It was the third day of our Southern Oregon long weekend and we were headed to Jacksonville! Jacksonville, Oregon is a historic town just 5 miles outside of Medford. It experienced a huge boom in 1851 and 1852 when gold was discovered there, and the town became the principal financial center for Southern Oregon at the time. However, the gold dried up, and so did the town, especially after the railroad passed it by in 1884. It remained the county seat until 1927, but the economy of the town drastically declined. As a result of the decline, progress bypassed Jacksonville and a large number of the commercial and residential buildings were left intact.
Now the large number of historic buildings are the stars of the town, drawing tourists to the quiet downtown. The main street is lined with shops, selling a variety of art, local clothing and handmade jewelry, and fair trade products. Jon and I visited in 2011, and loved the relaxed little town so much that we couldn’t wait to come back.
We had lunch at the Bella Union – a restaurant in a historic building downtown. The Bella Union began as a restaurant and saloon in 1864, and operated until it burned on April 14, 1874. After that it was home to many businesses; a machine shop, saddle shop, saloon, deli and finally a restaurant and saloon once again. The present restaurant has been in business since 1988.
I had a turkey cranberry sandwich and vegetable soup; Jon had steamed clams and salad. Both were delicious. We sat outside on the patio in the warm shade and enjoyed a relaxed conversation with Jon’s parents. After lunch, we shopped a bit, and then headed off for our next adventure – wine tasting!