It’s History Trivia Tuesday!

Historic Jacksonville shares tidbits from Jacksonville history every Tuesday on our Facebook and Instagram pages. “Like” us on Facebook at Historic Jacksonville (historicjville) or “follow” us on Instagram (historicjacksonville) 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 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, the town’s leading butcher in the late 19th century, noted for “his remarkable business ability and intelligence.”  He and his wife, Irish-born Helen Hill, raised a family of seven in this home. 

Orth had emigrated from Bavaria, Germany in the early 1850s, arriving in Jacksonville by 1860.  Orth served as City Councilman for several years and also as County Treasurer.  Orth’s success had been such that he had previously constructed the town’s 1872 Orth Building on South Oregon Street.

But the Orth House site has its own history. It was originally only 1 block from the center of the main commercial activity when Jacksonville was founded in 1852.  During the early 1850s, the lot had been broken into several parcels which at various times housed a stable along with scattered outbuildings and sheds. In the 1860s, J.A. Brunner, part owner and builder of the oldest brick commercial building in Jacksonville today, purchased most of the property and built his private residence.  It was subsequently the home of Max Muller, another of the town’s leading merchants.

In 1865, the property was deeded to John Orth. Orth was sufficiently successful that he acquired at 276-acre farm that same year “two miles east of Jacksonville on the Ashland road.” However it was 1880 before Orth constructed his “spacious two-story family residence” which you can still appreciate today!


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