Jacksonville is a treasury of living history. The downtown exudes a genuine Old West feeling, but offers goods and services that are as perfectly attuned to present tastes as the original 19th century businesses were. Preserving the historic edifices is aided by one of the mildest climates in the Northwest and surprisingly light annual rainfall. Temperatures are pleasant from spring through fall, when roadside stands offer a bountiful harvest of regional produce from surrounding truck gardens and orchards including America’s best and biggest Comice pears and peaches.
Gold was discovered here in 1851 in one of the state’s first strikes. Many substantial brick and stone buildings were constructed before the gold played out in the 1920s. Genteel decay set in until 1963, when volunteers constructed a makeshift stage for the Northwest’s first summer outdoor music festival on a pioneer hillside estate with fine natural acoustics and valley views. Today it has grown into one of the West’s most acclaimed festivals, with permanent performing arts facilities located on lush, tree-shaded grounds amid colorful gardens a short stroll up a hill from downtown.
The whole town is now a historic district on the National Register of Historic Places–the first in Oregon so designated (in 1966). Nearly 100 well-preserved original buildings house specialty stores, galleries, gourmet restaurants, romantic lodgings and homes. Abundant trails through town, parks, gardens, and one of the most picturesque main streets in the Northwest make it a bonanza for strollers, shoppers, and history buffs.
For more information, go to Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce.
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