The Beautifully Preserved Mid-1800's Mining Town Of Jacksonville, Oregon Is A National Historic Landmark That Offers Visitors Plenty To See, Great Boutique Shopping And Superb Dining Choices
This little town is bursting with appeal. The historical town of Jacksonville, Oregon is located about fifteen miles north of Ashland and only about 7 miles west of Medford by taking exit 30 from Interstate 5 in Medford.
Once you arrive in town, you'll immediately be struck by the old-time charm and beauty of this well-preserved mid-1800's gold mining town. Jacksonville was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1966, setting the city on a path of renovation and preservation that has made it one of Oregon's most beautiful and sought out destinations for people around the world. One highly recommended way to begin a visit to Jacksonville is with a nice walking tour of downtown, starting at an 1891 railroad depot converted to a visitor center on Oregon and C Streets. If you’re coming from Medford, stay on 5th Street until your reach C Street, then turn right on C Street and go four blocks to where the street ends at the visitor center. Start at the far end of the parking lot of the visitor's center, where a sign announces the entrance to Jacksonville Woodlands Park. Cross the highway at the crosswalk and climb a set of stairs into the Britt Gardens. Signs point the way. A walkway to the left leads to the amphitheater where the Britt Festival's open-air concerts are held on summer evenings. For the loop hike, however, turn right instead, following a pointer for the Sara Zigler Interpretive Trail. After half a mile on the trail, turn right across the footbridge over Jackson Creek, continue upstream to the parking area, and turn left across another footbridge. Then follow signs for Rich Gulch and Panoramic Viewpoint, taking two right turns and two lefts, to find a knolltop bench overlooking the town and Mt. McLoughlin. Continue 100 yards to a trail junction, turn right, and then keep left at all junctions to descend through Rich Gulch. Trail-side signs describe the flumes and giant hydraulic hoses that washed gold from this valley, leaving cobble tailings. This may sound like a lot of directions, but when you are on the trails and see the actual trail markers it all comes together rather easily. When you reach paved Oregon Street, turn left and walk for a half mile to the town’s historic center. You'll soon find California Street, where many of Jacksonville's restaurants, inns and boutique shops take up residence in the beautifully preserved buildings of 1800's Oregon. Housed in historic commercial buildings and former homes, these shops offer their own unique personalities and make it easy to lose yourself in an array of specialty items from clothes to gifts to housewares. Restaurants range from the quaint C Street Bistro to the opulent elegance of the Jacksonville Inn Dinner House, with a few Asian, BBQ, Italian, Mexican and just about any other taste you may desire thrown into the mix. After turning right onto California Street, walk four blocks and you'll pass the historic clapboard 1860 McCully House. Turn left at the Victorian Gothic 1881 Presbyterian Church on Sixth Street to find the 1883 county courthouse, site of the now shuttered Jacksonville Museum. Then zigzag to Fifth and D Streets to see two rival Protestant and Catholic churches from the 1850s before returning along C Street where you first started your little trek. Many of the buildings that you passed on your walk are actual historic landmarks and reflect the elegance of a bygone era and a once thriving true boomtown. You have now seen that Jacksonville offers a diverse mixture of history and fun, and if you visit during the summer months will have the good fortune of being able to experience the Britt Music Festival, where top performers of all musical genres perform before small audiences in a state-of-the-art outdoor amphitheater. Now it's time for a relaxing and refreshing day away from shopping or historical insight, take a drive, and maybe tour some of modern Jacksonville's robust wineries. You'll find about 20 vineyards and tasting rooms offering world-class wines like Pinot Noir, Reisling, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and more. Approximately 70 varietals of wine grapes are grown throughout Southern Oregon, and most of these wineries are small enough for you to enjoy a very up close and personal experience with the vintners themselves. Jacksonville has it all, from outdoor adventure to indoor elegance.