Monday, September 30, 2013

Blame it on Typhoon Pabuk

We interrupt our writings about Jacksonville, OR, to provide a real-time status report.

Traveling from Woodland, WA, to Port Townsend, WA, should not take a lot of planning--only 188 miles--but it has

First of all, rain and high winds delayed our trip one day.

Typhoon Pabuk, which hit the West Pacific earlier in the week, was blamed for the record amounts of rain in northern Oregon and southern Washington.

Astori, WA, set records for the wettest September (Astoria recorded 10.1 inches during from Sept. 1-29, the most since records were started in 1890 and a drastic increase from the city's "climatological normal" of 2.14 inches). The city also set records for the most rainfall in one day, in two days, and in three days.

In addition to the rain, sustained winds of 50 mph to 60 mph were reported throughout the region over the weekend, with 70- to 80-mph gusts along the coasts and in the mountains of both states. Some 20,000 were without power in the region.

And today our reservation in Port Townsend could not be filled because of problems, so we had to search nearby towns for an RV park vacancy. We found the last available site in Gilgal Oasis in Sequim, WA.

All this is to say that after a drive through rain and reservation problems, we are really tired; so we'll resume our regular postings tomorrow.

Oh, by the way, did I mention there was a tornado this morning in Frederickson, near Tacoma.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Jacksonville's History Preserved

After passing the Masonic Hall on our walk down California Street in Jacksonville, OR (designated a National Historic Landmark), we turned left onto South Oregon Street.

Masonic Hall, (white building), 1875; Table Rock Billiard Saloon, (center), 1859; J. W. McCully Building (right), 1855

The original name for Jacksonville was "Table Rock City" and Billiard Saloon is one of the few references you can find to that title. Built in 1860, it contained one of the new town's most successful bakeries as well as saloons. Along with the saloon, a cobbler shop shared the building. Today the building is home to the Good Bean Coffee Company.

The J.W. McCully Building, constructed circa 1855-56, is the only building remaining in Jacksonville with the fireproofing feature of heavy iron shutters that are closed over all of the buildings windows and doors. Originally the first floor housed a general store while the upper story was a Jewish Synagogue. By 1860, the International Order of Odd Fellows began using the second floor, a tradition that would continue for more than 100 years. Painted above the second story window bays is the inscription "I.O.O.F. No. 10 Inst'd 1860."

Across the street was the Orth Building.
Orth Building, 1872

John Orth, a butcher, had the building constructed; he leased space to a number of businesses, including a general store on the lower level and the Farmer's Hotel and a law firm on the upper floor. Orth's butcher shop occupied some of the space on the ground floor into the 1890s.

We returned to California Street and studied the businesses on the north side of the street (yesterday's entry covered the south side).
Not shown in the photo above were the two buildings (below) on the corner.
Fisher Bros. Gen. Mdse., (left), 1856 and Bella Union Saloon, 1856

The property was deeded to the Fisher Brothers in 1862 when the previous owner was unable to pay his debts. The existing structure was rebuilt by the Fisher Brothers in 1874 and survived a pair of fires as it continued to be used as a general store unto the 1890s. Around 1900 the building became the Marble Arch Saloon. For the last several decades, it has housed Scheffel's Toy Store.

The original Bella Union started out as one of seven saloons in Jacksonville. It endured a shooting and a fire to serve as a saloon, machine shop, saddle shop, deli, and back again to a restaurant and saloon. In June 1988, the Bella Union reopened.
Kennedy's Tin Shop, 1861

From a tin shop under two different owners to the Pioneer Hardware to the Jacksonville Bakery, this building has served the community. Today, it houses a gift shop and whole foods eatery.
Beekman Bank, (far right), 1862

The Beekman Bank building is one of the few remaining false front wooden commercial buildings in downtown Jacksonville. C.C. Beekman operated a bank and express messenger service at this site, making express shipments of gold to Crescent City, CA.
The bank building is now owned by the Jackson County and managed by the Southern Oregon Historical Society, which maintains a historical, gold-rush themed display (photo above) behind glass windows.
United States Hotel, 1880

Built by George Holt to fulfill a courtship promise to his fiancee Madame Jeanne De Reboam. The Hotel's first guests were President Rutherford B. Hayes and party.
H. Judge Harness Shop Building (left), 1858 and Ryan and Morgan General Store (red awning), 1863.

This entire block was destroyed during a fire in April 1874. Henry Judge and his partner sold saddlery here, until the 1880s when the shop switched to general merchandise. Today the building houses a gift shop.

P.J. Ryan's Brick Storehouse, also known as "Ryan & Morgan General Store," and for many decades "Jacksonville Inn," was built in 1861. Initially this was a one-story building, but a fire in 1873 burned out the interior. Reconstruction in 1874 resulted in a second story. A third story penthouse was added around 1876, making it the tallest commercial building to ever have existed in Jacksonville, although the third story was removed shortly after 1900. By the 1890s, the building began to include hotel rooms.

Before we left, we caught a glimpse of some advertisements, indicating the age of the buildings.

The showers were frequent, but they could not dampen our fascination with the town of Jacksonville, OR, and its history.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Discovering Jacksonville, OR

Scheduling a day to see Crater Lake should not require consulting long range weather forecasts during our one-week stay in south central Oregon, but it has.
So while waiting for that one-day window to travel to our primary objective while in this area north of Medford, OR, we found a nearby destination that could be enjoyed between intermittent showers. Our “find”—and indeed it was a most enjoyable one—was Jacksonville, just a few miles south of Medford.
Historians would say that gold was responsible for Jacksonville’s founding, and I would credit Peter Britt for the look of the town today.

Following the discovery of gold in 1851, the rapidly growing town had over 2000 residents. Over the years, Jacksonville has survived the division of the town’s population during the Civil War, a smallpox epidemic in 1868, a flood in 1869, the rerouting of the railroad in 1884, and numerous fires.

Peter Britt’s* role in the city’s appearance today is based on his work as a photographer and horticulturist. This old west town has over 90 original brick and wooden buildings that date back to the 1850s. Using the 100-year-old photographs of Britt’s, many have been restored to their original state. Strolling by the historic buildings on Oregon and California Streets took us back to the frontier days of this mining town.

We began our walk on 3rd Street on the way to California Street.
Patrick J. Ryan Dwelling House, c. 1856

One of several brick structures associated with Patrick J. Ryan, whose prior experience with fires led him to insist on owning fireproof brick buildings. It has served as a hotel, a restaurant, an "ice cream saloon," and today is home to a wine tasting room.

Along California Street

Our walk around the center of town** between periods of showers revealed why Jacksonville is one of only a few cities in the United States designated as a National Historic Landmark.
Along California Street
Redmen's Hall, 1884 (left) and the Kubli Building, 1884

The two-story brick structure served as the home of the Redmen Pocahontas Tribe No. 1 I.O.R.M. following an 1884 fire that destroyed the fraternity's previous building. The tribe was formed in April 1870 and most members of the society were German. By 1891, the Redmen were forced to relinquish title to the building when they were unable to pay off building loans. After the Redmen vacated, a general store, a hardware store, a succession of saloons (now the Boomtown Saloon) occupied the first floor.

With a facade nearly identical to the Redmen's Hall, the Kubli Building housed a general store and tinsmith shop and a farming and mining supply store over the years.
The east wall of the Redmen's Hall is covered with vintage advertising signs, including one for Levi Strauss overalls.
Anderson & Glenn General Merchandise Store, (left) 1856 and Glen Drum Hotel & General Merchandise, 1856

The Anderson and Glenn Store survived each of the major fires that destroyed many other downtown buildings, making it one of Jacksonville's oldest. In 1884, the building briefly served as the post office. The building remained a general merchandise store until around 1900. Today it houses the J'ville Tavern.

The two-story Drum Hotel has at various times housed a grocery store, variety store and a Saloon. The street level has been altered from its original design.

Miller Gunsmith Shop, 1858 (left) and Martin & Sigler Blacksmith Shop, 1859

The former Gunsmith Shop now houses a women's boutique.
The former blacksmith shop is now home to the Umpqua Valley Wine Bar.
Masonic Building Warren Lodge No. 10, 1875

Our walk around the corner and down the other side of the street continues tomorrow.

* Britt also took the first photos of Crater Lake, and these photographs later aided in the decision to designate it as a National Park. His elaborate and extensive gardens, (the Peter Britt Gardens), were the site of the original Peter Britt Music Festival. The festival has grown to include internationally renowned performers, and features jazz, popular, classical, bluegrass and country music, as well as dance, musical theater, Broadway musicals and more. It is a series of approximately 40 concerts, scheduled from the last week of June through the first week of September.

** Jacksonville was designated a National Historic District in 1966, and the town has done an excellent job of identifying these buildings with a map and descriptive pamphlet of the town, identifying plaques on buildings, and descriptions of the buildings on the internet (e.g., google the building name and “Jacksonville, OR” and go to the web page listing).

Friday, September 27, 2013

So There Chuck Is…

pumping gas at the local (Shady Cove, CA) Chevron station and talking with the station attendant. Wait a minute! This is Oregon, one of the two states (New Jersey is the other) where you can’t self-pump. Well, there seems to be some exemption for those pumping diesel, so it is possible to both self-pump and have an attendant.

Anyway, as conversations with locals usually go, they begin to talk about local restaurants. “Do you have a recommendation for a locals’ place?” Chuck asks.

Without skipping a beat, the attendant responds “Phil’s. It’s just down 62. You can’t miss it. Look for the pink building. In the summer they serve between 500 and 1,000 people on a busy day.”

Well, find the pink building we did.
Basically, this is your small town drive-in with picnic tables outside and a walk-up ordering window. After a few minutes of standing at the window, we finally saw the sign directing us indoors to place our orders.
Inside we went and found a small line already forming.
While that line cleared out quickly, I am not sure that there ever was a time when someone wasn’t waiting to place an order. And this is a weekday in early fall. I can see why they’re so busy during the summer.

If you are looking for décor, you need to go elsewhere. Most of the décor was the large menu boards and the video games (not shown here) toward the back.

Yes, there was this hanging “tapestry” that reminded me of Monument Valley in Utah.
This is hunting country. How do I know? This morning I was sitting on the RV steps and talking with our neighbor and his wet and muddy Yellow Lab. They had just come back from an early morning hunt, and by way of proof, he proceeds to pull a dead game bird of some sort out of the back of his vehicle and proudly holds it up by the feet. Thank you for sharing. Which may explain this print.
Nothing is more American than donning camo and going out into the woods to kill small animals.

This is a burger place and when in a burger place you order a burger. (Although the Polish Dog did look really good.) For Chuck it would be Double Big Burger with cheese and fries.
He described the sandwich as being a good—not great—basic burger. No complaints. No raves.

I ordered the Chili Burger with fries. I took one look at this plate and immediately set the basket of fries aside to take home. No way was I going to eat all of this.
And then I set the top of the bun aside. No way was I going to eat all of this. The chili was a very good but mild version that was full of ground beef and beans. The latter of course made this even more filling. And I couldn’t really taste the burger under the chili so have to take Chuck’s evaluation as mine.

I am sure that both the fries and onion rings came frozen from a bag.
Neither was as crisp as I would have liked and neither was memorable. In fact, my reheated-at-home fries were better than those eaten in the restaurant. But the fries did come with “fry sauce,” that mix of catsup and mayo that I haven’t seen outside of Utah.

The reason for my wanting to set aside my fries and top bun was dessert. Ice cream to be precise. And not just any ice cream, but that from a local dairy—Umpqua Dairy.
“…Roseburg-based and family-owned-and-operated Umpqua Dairy was formed in 1931 when Ormond Feldkamp and Herb Sullivan started producing milk, butter and ice cream and selling it to railroad passengers stopped at the Roseburg Railroad Station. Since then generations of family members have maintained the high-quality standards yielding many awards over the years including 2009 Judges Award for best Strawberry Ice Cream in the nation at the Quality Chekd National Convention, 2008 Judges Award for best Chocolate Ice Cream in the nation at the Quality Chekd National Convention, and Oregon Dairy Industry's Ice Cream Sweepstakes award in 2008” (

You can order the ice cream in many forms including something they call the “Split Banana.”
But we wanted just ice cream. “What’s the difference between the Baby and the Small?” Chuck asks the counter person.

“The Baby is one scoop and the Small is two” was her answer.

Wisdom prevailed and we both got the Baby cone.
Yes, you read this right. This really is the Baby size.

Chuck’s flavor was the Huckleberry Cheesecake with huckleberry swirls and bits of cheesecake. Mine was the Expresso Madness—coffee ice cream with pieces of dark chocolate. We both agreed that this was the best ice cream we have eaten since Wilcoxson’s in Montana.

While I can’t give Phil’s more than a 2.5 Addie rating, I would stop there again just for the 5.0 Addie ice cream.

To review the role of Adler, Kitty Humbug, and the Addie rating system, read the November 14, 2011 blog.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

What Might Have Been

We continued our travels along I-5 through northern California and southern Oregon.

At some point in those miles, we came across this sign (below), which reminded us of some of the history of this region.
So while we show photos of some scenes between Dunsmuir, CA, and Shady Cove, OR, I am providing a little history behind the State of Jefferson.
The abundant supply of minerals and timber in this region (the mountain border region of northern California and southern Oregon) was largely inaccessible due to the lack of sufficient roads and bridges into the rugged mountain border country. The local pioneering people grew weary of unfulfilled promises from Salem and Sacramento to help fund sufficient highway projects in the region while building campgrounds in the cities where there were more votes.
Representatives from the mountain border counties involved met in Yreka, CA on November 17, 1941 to form an alliance to obtain federal aid for the construction and repair of bridges and roads. The Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors voted to allocate $100 to research the possibility of seceding from the state of California and joining the other counties to form a new 49th state. The Yreka Chamber of Commerce was very instrumental in persuading the Board.
The local newspaper ran a contest to name the new state and the winning entry was Jefferson. The winner of the contest pocketed $2 for his efforts. Yreka was designated the temporary state capital where the ‘State of Jefferson Citizen’s Committee’ was formed.

They proceeded to stop traffic on Highway 99 outside of town and handed their ‘Proclamation of Independence’ out to travelers.

Jefferson made the papers nearly every day, competing with headlines of Germany's ravaging of Europe. The San Francisco Chronicle sent a young reporter, Stanton Delaplane, to cover the events. He traveled the rain-soaked roads to speak with locals to get a feel for the secession movement from their point of view. He got stuck in the mud down the Klamath River but that did not stop him from writing a series of colorful articles on the rebellion which earned him the coveted Pulitzer Prize.
On December 4, Judge John L. Childs of Crescent City in Del Norte County was elected governor. A torchlight parade complete with horses, marching bands and sign-carrying young people riding in trucks was held in Yreka followed by a ceremonious inauguration held on the courthouse lawn.
Hollywood newsreel companies were present to record the events, including the highway barricades. The State of Jefferson was off to a banner start.
The newsreels were to air nationally the week of December 8, but tragically on December 7th Pearl Harbor was bombed and the State of Jefferson rebellion of 1941 came to an end. The people of the region went to work for the war effort and good roads were eventually built into the backcountry to access strategic minerals and timber. These same roads have helped countless numbers of rural families make a living from the land that continues to produce abundant, quality natural resources.
The State of Jefferson 'state of mind' remains in the hearts and minds of people everywhere (

While wondering what might have been, we set up the RV at our next "home" along the Rogue River in Shady Cove, OR.
The river seemed ideal for rafting, but we had other plans.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

On to the Northwest.

We left Gilroy, CA, heading east on Highway 152. With two lanes in each direction, California State Route 152 climbs and curves along the valley of Pacheco Creek into the mountains of the Diablo Range, crossing them through the Pacheco Pass into the San Joaquin Valley.
The highway then descends along the northern and eastern shore of the massive San Luis Reservoir.

When we reached I-5, we headed north. A few miles south of Gustine, we passed the Pea Soup Andersen's restaurant in Santa Nella. We caught the windmill, the restaurant's landmark, but that was about all.
Although it has been called "The food basket of the World", the San Joaquin Valley has not been nationally recognized for the diversity of its produce.
Getting water to the growing areas is a challenge that is met by canals.
Given the prices of gasoline in the state, this sign has special meaning.
Near Sacramento, we caught this flight from the airport and
this scene along the Sacramento River.
When we're changing RV parks, we usually drive between 230-280 miles a day. We've done nearly 400 miles on a couple of occasions, but the 4 to 5-hour driving time is relatively easy. However, if we're talking about driving through the mountains on I-5, that easy drive time is tiring.

About 100 miles south of the border with Oregon, we came upon Lake Shasta. Even while traveling the interstate, we still had a good (albeit quick) view of the lake.

And even though there was no snow on its peak, Mount Shasta presented an impressive sight as we traveled toward our destination.