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Jacksonville: A National Historic Landmark

Our visit to Jacksonville was the perfect mix of fun, education, historic ambience, and hot smelly asphalt. California Street, which was being paved over, is the heart of Jacksonville and is lined with brick buildings, vintage advertisements, unique shops and a wide variety of restaurants. The town’s sell line "Our past is our present to you" may be a little cutesy, but we were struck by how the residents seem devoted to preserving the town’s 19th century atmosphere. However, the feeling of civic pride was certainly being tested during the extensive reconstruction of the city streets. They had about a weeks worth of work left during our visit ... the merchants were all chomping at the bit for a return to normalcy.

The Jacksonville Museum of Southern Oregon is housed in the Jacksonville County Courthouse and is described as one of best small town museums in Oregon. It did not disappoint. At the museum we learned that Ginger Rogers had property here and was often seen driving flamboyantly around town in a convertible. Vance Govig, another local celebrity, provided the voice for many Disney characters such as Goofy and Grumpy and later became the first and best known Bozo the Clown. Of course the most famous native and father of Jacksonville is Peter Britt ... a remarkable example of how a bright and persistently curious mind can reshape a corner of the world.

The garden at McCully House Inn

Adjacent to downtown are many historic houses that have been lovingly restored to postcard perfection… several have been converted to cheerful and inviting looking B&Bs.

Jeremiah Nunan House — 1890

As we drove out of town we realized that there was still so much to see (Peter Britt Gardens, historic homes, city cemetery, etc.) ... so we have vowed to return ... especially for the annual Peter Britt Music Festival.


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