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: