OUR COMMERCIAL RELATIONS WITH SOUTHERN OREGON.The merchants of San Francisco have hitherto held much of the trade of that large and rapidly developing region known as Southern Oregon. The United States government is now spending $10,000 on the improvement of the roads from Jacksonville north to Portland, and the natural effect of this will be to give much of the Southern Oregon business to the merchants of the Columbia and the commercial centers of the Northwest. In order to secure for San Francisco merchants advantages at least equal, and probably much better, there has for months been a strong effort made by the people of Southern Oregon, in accord with the people of Del Norte County, to build a wagon road from Waldo to Crescent City. The movement has now taken such a shape that a very little aid and comfort on the part of San Francisco merchants, who are interested in this trade, would ensure its success.
April 10th there was a public meeting held in Waldo, which is near the southern line of Oregon, and support was pledged by the merchants. Previous to this, enthusiastic meetings were held in Del Norte County. April 17th a convention took place in Jacksonville. Committees were present from Jackson, Del Norte and Josephine counties. The report declared that these committees had decided to select the best route from Waldo to Crescent City. They appointed viewers and prepared for a final survey, each county to bear one-third of this expense. A gentleman was appointed to ask for subscriptions in San Francisco. The cost of the road is estimated at $20,000, of which 30 percent is obtained.
To show the need of this road the following statements are made by Southern Oregon and Del Norte papers. (1.) The merchants of Josephine County say that if the proposed road is not built they must discontinue freighting from Crescent City, and turn their attention to Portland, the old road being nearly impassable and on a bad route. (2.) The incoming freight of Jackson County is not less than twenty-eight hundred tons annually. These freights, landed at Roseburg, cost $25 per ton, or $70,000 per year. (3.) There is in Jackson and Josephine counties and their tributary valleys an area of 400,000 acres of wheat land, immense ranges of pasturage, rapidly filling up with stock, and a belt of fine mineral land. Population is crowding in, and the future of the whole region is extremely hopeful. (4.) The length of the road desired is only 36 miles, and every mile lies within the boundaries of California, and will aid to build up Crescent City. The time may come when a railroad will take its place.--Bulletin.
Humboldt Times, Eureka, California, May 4, 1880, page 2
FLYING TRIP TO EAGLE POINT.August 27th the pro temp editor of the Sentinel, in company of A. C. Jones and family and W. J. Plymale and several members of his family, took a flying trip to Butte Creek, for the purpose of attending the picnic held under the auspices of the Champions of Honor. Starting bright and early we were soon well on our way, with Eagle Point, sixteen miles away, as the objective "point." Hastening along the road in one of Plymale's superior family turnouts, our thinking faculties were soon aroused, and we as soon began to account (in a manner at least) for the increase of profanity on the part of people traveling our public roads. Gliding along smoothly, as we thought, our party was suddenly startled by a succession of irregular movements on the part of our vehicle. One by one we received a knock against our head, enabling several if not all of our company to see "stars"--a sensation by no means pleasant at seven o'clock in the morning. When we were told by our gentlemanly coachman that we had only gone through a few Oregon "chuckholes," that could not be avoided, we understood all about it, and "put up" with the chastisement, undeserved though it was. But it did not prevent us from moralizing a very little. O, who could fittingly describe the feelings of these travelers toward that neglectful road overseer, who brought all that misery upon us! Fortunately for him that he was not at that moment within reaching distance. Wouldn't he have caught "fits"? There is not the slightest excuse for such bad places to remain in the public highways, and yet these chuckholes have been there since spring. Verily the road overseer who can be unconcerned about this matter is a fit subject of prayer.
It must be confessed that the road system of Oregon is most abominable, as is abundantly attested by the destruction of property--broken wagons and worn-out draft horses. There is not another state in the Union where there is so little public spirit manifested to keep the roads in repair as Oregon. If there is any way of inducing gentlemen in charge of road work to do their duty, we would like to know it.
On our trip to Eagle Point we found other sections of the road grown over with the so-called Spanish needle weed, or in the language of Tom. Beall, dagger cockleburs. This noxious weed is worse than the Canada thistle, and if no steps are taken to exterminate it, it will be only a question of time when farming in Rogue River Valley will be rendered impossible by this wonderfully rank and thorny weed. The Oregon statute book contains a law making it obligatory upon road overseers to cut down this noxious weed wherever found in the public highways. Our own citizen, the Hon. Tom. Beall, whilst a member of the Oregon legislature, procured the passage of this good law, but to observe the immense crop of this dagger weed along most of the public highways in the valley the proof is not wanting that this is but a dead letter upon the statute book.
We reached Eagle Point sufficiently early in the day to enable us to see the sights of town and its immediate surroundings. The first thing to attract our attention was the clear, beautiful mountain stream flowing swiftly by town. Owing to the fact that the large county bridge which crosses Little Butte Creek at this point was being rebuilt and impassable, we had to ford the stream a short distance below. The rather abrupt descent into and ascent out of the steam convinced us that there is room for vast volumes of water. The melting snows of Mount Pitt, situated about twenty miles to the east of here, supplies this stream with its abundance the year round.
The topography of the earth's surface, the line belt of farming land, the splendid townsite, the magnificent water power and mild climate, all conspire to ensure a prosperous if not brilliant future. All these advantages taken into account we see good reason for the hope that animates the hearts of the proprietors of Eagle Point.
Besides, it is situated on the only practical railroad route between Roseburg and the Klamath Lake country. It is a noticeable fact, which may have escaped public attention, that the headwaters of the South Umpqua and the headwaters of Trail Creek are but a stone's throw from each other, and the two streams are separated from each other by a low divide and an easy grade. Trail Creek empties into Rogue River a short distance above Eagle Point, and the route up Little Butte and into the Klamath Lake country is no more difficult than the pass through the mountains which separate the Willamette from the Umpqua Valley, and through which the railroad is now built and running. The Trail Creek route shortens the distance between Roseburg and Linkville greatly, and is well known to the railroad authorities, the survey having been made some years ago, and has been resurveyed quite recently. This route as it proceeds southeast leaves Mount Pitt to the left. Is it any wonder that with such a favorable geographical location the citizens of Eagle Point should look to the future hopefully? Peter Simons, who is also proprietor of the Traveler's Home, is the largest land owner at Eagle Point. The plat of the town is recorded is the County Clerk's office. In platting the town we hope provision has been made to lay out according to the points of the compass, with wide streets, good-sized blocks, allowing a 20-foot alley to run through center of [the] block both from east to west and from north to south.
Eagle Point has one flouring mill, two stores, one cabinetmaking and carpenter shop, one blacksmithing and wagonmaking establishment; one school house, one house of worship (Catholic), and two places of entertainment for travelers. The public hall over the blacksmith shop supplies a want long felt, and public gatherings of any nature are held here.
There are three undershot water wheels in operation at Eagle Point, which furnish a majority of the town people with water for irrigation purposes. The one in front of Brown's store and residence is 24 feet in diameter and lifts the water 22 feet. The water is received by an air-tight box, in which it is led under the street to the premises where it raises by its own pressure, and is conducted in flumes to any part of the place or farm where wanted. The water is taken out of the ditch that furnishes Daily & Emery's mill with power. It is of very simple construction and is calculated to find many imitators.
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, September 1, 1880, page 3
JACKSONVILLE'S IMPROVEMENTS FOR ONE YEAR.Democratic Times, Jacksonville, December 3, 1880, page 1. Reprinted from the Oregon Sentinel of November 24, 1880, page 1.
The Presidential excitement being over, would it not be well for us to examine into the progress we have made in the year now nearing its close? The writer took unto himself the pleasant task of inquiring into the various buildings that have been erected and the improvements to others and the probable cost of each.
Commencing at our new steam flouring mill, we have one of the finest structures of the kind on the Pacific Coast, substantially built of the best material, under most experienced mechanics, Messrs. Hammond and Wimer. It is three stories in height, with a solid stone foundation, the machinery is of the latest and most improved pattern, is capable of manufacturing the finest quality of flour; there are two runs of burrs in the mill. One of the proprietors, Mr. Foudray, informed the writer that if needed they can grind into flour all of the surplus wheat that is grown in Rogue River Valley, and I believe it. For instance, one day recently they manufactured in one hour 1,100 lbs. of splendid flour. Taking this as a basis, allowing the mill to run night and day, we have a grinding capacity of 150,000 bushels of wheat per annum, which my readers can readily see would manufacture into flour all of the surplus wheat our farmers can raise. The proprietors, Foudray & McKenzie, are thorough mill men and have expended a great deal of money in the building of the flouring mill, we understand $11,000, and I think we speak the sentiment of the people when we say they deserve our patronage. It is to be hoped that every well-wisher of our town will see they are patronized, they being worthy of it.
In leaving the mill and coming down Third Street we see four dwellings recently erected, one by Mr. Kane, two by Mr. McMahon, and one by Mr. Lathrop, Mr. Kane occupying his as a residence, Mr. McMahon renting his two at, we are informed, a fair rental, and Mr. Lathrop occupying his as a dwelling for himself and family. The buildings, we learn, costing about $1,200.
Still following Third Street, until we come to California Street, on the corner of Third and California we find the New State Hotel and saloon, owned and occupied by C. W. Savage, to have been entirely renovated. The part of the building fronting on Third Street has been sided and some new windows inserted; on California Street a new front and awning has been built. With the repainting and reshingling we estimate Mr. Savage has fully expended $800, and we presume Mr. S. will retain his former reputation as a genial, whole-souled Boniface.
Next door to the New State Hotel we find Mr. Howard with his beautiful Bazaar, as he calls it, but really he has worked wonders. One can hardly imagine he could make such a change out of the old butcher shop and baker shop, yet he has done it at a cost, we judge, of $800, and Howard says he will sell goods cheaper than anybody for cash. Give him a call, for he is not such a bad fellow.
We still walk along California Street, towards Oregon, and find John Miller with his large and improved store looking really nice for our little town, he having taken out the partition dividing him from Mr. Howard's old stand, and has fitted up the inside in good shape with shelving, drawers, cases, etc., at a cost, we think, of $300.
Crossing Oregon Street and going towards Mr. Schutz' brewery, we find Jas. P. McDaniel's nice new residence, artistically built and neatly painted, we presume, at a cost to Mr. McD. of $600.
Leaving Mr. McDaniel and walking down California Street, we pass N. Fisher's residence. Mr. F. has within the year made some additions to his residence and other needed improvements at a cost, we think, of $500.
In passing along California Street we find C. Coleman's with a new front, which sets off his store building wonderfully. The front was something Mr. C. needed and we presume it must have cost him, with other alterations, $300.
On the same block with Mr. C. we find the fine new brick drug store, lately erected by C. W. Kahler at a cost, we are informed, of $2,000. We must admire Mr. Kahler for the pains he has taken in making the drug store such a nice building. It is now occupied by Kahler & Bro., who will dispense to the public all articles in their line at low rates.
On the adjoining block, as we walk eastwardly, we see our new Grand Hotel and Hall, owned by Geo. and Jane Holt. We hear it will be occupied by the Madame in person, when we believe all the delicacies of the season will be dispensed to her guests in the latest style and at fair prices. In noticing the hotel and hall, it would hardly be right to pass it by without giving a short sketch of the manner in which it was built. Geo. Holt, owner and builder, started from the bedrock, as we call it, quarrying the stone for the foundation, making the brick, burning the lime, cutting the stone for sills, doors, windows, etc., and then laying each of these in their proper places, finally plastering the building throughout. We think, from information furnished, the hotel when completed will cost $12,000, and we believe the equal of Mr. Holt for industry and perseverance is not in the state of Oregon. Were we blessed with more like him we would have a different town and valley.
On the same block with the hotel, Mr. Cardwell has built a very neat one-story frame building, a portion of the front being occupied by Mrs. I. W. Berry as a millinery store, Mr. Cardwell using the balance as a residence for himself and family. The building complete cost $1,500.
We are yet on California Street and walk east a few blocks, when we come to the nice new church edifice being built by the Presbyterians of Jacksonville for them to worship in. It is quite a model of architectural beauty, and for finish we think has no superior in the state. It is of two stories in height, with a beautiful belfry. The bell, we learn, costing in San Francisco $500, is of fine manufacture with a splendid tone; on a clear morning we think the ringing of the bell can be heard six or seven miles. David Linn, the builder, has done a remarkably good job in the erection of the church, and we must say it is a credit to our town to have such an edifice. We learn when finished the church will cost in the neighborhood of $5,000.
Across the street and a little further east we find T. G. Reames, building an addition to his dwelling. When finished, we are informed, it will cost $1,000, contractors, Messrs. Smith & Finfrock.
Leaving California Street, we go towards the school house, and find a large and commodious two-story dwelling house recently erected by Robt. Kahler for occupancy by himself, at a cost we learn of $1,500; builder, Geo. Brown.
Passing still north of Mr. Kahler's and walking down the valley road, we find Prof. Merritt with a nice two-story frame dwelling house, erected within the last month and costing him, we should think, $600 when completed; builder George Brown.
We retrace our steps, and crossing Jackson Creek towards Wm. Bybee's we meet the ponderous two-story frame rustic dwelling house about being completed for James R. Neil, ex-district attorney. Mr. Neil when occupying his new residence will have a beautiful view of our valley and surroundings. The dwelling is certainly a very fine one and shows a spirit of improvement in Mr. Neil. The cost, when completed, we believe cannot be less than $1,500; builder D. Linn.
Leaving Mr. Neil we return along Oregon Street until we come to our new town hall, now in course of erection. When completed it will make a neat and very creditable appearance. It is of brick, one story in height, having a frontage of 25 feet on Main Street and running back on Oregon Street 75 feet, with an "L" in the rear, the building nearly covering the plot of ground owned by the town, and is divided as follows: Truck room in the rear; adjoining is the calaboose of two cells, solidly constructed. We would rather not be confined therein--that is for any length of time. The front portion will be used by the Trustees for their meetings. The Recorder also has his office there. When finished, not including the lot, [it] will cost $2,500; builder, David Linn. Should the finances of the town justify it, at an early date the Trustees will add an additional story for public purposes.
We are on Oregon Street and walk south until we meet the Applegate road, when we find the small but neat dwelling house of F. Kasshafer, built at a cost to him, we hear, of $300.
In summing up the approximate costs of improvements and their number, we have fifteen new buildings, with improvements to others, costing in all between forty and fifty thousand dollars, and believe our estimates are not overdrawn. With various charitable and other purposes, we have the following, viz:
Jacksonville, Nov. 19, 1880.
We have paid little attention to the precious metals that are found in the Willamette counties and to some extent mined for in the Cascade Range, but we are coming to a part of the state that has turned out millions of gold in the past and will be scientifically mined in the future. Mines are found in Douglas County, and gold placers have been worked there. Also there is a commencement of development there in the direction of gold quartz ledges, and we hear of rich prospects in the cinnabar mines. Coal is found in Douglas County, lately discovered, and to possess special value. South of the Umpqua Mountains we come into the Rogue River Valley, which is both a rich mining and farming region. Placer mining is carried on extensively in Jackson and Josephine counties, and Jackson County has the agricultural portion of Rogue River Valley within its limits. Jackson County has a fair share of sheep and cattle, and raises some of the best horses to be found on the Pacific Coast. Jacksonville and Ashland are very thriving places, and at the latter a woolen factory is in successful operation. The climate of Rogue River Valley is warmer than the Umpqua, so that corn, sorghum, peaches and grapes succeed very well. The counties south of the Umpqua are not really tributary to the Columbia River to any great extent, and do not come directly within the scope of our purpose, which is to describe in a series of articles the Columbian region. The construction of the railroad through Southern Oregon would wake that section to life and prosperity, while as yet they are dependent chiefly on a home market and the demand from the mines for sale of their products. The stock interests have great importance, because they can be driven to market.
"The Pacific Northwest," Willamette Farmer, Salem, December 17, 1880, page 5
Nestling among the low foothills of the Siskiyous and spreading along the bed of the long since vanished [sic] stream of Jackson Creek, lies the somnolent village of Jacksonville, once the county seat of Jackson County and the richest and fairest flower of the peach-blown paradise that is Southern Oregon.
Here, when I first visited about 1880, was gathered a tranquil community of the survivors of the pioneer miners and merchants of an earlier day and their sons and daughters, the latter among the most beautiful women of the state.
The town was still a thriving and busy place, reached by the famous old line of thoroughbraced stages usually drawn by eight horses and running from Roseburg to Redding.
Mining was still carried on and was one of the principal sources of revenue supporting the community. The chamois pouch, the gold scale and the horseshoe magnet were ever in evidence in the business places with their quaint old iron doors, or shutters, fronting them.
On Saturdays after the miners had cleaned up, the sluice boxes were turned over to the children, and many a proud urchin came home with a little store of gold dust left in the riffles by the somewhat sketchy methods of the miners who worked the placers.
There were many colorful characters in old Jacksonville, and many of these old names graced the pages of Oregon history with honor and distinction. But their memory is best preserved in the art of Peter Britt, pioneer photographer, who set up shop there in 1852. When I visited there last fall with my daughter, I spent most of a day with his son, now 84 years old, in the gallery of the beautiful old homestead, looking at the pictures of the early residents. Most of these were familiar to me and I saw the original camera, which looked like a cigar box with a tin tube stuck in its middle. What a wealth of memories it had preserved.
Dr. H. E. Jackson, "Jacksonville Story," Medford Mail Tribune, February 20, 1949, page 14