At the conclusion of my previous post, I mentioned that we had made it to Jacksonville, Oregon at the end of our first full day of travel (Sunday March 9th). It is located a few minutes east of Medford which is right on the I5 as you head south toward the California border.
It was named for Jackson Creek, which runs through the community and was
the site of one of the first placer gold claims in the area. It
includes the Jacksonville Historic District which was designated a U.S. National Historic Landmark in 1966. Once the gold deposits had been worked out, and the railway bypassed Jacksonville in 1884, the city’s economy slowed. Despite this, over 100 buildings from that time survived, and it has been hailed as “mid-19th century inland commercial city significant for its magnificent group of
surviving unaltered commercial and residential buildings”.
One of those surviving buildings was the Jacksonville Inn, where Mary and I stayed for our second night out on the road. It was built in 1861, and the walls of the dining area and lounge were built with locally quarried sandstone. Specks of gold are still visible in the mortar to this day. There are only 8 rooms in the Inn itself, and each one is named after someone of significance to the town, or the immediate area. For example we stayed in the Peter Britt room. When we asked, we found out that Peter Britt came to Jacksonville from Switzerland via Illinois in 1862. He was the first to photograph Crater Lakes, a must-see item which we intend to cover off on a future trip. The premier summer outdoor music theater in Oregon, The Britt Festival, is named in his honor and is held annually on land once owned by him.
The room was decorated with a mix of antiques that had survived from the mid to late 1800’s, and replicas of other items that would have been commonplace in an Inn during that time. Despite the age of the hotel, the room did have an up-to-date modern bathroom, it featured a large spa bathtub, and there were plenty of outlets to plug in all of one’s modern consumer electronics. The room itself cost $150 for the night and prices vary for each of the rooms depending on size and the décor package.
We had dinner in the basement dining room on Sunday night and it was spectacular – but, a warning here, it wasn’t cheap. The portions were huge, and we probably could have split one entree between us. The service was also wonderful. No surprise to us that it is one of Oregon’s most award-winning restaurants. We also had an amazing breakfast on Monday morning (included with the room) – the buttermilk pancakes were infused with orange, something we intend to try ourselves when we get back home.
We walked around the town and really wanted to explore some of the historic shops on the main street, but sadly, many of them didn’t open until 11 AM, and we really wanted to get on the road. It was also lightly sprinkling with rain, which made the walk itself a little less fun than it might have otherwise been. Even though the Jacksonville Inn is roughly 11 hours away from home base, we vowed we were going to come up with a reason to visit again.