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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.

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.



















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History Trivia Categories

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.

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….

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.

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.”

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.

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.

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.

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.

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:

Bigham Knoll #3

May 10, 2016

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

The Applebaker Barn

January 27, 2015

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 about 1 mile south on 3rd. Businessman Gustav Karewski purchased it in 1881, a year after it was constructed, and within three years it ranked third in the state in flour production. In 1915, Joseph Applebaker dismantled, moved, and reconstructed the building at its present location to serve as his blacksmith’s shop.

South Stage Cellars

South Stage Cellars


November 25, 2014

South Stage Cellars, at 125 South 3rd Street in Jacksonville, has had many incarnations. Built around 1865 by Irish immigrant P.J. Ryan as his residence, it subsequently housed hotels, a restaurant, a doctor’s office, a butcher shop, an ice cream parlor, and a saloon. 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.