, but in 1879 Boyer accepted the position of confidential clerk at the Cornelius C. Beekman Bank, the oldest financial institution in the Pacific Northwest located at 110 W. California. For some years, Boyer even lodged in the back room of the Bank. At some point Boyer also became the resident agent for the Fire Marine Insurance Company of San Francisco, possibly handling Beekman’s insurance business. Boyer died in January 1902, received a full ceremonial IOOF funeral, and is buried in the IOOF section of Jacksonville’s pioneer cemetery.

Rogue River Valley Railway

August 27, 2019
 

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 Jacksonville Visitor’s Center at the corner of Oregon and C streets was constructed in 1891 as the depot for the Railway. The depot originally faced Oregon Street and a small railway switching yard occupied the present-day entrance to the post office parking lot. Today, the building serves as Jacksonville’s Visitors’ Information Center.

St. Joseph’s Catholic Church

August 20, 2019
 

Shortly after the discovery of gold in Jacksonville in 1852, Reverend James Croke celebrated the first Catholic mass in the home of a local resident.  In 1855, Croke reported to the Archbishop that he had counted 105 Catholics in the Rogue Valley alone.  In 1858, James Cluggage, donation land claim owner of most of the original Jacksonville townsite, deeded the 100’ x 200’ parcel at the corner of 4th and D streets for $5 for “the use and benefit of the Catholic Church.”  St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, dedicated November 1, 1858, was the first parish church built in Southern Oregon to serve the Catholic population and is the oldest Catholic Church still standing in the region. Father Francis Xavier Blanchet, shown here, was appointed parish priest in 1863 and served in that position for 25 years. In its early years, St. Joseph’s had many missions attached, some as distant as Corvallis to the north and Lakeview to the east.

Kubli Building

August 13, 2019
 

“What goes around comes around”! Where Willow Creek now sells jewelry, accessories, personal items, and an array of other indulgences at 115 West California Street in Jacksonville, J.S. Howard, the “Father of Medford” originally enticed customers with the merchandise in his “Crystal Bazaar.” When the building and all its contents were destroyed in the 1884 fire, Howard “abandoned shop” and moved to Medford, selling the lot to Kaspar Kubli. Swiss immigrant Kubli, who had found success in ranching, business, and politics, had the current structure erected at the same time as the adjacent Red Men’s Hall. Probably built by brick mason George Holt, the two buildings have almost identical facades. Originally, Kubli housed his tin shop in the ground floor rear. The front was occupied by Jeremiah Nunan’s Farmers and Miners Supplies through the turn of the century.

Peter Britt’s Gold Ingot

August 6, 2019
 
This small gold ingot weighing 2.2 grams was made from gold dug in Jacksonville by Chinese miners who camped on property owned by photographer Peter Britt. At a time when most Westerners treated minorities poorly, Britt was noted for his friendly dealings with the Chinese. The miners refined, cast and presented the ingot to Britt around 1854. The characters on the front translate as “Heaven Original” and “Sufficient Gold”; the back is blank. At the time coins were in limited supply and most business was done by barter or by payment in gold. This ingot would have been intended for use as money. According to Britt’s son Emil, it was given to his father as a token of appreciation.

Haines Building

July 30, 2019
 
The 1854 date on the historical marker on the building at the corner of California and Oregon streets is correct, but it was not the site of a butcher shop. The “fire-proof store” now home to The Cotton Broker was constructed in 1861 for Israel and Robert Haines, replacing a wooden building at the same location they had occupied since arriving in Jacksonville 7 years earlier. This one-story brick structure is one of the oldest commercial buildings to survive 3 major fires that ravaged the town. The brothers’ variety store occupied the building until the mid-1860s when they experienced financial difficulties. Robert went on to study medicine and relocated to San Francisco. Israel (shown here) read law. He moved to eastern Oregon where he became a prominent Baker City lawyer and politician and founded the town of Haines. Post-1866 records show a series of short-term occupants until Louis Solomon moved his mercantile business to this location following his $8,000 loss in the 1874 fire. He was still occupying the building in 1888 when another devastating fire wiped out much of that end of town. However, “the fire proof character of Solomon’s store building was fully demonstrated, as the flames were raging against the rear wall fully half an hour before being extinguished, without raising the temperature inside.”

Helms House

July 23, 2019
 
The Italianate style Helms House at the corner of South Oregon and Pine streets in Jacksonville was built in 1878 by Table Rock Billiard Saloon owner Herman von Helms (although the “von” was probably his own addition to imply descent from royalty). An existing cabin was incorporated as kitchen and pantry. After arriving in Jacksonville in 1856, Helms had purchased an interest in the Table Rock Bakery (the forerunner of his saloon), and in 1866 purchased this corner lot from William Hesse, the original owner of the Bakery. Helms marriage to Augusta Englebrecht in 1862 had been arranged through the Northern California and Southern Oregon German communities. Both Herman and Augusta were originally from Holstein, Germany, but they met for the first time the day before they wed. Their marriage appears to have been successful, but of their 9 children, only 5 survived to adulthood. Three daughters died in typhoid epidemics; a fourth was murdered by her sister’s estranged husband.

Weiss House

July 16, 2019
 
The Weiss House at 650 Sterling Street in Jacksonville has multiple “back stories.” In 1866, the City deeded a large parcel of land between S. Oregon and South 3rd streets to John Weiss, an immigrant from Alsace-Lorraine. He and his wife Elizabeth had arrived in Jacksonville in 1852 and had constructed the original farmhouse no later than 1873. The property was divided following Weiss’ death in 1895 and passed through multiple hands. The portion containing the original farmhouse was usually referred to as “the house near the end of South Oregon Street” since Sterling Street was not yet in existence. In 1943, the property was bought by A.L. and Olive Pearl Kitchen. They made the farmhouse their home while again dividing the property into what became known as “the Kitchen Subdivision,” creating Sterling Street in the process. The “Kitchen House” was sold to Alvin and Florence Minshall in 1948. Minshall was a building contractor and avid post-war recycler. In 1951, Minshall and his friends loaded two barracks buildings and a maintenance shed from Camp White onto a flatbed truck and brought them home. They are now the long great room and garage of the current residence. Camp White, now White City, had been deactivated in April 1946, but following Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, Congress had appropriated $27 million to transform the Agate Desert into Camp White as an Army training base. At its peak, the camp occupied nearly 50,000 acres and contained nearly 40,000 people, making it the second-largest city in Oregon at the time.

Carriage House #2

 

July 9, 2019
 
Last week we shared information abut the home at 460 East C Street in Jacksonville, know as the “Carriage House.” Most of the house was originally the barn and carriage house for Max Mueller’s estate which had spanned the entire block from California to C Street from the mid-1800s until the 1960s when the property was divided. The Mueller House portion, located at 465 E. California Street, is considered the best example of High Victorian residential architecture in Jacksonville. Max Mueller was a prominent Jacksonville merchant, the town’s first Postmaster, a City Trustee, City Treasurer, County Treasurer, and Jackson County Clerk. When Mueller purchased the entire lot in 1883, he and his family resided in the small cabin of the original owner. When the current home was constructed in 1887, it was attached to the older 1-story house, and the original structure became the dining room, kitchen, and back porch.

Carriage House

July 2, 2019
 
The lovely home at 460 East C Street in Jacksonville, known as the “Carriage House,” is actually a combination of structures. The property itself was originally part of Max Mueller’s 465 E. California Street home. Around the 1880s, Mueller, or an earlier owner, constructed the barn that comprises the central portion of the Carriage House. In 1908, after Mueller’s death, his wife, Louisa, sold the property to William T. Grieve, shown here. Grieve, a Jackson County Assessor, built the carriage house, the lower right portion pictured. In the early 1960s, George and Doris Brewer acquired the entire property, a derelict rental with a yard filled with junked cars. After restoring the Mueller House, they decided to divide the lot and construct the existing house. Before retiring, George had worked in the logging industry and then owned and operated Brewer Tractor Company. He tapped his experience and skills, jacked up the old barn, put it on skids, hooked it to his Jeep, and pulled it to a cement foundation he had poured. Using skids and a tractor, George and Doris moved the carriage house from its original location, turned it 180 degrees, and attached it to the barn. To create the “finished product,” they salvaged lumber from the old Table Rock Saloon, doors and hardware from a Medford home, 1800s Jacksonville brick from an Eagle Point hardware store, and remodeled the old outhouse into a garden house. Together, as leaders of the Pioneer Sites Foundation, they were part of the movement that led to Jacksonville’s Historic Landmark District. George was both Mayor and City Councilor and involved in the restoration of the U.S. Hotel and the Methodist Episcopal Church. Doris was instrumental in stopping the estate auction of all the original contents of the Beekman House, and together they assisted in restoring the Beekman House and opening it to the public.

Jacksonville Historic Cemetery #2

June 25, 2019
 
We jumped ahead of ourselves yesterday, but today really is History Trivia Tuesday! There are enough historic myths going around without Historic Jacksonville, Inc. adding to them, so we want to correct our June 18th post about the gates to Jacksonville’s Historic Cemetery on West E Street. The cemetery’s Friends were kind enough to give us the true “skinny.” When James Napper Tandy Miller set aside the original cemetery acreage in 1859, he did require the cemetery to be fenced. A white picket fence was erected at the top of Cemetery Hill, but the original gates were probably wood. At some point the wooden gates were replaced with the familiar metal arch and gates. Photos show they were there no later than 1912 but did not date to the cemetery’s official opening in 1860. Later the original metal arch and gates were moved to their current location at the bottom of the hill—possibly in 1923 in conjunction with Alice Applegate Sargent funding the Cemetery Road wall in commemoration of her husband. Pieces were subsequently added to the arch and gates to increase their height and width, allowing motorized vehicles to pass through and under. The arch and gates that now sit at the entrance to the cemetery are the same arch and gates that originally sat at the top of Cemetery Road. In 2018, the City of Jacksonville paid for them to be restored to their original color and state—with one exception. The side pieces were angled to increase the structure’s stability, allowing an increase to the width of the entry of one of the oldest pioneer cemeteries in the Pacific Northwest.

Jacksonville Historic Cemetery

June 18, 2019
 
Have you had a chance to admire the new gate to Jacksonville’s Historic Cemetery on West E Street? Installed in the fall of 2018, the new gate’s white lettering and black wrought iron replicates the original gate erected about the time the cemetery officially opened in 1860. When James Napper Tandy Miller set aside the original acreage for a town cemetery in 1859, he required the cemetery to be fenced to protect against the intrusion of wild animals. But when the cemetery opened, the gate was at the top of the hill! The dirt access road (now Cemetery Road) that led to the entry presumably followed an old Indian trail. In 1923 Alice Applegate Sargent funded the Cemetery Road wall in memory of her husband, Col. Herbert Howland Sargent. Around the time the wall was built, the original cemetery gate was replaced, and the entry relocated to the bottom of the hill. The 2018 gate replaces the familiar white iron gate erected in the early 1900s. The Jacksonville cemetery is one of the oldest pioneer cemeteries in the Pacific Northwest and has remained in continuous use since its founding. Join the Friends of Jacksonville’s Historic Cemetery for guided tours, evening strolls, workshops, and their annual “Meet the Pioneers” event. 

Eagle Brewery

June 11, 2019

The Eagle Brewery was probably Jacksonville’s first brewery, in operation no later than 1856 on the block between Main and California streets that now houses the Orth Building. By 1859 the Brewery was in existence at its current location, 355 S. Oregon Street, and under the ownership of German-born Joseph Wetterer. Two years later Wetterer “commenced the building of a large beer saloon in front of his brewery.” For the next 18 years, Wetterer and his wife Fredericka (show here) ran the saloon, advertising “the best lager beer in Southern Oregon.” Little is known of Wetterer; he seems to have been uninvolved in the town’s social, political or fraternal activities, and does not even appear to have owned a liquor license. Fredericka continued operating the brewery for a period after Wetterer’s death in 1879, but by 1892 the Eagle Brewery and its complex of buildings containing the “malt kiln,” “mash tub,” “cooler,” “furnace heat,” and “beer kettle” were no longer in operation, the saloon stood vacant, and the property was labeled “dilapidated” on local maps. In the 1960s, the complex became the studio and residence of nationally known artist Eugene Bennett, a far cry from its more raucous years as one of Jacksonville’s earliest saloons. It now serves as a private residence.

Karewski’s Grist Mill

June 4, 2019

The “unidentified” house at 890 S. Oregon Street in Jacksonville was probably constructed around 1889 although the builder is uncertain. Early photographs from this period for the town’s outskirts do not exist. We do know that the house was on property owned by Gustav Karewski that included his steam powered grist mill. Karewski had come from Prussia in 1853 in search of gold, but soon found there was more gold in selling shovels than in using them and opened his own dry goods store. When farming became more important than mining, he opened “Karewski’s Agricultural Implements”—the only dealer in the Rogue Valley for big farm machinery. By 1881, he also operated a steam-powered grist mill on this South Oregon Street property, one of the first ones in Southern Oregon. Within 3 years the mill ranked third in the state in flour production. In 1915, the grist mill was dismantled, moved, and reconstructed on North 3rd Street as Joseph Applebaker’s blacksmith shop. The house in question was sold in 1908 by Karewski’s son-in-law and has passed through numerous hands. Today it’s a private residence with owners who are passionate about gardening.

John Neuber

May 28, 2019

The building that is now the Blue Door Garden Store at 130 West California Street in Jacksonville was built around 1862 by German-born John Neuber to house his jewelry store. Neuber was Jacksonville’s first goldsmith and silversmith. He specialized in solid gold buckles for women’s belts. While running to fight one of the periodic fires that broke out in the town’s early wooden structures, Neuber incurred severe head injuries. In 1874 he was declared insane by the Jackson County commissioners and ordered to the state insane asylum where he died a year later.

Warren Lodge No. 10

May 21, 2019

Jacksonville’s Warren Lodge No. 10 of the Ancient Free & Accepted Masons, founded in 1855, was the first Masonic order south of Salem to construct a meeting hall. The original 1858 lodge building stood on the block now occupied by new City Hall (the historic County Courthouse), and for a number of years leased space to Jackson County for offices and courtroom before selling them the building. The current Masonic temple at the corner of California and Oregon streets was constructed between 1874 and 1877 by brick mason, George Holt. Completed in 1877, it’s the oldest temple structure in Oregon in continuous use as a Masonic meeting hall. The lodge had acquired the property after an 1874 fire at that corner destroyed the “almost unimaginable conglomeration of frame shops, sheds, and outbuildings”— “many of the ancient landmarks” of early Jacksonville—including the notorious El Dorado Saloon. The saloon had stood on that corner from as early as spring of 1852, attracting “gamblers, courtesans, sharpers of every kind, the class that struck prosperous mining camps like a blight.” [We should note that even after the El Dorado was destroyed, there were plenty of other saloons remaining!]

Jacksonville Train Depot #4

 

May 14, 2019

The Rogue River Valley Railway’s first engine—Engine No. 1—was put into service in May of 1891 to haul gravel, bricks, timber, crops, livestock, mail and passengers over the 5-mile, single track spur line that connected Jacksonville with Medford. Nicknamed Dinky, the Peanut Roaster, the Tea Kettle, and the Jacksonville Cannon Ball because of its small size, Engine No. 1 soon proved too underpowered to haul the heavier freight loads up the 3% grade from Medford and was relegated to passenger service, pulling a single Pullman car. In 1895, the little 12-ton Porter engine was sold. It changed hands a number of times over the years until it was badly burned in a logging camp fire. In 1946, Helen O’Connor spotted the abandoned engine in Cottage Grove, OR, and bought it for her husband Chadwell, a steam engine enthusiast, inventor, and a Sci-Tech award and Oscar recipient from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The couple had Engine No. 1 rebuilt from the original Porter blueprints. Over the next 6 decades, the little engine saw new life as a private plaything, a Cottage Grove tourist promotion, transportation for families wanting to cut their own Christmas trees, and a “prop” in commercials and motion pictures until Mel and Brooke Ashland arranged for its purchase and restoration in 2014. Engine No. 1 now sits on original track on the Bigham Knoll Campus at the end of East E Street in Jacksonville.

Jacksonville Train Depot #3

May 7, 2019

According to “old timers,” this 5-mile spur not only served as a railroad; it also became a “school bus.” Dates are unclear—it may have been around 1903 when the 2nd Jacksonville school burned; or around 1906 when the 3rd Jacksonville school burned; or it may have been because the Medford schools offered curriculum not available in Jacksonville; or it may have been during World War 1. Pick your time frame! Regardless of the date, we know the spur railroad ran a block away from Medford’s Washington School, constructed in 1896 on the site of the current Jackson County Courthouse. Kids could ride the train for 5 cents. And naturally kids would be kids. They would periodically put lard and grease on the train rails, causing the train wheels to spin. The conductor soon realized he had to carry a bucket of sand. When the train rails spun, he would jump off and sand the track.

Jacksonville Train Depot #2

April 30, 2019

From 1893 to 1915, the Jacksonville-to-Medford 5-mile spur Rogue River Valley Railroad was a “family affair.” In 1893, William S. Barnum leased the railroad from the RRV Railway Company, running the trains with the help of his 2 sons. His 14-year-old younger son, John Barnum, became the youngest train conductor in the nation! In the 1890s, you might have seen John, resplendent in his uniform, standing at the Jacksonville train depot at the Corner of N. Oregon and “C” streets. In 1899, William Barnum bought the railroad for about $12,000. Nine years later he added a gasoline motor car and 3 freight cars. In 1915, the family sold the RRVRR to the Southern Oregon Traction Company for $125,000—part cash, part mortgage.

Jacksonville Train Depot #1

April 23, 2019

When the Oregon & California railroad bypassed Jacksonville in 1884 in favor of the flat valley floor, the town struggled to retain its role as the hub of Southern Oregon commerce, government, and social life. Residents funded a spur line to connect the city to the main railroad in Medford, and in May of 1891, the Rogue River Valley Railway’s small steam locomotive, Engine No. 1, pulled into the Jacksonville depot. The railroad survived until 1925, but after a year, the undersized engine was relegated to hauling a single pullman car, and in 1895 it was replaced by 20-ton Engine No. 2. However, the depot, also completed in 1891 still stands at the corner of N. Oregon and C streets, although it has been turned 180 degrees. You know it as the Jacksonville Visitors Center and Chamber of Commerce. We’ll be sharing more RRVR history in the next few weeks.

Kubli House Shed

April 16, 2019

The dwelling at 145 W. Pine Street is probably the oldest structure in Jacksonville known to have been built and used as a shed. It was most likely constructed around 1875 after the Kaspar Kubli family purchased the property and the adjacent “Kubli House” in 1872. Photographs of Jacksonville do not include this portion of town until the early 1880s. The building clearly appears on an 1883 map of the town, and in the 1890s the original small rectangular structure is positively identified on Jacksonville maps as a “shed.” Sometime between 1898 and 1907 the “shed” was converted to a dwelling with a small rear addition and porch. The Kublis undoubtedly used it as a rental.

Kubli House

April 9, 2019

The 1 ½ story wood frame structure at 305 S. Oregon Street in Jacksonville was acquired by Kaspar Kubli in 1872. Although built 10 years earlier, it’s known as the Kubli House since the family occupied the home for 25 years. Kubli had immigrated to the U.S. from Switzerland in 1852, arriving in Jacksonville a year later. After mining for 2 winters, he found greater success packing supplies from Crescent City in partnership with fellow Swiss immigrants, Peter Britt and Viet Shutz. With his capital he acquired extensive land holdings in the Applegate where he engaged in farming and ranching. Moving back into Jacksonville in 1872, Kubli purchased a tinsmith and hardware business. Its success led to his erecting the 2-story brick commercial building on California Street which still bears the Kubli name. Kubli was also an active public and civic servant, twice elected Jackson County Treasurer, elected Grand Patriarch of the International Order of Odd Fellows grand lodge of Oregon, and involved in the Presbyterian Church management.

Beekman’s Bank

April 2, 2019

Cornelius C. Beekman erected his second bank building in 1863 at the corner of California and North 3rd streets in Jacksonville. Begun as a gold dust office in 1856, Beekman saw over $40 million in gold cross his counters during Jacksonville’s heyday in the 1800s—equivalent to over $1 billion in today’s currency! Beekman’s Bank is the oldest financial institution in the Pacific Northwest and remains furnished exactly as it was when Beekman closed and locked the doors for the last time in 1915. Explore the “Secrets & Mysteries of the Beekman Bank” during 45-minute candlelight tours beginning at 6, 7, and 8 p.m. on April 5 and 6. Admission, $5. Reservations required!

Orth Building #2

March 26, 2019

The 2-story Orth building, located at 150 S. Oregon Street in Jacksonville, was erected in 1872 by German born butcher, John Orth. Prior to the building’s construction, Orth’s butcher shop had occupied a wooden frame building on the same site, sharing the block with the Palmetto Bowling Saloon, the Beard House and Eagle Brewery (later the Old City Brewery), and “an old hospital building.” When Orth razed the older buildings to make way for his new edifice, the Democratic Times newspaper noted that the site had been “devoted to almost every purpose except printing a newspaper and serving God.” The Democratic Times rectified one omission, taking office space in Orth’s new brick building.

Table Rock Billiard Saloon #2

March 19, 2019

The building at 155-165 S. Oregon Street in Jacksonville that now houses Good Bean Coffee was built in 1860 by German immigrants Herman von Helms and John Wintjen, partners in the “Table Rock Bakery.” This Italianate brick structure replaced their earlier wood frame bakery that also provided space for a butcher shop, groceries, and supplies. Helms and Wintjen may have operated their bakery into the mid-1870s. As entrepreneurs, it’s quite likely they became saloonkeepers after the 1874 fire destroyed all the adjacent wooden buildings, including the notorious El Dorado saloon, a Jacksonville “institution” as early as 1852. The “Table Rock Billiard Saloon” sign was painted on the building in the early 1880s by which time Wintjen had retired. The saloon became an informal social and political headquarters, home to business deals, court decisions, and even trials. It was also Jacksonville’s first museum, “The Cabinet” – a collection of pioneer relics, fossils and oddities designed to attract a clientele that stayed for the saloon’s lager. Herman von Helms ran the saloon until his death in 1899. His son Ed operated it until his retirement in 1914.

Lilac House

March 12, 2019

The “Lilac House” at 401 N. Oregon Street just outside the Jacksonville city limits was constructed in 2005 based on the 1909 plans of brothers Greene & Greene, influential early 20th Century architects whose Craftsman “bungalows” are prime examples of the American Arts & Crafts movement. Equally notable, the house stands on the site of an earlier landmark, the J.N.T. Miller house. James Napper Tandy Miller had arrived in Jacksonville in 1854 and taken out a land claim adjoining James Clugage’s claim encompassing the town’s historic core. By 1855 Miller had constructed a 1 ½ story wood frame Classical Revival style home for his family. Miller became a well-known figure in State politics, rising to the rank of Colonel in the Indian wars, elected a State Representative in 1862, and elected State Senator in 1866. He chaired the county’s Democratic Central Committee and began publishing the town’s Democratic Times newspaper. Miller was also a farmer, grazing cattle, planting 10+ acres in orchards, and establishing one of the earliest and largest vineyards in the county known for “the superiority of its fruit” that produced several thousand gallons of wine annually.

Benjamin F. Dowell

March 5, 2019

The Italianate style home at 475 N. 5th Street was built for Benjamin Franklin Dowell, named for his grandmother’s uncle, Benjamin Franklin. Dowell served as prosecuting attorney for Oregon’s 1st Judicial District and as U.S. District Attorney. For 14 years he owned the Oregon Sentinel newspaper, the first newspaper in the Pacific Northwest to support the abolition of slavery and the first to nominate Ulysses S. Grant for president. The is one of the earliest Italianate style homes built in Oregon. Constructed in 1861, it may also have been the first home in Jacksonville to be built of brick. Most homes of the period had wood burning stoves for heat, but this distinctive home has 4 fireplaces—one of black onyx and 3 of marble. The marble probably came from Dowell’s own marble quarry on Williams Creek. That same marble was also used for the porch steps and all the window sills.

Martin Vrooman

February 26, 2019

The vernacular farmhouse at 675 E. California Street was built in 1878 for prominent local physician, Dr. Martin Vrooman. Born in New York in 1818, Vrooman apparently did have formal medical training since an Oregon Sentinel article described him as a “regular graduate” and not one of the “guessing school of physicians.” But like many others, Vrooman heard the call of gold and headed west. In 1850 he was mining in California on the Middle Fork of the American River. He apparently alternated between mining and medicine, pursuing one or both in California and the Nevada Territory. Vrooman settled on medicine, arriving in Jacksonville in the early 1870s where he opened a practice. At some point he married divorcee Christina Strang—one source says early 1870s; a marriage certificate in the SOHS archives gives the date as 1878, around the same time his house was constructed. (The latter date would have been cause for scandal since their son Francis was born in 1876!) By 1881 Vrooman had added a drug store, the Jacksonville Dispensary. But when the Oregon and California Railroad bypassed Jacksonville in 1883, Vrooman moved his practice and his drugstore to the new town of Medford and sold his Jacksonville home. Unfortunately, his son Francis died that same year, 1884, 1 day short of his 8th birthday. Vrooman himself died 7 months later in 1885 from “bronchial consumption,” i.e., tuberculosis.

Addison Helms

February 19, 2019

The original 1-story, wood-frame farmhouse portion of the home located at 380 North 4th was built around 1866 for Addison Helms, probably soon after his marriage to Ann Ross. Helms had acquired the northern half of the entire block from James Clugage, the original donation land claim owner of most of the Jacksonville townsite. Although Helms was a resident of Jacksonville for over 30 years, little is known about him. He and his wife had no children. He was twice elected Marshall of Jacksonville but does not appear to have been employed at any single occupation for an extended period of time. He is listed in the 1860 census as a “trader”; the 1870 census as a “horse jockey”; and the 1880 census as “unemployed.” At the time of his death in 1886, the Oregon Sentinel wrote: “A fortune passed through his hands since he came to Jacksonville but with unselfish generosity that was the ruling characteristic of his life, his only appreciation of fortune’s golden favors was measured by his unstinted liberality to all.”

Frederick Frick Farmhouse

February 12, 2019

The wood frame 1880s farmhouse at 820 North 5th Street that currently houses Pioneer Financial Planning was originally built for Peter N. Fick (known as “Nicholas”) and his wife Henrietta Richtor. Both were born in Germany, meeting and marrying in Jacksonville in 1875. Nicholas first worked as a butcher with John Orth before acquiring land in the “east end of town.” By 1910 he was raising grains and livestock on some 150 acres that extended to Shafer Lane and had constructed a large family home on the current site of Wine Country Inn. Nicholas died in 1913. Henrietta outlived him by 29 years and by 1922 had reduced the family’s active holdings to 40 acres, renting out the remainder. The Fick’s younger son, Peter J. Fick born in 1883, apparently managed the property, operating a small-scale dairy. Peter J. also served on the Jacksonville City Council for 14 years and captained the town’s Volunteer Fire Department. Over the years, most of the original Fick holdings were divided and sold by the family’s heirs, however, Peter J. and his wife Zola retained ownership of the existing 820 North 5th Street parcel until their deaths. The Nicholas Fick farmhouse was demolished in the late 1880s, but the office of the Wine Country Inn is supposedly a replica. The Peter and Zola Fick house remains the only original property associated with the Fick family farm.

Frederick Frick

February 5, 2019

Frederick “Fred” Fick, born in 1878, was the oldest son of Jacksonville’s German butcher Nicholas Fick. At age 19, Fred left home to go into the “building business” and by 1906 is listed in local directories as a “building contractor.” He participated in many Rogue Valley construction projects including the 1908 Jacksonville school, now Bigham Knoll. Around 1909 he built the Fick House at 810 South 3rd Street in Jacksonville. For 25 years he owned and operated a hardware store at 125 W. California Street, now home to the Jville Tavern. He also served on the City Council and various standing committees. In 1920 Fred was a member of the temporarily successful committee charged with keeping the Jackson County Courthouse in Jacksonville; in 1926 he spearheaded a tree planting project on the “Jacksonville Highway” (North 5th); and in 1928 he petitioned the County Court to establish a museum in the U.S. Hotel. But in 1935 Fred saw the “handwriting on the wall” and moved his hardware business to Medford where “Fick’s Hardware was for many years located on West Main Street.”

Chautauqua

January 29, 2019

We’re lightening Jacksonville’s January gloom with the story of how Chautauqua came to town! Chautauqua was a highly popular adult education movement in the late 19th and early 20th centuries that brought speakers, teachers, musicians, showmen, and preachers to cities and rural communities. President Theodore Roosevelt described Chautauqua as “the most American thing in America.” In 1924 and 1925, an inspired Jacksonville City Council persuaded enough backers to secure a week of entertainment from the Ellison-White Chautauqua Company. Lacking a grand auditorium or park, Jacksonville’s first season was held in the high school gymnasium; the second in the U.S. Hotel ballroom. Season tickets sold for $2, enough to secure “wholesome college-type entertainers who presented genteel program material.” One of the highlights of the first season was the Rouse “All Sisters Quartet,” 4 saxophone-playing sisters from Iowa. Regrettably, both seasons ended in a deficit. Medford was campaigning to become the county seat, Jacksonville was becoming a backwater, and citizens had become more concerned with necessities than culture. But for a brief period, Jacksonville still enjoyed a touch of glamor.

Thomas Kenney House

January 22, 2019

Since we featured the Thomas Kenney House in Kenneth Gregg’s photo painting for our Miscellaneous Monday, we thought we would provide a little more background for History Trivia Tuesday. The house at 285 North 4th Street, one of Jacksonville’s few Queen Anne style homes, was built around 1898 by Thomas J. Kenney. Kenney’s father, Daniel M. Kenney, had opened the town’s first trading post in 1852, a tent structure at the corner of Oregon and California streets. His mother was Elizabeth T’Vault, daughter of lawyer, politician, and newspaper publisher William T’Vault. At age 8, Thomas began working as a “chore boy” in a livery stable, became an apprentice harness maker at age 10, and at 25 opened his own harness and saddle store. He subsequently sold insurance, invested in mines, accumulated considerable property, and conducted a hardware and grocery business becoming one of the town’s leading merchants. He served on the school board and city council, was active in various lodges, and was regarded as one of Jacksonville’s legendary patriarchs.

Community Center #2

January 15, 2019

We hope you have a chance to tour the new Jacksonville Community Center—a lovely, multi-purpose facility. However, the remodeled and expanded Sampson/Miller building is not the town’s first gathering place. Local fraternal buildings and breweries served that function for years after the town’s founding. Then in 1947 when Camp White buildings were being sold after World War II, the City and/or the Lions Club purchased some of their “surplus” and constructed a community center at the corner of C and North 4th streets to serve as a meeting and social gathering spot for adults and kids alike. Longtime residents recall it being the site of after-school activities, teen dance classes, and community Christmas gatherings. The Presbyterian Women prepared monthly suppers for the Jacksonville Lion’s Men’s Club. A 1953 Mail Tribune mentions the Hall as the site of the Jacksonville Volunteer Fire Department’s annual November ball. However, by the 1960s, the Community Center was becoming run down and the Saturday night dances had become rowdy. Mayor Jack Bates bought the community center and the adjacent P.J. Ryan building and began restoration work on the latter—part of Jacksonville’s revival after becoming the first West Coast district on the National Historic Landmark registry. By 1968, Bates tore the old community center down to serve as a parking lot for his new Jacksonville Inn. Jacksonville’s original community center was a “thing of the past” by the time Jerry Evans purchased the Jacksonville Inn that we know…..

Community Center #1

January 8, 2019

After nearly 20 years of planning and contributions from 100s of people, Jacksonville’s new community center at the corner of Main and South 4th streets will celebrate its public Grand Opening this Saturday, January 12, from 4 to 7pm. Now officially the Jacksonville Community Center, the 1946 Sampson/Miller building that has housed the “Senior Center” and community activities since 1998 retains a piece of Jacksonville history in the remodeled and expanded structure. The property was originally part of “Gunsmith” Miller’s estate. The building at the other end of the block that formerly housed Jacksonville’s administrative offices is the bottom story of what was Miller’s elegant 3-story Queen Anne-style home built in the 1880s. The Sampson/Miller property was the site of Miller’s stable, shed, and orchard. A 1944 fire destroyed the top 2 floors of the Miller home. With post-war housing at a premium, in 1946 the Sampson/Miller property was sold to Jaftel L. Potter who built the original modest structure at the core of the new center. The property passed through multiple owners over the years, eventually winding up in the hands of Robert and Martha Sampson in 1994. In 1998 they sold it to the City of Jacksonville, and the rest is history—or at least “known history” in this case—and the building will continue to make history as it serves as a gathering place for people of all ages for years to come.


New Year’s Celebrations

January 1, 2019

Historic Jacksonville began wondering how the Victorians celebrated New Year’s. While we didn’t find any specific Jacksonville information, we did learn that New Year’s traditions changed significantly over the course of the 19th Century. Before Christmas made a holiday “comeback” (many thanks to Moores’ “T’was the Night Before Christmas” and Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”), New Years was the primary gift-giving day. A favorite gift was an orange stuck with cloves, floated in the “wassail” bowl—i.e., a serving of spiked wine punch. In New York and some cities, it became a “Sadie Hawkins Day” when gentlemen were responsible for making social calls on the ladies rather than calling normally being the ladies’ role. Before long, the men apparently made it a competition to see how many visits to ladies they could rack up. (Of course, they were typically rewarded with sherry or eggnog at each stop.) Toward the end of the 1800s and continuing into the 1930s, the President even held a New Year’s Day reception at the White House—first receiving diplomats and government officials and then throwing the doors open to the general public, “who for the space of two hours paid their respects to the Chief Magistrate of the Nation.”

Pine Street Snow Sledding

December 25, 2018

We’ll wish you a Merry Christmas and 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.

Improved Order of Red Men

December 18, 2018

The Improved Order of Red Men was a popular fraternal society claiming descent from the instigators of the Boston Tea Party. Jacksonville boasted three tribes—the English-speaking Pocahontas Tribe No. 1, the German-speaking Stamm No. 148, and the Haymakers Association. In 1884, the societies jointly contracted with brick mason George Holt for the construction of Red Men’s Hall at the southwest corner of California and 3rd streets on the site of the former New State Billiard and Drinking Saloon. Sadly, the Red Men were unable to pay off their construction debt and relinquished title in 1891.

Matthew G. Kennedy #2

December 11, 2018

Constructed around 1855, the Matthew G. Kennedy house on North 3rd Street is the oldest Jacksonville residence still standing. One of the Valley’s earliest pioneers, Kennedy had been appointed town constable in early 1853 at the ripe old age of 23 and became the first elected Sheriff of Jackson County later that year. Kennedy also invested in Jacksonville real estate. He was the first Jacksonville settler to record his claim to a 100-foot frontage on the north side of California Street. Around 1854, he constructed 1 or 2 wood frame buildings that housed an “assemblage of shops” known as “Kennedy’s Row.” That site now houses The Pot Rack, The Blue Door Garden Store, Farmhouse Treasures, and the historic Beekman Bank Museum. But Kennedy also had a bit of the wanderlust. In 1857 he left Jacksonville to build a hotel called the Metropolitan House Hotel in Yreka, and by 1863, he had moved on to San Francisco.

Emil Britt

December 4, 2018

Michael Hafner shared this photo with Historic Jacksonville. He found it in an antique store and posted it on Forgotten Oregon. He thought the tree seemed very familiar. It should. It’s a photo of Emil Britt, the son of famed Jacksonville photographer and horticulturist, Peter Britt. Peter Britt himself may have taken the photo in the early 1900s. Emil is standing next to the Giant Sequoia his father planted in 1862 in honor of his birth. This majestic 200+ foot-tall tree, an official Oregon Heritage Tree, can still be found in the Peter Britt Gardens at the start of the Jacksonville Woodlands’ Sarah Zigler Trail.

Old City Hall #3

November 27, 2018

Jacksonville’s 1880 Old City Hall is the oldest government building in Oregon to remain in continuous use. It stands at the intersection of S. Oregon and Main streets, the heart of Jacksonville’s original business district, on the site of the 1st brick building in town–the 1854 Maury & Davis Dry Goods store. Reuben Maury and Benjamin Davis had run a very successful general merchandise building at this location until 1861. Their partnership ended with the outbreak of the Civil War when Maury became an officer in the Union Army; Davis, a nephew of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, was claimed by family ties. Various enterprises occupied the original building until a fire in October 1874 gutted the interior. The burnt-out building sat empty until the Jacksonville’s Board of Trustees purchased the site for a town hall. Bricks from the original store were recycled into the current building’s construction. Completed in 1881, Jacksonville’s Old City Hall still hosts City Council meetings, City commissions and committees, municipal court, various community organizations, and monthly movie nights.

 

John Hockenjos

November 20, 2018

In the spring of 1878, John Hockenjos purchased the 100’ x 100’ northeast corner property fronting 5th Street between D and E streets in Jacksonville. By fall, the Oregon Sentinel announced Hockenjos’s intention to build “a number of new residences on the vacant lot back of the Methodist Episcopal Church, which he will offer for rent.” Hockenjos, a native of Baden, Germany, was a carpenter by training. He had arrived in Jacksonville by the late 1860s and for roughly 25 years was one of the town’s most active builders. He is reported to have made repairs to the early wood frame Jackson County Courthouse and the County Clerk’s office, to have built the Sexton’s Toolhouse in Jacksonville’s Pioneer Cemetery, to have erected the Methodist Episcopal parsonage, and to have constructed and rented homes throughout town. Although Hockenjos built the house at 345 North 5th Street as a rental, the family also occupied it for some period of time. Hockenjos died in 1894, but his wife Eva retained ownership of this house until 1915.

St. Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church #3

November 13, 2018

St. Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church, now located at the corner of North 5th and D streets, was completed in 1854—the first church built in Jacksonville, the first church built in southwestern Oregon, and the oldest wood frame structure in town. At some point a parsonage was also constructed on California Street, just east of what became the site of the historic Presbyterian Church. As the Presbyterian Church neared completion in 1881, the Methodist Episcopal Trustees chose to sell the old parsonage and purchase the house at 325 North 5th, newly completed by local builder John Hockenjos. Hockenjos had purchased the entire northeast corner of the block in 1878 with the intention of constructing rental houses. What is now known as the Methodist Episcopal Parsonage may have been briefly rented before the Church Trustees purchased it in April 1881. The parsonage remained in the ownership of the Methodist Episcopal Church until 1921 when it was taken over by the county for back taxes. Sometime before the Church relinquished its title, a 1-story addition with a separate entrance was constructed—perhaps for parishioners visiting the Methodist minister at his home. The building is now a private residence.

James Cronemiller #2

November 6, 2018

James Cronemiller spent most of his life in Jacksonville, having moved here with his parents in 1864 when he was less than a year old. He followed in his father David’s footsteps as a blacksmith and then became a successful local merchant until he felt called to public service. Described as “honest, honorable, and upright,” he was named Deputy Sheriff by 1900. When Jackson County Treasurer Max Muller died in 1902, Cronemiller was appointed as his replacement and then elected to 4 terms of his own. He subsequently became Deputy County Assessor and also served as Jacksonville City Treasurer for over 20 years. Cronemiller was also active in lodge work serving s treasurer of Jacksonville’s Odd Fellows lodge for 13 years, secretary of the Warren Masonic Lodge for 14 years, and scribe of the Royal Arch lodge for 19 years. In 1908, when St. Mary’s Academy relocated to Medford, Cronemiller purchased the former school house for his residence. Located at what is now Beekman Square on E. California Street, his residence became part of Jacksonville’s pioneer “Millionaire’s Row.” Cronemiller died in 1923, “loved and respected by all.” The house burned in the 1930s.

James Cronemiller #1

October 30, 2018

James Cronemiller was born in 1863 a year before his father, blacksmith David Cronemiler, moved the family to Jacksonville. James initially followed in his father footsteps, working in the family smithy at the northeast corner of California and 3rd streets. An ambitious young man, James soon went out on his own. In partnership with George Love, he operated Cronemiller & Love from at least 1896 to 1899, offering dry goods and groceries. It was one of the many businesses that occupied the 1872 Orth Building on South Oregon Street. In this historic photo, you can see John Orth on the far left, James Cronemiller (3rd man from the left), and George Love (2nd man from the right). More on James next week as he becomes a notable public servant.

Rasmussen’s Super Serve

October 23, 2018

For most Jacksonville residents, the northeast corner of California and 3rd streets has always been home to Rasmussen’s Super Serve. Established by Ernest Rasmussen in 1950 as a combination gas station and car repair shop, the gas station portion has long been closed but Ernest’s grandson Steve still operates the popular local repair service. However, that corner has an older history of servicing local transportation needs. David Cronemiller, a native of Pennsylvania, arrived in Jacksonville in the early 1860s, and opened a blacksmith shop on that site in competition with the successful Patrick Donegan smithy diagonally across California Street. Business must have been booming since Cronemiller’s original smithy was soon replaced by a large, well-equipped blacksmith and wagon shop. He was described as “an excellent mechanic,” “always kept busy by satisfied patrons.” Donegan had closed shop by the late 1800s but Cronemiller continued to operate successfully until 1904 when his health began to fail. Cronemiller died in 1910, mourned by many for both his “honest and upright” nature and “his gentle forbearing ways.” Cronemiller’s smithy and wagon shop were torn down in 1929.

Post Office #14

October 16, 2018

We’ve finally come to the end of our Jacksonville Post Office saga after chasing the post office’s location beginning in 1854 through most of the buildings in downtown Jacksonville. The structure current residents know as the town post office, located at 175 N. Oregon Street, was officially dedicated on May 4, 1968. And what a celebration it was! The all-day event kicked off with a “buckaroo breakfast” at the original Pioneer Village, a coffee for U.S. Senator Wayne Morse, a picnic lunch on the grounds of the Jacksonville Museum (now the City offices), followed by a parade from the Museum to the new post office building. The dedication ceremony included speeches by Mayor Curly Graham, Senator Morse, the Regional Post Office Director, and other dignitaries. Morse also dedicated a flag that had flown over the Post Office Department in Washington D.C. to Jacksonville Postmaster Clarence Williams. A highlight was Pony Express riders delivering mail bags containing congratulatory letters from the mayors of Gold Hill, Central Point, Rogue River, Eagle Point, Medford, Phoenix, Talent and Ashland. But the day wasn’t over! An open house for the building followed along with a Britt Society antique show and sale. A dance in the ballroom of the U.S. Hotel finally ended the celebration. It was a very fitting day for the oldest continually operating post office in Jackson County—164 years and counting!

Post Office #13


October 9, 2018

After the “Friends of Historic Jacksonville” successfully retained the Jacksonville Post Office’s status as the oldest continually operating independent post office in Jackson County, the postal service decided it needed a new, larger building. In 1967 they chose a lot on N. Oregon Street by the old train depot, but they proposed a plain, government-designed, cement block building—a far cry from Jacksonville’s historic architecture and the town’s new standing as a National Historic Landmark District. When the Regional Postmaster in Seattle refused to answer phone calls or telegrams from local officials, Robbertson Collins, the individual who had spearheaded Jacksonville’s restoration went to work. Marshaling the support of Eric Allen (editor of the Medford Mail Tribune), Alfred Carpenter (Carpenter Foundation), Curly Graham (Jacksonville Mayor), Glen Jackson (head of the Oregon Department of Transportation), and Oregon Senator Mark Hatfield, the foundation submitted a design by local architect Jeff Shute that created a brick sheath over the proposed building, retaining its basic design but compatible with existing historic structures. Once the proposal was approved, the Regional Postmaster was set up as the hero. In planning the building’s dedication ceremony, Jacksonville Mayor Graham noted, “There is no end to the good you can do if you don’t care who gets the credit.”

Post Office #12

October 2, 2018

When Jacksonville Postmaster Lynn Houston Valentine resigned in 1963, the Post Office Department proposed to make the Jacksonville post office a substation of Medford, citing the potential for improved service for less money. Considering that the Jacksonville post office was the oldest continuously operating post office in the county, residents, businesses, and organizations actively opposed the proposal, saying they were perfectly happy with current service. Opponents published an “ad” in the October 22, 1965, Medford Mail Tribune as “An Appeal to Friends of Historic Jacksonville.” Signed by the City Council, the Lions Club, the Garden Club, the Jacksonville Museum, the Visitors Information Center, the Boosters Club, the Properties Board, the Realtors, the Siskiyou Pioneer Sites Foundation, and the Southern Oregon Historical Society, it cited the town’s uniqueness, its efforts to preserve historic heritage, and the post office’s role as a focal point for residents, the potential for a change to jeopardize the town’s restoration program, the impact on real estate values, and the impact on tourism. The proposal’s opponents ultimately prevailed, and the Jacksonville Post Office remains the oldest continually operating independent post office in Jackson County, Oregon!

Post Office #11


September 25, 2018

We’re into the 1950s so are nearing the end of the wandering Jacksonville Post Office saga. Around 1954, the post office was again relocated—this time 2 ½ blocks down the street from the Masonic building to 220 E. California, the current home of Jacksonville Publishing. A Jacksonville resident who grew up here remembered the move clearly. “It was my job to pick up the mail on the way home from school. The boxes had dial combinations, and I had to learn a new one. I loved Wednesdays when the Saturday Evening Post came!” The Postmaster during this period was Leon Matheny. When he died suddenly in 1959, his wife Dorothy was appointed Acting Postmaster.

Post Office #10


September 18, 2018

We’re continuing our saga of the Jacksonville Post Office, the oldest continually operating independent post office in Jackson County. In late 1912, Postmaster John F. Miller, Jr. chose to take a break from his duties after 14 years of service. His wife Mabel was appointed Postmistress in his stead but died suddenly within weeks of being named. The grieving widower resumed the role on an interim basis until June 1913, when Lewis (Louis) Ulrich, Jacksonville’s “pet” baseball player, was appointed to the position. For convenience, Ulrich moved the post office into space in the P.J. Ryan Building (now the Jacksonville Inn) next to his flour and feed store. Apart from his business and baseball interests, Ulrich also took an interest in politics. In 1906 he had served as Assistant County Treasurer, and in 1920 he became Col. Herbert Sargent’s “lieutenant” in Jacksonville’s battle to retain the county seat. He gladly performed the duties of “toastmaster” at the gala that celebrated the town’s short-lived success.

Post Office #9


September 11, 2018

And so we continue the saga of the Jacksonville Post Office. Beginning in 1922, Jacksonville employed an extended series of women post masters: Flora Thompson (1922-27), who had previously worked as a stenographer in the sheriff’s office; Alice Hoefs (1928-1932), formerly a saleswoman; Lulu Saulsberry—shown here (1933); Ella Eaton (1934-38), who later became the town telephone operator; Ruth Hoffman (1939-1942), Eastern Star Matron; and Mary Smith Christean (1943-1952). Shortly prior to Saulsberry’s appointment, the post office was moved back to the Masonic Hall. And there’s still more to come, so stick with us for a few more weeks as we wend our way through the story of the oldest continually operating independent post office in Jackson County!

Post Office #8


September 4, 2018

And it’s 1912 and Postmaster John F. Miller, Jr. has moved the post office into his former hardware store at 155 W. California Street. His father had been Jacksonville’s first gunsmith and this 1874 brick building had originally housed his father’s “Hunters’ Emporium.” However, John Jr. was more of a gardener. In addition to installing copper lock boxes and special windows for money orders, registry business, and general delivery, he decorated the building with flowers and plants “hanging from the ceiling and piled in corners.” The Jacksonville Sentinel described it as a “combination of a parlor and a greenhouse.” The U.S. Postal Service authorities were not as impressed and eventually required Miller to remove the plants.

Post Office #7


August 28, 2018

It’s 1898 and the Jacksonville Post Office has moved again! John F. Miller, Jr. is the new Postmaster, and he’s moved the post office one building—from Pape’s saloon in the Masonic building into Schumpf’s barber shop next to Miller’s hardware store. By 1907, the barber shop has been replaced by a millinery shop. Currently this building at 157 E. California Street is occupied by Rebel Heart Books. Hair, hats, or books—the post office is in a very “heady” location!

Post Office #6


August 21, 2018

It’s also the next installment in our saga of the Jacksonville post office, the oldest continually operating independent post office in Jackson County since being established in 1854. In July 1888, the Democratic administration appointed Henry Pape, Sr. to the position of Jacksonville postmaster. Pape, one of the town’s substantial German citizens, had served 2 terms as Jackson County Treasurer and several years as City Treasurer. He promptly relocated the post office to his business establishment—a saloon located in the new Masonic Hall at the corner of California and Oregon streets. Pape was apparently both popular and capable since the succeeding Republican administration retained his services as post master for at least another 2 terms.

Post Office #5


August 14, 2018

We’re continuing to track the history and multiple locations of the Jacksonville post office, the oldest continually operating post office in Jackson County and the only one not a substation of Medford. Post master Max Muller saw major fires burn 2 of the post office buildings he supervised. After the 1874 fire he moved the post office to 125 W. California (now the J’ville Tavern), which had been constructed as a “fire proof” brick building. But fire again burned the post office building in 1884. The fire had originated in the New States Saloon (the current site of Redman’s Hall and Boomtown Saloon) and was not long in reaching the post office store. The building may have been fire proof, but the store’s contents were not. The fire entered the cellar from the adjacent building and “raged inside.” However, the iron coverings over the store’s windows and doors were kept closed “and the flames allowed to spend their forces.” The brick walls remained intact, and 5 months later the post office store was again ready for occupancy.

Post Office #4


August 7, 2018

We’re continuing our saga of Jacksonville’s post office. In 1870, Max Muller was appointed postmaster of Jacksonville. As well as an honor, this was a good business opportunity. For the next 18 years Muller served as postmaster and his place of business was known as the “post office store.” Initially the post office was in the Muller & Brentano “groceries, candies, nuts, and stationery” store at the corner of California and Oregon, now home to the Cotton Broker. At some point after the fire of 1874, Muller & Brentano moved to 125 W. California, currently occupied by the J’ville Tavern. This location became the “new” Post Office Store until 1888. After that it became “Max Muller & Co., Jacksonville, Or., the leading dealers in Gents Furnishing Goods.”

Post Office #3


July 31, 2018

For the next few weeks we’re continuing to track the history of the Jacksonville post office, the oldest operating post office in Jackson County. Supposedly the first actual Jacksonville post office of record was the brick building at 110 S. Oregon Street that now houses the Cotton Broker. In 1861, Robert and Israel Haines (shown here) constructed this 1-story brick building at the corner of California and Oregon streets, replacing a wooden building they had occupied since arriving in Jacksonville 7 years earlier. It’s one of the oldest commercial buildings to survive 3 major fires that ravaged the town. In 1864 it reportedly housed the Jacksonville post office. The construction expense may have over extended the brothers financially, since post-1866 records show a series of short-term occupants—Isadore Caro, Gustav Karewski, and Jeremiah Nunan. By 1872, Max Muller (also pictured) had moved his “groceries, candies, nuts, and stationery” store to this location where he also performed the duties of postmaster.

Post Office #2


July 24, 2018

For the next few weeks we’re tracing Jacksonville post office history. It’s the oldest continually operating post office in Jackson County—although the term “post office” may initially be a misnomer. The first “post offices” on the West Coast were essentially contracts with individuals or businesses who were authorized to handle the mail and deliver it along a designated route. Individuals were usually “express riders”; businesses were typically stage companies; and the “post office” was probably the express office or stage stop. Mail might be addressed to a general area and could turn up at any local “post office,” so individuals making trips to town might ask for mail for all their neighbors. R. Dugan opened the first Jacksonville post office on February 18, 1854. Sam Taylor (lower left) succeeded him as post master in December of that year. Taylor was a miner and early Jackson County Deputy Sheriff. C.C. Beekman (upper left) then carried the mail from Jacksonville to Yreka until 1863, initially as an express rider for Cram Rogers & Company, then for his own company, Beekman’s Express. The U.S. didn’t issue postage stamps until 1847, and for a number of years afterwards, letters could still be hand stamped. Prepayment of postage was not required until 1855. From 1851 to 1855, a prepaid ½ ounce transcontinental letter cost 6₵; the unpaid rate was 10₵. The prepaid West Coast rate was 3₵ and the unpaid rate 5₵. The mail contractor would have added a surcharge of 1₵ or 2₵ per letter.

Post Office #1


July 17, 2018

Did you know that the Jacksonville post office is the only independent post office in Jackson County with its own superintendent—a story all to itself. And it’s the oldest continually operating post office in the county since opening in 1854. It’s been located in almost every building in Jacksonville’s historic downtown. Over the next few History Trivia Tuesdays we’ll try to trace as much local post office history as we’ve been able to piece together.
The first Jackson County post office was established by William T’Vault in 1852 in the Dardanelles, across the Rogue River from Gold Hill. T’Vault, who founded the now defunct town, was Oregon’s first postmaster general, being named to that position in 1845 soon after the wagon train he commanded reached Oregon City. T’Vault came to Southern Oregon in 1852 when he learned of the region’s gold strikes. He moved to Jacksonville in 1855, establishing the first newspaper in Southern Oregon, the Table Rock Sentinel, changing its name to the Oregon Sentinel 3 years later. He also returned to his law practice, and in 1858 was elected to the Territorial Legislature as a slavery and states rights advocate, soon after becoming speaker of the House.
T’Vault was an early advocate of the “state of Jefferson,” which he pictured as an independent Pacific slave-holding republic. Although there have since been several attempts to create a “State of Jefferson” from northern California and Southern Oregon (although none included slavery), a new Pacific Coast state has yet to be realized–although California is now entertaining a proposal to break into 6 separate states!
T’Vault died in 1869, the last victim of the 1868-1869 smallpox epidemic.

Catalpa Trees


July 10, 2018

For years, 2 huge Catalpa trees with their large heart-shaped leaves and popcorn-like clusters of flowers were prominent features in the yard of Jacksonville’s historic Beekman House Museum at 470 E. California Street. These quick-growing trees were popular plantings in pioneer settlements throughout the West. Also known as the Indian bean tree, the Catalpa was valued for its medicinal uses. Tea brewed from its bark was used as an antiseptic to treat snake bites and whooping cough. A light sedative could be made from the flowers and seed pods, and the flowers were used for treating asthma. The leaves could also be turned into a poultice for treating wounds. However, the leaves may have served an even more valued purpose. Prior to the days of indoor plumbing, the large, soft Catalpa leaves may have been a welcome alternative to the Sears Roebuck catalog….
You can appreciate the remaining 100-year-old Catalpa tree when you tour the 1873 Beekman House any Saturday this summer – although public restrooms have now replaced the 2-seater outhouse which you can still see in the backyard!

4th of July


July 3, 2018

Well into the 20th Century, the Fourth of July was a bigger holiday than Christmas. And with Independence Day celebrations taking place all around the Rogue Valley, we’ve chosen to again share how Jacksonville honored this special occasion in the late 1800s. The Oregon Sentinel provided a detailed description of the town’s 1876 festivities. Residents were awakened with a reveille of cannon and gun fire, followed by an elaborate parade. The procession of prancing horses, brass bands, and floats formed in front of the courthouse. Typical floats might showcase 38 young girls representing each state, the Goddess of Liberty and the Angel of Peace, or other patriotic symbols. The parade usually ended at Bybee’s Grove where residents and visitors alike could enjoy a full day of oratory, food and drink, music, games, dancing, and other activities. Current celebrations may not be so elaborate, but Jacksonville residents can still enjoy a Fourth of July picnic with the Mayor from 12n to 3pm on the lawn of City Hall with free hot dogs, chips, and watermelon!

Auguste Petard


June 26, 2018

In 1896 a group of French settlers arrived in Jacksonville intent on establishing a large-scale grape and wine industry. One of these individuals, Francois Loran, was granted the parcel of land located at 860 Hill Street where he constructed the initial box house that still stands on the site. In 1918, the property was acquired by Auguste Petard, another Frenchman and winemaker. Petard had come to America in the late 1890s to make his fortune mining gold—only to find he was 50 years too late. He was headed for the Yukon when he stumbled across Jacksonville. He purchased a claim at the head of Rich Gulch and again tried mining—constructing the irrigation ditch that bears his name. He mined enough gold to acquire additional property including the Hill Street site, and again turned to grape growing and winemaking. Petard, with his wife Marie and their sons, farmed about 20 acres, selling most of their grapes to other winemakers while producing enough vin ordinaire for the family. However, Petard was again a victim of timing. The 1919 Volstead Act prohibited the production and consumption of alcohol, and in 1922, the Women’s Christian Temperance Union accused the Petards of making and selling “bootleg wine.” The sheriff confiscated 600+ gallons of wine (over $4,000 worth) and poured it out. The 79-year-old Auguste was fined $75 and barely escaped a jail sentence. The Petards had to content themselves with growing table grapes—although there may have been a barrel or 2 of wine produced on the side….

Morris Mensor


June 19, 2018

Morris Mensor was “well known as one of the enterprising businessmen” in early Jacksonville. A native of Prussia, he left home at age 19 and became a laborer in an oil factory in Hamburg, Germany. Within 6 months he was clerk and a year later foreman, supervising 1200 men. Accumulating a few thousand dollars, he returned home and gave the money to his parents to care for his younger siblings. When he sailed for America a year or so later, he could barely pay his passage, but on-board ship earned over $600 as an amateur musician—which he again sent home. In New York, he worked as a glazier and painter for a few years. Then in 1854, at age 42, he married 16-year-old Matilda Fisher. A year later, the couple came to San Francisco. With the gold rush over, they soon moved on to Jacksonville, where Morris became co-partner with his wife’s cousins in the Fisher Brothers mercantile. Within a few years he went out on his own, opening a mercantile in Phoenix. When health problems arose in 1876, he returned to Jacksonville and opened Morris Mensor’s New York Store at 170 S. Oregon in the old Brunner Building. Mensor operated his New York Store general merchandise business until his death in 1887, one of the handful of merchants to remain in Jacksonville after the railroad by-passed the town.

Patrick Donegan


June 12, 2018

From as early as 1855 to at least 1888, Jacksonville’s southwest corner of California and 4th streets housed Patrick Donegan’s smithy. Donegan, a native of Ireland, had immigrated to the U.S. as a teenager and by 1850 had followed the hordes of gold seekers to San Francisco. After trying his hand in the California gold fields, he staked a claim in the Oregon mining camp of Sterling before settling in Jacksonville in 1855 and returning to the profession for which he had trained. His black smithy proved profitable; the 1870 census showed a personal wealth of $12,000 plus real estate valued at $3,000 which included a 5,000-acre tract on the Rogue River used for sheep farming. In 1860, he had married Margaret Lynch, 12 years his junior, with whom he had 5 children. Following Margaret’s death at age 30, he married Mary Fleming, 18 years his junior, whom he met on a visit to Ireland. They had 3 more children. Only 3 of Donegan’s 8 children survived; 4 died in typhoid or diphtheria epidemics; one died from “lockjaw” (tetanus) after a toy pistol exploded in a 4th of July accident. By the turn of the century, Donegan had closed his smithy and moved to San Diego where he died in 1919. He is buried in the Catholic section of the Jacksonville cemetery.

Jacob Grob


June 5, 2018

Emil Britt and Mollie Britt, son and daughter of pioneer photographer and horticulturist Peter Britt, are well known names in Jacksonville history. Less well known is Jacob Grob, Peter Britt’s adopted son. Britt had courted Grob’s mother Amalia in their home country, Switzerland, but her parents had opposed her marrying an itinerant artist. When a now successful Peter heard of her husband’s death, he sent her money to come to Oregon and marry him. The couple married in 1861 and Peter adopted Amalia’s then 7 year-old son, Jacob Grob. The couple had 2 surviving children of their own—Emil and Mollie—before Amalia’s death in 1871. As adults, Mollie assumed management of the household, and Emil became a partner in the photography business. Jake oversaw Peter’s agricultural holdings and affairs, helping establish Britt’s legacy as the father of Southern Oregon’s commercial orchard, wine, and ornamental horticulture industries. Britt Park, now the Britt Festival grounds and the City-owned lower Britt Gardens, was the focal point of many of these efforts. Grob died in 1896 at age 42.

Jackson County Poor Farm


May 29, 2018

Today we’re also asking for your help with a history mystery! We’re trying to locate Emil DeRoboam’s Jackson County Poor Farm. [See photos.] We recently told you how Emil DeRoboam was the farm’s superintendent. He apparently took over from his aunt, Madame Jeanne DeRoboam Holt, proprietress of the U.S. Hotel. She had obtained the contract for the county “poor hospital” in 1880, housing the indigent for $1.49 a day in a building she rented adjacent to her Franco-American Hotel, the current site of the Jacksonville Inn cottages. Emil apparently ran it for two years after her death in 1884. When he moved his family to Yreka, the inmates were relocated to J.M Lofland’s farm near Jacksonville. However, by 1888, Emil was back in town and purchased the 642-acre Bellinger land claim. In addition to farming the land, he obtained the contract for the county “poor farm” in his own right and ran it for almost 20 years until the county purchased a site near Talent. The Talent site, which operated until 1983, is now home to the Southern Oregon Educational Service District. But back to Emil. Where was his “poor farm”? It had to be somewhere near Bellinger Lane and his home at 3995 S. Stage Road. Can you help us locate it?

Gold Digging in the 1930s


May 22, 2018

Are you familiar with how the discovery of gold during the winter of 1851-52 led to the founding of Jacksonville? Within a few months the area was dotted with the tents of 3,000+ miners seeking the promise of treasure. However, you may be less familiar with Jacksonville’s second gold rush. As an alternative to putting residents on the “dole” during the Great Depression, the County gave out mining permits, allowing residents to dig for any residual gold. Some got lucky, but most latter-day miners only found enough gold to live from day to day. However, almost every inch of Jacksonville was “undermined.” Most mining shafts were dug in backyards, but some residents had sufficient moxie to burrow under the town’s commercial buildings like the shaft pictured here in what is now the parking lot behind Jacksonville’s post office and Visitors Center. The result is periodic “sink holes” opening over old mine shafts around town. Learn more about Depression Era Jacksonville this Saturday, May 26, when you join Beekman family members and friends for 1932 Living History tours at the town’s historic Beekman House Museum, located at 470 E. California. Interact with historical interpreters at 11am, 1 or 3pm as they close this 1873 home, go through family belongings, comment on current affairs, and reminisce about growing up in the late 1800s.

Emil DeRoboam


May 15, 2018

Emil DeRoboam, nephew of U.S. Hotel proprietress Madame Jeanne DeRoboam Holt, had learned the tailor’s trade as a youth in France. After emigrating to Jacksonville in 1871 with his widowed father, Jean St. Luc DeRoboam, he became a wagon and carriage maker. The Democratic Times newspaper at various times declared Emil to be “an excellent mechanic” and “an excellent wheelwright.” After his father married rich Prussian widow Henrietta Schmidling in 1873, Emil courted and married her daughter Rosa 2 years later. The couple had 4 children. Emil was described as a “progressive man” and “prominent in political undertakings.” In the mid-1880s he purchased the 642 acre “Bellinger land claim” for “general farming and stock raising” and obtained the contract for the “county poor.” For 20 years, Emil was superintendent of the Jackson County poor farm, caring for the county’s wards on his farm. His home, pictured here, still stands on South Stage Road.

Unio Hotel


May 8, 2018

The southeast corner of Oregon and California streets has been the site of a hotel almost since Jacksonville was founded. As early as November 1852, Jesse Robinson claimed “squatters rights” to an existing 2-story wood frame structure. The “Robinson House” became a “private boarding house patronized by the elite.” Austin Badger and Nelson Smith purchased the building in late 1855, renamed it the Union Hotel, and enlarged it. When Badger and Nelson couldn’t pay their debts, the Union Hotel was sold to Louis Horne who rechristened it the U.S. Hotel. Horne “improved” the hotel in 1868 by adding a 50’ x 30’ hall fronting on E. California. The 2nd floor, resting on “steel springs,” was made expressly for dancing; the ground floor housed offices and shops. Three years later a skating rink was opened in “Horne’s Hall.” The disastrous 1873 fire which leveled many of the wood frame structures on California Street was believed to have originated in a flue of the U.S. Hotel. The fire destroyed everything on the block…except for Horne’s chicken coop. The property was subsequently sold at a sheriff’s sale and then resold to brick mason George Holt, and his wife, hotel proprietress Jeanne DeRoboam Holt. George fired the bricks for his wife’s long dreamed-of, brick hotel. The brick U.S. Hotel, the structure we know today, opened in 1880 with a Tammany Day celebration, a Fourth of July Ball, and a visit by President Rutherford B. Hayes.

Jacksonville Library


May 1, 2018

In 1885, Jacksonville residents began fund raising efforts for a public library, but it was 1908 before a free public library was finally established for town residents. The Library Association rented the “Beekman building on Main Street” and fitted up a reading room with table, bookcase, desk and chairs. It was initially stocked with 50 books from the State traveling library, 80 donated books, and a collection of Harper’s Monthly magazines dating from 1868. Library hours were Tuesday and Friday from 7 to 9 pm and Wednesday and Saturday from 2 to 6 pm. Books could be checked out for 1 week. There had been earlier town libraries—a subscription circulating library; a Catholic library established by the local priest; and a Young Men’s Library & Reading Room Club. In 1920 Jacksonville, with a population of 489, was the first town to respond to a cooperative arrangement with the County, finding a “suitable room” in the 1855 Brunner Building at the corner of S. Oregon and Main streets—the oldest brick building still standing in Jacksonville and the Pacific Northwest. On 2 afternoons and 1 evening each week Mrs. H. K. Hanna, the first librarian, supervised the circulation of 290 books. But long before the end of the 20th Century, the Brunner Building was a very “tight squeeze.” A 2000 County-wide bond measure funded construction of the current Jacksonville library on West C Street.

Jacksonville Museum #3-U.S. Hotel


April 24, 2018

Soon after its 1925 formal opening, the 1-room Jacksonville museum in the Brunner Building operated by the Native Daughters of Jacksonville was deemed inadequate. More space was needed and as early as 1928 the Chamber of Commerce and City Council petitioned Jackson County for money to establish a museum in the U.S. Hotel on California Street. The County “took it under advisement.” In the 1930s, “a treasure house of junk and a handful of historical artifacts” was set up in what is now the Bella Union. The “Cabinet of Curiosities” from the old Table Rock Saloon was added to the collection along with other items from “historical minded folks.” Then local antique dealer Frank Zell stepped in. He had both a valuable collection of his own and an eye for history. But when crowded exhibits threatened to crash through the floor to the cellar below, Zell asked the City Council to move the museum to the U.S. Hotel—a goal embraced by local folk for over 10 years. The Council approved the move; the collection was transferred to the U.S. Hotel; and the U.S. Hotel became the Jacksonville Museum. Visitors sometimes contributed a quarter to the kitty, and Jacksonville acquired its first tourist attraction.

Jacksonville Museum #2-Brunner Building


April 17, 2018

Shortly after the Table Rock Saloon closed in 1914, the residents of Jacksonville began lamenting the loss of its “Cabinet of Curiosities”—a collections of pioneer artifacts and relics that owner Herman von Helms had amassed. After Paramount Pictures released “The Covered Wagon” in 1923—the industry’s first historical “Epic Big Screen Western”—it intensified local interest in “old pioneer days” since the silent movie depicted the settlement of Oregon. “The Covered Wagon” became one of the most popular and critically acclaimed films of the first half of the 1920s, and a Jacksonville museum became more than wishful thinking. Inspired by the film and the upcoming Jacksonville reunion of the Pioneer Society of Southern Oregon, Mrs. Alice Applegate Sargent purchased the 1855 Brunner Building at the corner of Main and S. Oregon streets with the goal of creating “a repository for pioneer relics.” The museum opened briefly for the society’s annual meeting in October 1924, then had its formal opening February 27, 1925. Open on Tuesdays and Fridays, local newspapers reported that it attracted so many visitors that Mrs. Sargent and her assistant were kept very busy!

Jacksonville Museum #1-Table Rock Saloon

 

April 10, 2018

A museum has long been a feature of Jacksonville. The Table Rock Billiard Saloon, constructed in 1860 at 165 S. Oregon Street, was also Jacksonville’s first museum. Saloonkeeper Herman Von Helms collected fossils and oddities to attract a clientele that then stayed for his lager. When the saloon closed in 1914, the Helms’ “Cabinet of Curiosities” boasted a collection of artifacts valued at $50,000. It encompassed “every possible manner of relic…mutely telling pages in the early history of Jackson County.” Highlights included the first piece of gold found in Jacksonville, a photo and piece of rope from a hanging, and the first billiard table in the Oregon Territory. The billiard table was twice the size of those used today and was transported in sections on pack horses from Crescent City, CA. Today the Table Rock Saloon is home to the Good Bean coffee house, but you can still enjoy some Jacksonville history in the form of the 19th Century photos decorating the walls.

Broom and Fan Brigades

 

April 3, 2018

Our pioneer forefathers didn’t have TV, radio, or movies to entertain them; they had to create their own amusements. Most could play an instrument, sing a tune, or recite a poem when called upon. Tableaux depicting popular images were also frequent in-home entertainment. By the 1880s, inspired by reunions of Civil War soldiers, young ladies began forming drill teams and executing precise drill routines. Manuals were even published to illustrate appropriate movements. Jacksonville is known to have had a scarf team, a fan brigade, and a broom brigade. The latter was especially commended in local newspapers for the way in which it executed the commands of its drill-master “in marching, counter-marching, wheeling, advancing, and handling their ‘deadly weapons.’” Following the brigade’s performance at an 1889 benefit, the teams’ brooms were even auctioned off. The brooms realized the handsome sum of $8 for the cemetery well fund.

Thomas Fletcher Royal

March 27, 2018

Thomas Fletcher Royal, who raised the money for and oversaw the completion of Jacksonville’s St. Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church in 1854, preached for over 50 years becoming one of the most widely known and longest serving pioneer clergyman in the Pacific Northwest. The Jacksonville circuit was his first Oregon assignment. In addition to filling multiple pulpits, he was also heavily involved in education. He played a major role in the development of Jackson County’s early school system and served as the first superintendent of Jackson County School District #1. After leaving Jacksonville in the early 1860s, he served as Principal of Douglas County’s Umpqua Academy, Principal of the Portland Academy and Female Seminary, teacher and clerk for the Siletz Indian reservation, and Superintendent of the Klamath Indian Mission and Boarding School. When he returned to pastoral duties, he served numerous churches. Even after “retiring”, he continued preaching, ministering to the convicts of the Salem Penitentiary and the inmates of the Salem Insane Asylum.

St. Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church

March 20, 2018

St. Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church at the corner of D and North 5th streets in Jacksonville is one of a handful of churches claiming the title of “Oldest Protestant Church West of the Rockies.” Two pastors can be credited with its construction—Joseph Smith and Thomas Fletcher Royal (shown here). Both had arrived in Jacksonville in October 1853 as part of a “Preacher Wagon Train.” Smith is credited with beginning the church’s construction; Royal with completing it in 1854 as its pastor and guiding force. Royal’s wife, Mary Ann, was one of the women who visited various gold camps asking for donations toward its construction. Royal went a step farther. In his memoirs, he recorded walking into a Jacksonville saloon and asking gamblers for help in building the church. When they questioned his willingness to use gambling money to build a house of worship, Royal reported replying, “Oh, yes. And we would put it to a better use.”

Stagecoach


March 13, 2018

Before the Jacksonville Trolley began offering narrated history tours, visitors and residents alike could board a stagecoach operated by George McUne for a 15-minute tour of the town. After traveling in a covered wagon from Independence, Missouri, to Oregon as part of Oregon’s 1959 Centennial Wagon Train, McUne had sent to the Smithsonian for original Wells Fargo stagecoach plans and handcrafted a replica. In 1961, he began offering stagecoach tours of Jacksonville. The coach carried 12 to 15 passengers and was drawn by his reliable mules, Fibber and Molly. McUne would share stories about the discovery of gold, President Hayes’ visit to Jacksonville, the West’s last great train robbery, and other local tales. And tours always included a robbery at the Beekman Bank. McUne’s stagecoach rides were the genesis of what became Jacksonville’s original Pioneer Village with its array of “rescued” historic buildings and its multiple attractions.

Pioneer Village

March 6, 2018

Jacksonville’s current Pioneer Village at 805 North 5th Street is the namesake of an earlier 5-acre Pioneer Village constructed by George McUne between 1961 and 1964. For over 20 years, McUne’s Pioneer Village was an adventure into Jacksonville’s past with authentic buildings from nearby locations that were filled with the historic relics McUne collected. In the village stockade, visitors watched western fights and “black snake whip” demonstrations. They took pony rides and boarded a stagecoach. They watched a blacksmith make hand rolled wagon tires in his forge. They enjoyed Victorian melodramas. They explored Yreka’s Dogtown Saloon, still sporting bullet holes in the front door; or visited a jail, a moon-shiner’s cabin, or a little red schoolhouse that served Valley Falls students in southeast Oregon from 1880-1919. When George died in 1979, his passion for historical treasure died with him. His collection of 8,000 items was sold in 1985, leaving an empty lot that would later become the Pioneer Village Retirement Community.

Brunner Building #2


February 27, 2018

Constructed around 1855, the Brunner Building at 170 S. Oregon Street was the second brick building erected in Jacksonville and remains the town’s and Oregon’s oldest brick building still standing. Jacob Brunner was an early arrival to the young gold mining camp and by 1854 had established himself as a merchant carrying one of the heaviest stock of goods. A year earlier, Brunner had purchased the Main and Oregon corner lot at the new settlement’s first commercial street intersection. By January 1856 he was advertising his “fire-proof brick” store. An 1860 rear addition made it not only the “largest store building in Jackson County” but also “the largest south of Salem.” Brunner was among the first elected Trustees of Jacksonville after the town government was organized in 1860. However, by 1863 he had sold the “Brunner Building.” Belatedly catching “gold fever,” he appears to have moved on to the mines of southern Idaho.

Matthew G. Kennedy #1

February 20, 2018

Matthew G. Kennedy was the first Jacksonville settler to record his claim to a 100-foot frontage on the north side of California Street. Around 1854, he constructed 1 or 2 wood frame buildings that housed an “assemblage of shops” known as “Kennedy’s Row.” That site now houses The Pot Rack, The Blue Door Garden Store, Farmhouse Treasures, and the historic Beekman Bank Museum. Early newspapers carry advertisements for Kennedy Tinware (a hardware store) at what is now 150 W. California (The Pot Rack). In addition to being a merchant and one of Jacksonville’s earliest settlers, Kennedy had been appointed town constable in early 1853 at the ripe old age of 23 and became the first elected Sheriff of Jackson County later that year. At the time, Jackson County also included Josephine, Curry, and Coos counties.

George “Bum” Neuber #2

February 13, 2018

Jacksonville’s Calvary Church at 520 North 5th Street was originally the site of George “Bum” Neuber’s home. Bum kept a petting zoo for children in his back yard. However, he was known more for being a “sporting man.” He owned a downtown saloon and card parlor, owned the Jacksonville Gold Bricks baseball team, speculated in copper mining, and was a founding member of the Gold Ray Rod and Gun Club. As noted in last week’s trivia, he was also a prankster. By the late 1880s, that newfangled invention, the bicycle, had become a popular mode of transportation and exercise. According to an April 1897 Medford Mail, when a party of cyclists stopped to rest in Jacksonville one Sunday afternoon, Neuber and a pal “borrowed” a couple of the “wheels”, presumably to take a spin around the block. Apparently Neuber wasn’t good at navigating turns. Although he fell at least once, tearing his pants and scraping his knee, he didn’t stop until he reached Medford…just in time to take the train back to Jacksonville.

George “Bum” Neuber #1

 

February 6, 2018

George “Bum” Neuber (1865-1929) was a prankster and a joker. He was responsible for firing the Jacksonville cannon in the 1904 “celebration” that wiped out most of the windows on California Street. He was a “card” in the language of his day, so it seems appropriate that he ran a Jacksonville card room and saloon. Located at 130 W. California Street, his saloon and gaming establishment occupied the same location where his father, John Neuber, had opened the town’s first jewelry shop. John specialized in solid gold buckles for women’s belts. George specialized in relieving customers of their gold. In addition to his card room and saloon, he also owned the Jacksonville Gold Brick baseball team and was known for bringing in “ringers” to ensure the success of his players.

Jacksonville’s Cannon

January 31, 2018

The mock cannon outside the Public Works shop behind Jacksonville’s City Hall serves as a tribute to the 6 pound brass field piece the Governor ordered for Jacksonville at the beginning of the Civil War. The original cannon, now housed in the Oregon Military Museum in Clackamas, was fired in honor of Union victories and on special post-war occasions. During a 1904 Grand Army of the Republic reunion, some local veterans staged their own celebration. Around midnight on Saturday, September 24, George “Bum” Neuber and some of his colleagues, under the supervision of town Marshal Bill Kenney, pulled the cannon to the middle of California Street, stuffed 6 woolen socks full of gunpowder down the barrel, and lit the fuse. The blast took out every window from 3rd to 5th streets, and left shattered doors, broken window frames, and cracked plaster in surrounding buildings. It took the local glazier 3 weeks to replace all the glass. Bum Neuber gladly footed the bill, declaring it “jolly good fun”!

Thomas Kenney

January 23, 2018

Thomas Joseph Kenney (also Kinney or Kenny) was described in the 1904 publication, Portrait and Biographical Record of Western Oregon, as “a worthy representative of the esteemed and valued citizens of Jacksonville” who by “persistent energy and foresight became established among the successful business men of the city while he was yet a comparatively young man.” In many respects, he followed in his father’s footsteps. Tom was the older son of Daniel Kenney who, with a man named Appler, opened the area’s first “house of commerce” in the spring of 1852–a trading post at the northeast corner of Oregon and California streets. It was known for years as “the old Kenney and Appler corner” so in 1906 it was a fitting place for Tom to locate his hardware and grocery business, one of his many enterprises. Tom’s business occupied the oldest portion of the current Bella Union Restaurant & Saloon at 170 W. California, but it was still the “Kenney corner”—Tom owned the entire business block!

 

Thomas Kenney House

January 16, 2018

The house at 285 North 4th Street, one of Jacksonville’s few Queen Anne style homes, was built around 1898 by Thomas J. Kenney. Kenney’s father, Daniel M. Kenney, had opened the town’s first trading post in 1852, a tent structure at the corner of Oregon and California streets. His mother was Elizabeth T’Vault, daughter of lawyer, politician, and newspaper publisher William T’Vault. At age 8, Thomas began working as a “chore boy” in a livery stable, became an apprentice harness maker at age 10, and at 25 opened his own harness and saddle store. He subsequently sold insurance, invested in mines, accumulated considerable property, and conducted a hardware and grocery business becoming one of the town’s leading merchants. He served on the school board and city council, was active in various lodges, and was regarded as one of Jacksonville’s legendary patriarchs.

William T’Vault

January 9, 2018

In the block next to the Interpretive Center in Jacksonville’s Pioneer Cemetery there is a marker shaped like an open book, a Victorian symbol for immortality. It reads William Green T’Vault, 1809-1869. T’Vault was a brilliant writer and journalist. He published the first newspaper in the Pacific Northwest, The Oregon Spectator¸ and the first newspaper in Southern Oregon, the Table Rock Sentinel. T’Vault was also a lawyer and a politician, at different times serving as provisional legislator, state legislator, Speaker of the House, and District Attorney. He co-authored with Joseph Lane the laws that governed the Territory until Oregon became a state in 1859. He was the last victim of the 1869 smallpox epidemic, a disease so feared that not a single mourner attended his burial.

Jacksonville Cemetery

January 2, 2018

Jacksonville’s Historic Cemetery, located at the end of West “D” Street, is one of the oldest cemeteries in the Pacific Northwest and one of the few that has remained in continuous use. Its 32 acres contain over 4,000 grave sites. The cemetery was platted in 1859 and dedicated in 1860, but there are headstones with earlier dates. Before this cemetery opened, it was common for settlers to have family graveyards on their own property. Later some chose to move loved ones to the community cemetery. Two such are Gabriel and Anderville Plymale, father and son, the earliest recorded deaths in Jacksonville. Having survived the 2,000 mile trek across the Oregon Trail, they arrived in Jacksonville in October of 1852. Gabriel died within the month from “swamp fever,” more commonly known as typhoid fever. Anderville died just three weeks after his father. There was no cemetery at the time, so they were buried at the bottom of the hill. When the cemetery opened in 1860, they were brought here to their final resting place.

Boxing Day

December 26, 2017

December 26 is the day that upper and middle-class Victorians celebrated as “Boxing Day.” Church alms boxes were broken open and their contents distributed to the poor; servants were given the day off and sent home with presents and boxes of Christmas leftovers for their families. Jacksonville’s prominent 19th Century pioneer Beekman family honored this tradition—sometimes on the early side. When two local boys wanted to be part of the Presbyterian Church’s Christmas Eve celebration but lacked appropriate attire, Cornelius Beekman bought them both new suits.

Historic Homes in Winter

December 19, 2017

For the holidays, we’re sharing some of our favorite winter scenes of Jacksonville’s historic homes. Clockwise from top left: the 1861 McCully house; the 1878 von Helms house; the 1880 Kahler house; and the 1873 Beekman house. Join us at the Beekman house on Saturday, December 23, when costumed docents will be sharing the origin of Christmas traditions and typical Victorian holiday celebrations in hour-long tours beginning every 15 minutes between 11am and 3pm. And on Tuesday, December 26, we’ll be offering Victorian Boxing Day tours. You can join the Victorian middle and upper class in sharing with those less fortunate when tour admission is $2 with a canned good donation to ACCESS. Pay full admission price ($5, adults; $3 seniors/students) and all monies over $2 are donated to ACCESS.

Otto Biede House

December 12, 2017

The house located at 360 S. Oregon Street in Jacksonville was probably constructed around 1893, for the Otto Biede family, shown here—although it may have been a “remodeled” version of an 1880s house. Otto and Marie Biede were both born in Hanover, Germany in 1858. They immigrated to the U.S. in 1884, arriving in Jacksonville in 1890 where Otto established a hardware and tinsmith business and Marie taught piano lessons. An earlier structure existed on the lot no later than 1864. Occupied by German-born William Kreuzer, grocer and owner of the City Bakery and Saloon, it was also reportedly used as the “German school” for children of Jacksonville’s German-speaking population—about 1/3 of the town’s early settlers.

James M. Hutchings

December 5, 2017

In the winter of 1855, seasoned English traveler James Mason Hutchings spent time in Jacksonville, then a major hub in the vast Oregon Territory. He recorded the following in his diary: “The population is about 700 — 22 families — and over 200 families in the Rogue River Valley. There are 53 marriageable (women) within a circuit of 12 miles of Jacksonville — nine within Jacksonville”—and “there seems a number of long-faced religionists.” He listed 10 stores, three boarding houses, one bowling alley, one saloon, four physicians, one tin shop, one meat market, one livery stable, one church and one schoolhouse. He also noted that apples grown in the Willamette Valley were being sold in Jacksonville for 90 cents a pound.

Crater Lake Discovery

November 28, 2017

In 1853, Prospector John W. Hillman of Table Rock City (Jacksonville) was reportedly the first American of European descent to see Crater Lake—and he nearly fell into it. While with a party of miners seeking the storied “Lost Cabin Gold Mine,” Hillman was riding a mule along a high ridge when the animal lurched to a stop and would not budge. Hillman looked down and saw that the beast had come right to the rim of a huge crater with a brilliant blue lake at its bottom. “Not until my mule stopped within a few feet of the rim of Crater Lake did I look down,” he later wrote, “and if I had been riding a blind mule I firmly believe I would have ridden over the edge to death and destruction.” But with no luck in their quest and provisions exhausted, Hillman and his fellow miners returned to Table Rock City. Although they debated whether to call their find Deep Blue Lake or Mysterious Lake, a lake was of only passing interest when gold was the objective. Deep Blue Lake was forgotten until it was discovered by another party 9 years later.

California & Oregon Street Crossroads #3

November 21, 2017

The plaque and display windows on the telephone exchange building at the corner of California and Oregon streets tell part of the story of telephone service coming to Jacksonville. After Alexander Graham Bell was awarded the first U.S. patent for the telephone in 1876, demand for this novel invention spread. Initially, pairs of telephones were connected directly with each other. In 1888, Jacksonville’s first telephone line connected the U.S. Hotel with the Riddle House in Medford. However, it appears to have been short-lived due to costs. Six years later, a syndicate installed a 2-point, 3-instrument Medford-Jacksonville line connecting the G. H. Haskins drug store in Medford with the county clerk’s office at Jacksonville’s county courthouse and the Reames, White & Co. store. A 5-minute talk cost 25 cents. By 1899, a regular telephone exchange serving 10 subscribers was established. An operator switched connections between lines making it possible for subscribers to call each other at any location on the exchange. By 1918, service had at least doubled since Carrie Beekman was listed as #22 in the Jacksonville telephone directory.

California & Oregon St Crossroads #2

November 14, 2017

From around the mid-1890s to 1962, the Lyden House stood on the corner of California and Oregon streets at the site of today’s telephone exchange building in Jacksonville. John Lyden and his wife Mary ran the boarding house, charging 35 cents for a night’s lodging in one of its 11 rooms. Rooms were furnished with wash stands, a pitcher, a wash bowl, a chamber pot commode, a “well supplied” towel rack, an iron bedstead with ample bedding, and a good supply of “Buhac” used to discourage unwanted bedfellows. The hotel was usually full by nightfall. About 1903, Mary Lyden and 2 of her daughters started the “Hooligan Restaurant.” It became famous for its “good homey table” and “wonderful filling meals,” served for 65 cents. Special dinners could also be ordered. The enterprising Lydens also carried a good supply of items such as pots, pans, canteens, and other tinware in demand by miners and prospectors still hoping to strike it rich in the hills around Jacksonville.

California & Oregon Street Crossroads #1

November 7, 2017

One legend has it that the crossroads of California and Oregon streets were so named to avoid the tax collectors. Oregon tax collectors were supposedly told they were in California; California tax collectors were told they were in Oregon. True or not, many businesses have occupied the prime commercial location at the northeast corner of that Jacksonville intersection. One of the earliest was David Linn’s furniture factory, showroom, and planing mill. When it burned in an 1888 arson fire, J.C. Whipp’s marble works took its place. Around the turn of the century, millwright John Lyden expanded Whipp’s display room into the Lyden House which became a popular boarding house and restaurant. A 1962 Mail Tribune wrote the Lyden House obituary. Sometime after 1962 the Lyden House was torn down and replaced by the current telephone exchange building.

Kubli House #2

October 24, 2017

Although the house at 305 S. Oregon Street in Jacksonville is known as the Kubli House, the Kubli family didn’t occupy it until 1872. The principal portion of the house was constructed around 1862 for its original occupants, Reuben Maury and his wife Elizabeth. Maury, a native of Kentucky, was a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy. Following service in the Mexican War, he came west as a 49-er. He supplemented his mining efforts with a “packing” business and came to Jacksonville as a “freighter” in 1852. Two years later he sold out his freighting business and opened a general merchandise store with Benjamin Davis on the site of Jacksonville’s Old City Hall. The partnership lasted until 1861 and the outbreak of the Civil War. Maury became an officer in the Union Army, eventually being promoted to Colonel and named as the army’s last commander of the District of Oregon. Davis, a nephew of Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy, returned to Missippi and the Confederacy.

Carl B. Rostel

October 17, 2017

Carl Berthold Rostel, born in 1849, was an immigrant from Germany who found his way to the Rogue Valley. According to The Oregon Sentinel advertisements from the 1880s, he had been an “Asst. Surgeon of the German Army.” Here he chose to be a “Professional Hair Cutter” and became known as “The Popular Barber and Hair Dresser” in the Orth Building on S. Oregon Street in Jacksonville. An 1881 issue of the Sentinel noted that “Rostel shaves in the highest style of the art” and is “one of the best barbers on the coast.” C.B. Rostel went on to become a prominent Rogue Valley businessman, owning several properties in the Valley, including a saloon, a variety shop, a barber shop in Medford, and the Kurth & Miller building in Central Point. After using the latter for a “store and business offices” for a decade, Rostel remodeled and doubled the size of the building in 1909, and the “Rostel 1909” building was born. Today it’s the home of The Point Pub & Grill.

George Schumpf Barbershop

October 10, 2017

In 1874, George Schumpf erected the 1-story arcaded brick building at 157 W. California Street (no doubt simultaneously with its “twin” next door) after a raging fire destroyed most of the block’s original wooden structures in spring of that year. Schumpf, a native of Alsace, Germany, was probably Jacksonville’s most successful and longest established barber. As early as 1868, he may have had a barbershop in this building’s wood frame predecessor, possibly part of the notorious El Dorado Saloon. In fact, according to the Oregon Sentinel, the 1874 fire may have originated over Schumpf’s store in the “Town Club Room.” But by November of that year, Schumpf was occupying his new establishment. In addition to shaves and haircuts for men (and women), patrons could also enjoy “neat bathing rooms and bath tubs” where they could obtain “a bath, hot or cold,” and a boot black stand where they could have their shoes shined in a “most artistic style.”

Zigler and Martin Blacksmith

October 3, 2017

From as early as 1852, an almost unimaginable conglomeration of frame shops, sheds, and outbuildings lined the intersection of Jacksonville’s California and S. Oregon streets. Among them was the Zigler and Martin Blacksmith shop. It supposedly stood at 157 W. California Street, now home to Rebel Heart Books. Louis Zigler was a miner, blacksmith, proprietor of the Adams Hotel, and at one time the County Sheriff. However, by 1870 he had moved his family to Roseburg. Alex Martin, his partner, appears to have gone into the general merchandise business. The fire of 1874 wiped out this entire block, but was quickly replaced by the current brick structures.

Queen Ann Style Homes

September 26, 2017

In the late 1800s, three successful businessmen—Dr. James Robinson, Jeremiah Nunan, and John “Gunsmith” Miller—built large, elaborate Queen Anne-style homes in Jacksonville. These represented a movement away from the more modest architectural styles of the mid-1800s to houses celebrating financial success—not unlike the “MacMansions” built in recent years. House plans were purchased from pattern books published by architects and constructed using local materials and labor. The Robinson house on N. Oregon Street burned in the 1930s. The top floors of the Miller house at the corner of 3rd and Main streets burned in 1944 and the house was later remodeled into the current 1950s ranch-style structure. While other Jacksonville houses of the period incorporated elements of Queen Anne style, the true remaining tribute to the unabashed exuberance of the era is the Nunan estate at 635 N. Oregon.

Miller Gunsmith Shop

September 19, 2017

The historic marker on the building at 155 W. California Street in Jacksonville reads “Miller Gunsmith Shop circa 1858.” It’s half correct. The current structure did house John F. Miller’s Hunters’ Emporium, which specialized in guns, and later hardware and cutlery, for at least 20 years. However, this commercial Italianate-style structure was not built until 1874. As early as 1852, the property was originally part of Jacksonville’s most notorious “temple of vice,” the El Dorado Saloon, home to gamblers, courtesans, and others seeking to part miners from their gold. Miller acquired the property after the disastrous fire of 1874 which destroyed most of the original buildings on this block. A native of Bavaria, Miller had arrived in Oregon in 1860 and became one of Jacksonville’s most prosperous early business owners.

Dr. Charles B. Brooks & A Flag Pole

September 12, 2017

Flags and flagpoles have always been an important way of expressing political opinions and “freedom of speech”—perhaps even more so in the 19th Century than now. Historic Jacksonville has previously shared the story of Zany Ganung, who in 1861 returned home to Jacksonville from tending a sick patient only to find that someone had erected a flagpole flying the Confederate “palmetto and rattleshake flag” across the street from her front door. Without a word to anyone, Zany entered her California Street house, returned with a hatchet, crossed the street, chopped the pole down, and used the flag to stoke her stove. However, Zany had a precedent. In 1855, when town women protested their men folk leaving them unprotected during the Indian Wars, local “wags” ridiculed them by hoisting a petticoat at half mast on the post office flagpole. The women were greatly incensed but had no means of getting the petticoat down. Dr. Charles B. Brooks, a local physician, saved the day for the feminine part of the population by hauling it down, thus allowing the women to march off in triumph.

Beekman Express Office

September 5, 2017

When Cornelius Beekman opened his express office in at the corner of Californis and S. 3rd streets in 1856, he shared the space with Dr. Charles B. Brooks’ drugstore. The present building on that site is a 2003 faithful reproduction of the original. A 17-year-old Brooks had graduated from Centre College in Danville, Kentucky with a degree in “necrology”; continued his study of medicine in Louisville; and then lured by the promise of the West, joined a wagon train of settlers heading for Southern Oregon, arriving in Jacksonville in 1853. For the first 2 years he practiced medicine and ran a hospital at the corner of 3rd and D streets, “back of Union House.” When Beekman opened his Express Office in 1856, Brooks joined him, adding “drugs, medicines, perfumeries, oils, etc.” to his offerings. The partnership had ended by the time Beekman constructed the current Beekman Bank in 1863 since 1864 ads show that Brooks had moved his practice to the Dalles. He subsequently became Wasco County Coroner, married, and then died of pneumonia in 1875 at age 43.

Ish Family

August 29, 2017

The most photographed plot is Jacksonville’s Pioneer Cemetery is that of the Ish family. Jacob Ish, son of a Virginia plantation owner, came west in 1861 to escape the Civil War. He purchased 320 acres about three miles from Jacksonville and started a ranch. When opportunity arose, Ish added to his holdings. He eventually became one of the largest landowners in Jackson County with over 5,000 acres, including the site of the Medford Airport. His fields were some of the most productive in the Valley, and his ranch became known for its “broad fertile acres, sturdy stock and immaculately maintained buildings.” Ish died from bronchitis in 1881, leaving his wife Sarah one of the wealthiest women in the county. A “woman of strong character and rare business ability,” Sarah managed the Ish ranch until her death in 1906.

Abstract Company Concrete Building

August 22, 2017

The small building at 215 North 5th Street has in recent years been a perfumery and an antique store among other uses. However, it was constructed around 1915 for the Rogue River Valley Abstract Company, what we would today call a real estate title business. It is believed to have been the first reinforced concrete building constructed in Jacksonville, Oregon. The building immediately to the north, now the Magnolia Inn, was built around the same time for the Rogue River Sanitarium. When the County seat was moved to Medford in 1927, the Abstract Company appears to have moved as well and the building was converted into the Sanitarium’s laundry. It apparently remained so for a number of years since the laundry plumbing still existed well into the 1970s.

Mary Probert (“Worm Lady”) House

August 15, 2017

The small yellow cottage at 205 N. Oregon Street in Jacksonville, across C Street from the historic train station, was for many years the place for local fisherman to source their bait from Mary Probert, affectionately known by all as the “Worm Lady.” A sign out front would let them know whether or not her red wigglers “that always catch the fish” were available that day. However, what most fishermen or Jacksonville residents do not know was that that corner was originally home to the Excelsior Livery Stable from 1865 until at least 1890. Established by Sebastian Plymale and later owned by his brother William (shown here), the Plymales provided transportation for fellow citizens by driving or renting out horses and buggies to paying customers.

Witteveen House #2

August 8, 2017

The original portion of the house at 305 N. Oregon Street in Jacksonville, commonly known as Kate Hoffman’s house or more recently as Elaine Witteveen’s home and studio, was constructed around 1868 by Sebastian Plymale. In August of that year, the newspapers noted the “pretty building of Mr. S. Plymale” which was “completed and ready for the occupancy of any ‘young and ardent lovers’ who desire to enter matrimonial alliance.” The first occupants were probably Plymale’s younger sister, Sarah Plymale Zigler (also Ziegler), and her husband Louis who was part owner of the property. Louis Zigler was a miner, blacksmith, proprietor of the Adams Hotel, and at one time the County Sheriff. Sarah had married Louis in 1854 when she was 15. The couple moved to Roseburg in the 1870s. However, in 1878, Peter Britt sold Sarah 8 acres of his property for $1. No one knows why. But Sarah’s granddaughter donated the property to the Jacksonville Woodlands Association and you can now hike the 0.7 mile Zigler trail.

Witteveen House #1

August 1, 2017

As previously noted, the original 1-story portion of the house at 305 N. Oregon Street in Jacksonville was constructed around 1868. The 2-story portion was built almost 100 years later in 1964 by John and Elaine Witteveen. The Witteveens had moved to Jacksonville that same year and opened a color printing business. John was the photographer and printer; Elaine was the typesetter and marketer. Elaine was already an established artist and her artwork was the first thing they printed. John became a key player in the establishment of Jacksonville’s National Historic Landmark District. Elaine, a graduate of the Art Institute in Chicago, had been a founding member of the Maude Kerns Art Center in Eugene and served three years as a board member of the Oregon Arts Commission. In 1979, she pioneered the Rogue Valley Artists Workshop. John died in 1992 at age 83. In later years, the house became Elaine’s gallery as well as home. Elaine, the doyenne of Southern Oregon artists, passed away in 2015 at the age of 98.

Plymale-Hoffman House

July 25, 2017

The house at 305 N. Oregon Street in Jacksonville has 2 distinct portions built roughly 100 years apart. The 1-story wood frame Classic Revival portion was built around 1868 by Sebastian Plymale, the original owner of the Excelsior Livery Stable which occupied the adjacent block between C and D streets. A later owner was Kate Hoffman, the youngest daughter of revered pioneer, William Hoffman. Like a dutiful daughter, Kate stayed home and cared for her parents until their deaths. Prior to her mother’s passing in 1900, Kate had taken a liking to a second cousin, tinsmith Horace Hoffman. The two were “inseparable” but the family did not approve of the relationship. After her mother’s death, Kate purchased this property, and within a year married Horace. She was 52; he was 60. Unfortunately, their happiness was short-lived. Horace died in 1905, only 2 days after their third anniversary. Kate continued to live in their home until her own death in 1934.

Truax House

July 18, 2017

For half dozen years in the 1850s, the core of the house at 410 North 5th Street in Jacksonville was home to pioneer civil engineer, Sewell Truax. Raised and educated in Vermont, Truax caught “Oregon fever” while on a surveying trip after encountering emigrants at Council Bluffs. A day later he joined them, arriving in Jackson County in August 1853. For 7 years he was U.S. Deputy Surveyor in Southern Oregon. When the Civil War broke out, he entered the U.S. volunteer cavalry as a captain, was soon promoted to major, was made commander of Fort Walla Walla in the Washington Territory, and then commander of Fort Lapwai in Lewiston. After the War, he remained in Lewiston as a merchant in the gold fields but by 1870 had returned to engineering. He supervised construction for the Walla Walla and Columbia River railroad, laid out the town of Morengo and invented and built grain shutes along the Snake River to load steam wheelers. He was also elected to the Washington Territory Legislature and served as President of the Assembly in the 1880s.

Ulrich House

July 11, 2017

The vacant lot at 640 South 3rd Street in Jacksonville was for many years the site of the Christian Ulrich House. The house was probably constructed around 1876 following Ulrich’s marriage to Alice Gilson. The builder may well have been Ulrich himself. Born in Iowa in 1853, Ulrich had come west with his parents in the 1860s. By age 19 he had become a carpenter’s apprentice and from the late 1880s until sometime after 1907 he owned and operated a planning mill and sash and door factory at the corner of California and 5th streets. By 1906 he was engaged in the flour and feed business as well and within 4 years pursued that exclusively. Ulrich was also involved in Jacksonville government, serving on the City Council at age 30 and later acting as city street commissioner.

Fourth of July

July 4, 2017

Well into the 20th Century, the Fourth of July was a bigger holiday than Christmas. Christmas emphasized religion and family; Independence Day was a huge public celebration! And Jacksonville celebrated along with the rest of the country. A typical 1800s Fourth would begin with a reveille of cannon and gun fire, followed by an elaborate parade. This week’s photo shows typical parade floats—one carrying 38 young girls representing each state, a second carrying the Goddess of Liberty and the Angel of Peace. The parade would culminate in a full day of oratory, food and drink, music, games, dancing, and other activities. For a full description of Jacksonville’s 1876 Centennial Fourth of July celebration see the July 2017 Jacksonville Review: http://jacksonvillereview.com/glorious-fourth-carolyn-kingsnorth/.

James Miller

June 27, 2017

Colonel James Napper Tandy Miller is remembered most often for setting aside the original acreage for Jacksonville’s Pioneer Cemetery around 1859, which he subsequently sold to the City, four fraternal orders, and two religions for amounts ranging from $1 to $100. The cemetery acreage was originally part of Miller’s 320 acre Donation Land Claim. Under a Donation Land Claim, a settler could claim 160 acres of free land if single, 320 if married, provided he farmed it for four years. Miller emigrated from Kentucky to Oregon in 1846 and to Jacksonville in 1854. He was a renowned fighter in the Indian wars, he planted some of the valley’s earliest vineyards, and he was a well-known figure in state politics, serving as both State Assemblyman and State Senator. Miller also began publication of Jacksonville’s second newspaper, the Democratic Times.

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.

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 Jackson House

February 14, 2017

Dr. Will Jackson 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.”

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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

klippel_2

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

henry-kippel-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

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

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.

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Mellisa Taylor House

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

samual-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

karewski-hardware

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

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

engine-number-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.

jacksonvcreek

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

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.

Obenchain House

obenchainhouse

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

14706785_1782102118673429_820195156472972444_o

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

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

oregon-sentinel-office

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

beekman-reames-bank

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

thomas-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

Plymale

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

Beekman-Nunan

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.

Peter Britt #3

Peter Britt3

July 5, 2016

Peter Britt’s home and gardens on 1st Street in Jacksonville, originally known as Britt Park, was the cradle of the orchard, viticulture, and ornamental horticulture industries in Southern Oregon. It was a regional attraction a quarter of a century before Ashland’s Lithia Park was established. The original gardens boasted nearly 300 varieties of cultivated plants, many acquired by mail order. What started as utilitarian plantings of pear and apple trees, grapes and vegetables, evolved into lavish Victorian gardens documented by Britt in his photographic work and featured in Northwest promotional publications in the late 1800s. After the family died and Britt’s house burned, the gardens fell into disrepair. The restoration of Britt’s Gardens is an on-going project of the City of Jacksonville, the Jacksonville Boosters Club and Foundation, and the Jacksonville Garden Club.

Peter Britt #2

Pter Britt #2

June 28, 2016

Have you ever wondered about the stone foundation in the lower Britt Gardens? It’s a 1976 reconstruction of the footprint of Peter Britt’s home that burned in 1960. As pioneer photographer Peter Britt’s enterprises expanded over the years, his Jacksonville home on Britt hill became a reflection of his growing prosperity. By 1854, the dugout log cabin that served as both living quarters and daguerreotype studio seemed crude and confining. He cleared ground for a new one-story studio and residence which he constructed in front of the old cabin. This small studio remained the core of Britt’s home as numerous additions were made over the years. Its original Classic Revival style was transformed into one of the first Cottage Gothic dwellings in Southern Oregon complete

Peter Britt #1

Britt-Festival

June 21, 2016

It’s Britt music festival season in Jacksonville! The Britt Festival grounds, the Britt Gardens, and portions of Jacksonville’s Woodlands Trail System were the homestead of Swiss-born pioneer Peter Britt who arrived in Jacksonville in 1852. Britt is perhaps best known as the pioneer photographer who documented Southern Oregon’s people, activities, and landscapes from the 1850s to 1900. However, he was also an avid gardener and is considered to be the father of Southern Oregon’s commercial orchard, wine, and ornamental horticulture industries. Britt Park, now the Britt Festival grounds and the City-owned lower Britt Gardens, was the focal point of many of these efforts.

Turner House

Turner house

June 14 2016

The Victorian Gothic house at 120 North 5th Street in Jacksonville was built around 1885 by Irish immigrant, William M. Turner. Turner had engaged in mining and clerking in California, been appointed Assistant Federal Assessor for Northern California by President Lincoln, and served a year as Assistant Clerk of the Oregon Legislature before arriving in Jacksonville in 1866. For a number of years he was the Jacksonville telegraph operator, and at various times was also an insurance agent, Justice of the Peace, Indian agent for the Malheur reservation, and storekeeper. Turner is perhaps best known for his literary talents as a contributor to national magazines and editor of the Oregon Sentinel. His writing was acclaimed as “ready, fluent, fearless, and versatile” with “bright flashes of wit, keen strokes of sarcasm, and deep notes of pathos.”

Sifers House

Sifers House

June 7, 2016

What is variously known as the Sifers or Savage house at 160 West C Street is one of oldest residences still standing in Jacksonville. The eastern portion of the house was built in the late 1850s or early 1860s by John Sifers, a Prussian immigrant, and at the time was the only dwelling on the block. Sifers later moved to Kerbyville where he became a county judge and later State Senator for Josephine County. In 1865, Charles Savage purchased both this property and the remaining lots in the block and expanded the house to its present configuration. Savage initially worked as a “teamster” but by 1869 was owner and proprietor of one of Jacksonville’s oldest and most successful drinking establishments, the New State Billiard and Drinking Saloon, located on the present site of Redmen’s Hall.

P. P. Prim Cabin

May 31, 2016

The innocuous one-story home at 110 West C Street hides a wealth of history. The current house was built as a rental property in the 1930s. However, the site was originally part of the adjacent Combest property. In the 1870s, it became the location of the Democratic Times newspaper. When that paper merged with the Southern Oregonian in the early 1900s, the site became the meeting hall of the Native Sons of Oregon. The Native Sons of Oregon was founded in the late 1800s, the first “historical society” in the state. Each chapter was called a “cabin” and each “cabin” was named after a prominent local historical figure. The Jacksonville Cabin honored Paine Page Prim, an early Jacksonville lawyer who became Chief Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court.

Democratic Times Newspaper

May 24, 2016

Early Jacksonville had a succession of newspapers over the years, many of them competing and espousing opposing political viewpoints. When the Democratic News plant was destroyed in the fire of 1872, it rose again as the Democratic Times. Initially housed in the Orth Building on South Oregon Street, the Times soon outgrew that space and established its own offices at the corner of C and North 3rd streets. The Times lasted into the early 1900s when it merged with the Southern Oregonian. Depression era miners of the 1930s uncovered the Times door step as they undermined almost every inch of Jacksonville. The current private residence was built as a rental property in the 1930s over one of these old mine shafts.

Instructions to Teachers – 1872

Bigham Knoll 2

 

The 2-story wooden schoolhouse built in 1867 on Bigham Knoll served 3 generations of Jacksonville students before it burned in 1903. District Directors expected the school’s teachers to lead exemplary lives, to be single, and to be regular church goers. Indulging in an intoxicating drink or a game of chance was cause for immediate dismissal. Teachers were also required to provide coal for heating and water for drinking, to fill and clean the kerosene lamps, and to provide the students with sharpened quills for writing. After 5 years, a teacher might receive a 25¢ raise. Teacher turn over was high, tenure was unheard of, and few teachers stayed more than a year or two.

Sexton’s Tool House

April 19, 2016

In 1863 R. Sergeant Dunlap was appointed the first sexton of Jacksonville’s Pioneer Cemetery. He served in that capacity for many years – maintaining the cemetery grounds, selling plots, digging graves, and keeping the cemetery records. However, what’s known as the Sexton’s Tool House at the top of Cemetery Road was not constructed until 1878. The tool house also doubled as a mortuary. An underground vault provided storage for bodies when the ground was too frozen or too soggy to dig.

Catholic Academy School

April 5, 2016

Before the Sisters of the Holy Name opened St. Mary’s Academy in 1865 in what is now Beekman Square, they briefly operated St. Joseph’s School for Boys in this building at 310 North 5th Street. They obtained the deed in 1864, the same year they had been brought to Jacksonville by Rev. Francis Xavier Blanchet, who for many years served as the parish priest of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. The school was short lived, before being replaced by St. Mary’s. This structure, known as “the Catholic Academy School,” may have subsequently housed St. Mary’s students or the Catholic Sisters, since the Sisters retained ownership until 1873.

Jackson County Courthouse #6

March 29, 2016

Jacksonville and the historic Jackson County Courthouse had one last glory moment in 1927 when the trial of the DeAutremont brothers attracted nationwide attention. After a three year manhunt that extended into Mexico, Canada and Australia, the three DeAutremont brothers were apprehended and charged with the murder of four railroad employees during a 1923 holdup in railroad Tunnel 13 in the Siskiyou Mountains. Billed as the West’s last great train robbery, this was the final trial held in the courthouse before all legal business was moved to the new county seat of Medford and its newly erected courthouse.

Jackson County Courthouse #5

March 22, 2016

One of our trivia fans asked about the Jackson County Jail pictured in “The Last Hanging in Jacksonville.” The jail shown, constructed in 1875, was the second jail on Courthouse Square. It was described as a sturdy brick building reinforced with “4,000 pounds of iron spikes for strength.” Seven inch thick wooden planks lined the masonry walls and separated the cells. The building burned to the ground in 1889 on a night when the sheriff had chosen to “sleep” at the U.S. Hotel instead of the jail. The fire took the lives of the jail’s three inmates, one of whom was scheduled for release the following day.

Jackson County Courthouse #4

March 15, 2016

In 1885, scarcely a year after the historic Jackson County Courthouse was completed, it was christened by one of the most notorious events to take place in Jacksonville—the trial and execution of Louis O’Neil. O’Neil, who had been having an affair with Mrs. Mandy McDaniel, was found guilty of the murder of her husband. An appeal to the Oregon Supreme Court only intensified public interest. The gallows were erected between the courthouse and the jail, screened by a 16 foot high fence and guarded by the Jacksonville Fire Department. The execution was witnessed by 200 men, women, and children, the “lucky” ticket holders for the event. O’Neil was the last person hung in Jacksonville; his body is interred in the County pauper section of the Jacksonville Cemetery.

Jackson County Courthouse #3

 

March 7, 2016

Even before it was completed, the historic Jackson County Courthouse, located on Jacksonville’s North 5th Street Courthouse Square, was being called one of the “most prominent buildings in Jacksonville” and “very ornamental.” Upon completion, it was declared “the crowning glory of Jacksonville.” However, this “crowning glory” was almost “too little, too late” after the railroad by-passed Jacksonville in favor of the flatter Valley floor. Even a spur line connecting Jacksonville to the new Southern Oregon hub of Medford only postponed the town’s ultimate decline…but ensured its preservation.

Jackson County Courthouse #2

March 1, 2016

Within 12 years of its erection in 1859, the first Jackson County Courthouse on North 5th Street in Jacksonville was being called “dilapidated” and “a disgrace to the county,” and in 1880 a grand jury condemned it. It still took another 3 years for the County Commissioners to take action, draw up plans and select a builder. Prodded by Judge Silas Day, the Commissioners determined that they wanted a 2-story brick structure, 92 x 60 feet, with 14 foot ceilings. The cornerstone was laid on June 23, 1883. By August the brick walls were raised, by September the cupola was completed, and the court convened for the first time on February 11, 1884.

Jackson County Courthouse #1

February 23, 2016

The first Jackson County Courthouse erected on Jacksonville’s Courthouse Square on North 5th Street was a 2-story clapboard structure dedicated March 6, 1859, by the Warren Lodge No. 10 of Free and Accepted Masons as a Masonic Hall. Shortly afterwards, the Masons leased the first floor to the County for court use. For 6 years previously, court proceedings had been held in various town structures including the New State Hotel and the Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1867, the Masons relinquished their 2nd floor space to the Jackson County Commissioners and for the next 15 years, the County’s first Courthouse was used not only by the commissioners, judges, and county officials, but also by private local lawyers.

Jackson County Jail

February 16, 2016

Three previous jails stood on the site of the historic Jackson County Jail located at 216 North 5th Street in Jacksonville. In 1875, a sturdy brick jail replaced a simple wooden structure built in the 1850s. When the new jail burned in 1889, it was replaced with a larger building boasting a concrete floor and corrugated iron ceiling. By 1910 it was deemed old and inadequate and was torn down to make way for the current structure. Completed in 1911, the existing jail was built to house 25 prisoners. Heavy iron cages lined the first floor; reinforced cells and padded cells were on the second floor. The jail continued in service until the county seat was moved to Medford in 1927. Today the facility houses Art Presence art center.

Sheriff’s House

February 9, 2016

The house at the southeast corner of 6th and D used to be the Sheriff’s house—conveniently located across the street from the county jail. It fell to the Sheriff’s wife to feed whatever citizens were enjoying “county hospitality.” Since our winters can get cold and wet, a resourceful Sheriff supposedly had a tunnel dug from this home, under the street and into the jail, so his wife could supply the necessary meals with a minimum of hardship. However, later residents have not succeeded in locating the alleged tunnel.

Gustav Karewski Homes

February 2, 2016

In 1881, Gustav Karewski, one of Jacksonville’s most successful merchants and businessmen, built the 2 almost identical 1 ½ story houses at 305 and 325 North 6th Street as rental properties. Local newspapers took note of Karewski’s willingness to speculate on real estate. After booming years of gold mining, agriculture, and trade activity, by the 1880s, Jacksonville’s future was uncertain. Every such sign of confidence in the town was noted by the press and lauded as indicating the town’s “New Boom”!

Kahler Home & Drugstore

January 26, 2016

In the late fall of 1880, Robert Kahler built the house at the corner of North 6th and E streets for “occupancy by himself and family at cost of $1,500.” Kahler was a member of a prominent Jacksonville family that came to Southern Oregon from Ohio in 1852. He became a successful druggist, selling not only drugs, but also books, stationery, paints, oils, and other goods. He built a new brick drugstore next to the Beekman Bank on California Street the same year as he built this home, replacing previous wooden structures he had occupied since 1871.

Orange Jacobs Law Office

 

January 19, 2016

For 142 years, a small wooden building stood at the corner of 5th and C streets. Built around 1865, it housed the law offices of Orange Jacobs, one of Jacksonville’s most prominent early attorneys and the editor and publisher of The Jacksonville Sentinel. Jacobs moved to Washington sometime in the 1860s, becoming Chief Justice of the Supreme Court for the Territory of Washington, representing the state for 2 Congressional terms, and serving as Mayor of Seattle. His Jacksonville office was subsequently occupied by prominent attorney C.W. Kahler and by E.B. Watson, who became Chief Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court. The structure was demolished in 2007.

Kahler Office Building

January 12, 2016

For many years, 155 North 3rd Street in Jacksonville was the site of law offices. By 1856, Paine Page Prim, Supreme Judge and ex-officio Circuit Judge of Jackson County’s 1st Judicial District, hung out his shingle here. In 1862, Joseph Gaston, lawyer and editor of the Sentinel took over the space. Charles Wesley Kahler, a prominent lawyer and District Attorney acquired the property in 1874, but it was 1886 before he erected the current brick building, replacing what was by then one of Jacksonville’s vintage wooden structures.

Kahler Family Home

January 5, 2016

The northeast corner of 6th and D in Jacksonville is the site of the Kahler Family Home. Robert Kahler acquired the entire block in 1879 then sold this portion to his father 2 years later. His parents were one of the first pioneering families to settle in the Rogue River Valley. Three of the Kahler boys did quite well. Robert, a druggist, dispensed drugs, books and stationery from his building on California Street. George was a practicing surgeon and physician. Charles Wesley Kahler was a prominent Jacksonville attorney. “C.W.” owned the property by the late 1890s. This house was either constructed by another family member after C.W.’s death in 1904, or the original house on this lot was redesigned from its original Classical Revival style to incorporate its current Queen Anne influences.

Beekman Square

December 29, 2015

The cul-de-sac off E. California Street in Jacksonville now known as Beekman Square was originally the site of St. Mary’s School. Established in 1865 by three members of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, it operated as a 12-year boarding and day school for the daughters of the more well-to-do pioneer families. It graduated its first student in 1871. St. Mary’s moved to Medford in 1908 and became co-educational in the late 1920s. It’s currently serves middle and high school students.

Millionaires Row

December 22, 2015

With the Beekman house, the Reames house, the Muller home across the street, and other houses no longer in existence, the stretch of California Street east of 6th Street is Jacksonville’s pioneer equivalent of “Millionaires Row.” Cornelius Beekman, Thomas Reames, and Max Muller were all self-made men who built their fortunes in Jacksonville.

Beekman’s “Second” House

December 15, 2015

In July 1870, Cornelius C. Beekman purchased 3 lots at what is now the corner of Jacksonville’s East California and Laurelwood streets and commissioned this modest Carpenter Gothic style home for his family. Beekman was the most prominent and probably the wealthiest man in Jacksonville. From a humble beginning as an express rider carrying mail, packages, and gold over the Siskiyous to Yreka, Beekman built a business empire of banking, insurance, mining, and real estate interests. He also served as Mayor of Jacksonville, Republican candidate for Governor of Oregon, Grand Master of the Masonic Lodge, and Regent of the University of Oregon. The house, owned and occupied by only the one family and still completely furnished with family artifacts, is preserved as a museum and periodically opened to the public for special tours.

Beekman’s “First” House

 

December 8, 2015

Discrepancies over property ownership were common in early Jacksonville, and between 1859 and 1863, seven different “owners” claimed rights to the small saltbox house property located at 375 East California Street. Cornelius C. Beekman “purchased” the property in 1861. When James Cluggage was granted official donation land claim rights to the property in 1863, he deeded them over to Beekman. Cornelius Beekman probably occupied the property from the time of his 1861 marriage to Julia Hoffman until he moved into what’s now known as the “Beekman House” around 1873. All 3 of the Beekman’s children were born in this small house, and the space was also shared with Beekman’s friend and bank “clerk,” Judge U.S. Hayden, and by the family’s Chinese cook, Eni Yan.

G. W. Cool House

December 1, 2015

The small 1858 “saltbox” style home at the corner of California and North 6th street in Jacksonville is historically known as the G.W. Cool House after the individual who constructed it. Cool had received his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the Baltimore College of Dentistry. He came to the West Coast in 1850, practicing first in British Columbia and then in Washington before settling in Oregon. The house was both residence and dental office. However, his practice appears to have been lackluster since a mechanic’s lien for construction costs was attached against the property. By 1861 Cool had moved on to San Francisco where he did experience success and was one of the first members of the California State Dental Association.

McCully House #2

November 24, 2015

When Dr. John McCully abandoned his wife Jane in 1862, he left her with 3 children and all of his debts. He also left her with the McCully House, the elegant home at 240 E. California Street in Jacksonville, completed the previous year. To survive, Jane turned to baking bread and pies—the source of the family’s income when they first arrived in Jacksonville. She leased the house to Amos Rogers for a boarding house, and in June of 1862 opened “Mrs. McCully’s Seminary” in the family’s old log cabin, the town’s first school for girls. Jane was a trained teacher, and her seminary was so popular that by the end of the year she took over the house for classes. Even after public schools were available, Jane provided advanced education for both girls and boys. She was the only teacher the children of many of Jacksonville’s prominent families ever knew. Most went on to university, ranking at the top of their classes.

McCully House #1

November 17, 2015

John McCully, Jacksonville’s first doctor, built this elegant home at 240 E. California Street in 1861 as a symbol of his status and prominence. McCully had been the town’s first Justice of the Peace, made significant real estate investments, erected Jacksonville’s first 2-story brick commercial building, and been elected to the last Territorial Legislature and the first State Legislature. He had also significantly over-extended himself financially, and the house bankrupted him. To avoid his creditors, he left town in 1862, leaving his wife Jane with 3 children and all of his debts.

Jacksonville Mercantile Store

November 10, 2015

The brick building at 120 E. California Street was probably the second 2-story brick building erected in Jacksonville. Constructed around 1861, it’s historically known as the Wade, Morgan & Co. building after some of its earliest tenants. However, it was actually commissioned by P.J. Ryan, the Irish immigrant who was the early town’s most prolific owner and builder of “fire-proof” brick commercial buildings. Ryan himself occupied the building in the early 1870s but by the end of the decade the Oregon Sentinel newspaper occupied the top floor and the ground floor had been converted to a saloon. Today it’s home to the Jacksonville Mercantile, a specialty store for gourmet food and gifts.

Bella Union #2

November 3, 2015

The Bella Union Restaurant and Saloon at 170 W. California Street is not one building, but three. The old brick portion, constructed in 1874, replaced an earlier building that housed the original Bella Union Saloon. The middle portion and main entry is straight out of Hollywood. It was built in 1970 when Jacksonville became the movie set for The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid starring Cliff Robertson as Cole Younger and Robert Duvall as Jesse James. The film is based on the James-Younger Gang’s most infamous escapade—the September 7, 1876, robbery of “the biggest bank west of the Mississippi.”

Bella Union #1

October 27, 2015

The oldest part of the Bella Union Restaurant and Saloon at 170 W. California Street was constructed in 1874 by pioneer woodworker and builder David Linn after the fire of 1874 destroyed many of the original buildings in Jacksonville. Linn had purchased the lot in 1856 and erected a one-story brick building to house his woodworking shop. After Linn relocated his business to the corner of California and Oregon, he rented the space to a series of tenants, including Prussian native Henry Breitbarth. Breitbarth operated the original Bella Union Saloon at this location from 1864 to 1871. It was one of 7 saloons in early Jacksonville and offered its customers billiards and liquors.

Scheffel’s Toys #3

October 20, 2015

The 1874 Jacksonville brick building at the corner of California and Oregon streets that houses Scheffel’s Toys is historically known as the Fisher Brothers Store, but one of its longest tenants was the Marble Corner Saloon also known as the Marble Arch Saloon. The saloon occupied the building from around 1890 to 1934. The saloon was presumably named after the Jacksonville Marble Works which relocated to the corner directly across North Oregon after the fire of 1888…or because the saloon’s recessed entryway was tiled with marble at roughly the same time. The 1912 SOHS photo #1978.63.53 shows Ed Dunnington behind the Marble Saloon bar.

Abraham Fisher House

October 13, 2015

As you stroll up East Main Street to the Britt Festival grounds, at 230 South 1st Street—the corner of 1st and Main—you pass the Abraham Fisher House with its large sequoias and monkey puzzle trees. Fisher constructed the central portion of the house around 1860, although the lot was not deeded to him until 1866. Fisher had arrived in Jacksonville around 1853. Joined by his brother Newman, the mercantile firm of A. Fisher and Brother was one of the earliest advertisers in Jacksonville’s first newspaper, The Table Rock Sentinel. With $3,000 in real estate and $13,000 in personal property, Fisher was the third heaviest tax payer in Jackson County in 1870. Fisher relocated to San Francisco in 1878.

Scheffel’s Toys #2

October 6, 2015

The brick building at the corner of California and Oregon streets that houses Scheffel’s Toys is the 6th structure at this location. The site was originally home to Kenny & Appler’s 1852 tent trading post, the first business in Jacksonville. By 1856, their tent had been replaced by a wooden store and then by a brick storehouse. In 1860, merchants Abraham and Newman Fisher acquired this prime corner location for their dry goods and general merchandise store. Fires consumed their stores in both 1868 and 1874. Despite a $28,000 loss in the latter conflagration, the Fisher brothers rebuilt, and the 1874 A. Fisher & Brothers structure still stands today.

Scheffel’s Toys #1

September 29, 2015

The corner of California and Oregon streets where Scheffel’s Toys is located is the oldest known business site in Jacksonville. Early in 1852, soon after news of the gold discovery in Jacksonville spread to California, Kenny and Appler, two packers from Yreka, established the first trading post on this site. They stocked it with a few tools, clothing, boots, “black strap” tobacco, and a liberal supply of whiskey, essential items for an infant gold mining camp.

Veit Schutz Hall

September 22, 2015

As you climb the stairs from Highway 238 to the Lower Britt Gardens in Jacksonville, have you ever wondered about the stone walls and cavern you see on your left? That was the cellar and barrel cave of Veit Schutz Hall, the largest brewery in Jacksonville. Constructed in 1856, it also featured a bar and an elaborate dance hall. A prominent local attorney wrote the following lines in 1874:
“Oh! Dear Walter, I like to recall
The pleasure we had at Veit Schutz hall
The fun that we had I’ll n’er forget
Nor will I ever those days regret….”

Silver Cornet Band

September 15, 2015

With Jacksonville’s Oktoberfest fast approaching, we’re honoring the town’s Swiss-German pioneers, who made up about 1/3 of the early population and turned 19th Century Jacksonville into a musical culture center. Almost everyone in town owned a musical instrument, and many participated in Jacksonville’s Silver Cornet Band. Members had to own their instruments, attend all rehearsals, and show up for performances. Although the band won many contests, not all residents were fans. Someone described it as “adding a harmonious noise to the community and may have had something to do with driving the predatory wild animals out of the forest surrounding Jacksonville.”

Sachs Brothers Dry Goods

September 8, 2015

The brick building now housing Jacksonville’s Pot Rack at 140 West California Street is historically known as Sachs Brothers Dry Goods. However, the site first housed Mathew Kennedy’s tin shop and then Dr. Louis Ganung’s office and residence. The current brick structure was commissioned in 1861 by Lippman and Solomon Sachs for their Temple of Fashion, featuring ladies’ wear and dry goods. It was one of the town’s most successful early businesses, and Sachs brothers ran it for the next 15 years.

Magnolia Inn

September 1, 2015

Jacksonville’s Magnolia Inn at 245 North 5th Street was built in the early 1900s as Mitchell’s Sanitarium, a sanitarium and health spa. This was part of the “Wellville” movement pioneered by the Kellogg brothers, creators of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. This approach to medicine advocated holistic treatments and vegetarianism, and such sanitariums typically focused on nutrition, enemas, and exercise.

B. F. Dowell House #2

August 25, 2015

The Italianate style home at 475 N. 5th Street was built for Benjamin Franklin Dowell, named for his grandmother’s uncle, Benjamin Franklin. Dowell served as prosecuting attorney for Oregon’s 1st Judicial District and as U.S. District Attorney. For 14 years he owned the Oregon Sentinel newspaper, the first newspaper in the Pacific Northwest to support the abolition of slavery and the first to nominate Ulysses S. Grant for president.

B. F. Dowell House #1

August 18, 2015

The B.F. Dowell house at 475 N. 5th Street is one of the earliest Italianate style homes built in Oregon. Constructed in 1861, it may also have been the first home in Jacksonville to be built of brick. Most homes of the period had wood burning stoves for heat, but this distinctive home has 4 fireplaces—one of black onyx and 3 of marble. The marble probably came from Dowell’s own marble quarry on Williams Creek. That same marble was also used for the porch steps and all the window sills.

Baseball Field (now Ray’s Market)

August 11, 2015

The city block on North 5th Street occupied by the local Ray’s supermarket was Jacksonville’s baseball field in the early 1900s, home to the Jacksonville Gold Bricks baseball team. Team owner, George “Bum” Neuber, was known to bring in “guest players” as a means of defeating visiting teams. Neuber ran a card room in town for the adults, and welcomed children to the petting zoo he set up in his backyard.

J. C. Whipp #2

August 4, 2015

Stone mason J.C. Whipp came to Jacksonville from Portland in 1883 to build the foundation for Jackson County’s historic courthouse, including laying its cornerstone. He later became noted for his marble cemetery headstones, but he also built culverts and bridges. In 1887, he turned the Methodist Episcopal Church 180 degrees to face the new North 5th Street thoroughfare, and in 1893 he created a stone mantelpiece that won a blue ribbon at the Chicago World’s Fair.

J. C. Whipp #1

July 28, 2015

Stone mason J.C. Whipp is responsible for many of the marble monuments in Jacksonville’s pioneer cemetery as well as cemeteries throughout southern Oregon and northern California. He opened his Jacksonville Marble Works around 1885. They were originally located “just north of town,” but after the 1888 fire destroyed David Linn’s furniture factory, he moved them to the corner of California and Oregon streets. Whipp was described as “doing the best of work,” and having “no peer in this part of the state…. A visit to the Jacksonville cemetery will bear out this assertion.”

John Bilger

July 21, 2015

When merchant and civic leader John Bilger died in the 1877 cholera epidemic, he was one of the wealthiest men in Jacksonville. His monument in Jacksonville’s Pioneer Cemetery cost $1200—a princely sum at the time. A similar monument today would cost about $25,000. Bilger was a member of both the Masons and the Odd Fellows, and the Italian marble obelisk that marks his grave bears both the Masonic ruler and compass and the Odd Fellows linked circles. The hand pointing upward anticipates Bilger’s heavenly reward.

Bilger House

July 14, 2015

Successful Jacksonville tin merchant and civic leader, John Bilger, built this home at 540 Blackstone Alley in 1863, 2 years after he married fellow German Amanda Scheck. After Bilger’s partner, John Love, died of tuberculosis in 1867, Bilger expanded into hardware. When Bilger died in the 1877 cholera epidemic, Amanda continued to operate the business to support their 8 children. The Bilger House is one of Jacksonville’s few early brick residential structures and the only one in the Federalist architectural style.

Kennedy’s Row

July 7, 2015

Carefree Buffalo at 150 W. California Street in Jacksonville was originally part of “Kennedy’s Row,” a block of shops owned by the first elected sheriff in Jackson County. Kennedy ran a “tin shop” at this location, which he sold to John Love and John Bilger in 1856. Sometime before 1861, Love and Bilger replaced the original wooden structure with the present stone and brick building. When Love died in 1869, Bilger continued to run the business, becoming one of Jacksonville’s wealthiest merchants. When Bilger died in the cholera epidemic of 1877, his wife, Amanda Schenck, took over the hardware store. By the mid-1880s she had expanded into manufacturing in partnership with a Mr. Maegly. Bilger and Maegly became one of the leading suppliers of agricultural machinery and implements in Jacksonville.

Mary Ann Harris-Chambers House

Mary Ann Harris-Chambers house

 

June 30, 2015

The Mary Ann Harris-Chambers house at the corner of North 3rd and C streets was built around 1867, replacing her earlier home on this site. She moved to Jacksonville from a homestead north of Grants Pass after an 1855 Rogue Indian raid killed her first husband, George Harris, and her son. With her daughter reloading, Mary Ann had fired the family’s shotguns from various cabin windows, holding off the attack for over 5 hours until the Indians gave up and left. On Valentine’s Day in 1863, Mary Ann married farmer Aaron Chambers. They lived at this location until Aaron died 7 years later. This house remained in the family into the 1890s.

John Love

John Love

 

June 23, 2015

John Love, a leading Jacksonville businessman and public servant, helped plat the town in its infancy, served as one of the town’s first trustees, and was instrumental in establishing the town cemetery. When his mother Margaret died in 1859, the town could not refuse his request to bury her in the new cemetery, even though it was not officially open. Since there was no road, relatives and friends laboriously carried her through the rain up an Indian trail to the top of the hill where she was interred in the family plot, the first person to be buried in the Jacksonville Cemetery. The tall marble obelisk that marks her grave was shipped from Italy around Cape Horn and hauled overland from Crescent City.

John Love House

June 16, 2015

John Love was a successful tin and hardware merchant and one of Jacksonville’s first trustees. Around 1867, he built the house at 175 North 3rd Street for his growing family. Their stay, however, was brief. Within months John succumbed to tuberculosis; a year and a half later, his wife Anna Sophia and one of their daughters died in the smallpox epidemic of 1869.

Blue Door Garden Store

Blue Door Garden Store

June 9, 2015

The building that is now the Blue Door Garden Store at 130 West California Street in Jacksonville was built around 1862 by German-born John Neuber to house his jewelry store. Neuber was Jacksonville’s first goldsmith and silversmith. He specialized in solid gold buckles for women’s belts. While running to fight one of the periodic fires that broke out in the town’s early wooden structures, Neuber incurred severe head injuries. In 1874 he was declared insane by the Jackson County commissioners and ordered to the state insane asylum where he died a year later.

Robinson House

June 2, 2015

Dr. John Robinson, the most popular doctor in Jacksonville in the late 1800s and at one time a partner in the Kahler Drug Store, built this elegant Queen Anne style home on North Oregon Street in the 1890s, near the Jeremiah Nunan estate. Both houses were built from the same architectural catalog, “The Cottage Souvenir” published by George F. Barber. The Robinson home burned to the ground in the 1930s.

Farmhouse Treasures Building

May 26, 2015

Farmhouse Treasures at 120 West California Street is located on one of the few spots in Jacksonville that was used continuously for medical related purposes for almost 140 years. G.W. Greer, “physician and surgeon,” operated an office at this site as early as 1855. By 1862, Dr. L.S. Thompson had joined Greer in dispensing drugs and medicines. In 1868, Sutton and Stearns were carrying “everything usually found in a first class drug store.” Three years later Robert Kahler owned the City Drug Store. Kahler had the current 1-story brick building constructed in 1880, shortly after taking Dr. J.W. Robinson (shown here) into partnership. As late as the 1980s it was an osteopath’s office.

Orth House

May 19, 2015

The 2-story Italianate “villa” at the corner of Main and South 4th streets, was erected in 1880 during the final period of Jacksonville’s growth. It was built for German-born John Orth, a local butcher noted for “his remarkable business ability and intelligence.” Orth served as City Councilman for several years and also as County Treasurer. He and his wife, Irish-born Ellen Hill, raised a family of seven in this home.

Orth Building #1

May 12, 2015

 The 2-story Orth building, located at 150 S. Oregon Street in Jacksonville, was erected in 1872 by German born butcher, John Orth. Prior to the building’s construction, Orth’s butcher shop had occupied a wooden frame building on the same site, sharing the block with the Palmetto Bowling Saloon, the Old City Brewery, and the City Drug Store which served as both pharmacy and hospital. When Orth razed the older buildings to make way for his new edifice, the Democratic Times newspaper noted that the site had been “devoted to almost every purpose except printing a newspaper and serving God.” The Democratic Times rectified one omission, taking office space in Orth’s new brick building.

Haines’ Variety Store

Hanines Variety StoreMay 5, 2015

Israel and Robert Haines’ variety store, constructed in 1861 at the corner of California and Oregon streets, replaced a wooden building they had occupied since arriving in Jacksonville 7 years earlier. This one story brick structure is one of the oldest commercial buildings to survive 3 major fires that ravaged the town. The construction expense may have over extended the brothers financially, since by 1862 Israel was reading law and Robert was studying medicine. Robert relocated to San Francisco. Israel (shown here) moved to eastern Oregon where he became a prominent Baker City lawyer and politician and founded the town of Haines.

Presbyterian Church #2

April 28, 2015

Although Jacksonville’s historic Presbyterian Church building at the corner of 6th and California streets was not completed until 1881, the local presbytery had been formally organized in 1857by Reverend Moses Williams, the first Presbyterian missionary in Southern Oregon. In the interim, Williams conducted services every third Sunday of the month in various locations throughout the Rogue Valley, including school houses and private homes. Williams also served as County Superintendent of Schools and is the one who configured present day Jackson County school districts.

Presbyterian Church #1

April 21, 2015

The historic Presbyterian Church, located at the corner of 6th and California streets, is one of Jacksonville’s most striking examples of Victorian Gothic architecture. Brick mason, George Holt, laid the foundation; carpenter David Linn constructed the wood frame, roof and belfry. After it was completed in 1881, it was eulogized in journals and newspapers as “a model of architectural beauty” and “the most ornate and handsome in Southern Oregon.”

Telephone Exchange

 telephone exchange

April 14, 2015

The Telephone Exchange building at the corner of California and Oregon streets was originally the site of David Linn’s cabinet shop, furniture factory, and planing mill. Linn constructed most of Jacksonville, Oregon’s early wooden structures. He also made furniture, mining equipment, and even baseball bats. And when the time came, he would make your coffin. He lost everything in an arson fire in 1888, which also destroyed a neighboring home and most of Jacksonville’s Chinese quarter.

TouVelle House #3

touvelle house 2

 

April 7, 2015

When Judge Frank TouVelle had his Jacksonville Craftsman-style home at 455 North Oregon Street built in 1916, he incorporated a portion of an existing 1866 house into the new structure. The earlier 1 ½ story Victorian Gothic cottage had been home to William Hoffman, one of Jacksonville’s early pioneers. In 1855 Hoffman was elected County Auditor under the Territorial government. When Oregon gained statehood in 1859, Hoffman became the first elected Clerk of Jackson County; and when Jacksonville incorporated in 1860, he became the first President (Mayor) of the Jacksonville Board of Trustees.

TouVelle House #2

TouVelle Hosue 2

March 31, 2015

Frank TouVelle, who built Jacksonville, Oregon’s “Orchard Boom” Craftsman house at 455 N. Oregon Street, was elected Jackson County Judge from 1913 through 1916. During his tenure, he successfully campaigned for improvement of County roads. Later, as State Highway Commissioner, he was directly responsible for the construction of Highway 99 that followed the earlier routes of Indian trail, Toll Road, and Pacific Highway over the Siskiyous. Read more about Oregon’s Main Street in the April 2015 issue of The Jacksonville Review!

TouVelle House #1

touvelle-houseMarch 24, 2015

Jacksonville, Oregon’s Judge Frank TouVelle House, located at 455 North Oregon Street, is considered one of the best examples of Craftsman style homes in the Rogue Valley. TouVelle came to the Valley in 1903 as part of the “Orchard Boom.” He built this house in 1916 as a wedding present for his wife Elizabeth and based it on her designs. After Elizabeth’s death in 1931, TouVelle turned it into a home for needy boys, giving them housing, schooling, and guidance. Today it serves the community as a B&B.

Nunan House #3

Nunan House #3

March 17, 2015

To millions of video gamers worldwide, Jacksonville, Oregon’s lovely 1892 Nunan House will always be home to mad toymaker Henry Stauf and the setting for “The 7th Guest.” Produced by Trilobyte and released by Virgin Games in 1993, “The 7th Guest” was the first computer video game to be issued only on CD-Rom. The game has sold millions of copies, and gamers still make pilgrimages to Jacksonville just to see “Stauf’s Mansion.” To learn more about the Nunan House and the Nunans, read the March 2015 Jacksonville Review article, “Pioneer Profiles: Jeremiah Nunan-An Irish Success Story.”

Nunan House #2

Nunan House #2

March 10, 2015

In 1892, Jeremiah Nunan built this beautiful Queen Anne style home in Jacksonville Oregon, as a Christmas present for his wife, Delia O’Grady. Although some stories say that Delia and her sister Anna were mail-order brides, Anna had been married to Henry Judge, Nunan’s partner in the saddlery and harness business, for a number of years before she introduced Nunan to her younger sister. To learn more about the Nunan House and the Nunans, read the March 2015 Jacksonville Review article, “Pioneer Profiles: Jeremiah Nunan-An Irish Success Story.”

Nunan House #1

March 3, 2015

Contrary to local lore, Jacksonville, Oregon’s famed 1892 Nunan House was not a kit house ordered from Sears, Roebuck & Company. Sear’s kit homes weren’t produced until 1908. The Nunan House plans were purchased directly from Tennessee architect George F. Barber’s “The Cottage Souvenir” catalog, hence its nickname, “the catalog house.” To learn more about the Nunan House and the Nunans, read the March 2015 Jacksonville Review article, “Pioneer Profiles: Jeremiah Nunan-An Irish Success Story.”