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.