Gold fever, wagon trains, Indian uprisings, epidemics and the settlement of a new frontier are all part of Jacksonville’s heritage. After a wild start as a gold rush town, the story began to quiet down as folks moved to the area to focus on agriculture, banking, shop-keeping and raising their families.
Originally named Table Rock City because of the view of two mesas about 10 miles away, Jacksonville emerged from the mining campsites and thrived to become the county seat and the largest city in Oregon. Settlers coming west on wagon trains found the Rogue Valley to be a desirable place to establish land claims and earn a living as farmers and ranchers.
Like most boomtowns, Jacksonville wasn’t high on the hog for long. In 1884, after a thirty-year run as southern Oregon’s hottest hot spot, a railroad line was built through nearby Medford, leaving Jacksonville out in the cold. Businesses started migrating closer to the rail line, and the final blow came in 1927 when the county seat was moved to Medford as well.
Most of Jacksonville is now a National Historic Landmark due to the preservation of so many of these buildings. At first it was preservation by neglect due to lack of economic incentive. Then, in the 1960’s folks who appreciated what Jacksonville was banded together to prevent the interstate from coming through town and started focusing on preservation efforts, leading to the National Historic Landmark designation.
With over 100 structures included in the National Register of Historic Places, current residents are proud to help maintain the town and its history.
You can take in a little of Jacksonville's history through a narrated tour – either on your own or with a guide. Guided tours are available seasonally on the restored trolley or from Segway of Jacksonville.
You can walk or bike on your own self-guided tour and listen to recorded narration provided by the Jacksonville Visitors Center. There are four individual tours - 1. Historic Commercial District, 2. Historic Homes, 3. Gold Mining Sites, and 4. Historic Cemetery. Listen to or download the narration.
The cemetery that overlooks the town offers a glimpse into the lives of the people who founded Jacksonville in an era before modern medicine. During the season the Friends of the Historic Jacksonville Cemetery present History Saturdays once a month which provide an in-depth review of the different sections of the cemetery. Meet the Pioneers is presented in October by the Friends of the Jacksonville Cemetery and is a fascinating portrayal of the life and times of Jacksonville's early settlers dealing with Native American raids, economic struggles, and plagues.
What better way is there to pamper yourself while you are on vacation than to get a spa treatment? There are several places in town for facials, manicures, pedicures and massages. If you are in the mood for a fitness fix, check out one of our local studios.
Personal care boutiques ~
Fitness studios ~
*TouVelle House has day passes for Snap Fitness, ask your innkeeper!
Shopping & Dining
Housed in the historic commercial buildings and former homes, Jacksonville's shops, bistros and restaurants are independently owned and offer their own unique merchandise and culinary perspectives. Whether you are shopping for someone special, or looking for a memento of your visit, our local wares are sure to please.
Foodies rejoice! Jacksonville boasts several culinary "must eat" destinations. Here are our top recommendations for dinner: