It’s Walkabout Wednesday!

Welcome to Historic Jacksonville’s Walkabout Wednesday Club!  The Club is a tribute to Storm Large, Jacksonville’s Great Dane “history ambassador.”  Every Wednesday for over 7 years, Storm shared our town’s historic sites along with their stories.  Walkabout Wednesday Club members continue her legacy.
Learn more about Storm and the origins of Walkabout Wednesday by clicking here.



St. Joseph’s Catholic Church

Today Trevor is visiting St. Joseph’s Catholic Church at 280 North 4th Street, the oldest Catholic Church still standing in Southern Oregon.  Shortly after the discovery of gold in Jacksonville in the winter of 1851-1852, 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. Father Francis Xavier Blanchet 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.  Today St. Joseph’s is a mission of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Medford.

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Hoffman Cemetery Plot

Today, Mozzie is visiting one of his favorite places  – Jacksonville’s pioneer cemetery.  Today he is at the grave block of the Hoffman family in the cemetery’s city section.  William Hoffman served Jackson County as its first auditor under territorial laws and as its first County Clerk when Oregon achieved statehood.     

William and his wife Caroline had come across the Oregon Trail from Indiana in 1853.  They brought with them something considered more valuable than gold in a predominantly bachelor settlement—6 marriageable daughters! 

The family traveled the Trail as part of a “preacher wagon train,” avoiding traveling on Sundays.  Devout Presbyterians, William helped create the Presbyterian community in Jacksonville.  Reverend Moses Williams established the first Presbyterian congregation in the Hoffman home, and he and his wife Amelia are also buried in the Hoffman block.

The Hoffman daughters did indeed marry well.  Daughter Florence, whose first marriage was to a county judge, Thomas Shipley, lies here along with their grown daughter Maggie and her baby.  The marble “French cradle” was created by Florence’s second husband, stone mason J.C. Whipp, for their young daughter Carrie.

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Judge Hanna House

Jaxon is at what’s now known as the Judge Hanna House at the corner of 1st and Pine streets in Jacksonville.  However, the house was actually built in 1868 for another Judge, Legrand J.C. Duncan.  Duncan, born in 1818, was older than most of the fortune seeking miners when he arrived in Jacksonville.  After serving as Sheriff of Jackson County, Duncan was elected Jackson County Judge in 1860, a position he held for the next 10 years. Following his retirement, he took up the gentlemanly pursuit of gardening, perhaps inspired by his neighbor across the street, Peter Britt.  Duncan died of typhoid pneumonia at age 68. 

It was not until sometime after 1885 that Judge Hiero K. Hanna purchased and resided in the house.  A native of New York, Hanna headed west in 1850 when he was 18.  He realized some mining success in California before moving on to Josephine County where he was elected District Attorney.  Only after opening a law practice in Jacksonville in 1874 did Hanna actually study law.  He was subsequently elected District Attorney for the area covering Jackson, Josephine, Lake and Klamath counties.  In 1884 he was appointed circuit court judge and in the 1880s also served as a trustee of the City of Jacksonville.

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Long Tom Sluice Box

Ariel and Caliban are at the “long tom” sluice box on West Main Street.  This stretch was Jacksonville’s original business district and later Oregon’s first Chinatown.  The “long tom,” installed around 2000, recognizes the gold miners who were the locale’s first residents. 

The earliest miners were “placer” miners, scooping creek bottom silt into pans or shoveling it into rockers or long tom sluice boxes and using water to separate valuable ore from sediment.  In pans or rockers, the heavier gold settled to the bottom and the miners could pick out the loose flakes and occasional nugget.  The sluice box, essentially a sloping trough, allowed more dirt to be searched.  Some sluice boxes could be hundreds of feet long, but the long tom is a small one, usually 6 to 12 feet long and 12 to 20 inches wide.  It required much less water but a lot more labor.

Dirt would be placed in the upper section, the “tom,” which acted like a large hopper with a screen.  As water was poured into the top, a miner would rake it to break up clods and screen out larger rocks. The slurry would then pour into the second section where a series of “riffles,” essentially raised slats of wood, would trap the heavier gold deposits. This is a very simplistic explanation and a lot more information can be found on the internet.

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Gold First Found Here

Gracie, our 8-year-old Australian Shepherd and rescue dog, is Historic Jacksonville, Inc.’s Walkabout Wednesday tour guide this week. 

Have you visited Jacksonville’s “Gold First Found Here” site where Applegate Street crosses Daisy Creek?  This is the approximate location where James Clugage and James Pool, two packers carrying goods to the mining camps in California, did a little panning in the creek and found their first “color.” 

But the story is a little more complex than the marker would lead you to believe.  They were not the first Whites in the area to find gold.  That honor probably belonged to the son of Alonzo Skinner, the local Indian agent, and one of his employees, a Mr. Sykes.  They had found gold in nearby Jackson Creek the previous fall.  Cluggage and Pool learned of the discovery when they spent a night at the Skinner homestead so took time to pan a little before heading to Yreka.  And, voila! 

Clugage and Pool hightailed it south and immediately filed land claims on what is now most of Jacksonville.  They returned and spent the next few weeks mining, but then Clugage did something unheard of—he publicized his “find,” even boasting to California newspapers of taking out 70 ounces of gold a day from his claim. Thousands of miners poured over the Siskiyous into the Valley, closely followed by merchants, gamblers, courtesans, and settlers—all needing a mining, business, or home site.    

Clugage did indeed find gold—he made a fortune selling land! 

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Dowell House

Trevor, our 13-year-old “Bagel” (Bassett-Beagle mix), is Historic Jacksonville, Inc.’s Walkabout Wednesday tour guide this week. 

Today Trevor is admiring the B.F. Dowell House at 475 N. 5th Street. This Victorian Italianate style home was built for Benjamin Franklin Dowell, named for his grandmother’s uncle, Benjamin Franklin. Dowell served as prosecuting attorney for Oregon’s 1st Judicial District and as U.S. District Attorney. For 14 years he owned the “Oregon Sentinel” newspaper, the first newspaper in the Pacific Northwest to support the abolition of slavery and the first to nominate Ulysses S. Grant for president.

This 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 windowsills.

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Kennedy House

Mozzie, the Club’s 1 ½ year old yellow Lab, is Historic Jacksonville, Inc.’s Walkabout Wednesday tour guide this week.

 Today Mozzie is visiting the Matthew G. Kennedy house on North 3rd Street. Constructed around 1855, it’s the oldest Jacksonville residence still standing.

One of the Valley’s earliest pioneers, Kennedy had been appointed town constable in early 1853 at the ripe old age of 23 and became the first elected Sheriff of Jackson County later that year.  At the time Jackson County encompassed current day Jackson, Josephine, Curry and Coos counties.

Kennedy also invested in Jacksonville real estate.  He was the first Jacksonville settler to record his claim to a 100-foot frontage on the north side of California Street.  Around 1854, he constructed 1 or 2 wood frame buildings that housed an “assemblage of shops” known as “Kennedy’s Row.”  That site now houses The Pot Rack, Pickety Place, and the historic Beekman Bank Museum. 

But Kennedy also had a bit of the wanderlust.  In 1857 he left Jacksonville to build a hotel called the Metropolitan House Hotel in Yreka, and by 1863, he had moved on to San Francisco.

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Ulrich-McKenzie House

Today Jaxon is visiting the Barbara Ulrich House at 470 South 3rd Street.  Constructed around 1888, it’s unique for its eclectic design features including rubblestone foundation and Classical revival, Victorian Gothic, and Queen Anne architectural elements.

Born in Germany in 1822, Barbara and her husband Christian had emigrated to the United States by the 1850s and came west with their family in the 1860s.  Their son, also named Christian, was a carpenter and owned a planing mill and sash and door factory at the southeast corner of California and 5th streets.  Construction of the original portion of the building is attributed to him. 

In 1890, Barbara Ulrich deeded the property to Rebecca McKenzie for $700.  Rebecca was the widow of Thomas McKenzie, who, with E.D. Foudray, had established Jacksonville’s first, and very profitable, steam flouring mill on South 3rd.  McKenzie had also been a prominent merchant and active in town affairs.  He apparently left Rebecca quite well off since in the 1900 Jackson County census, Rebecca was listed as a “capitalist.”  This house was probably an investment and used as a rental property.

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Weiss House

Ariel and Caliban are checking out the Weiss House at 650 Sterling Street. The house is actually multiple buildings with “back stories” tracing Jacksonville’s growth. 

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 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 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 post-World War II avid recycler. In 1951, Minshall and his friends loaded two barracks buildings and a maintenance shed from Camp White, now White City, onto a flatbed truck and brought them home.  They are now the long great room and garage of the current residence. 

Camp White was a World War II 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. 

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McCully House Inn

Gracie is visiting the McCully House Inn, originally the 1861 home of John and Jane McCully.  John had been Jacksonville’s first doctor and the town’s first Justic of the Peace.  But when the McCullys arrived in Jacksonville in early 1852, there was no demand for a doctor.  Instead, John speculated in real estate.  In 1856 he erected Jacksonville’s first 2-story brick commercial building, the most expensive structure in town at the time.
After being elected to the last Territorial Legislature and the first State Legislature, John built this elegant home at 240 E. California Street to symbolize his status and prominence.
John’s speculation had significantly over-extended him financially, and the house bankrupted him.  To avoid his creditors, he left town in early 1862, leaving his wife Jane with 3 children plus his debts.  He also left her with this elegant home at 240 E. California Street. To survive, Jane turned to baking bread and pies—the source of the family’s income when they first arrived in Jacksonville.  She leased the house to a couple who ran it as a boarding house, and in June of 1862 Jane opened “Mrs. McCully’s Seminary” in the family’s old log cabin, the town’s first school for girls.
Jane was a trained teacher, and her seminary was so popular that by the end of the year she took over the house for classes.  Even after public schools opened, Jane provided advanced education for both girls and boys.  She was the only teacher the children of many of Jacksonville’s prominent families ever knew.  And everyone was taught never to mention John McCully’s name in her presence!


Kubli House

Today Trevor is visiting the 1 ½ story wood frame structure at 305 S. Oregon Street in Jacksonville.  Although the house was built in 1862 and Kaspar Kubli did not acquire it until 1872, it’s known as the Kubli House (or Kubli Haus) since it was occupied by the Kubli family for 25 years.

Twenty-year-old Kaspar Kubli had immigrated to the U.S. from Switzerland in 1852, arriving in Jacksonville a year later.  After mining for 2 winters, he found greater success packing supplies from Crescent City in partnership with fellow Swiss immigrants, Peter Britt and Viet Shutz.  With his capital he acquired extensive land holdings in the Applegate where he engaged in farming and ranching. 

Moving back into Jacksonville in 1872, Kubli purchased this house along with a tinsmith and hardware business.  The latter’s success led to his erecting the 2-story brick commercial building on California Street which still bears the Kubli name. 

Kubli was also an active public and civic servant, twice elected Jackson County Treasurer, elected Grand Patriarch of the International Order of Odd Fellows grand lodge of Oregon, and involved in the Presbyterian Church management.


Boddy Cemetery Plot

One of Mozzie’s favorite places for daily walks is Jacksonville’s Pioneer Cemetery.  Today Mozzie is in the City Section, visiting the grave of the Boddy family, casualties of the Modoc Indian War.  William and Louisa Boddy, 2 sons, a daughter, and a son-in-law immigrated from Australia to the Klamath Valley in 1872 to establish a cattle ranch.  Only a few months after their arrival, the Bureau of Indian Affairs ordered the Modoc people to be moved into settlements with the Klamath and Yahooskin tribes, their historic enemies, sparking a war between Native Americans and settlers.

A driverless, bloodied wagon was the first sign of trouble for the Boddy family.  When Louisa and her daughter Katherine were approached by Native Americans asking if there were men in the house, Katherine took her daughter and ran.  They returned a week later only to learn that all their menfolk had been killed.  The 2 women were reportedly the only survivors of the Modoc Indian Uprising, and Louisa Boddy was the only woman to receive damages from the U.S. government for her losses.  A claim for $6,180 was processed through an Act of Congress and paid by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Louisa and Katherine relocated to Jacksonville, and in 1881, Louisa had her family exhumed and reburied in the Jacksonville Cemetery.  She had this elaborate marker made by Ed McGrath, a San Francisco marble carver.  Both Louisa and Katherine remarried and moved away, but when Louisa died in 1904, Katherine brought her mother to Jacksonville to be buried with the rest of the family.

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Chris Keegan House

Jaxon is visiting the Chris Keegan House at the corner of D and North 3rd streets.  It’s one of only four residences in Jacksonville constructed with board and batten exterior sheathing.  Although it’s known as the Chris Keegan House, it was actually built for Minnie Obenchain around 1907.  The Obenchains had ranched in Klamath County for some 20 years, but Minnie moved back to Jacksonville after her husband Madison passed away.  Minnie probably built this house as a rental and Chris Keegan and his family apparently occupied the home for several years before purchasing it in 1919.  For many years, Keegan and Harry Luy were partners in the Luy and Keegan Saloon located on the north side of California Street near 3rd.

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Jacksonville Gold Miner Sculpture

Today Tova is in front of the Jacksonville Gold Miner sculpture on the library’s front lawn, created in 2007 by famed British sculptor Alan Collins. 

The sculpture commemorates the town’s 1850s gold rush, but did you know that Jacksonville actually had 2 gold rushes?  During the 1930s Great Depression, Jackson County gave out mining permits rather than putting able-bodied individuals on the dole, i.e., welfare.  These resourceful individuals undermined almost every square inch of Jacksonville looking for any leftover gold. 

When the current Jacksonville Library building was constructed in 2003, the contractors discovered a major tunnel, most likely a 1930s enterprise, that began near the bridge west of Jacksonville on what is now Highway 238, passed under the old train depot (now the Visitors Center), ran across North Oregon on the south side of C Street, and followed the “rim” of C Street almost to 4th, ending under the 1930s community center (now the Jacksonville Inn parking lot)!



Ariel and Caliban are in front of the barred door and “Jail” sign on the Oregon Street side of Jacksonville’s Old City Hall at the corner of S. Oregon and W. Main streets.  It’s the doorway to one of 2 “calabooses,” i.e., jail cells, that were incorporated into the building’s 1880s architecture.  (The other “calaboose” is accessed from inside the building.)  From 1881 until the 1930s or ‘40s, the two cells were used to house the town’s “delinquents.”  Translation: it was the town’s drunk tank.  However, Ariel, who is known for getting into a bit of mischief, appears to be wondering if she might be seeing the interior sooner rather than later!


Dr. Will Jackson
Gracie is quite inquisitive, so she is checking out the home of Dr. Will Jackson, 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 Remotion’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.

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Helms House

Trevor is visiting the Italianate style Helms House at the corner of South Oregon and Pine streets.  It was built in 1878 by Table Rock Billiard Saloon owner Herman von Helms. 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.  Their spirits still linger and this is one of the houses featured on Historic Jacksonville’s “Haunted History” walking tours.

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Kenney House
Mozzie is visiting the Kenney house at 285 North 4th Street, one of Jacksonville’s few remaining Queen Anne style homes.

The newly painted house (Mozzie definitely admires the new color combo) was built around 1898 by Thomas J. Kenney.  Kenney’s father, Daniel M. Kenney, had opened the town’s first trading post in 1852, a tent structure at the corner of Oregon and California streets.  His mother was Elizabeth T’Vault, daughter of lawyer, politician, and newspaper publisher William T’Vault.

At age 8, Thomas began working as a “chore boy” in a livery stable, became an apprentice harness maker at age 10, and at 25 opened his own harness and saddle store. He subsequently sold insurance, invested in mines, accumulated considerable property, and conducted a hardware and grocery business becoming one of the town’s leading merchants. He served on the school board and city council, was active in various lodges, and was regarded as one of Jacksonville’s legendary patriarchs, creating his own legacy!

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Applebaker Barn

Jaxon is visiting the Applebaker Barn, located at the corner of North 3rd and D streets.  It’s 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.

Actually, we wonder if Jaxon may be more interested in the old jalopy behind him than the barn’s history.  He’s hoping he can go for a ride!

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Nunan House

Jacksonville’s famous 4-legged history ambassador, Storm Large, passed away in early April, but over her 7+ years of Walkabout Wednesday outings, she gained a huge fan club and a national reputation. As a legacy, and with the blessing of Storm’s owners, Historic Jacksonville, Inc. is organizing a Walkabout Wednesday Club to continue the tradition. In the meantime, we are sharing some of our favorite outings with Storm from previous years.

This 2019 photo finds Storm at the 1892 Jeremiah Nunan House, located at 635 N. Oregon Street in Jacksonville. When construction began, the local newspaper referred to it as “the most elegant home in Jacksonville.”  Contrary to local lore, it was not a kit house ordered from Sears, Roebuck & Company. Sear’s kit homes weren’t produced until 1908. The Nunan House plans were purchased directly from Tennessee architect George F. Barber’s “The Cottage Souvenir” catalog, hence its nickname, “the catalog house.”

Jeremiah Nunan operated a saddle and harness business then later opened a general merchandise store. He was also involved in farming, mining, and fire insurance, and served as the town recorder and police judge.      

Nunan built this beautiful Queen Anne style home as a Christmas present for his wife, Delia O’Grady. The two and one-half story Nunan House is a superb example of Queen Anne style architecture with its variety of forms, textures, materials, and colors. “Its unabashed exuberance” also symbolizes Jacksonville’s “history of lusty gold mining and productive agricultural trade.”






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