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 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.”

“Like” Historic Jacksonville, Inc. on Facebook (historicjville) for regular history trivia. And visit our website to enjoy our entire trivia trove of Jacksonville history—www.historicjacksonville.org.

 
 

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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. For about 30 years the Bank was located 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.

Redmen’s Hall

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.