On California Street (the old stage coach road) just east of the Presbyterian Church, is the Beekman House. Beekman was a prominent banker in town, and he left behind not only a lovely mansion, but also a natural canyon trail. The house can be toured only by appointment, but the canyon trail, which specializes in native flora and fauna, is open during the daylight. For a donation, one can get a tour brochure describing what can be seen along the one mile long trail. The steep climb in altitude during this otherwise short hike provides viewing of 8 different microclimate ecosystems. This trail is one of 15 maintained by the Jacksonville Woodman's Association, an organization devoted to maintaining the original ecosystem flora and fauna of the region. All the trails are described at the website linked below.
South of California Street are several blocks of impressive historical homes, most of which were substantial mansion during the town's heyday, nearly all have been restored and plates date their construction. Some have been turned into bed and breakfast hotels where anyone can stay.
In the neighborhood of the courthouse, on the north side of California street are a scattered collection of homes, typically less than mansions in size, that are of historic and architectural interest. Most have been restored and labeled with historical plates. There are also several impressive homes along California Street, just east of the Presbyterian Church.
Clearly the most impressive church building in town is that of First Presbyterian. It's easy to find since its on the stage coach road into town. Built in 1881, it remains in use, and the congregational website provides additional details as to the church history. Unfortunately, the church building was closed at the time I visited, so I couldn't see the interior.
Jacksonville has a number of churches the architecture of which merits historic interest. St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church is a well maintained wood framed church building near the courthouse. On 4th street, the Catholic Rectory, originally a home, is well preserved both inside and out.
The cemetary has the history of several prominent families, and in some cases describes the struggle of pioneer life. There are tombs to children and to women who died in child birth. There is a tombstone for a husband that was killed during conflict with Native Americans.
The Jacksonville Cemetary has a small museum and a map with information about the history of the cemetary and it's layout. There are sections for the secret societies and separate religions and ethnic groups found among the pioneer gold miners. The museum also helps to interpret the symbolism found in the tombstone artwork.
For many tourists of old historic towns, the pioneer cemetary is nothing more than a boring walk among broken tombstones. But, the Jacksonville Cemetary has an exceptional and beautiful location within a Madrone forest on a knoll above town. The cemetary is part of a historic park maintained by the town, and the walk to the top is a short but sweaty one on a hot summer day. But, from the cemetary there are great views of town, as well as one of the best preserved and most outstanding collections of pioneer tombstones in the west. The cemetary starts at a iron archway gate that is open during the day.
The most significant architectural gem in Jacksonville is the old courthouse building, which is now a museum. Originally scheduled for demolition, a local group was formed in 1946 to save the building, and in fact this group remains alive as an institution devoted to preservation of buildings throughout southern Oregon. In any case, I have here several images of the exterior of the Jacksonville Courthouse; the museum unfortunately was closed when I arrived in town. Set back off the main street of town, the building nevertheless dominates the town's skyline and is easy to find. I found photography difficult as the building is shrouded by wonderfully large old trees. In winter, when leaves have fallen, photography is probably a bit easier.
The primary activity is simply walking the main street of town, and the various side streets, examining Jacksonville's historic 19th century architecture. I have a few images here to provide the idea. Most buildings downtown have been meticulously restored to the charm of the gold mining days, and in many cases, this includes seismic retrofit ironwork to secure brick walls, and other construction from earlier generations that are not considered safe today. The city has strict protection of pedestrian rights, so don't worry about cars or trucks running over you here. Traffic is extremely slow through town.
Jacksonville hosts the Britt Festival which takes place outdoors and features plenty of acts. We saw Jonny Lang playing, whcih was awesome.
There's a stage and people either sit on reserved benches or on the grass. Most bring their own picknick stuff and blankets (it gets pretty cold in Sept.)
It's real good fun !