Monday, March 15, 2010

Jacksonville, Oregon--Oldest Town in Southern Oregon


Along the old highway leading into town.

I took a trip up the road to Jacksonville, a town once called "Table Rock City" when it was founded in the 1850's. It still retains a good deal of its architectural past when it was rowdy and not so friendly (if you were Chinese or Native American) gold rush town. Hope you enjoy a few of the photos.



Here's a bit of video someone shot last Summer (above)

103 comments:

  1. Very nice historical building Doug.

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  2. Very nice....you know there is something to be said about towns.

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  3. Doug, there are a few here that look much the same architecturally.

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  4. Yet the capture for the outside is very nice.

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  5. Truly very nice shots and this town of Jackson seems very nice as I mentioned there is something to be said with regards to these smaller towns.

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  6. Yes, the gothic spire is quite a site here---it seems like it was set down form another part of the country.

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  7. Yes, it still has its past on view, Jack. And its not so touristy that its all glamed up.

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  8. Watching your video as it just came on...

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  9. Someone else did the video---I wanted to find something to let people see the downtown during the tourist season. I prefer it when the music festival is over and things are more relaxed.

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  10. It's my favorite of the old business district.

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  11. Nice, A little Oregon history, an uncle of my Grandfather named Joesph McConnell who settled in Linn county Oregon left 700 plus acres of land to my grandfather and his sister. Before they could claim the inheritance. A county judge broke the will and no one know what happened to the land.The city of Albany is supposedly sitting on it. Joseph McConnell is in the history books of Linn county Oregon. It is a small world isn't it. His son Reason was supposedly the stagecoach driver of the last hold up of Black Bart.. it would be nice to go and see some of this history.

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  12. Wow, that is a lot of colorful family history Tess! I know there was a lot of land chicanery back then and frontier judges were a breed unto themselves.

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  13. very nice..Oregon is a beautiful state and doesn't get the attention it deserves...as a long distance truck driver I've been through the state many times and am always fascinated by it's beauty.

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  14. Thanks Mike on behalf of Oregonians...it's a beautiful region for certain.

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  15. I lke these old prints which give us a glimpse into a different time.

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  16. I noticed the speed limit is quite low. Our side roads use to be 30mph, recently it has been changed to 20mph in many places.

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  17. Trust the Chinese to design something to make travel easier. I bet they set up loads of home industry firework shops!

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  18. Ah yes, a good strong classical building, built to last!

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  19. Rather grand this style of house. I bet they fetch a fair price these days.

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  20. This is rather charming with its tubs of pansies.

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  21. I must say, it was the street furniture that caught my eye. Do you think that lamp was original to the area, Doug?

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  22. Ah, but I see the American flag still stands!

    Do you like the beeswax candles? I think they have a lovely smell.

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  23. That is a rather charming scene that looks like New England.

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  24. Phfftt, these locked churches. The stained glass windows look like they'd have been interesting. I wonder if they are shown anywhere online from inside?

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  25. These buildings which take on a new life as museums allow the general public access were few would have seen it before. Did you manage a visit inside, Doug?

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  26. Wow, someone had an understanding of the horse in full gallop to capture that so well. Amazing!

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  27. The build of this style of church looks so simple and sits very well in any landscape, lovely!

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  28. What a peaceful place to sit with a book and listen to the hum of bees, absolutely charming!

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  29. Thank you Doug, an interesting look into a corner of America. Great photos.

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  30. I love Jacksonville.

    The whole town is on the National Register of Historic Places (that's why it's earned an 'Historic District' sign right below the state highway sign).

    What many don't know is that the landmark Western film, "The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid" was filmed entirely in Jacksonville in 1971. The film holds up well today, and is considered the first of the 'realistic' (rather than stylized) westerns.

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  31. Yes, this was probably the only way people in the settled part of America could see what frontier Oregon looked like--there were a few photographers about, but those photos could not be transmitted or reproduced in Eastern newspapers.

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  32. It's probably warranted in this case, Cassandra, because its a pretty windy two lane road once you get to this section of the outskirts---Jacksonville is literally around the bend and the houses and shops not far beyond that.

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  33. I should have mentioned Jacksonville has a Chinese New Year celebration every year, so the legacy of its original Asian settlers still is being celebrated.

    Railroad building was highly difficult and dangerous, as it probably was in England when the first tracks linked cities two decades before the Oregon Territory was organized. Lots of dynamite and ditch-digging by hand. Many Chinese were more keen to do these jobs than other settlers.

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  34. As Astra Navigo pointed out below, the downtown was used as a movie site back in 1970 for a major film about the notorious 'Great Northfield Minnesota Raid'. This building was used as the location of the bank as I recall. It's a true beauty.

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  35. Do they ever! And zoning is very strict---buyers cannot alter the inside of the house without approval from the city council. I hope this stays just like this.

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  36. You have a sharp eye for flowers Cassandra. I really like the old brickwork on the building and those rectangular windows. There's a little garden park right next to this site that looks quaint and unchanged for over a century!

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  37. A fine example of American folk art I'd say. Worth coveting. :-)

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  38. There are a about a dozen little sculptures like this in the downtown--this one was my favorite.

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  39. Good question. I wouldn't be surprised if the main post was original but I doubt the lamp is original. That long second floor balcony in the background above the bank's first floor was rebuilt from an original photograph in the early 1960's. Part of the building was later renovated for the 1971 western movie mentioned previously. There's a small plague to that effect.

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  40. Those old-style wooden storefronts are quite nice--I like that they are not too "gentrified". I'll have to go back and do some of the little houses about in the side streets in another "Photos" set. That and the pioneer cemetery on the hills north of town are where a lot of the history of the town really is.

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  41. My mistake here--I misspelled "candies" as candles.


    Truth be told, Cassandra, I was really interested in sating my sweet tooth and the British taffies and nougat product--straight from the Mother Country!---was what attracted me inside.

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  42. It really does! You could take this building down one night and set it back up in rural Vermont and no one would be the wiser. (Might confuse the heck out of the Presbyterians when they find the church missing, but sometimes change is a good thing ;-)

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  43. I will see If I can find some photos on the interior.

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  44. Not on this trip, but I've been in the museum several times, taking out-of-state friends in for a tour. It really is a grand old building but due to budget cuts in the county system, it usually is only open on weekends off-season :-(

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  45. This is a new statue. Quite impressive I agree.

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  46. This church is on a side street---it is a jewel of simplicity. You can almost see people in Victorian-era garb all dressed up for Sunday Services or a wedding party.

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  47. It does invite a quiet bit or reading or meditation.

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  48. Good points about the historic designation, Astra. The whole area is an outdoor treasure!


    I saw this movie for the first time in a long time on AMC a couple months back. It's now-familiar backdrop gives watching the film a different experience. "McCabe and Mrs Miller" by Robert Altman (done the same year) I believe also broke the mold on that stylized genre.

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  49. I love Americana. When I retire I would love to drive all 48 states and use only back roads. It would be nice to see all the "forgotten" places in our country.

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  50. Me too Fred. There are whole sections of the Mid-Atlantic and New England I've never been to.

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  51. I'll see if I can find a onlive site to post the church interior.

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  52. Clearly aimed at the single man looking to settle in the West Doug, 60 marriageable ladies was obviously a major selling point to the would-be farmer providing they were not Chinese, African or Native American I presume?

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  53. Nice to see Jacksonville is a Green Power Community Doug.

    Speed limits in the UK are absolutely ridiculous:- for example I can turn off a 4 lane 'dual carrageway' with a 50 mhp limit policed by fixed cammeras onto a single winding lane with the occasional passing point, high banks and hedges and completely blind hairpin bends where the national limit of 60 mph pertains. It defies all logic.

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  54. From cider to chablis then Doug....is this what they call gentrification I wonder?

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  55. I love Lamas, even if one did grab the sleeve of my coat between his teeth once and would not let go for what seemed like eternity at the time. The Coyotes must need counselling now the mega-sheep have moved in.

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  56. Where local settlers subsequently went to escape from one of those 60 marriageable ladies I suspect Doug. Interesting structure.

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  57. The role of the Chinese in the history of railway construction in North America is indeed a fascinating one. I found this snippet interesting Doug;-

    "In 1871, British Columbia became Canada's sixth province. A key point that persuaded the province to enter Confederation was Canada's promise to build a railway to connect the Pacific coast to the rest of the country. One of the hardest parts of building the Canadian Pacific Railway was cutting through the Rocky Mountains.

    Chinese workers were employed for several reasons. The most important reason was that, before the railroad was built, the easiest way to bring large numbers of labourers to British Columbia was by water across the Pacific or northwards from California. With the increasing demand for labour in British Columbia, Chinese labourers were indispensable. Chinese workers, however, were paid lower wages than white workers, even though they were more efficient. The use of Chinese workers has been estimated to have reduced the cost of building the railway by between $3 million and $5 million."

    Mega-moolah back then Doug

    http://images.google.co.uk/imgres?imgurl=http://data2.archives.ca/ap/c/c006686.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/chinese-canadians/021022-1200-e.html&usg=__FePOfZaST5YadVN3Vo46mL3UjIU=&h=449&w=760&sz=95&hl=en&start=15&um=1&itbs=1&tbnid=6I5oaykOnHg0kM:&tbnh=84&tbnw=142&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dcanadian%2Bpacific%2Bbuilders%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26tbs%3Disch:1

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  58. "T'is an ill-wind that blows nobody good" as my old Gran, William Shakespeare and the entire British Navy used to say (since 1546 at the very least) http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/ill-wind.html

    It is good that these early buildings have been preserved and have not fallen victim to civic vandalism... which unhappily has been unleashed here on an industrial scale, since the post-war reconstruction of the 1960s and is, I regret to say, ongoing.

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  59. A fine building indeed, but those are strange advertising signs for Levi Strauss overalls and whatever the 'Owl' thing refers to, its like corporate graffiti, which the windowless ground floor wall was just begging for, but why the bricked-up window above?...There are stories there to tell no doubt.... it is an enigma Doug

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  60. Nice foal sculpture (or wood carving) I'm not sure....quality work anyway

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  61. Nice pad...I could almost imagine it in Colwyn Bay or Bognor Regis...although it also has a certain Frenchness about it too, at least to my eye.

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  62. Ah, now you're talking, looks like a nice spot to enjoy a glass (or 2)...is that a graveyard beyond Doug?

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  63. "KAWLIGA WAS A WOODEN INDIAN STANDING BY THE DOOR
    HE FELL IN LOVE WITH AN INDIAN MAIDEN OVER IN THE ANTIQUE STORE"

    Great piece of folk art indeed I wish I had one like that.

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  64. I hope its reputation has recovered now Doug, could lower the tone of the neighbourhood if this got out.

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  65. I think this is a very American theme Doug.

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  66. Can almost hear the cuban heels and jingling spurs on those walkway boards Doug.

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  67. This is to me a familiar sight from my own travels in the western United States and Canada, although I never managed to get to Oregon unfortunately... only as close as northern California and (on a seperate occasion) Washington State.

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  68. LOL I heard they eat candles in Yorkshire anyway Doug..."There's nowt sae queer as folk"..especially folk from Yorkshire in my experience.

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  69. This church reminds me of a music box...looks like you could oen the roof and it would play Silent Night.

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  70. Great civic building I look forward to the day when it will again be the seat of local government...that would be great I think, but I suppose I'm just a Balkanisation freak at heart.

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  71. The mail used to be so romantic, same here with the coaches and horns....email will never capture the sheer impact of receiving correspondence delivered by the Pony Express will it?....nice piece of public art!

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  72. Magical garden I love it, could happily sit reading on one of those benches, great.

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  73. Thanks for posting these interesting images of your part of the world Doug, great photos.

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  74. Yes, I get a kick out of that subtle inducement. This being the American frontier of Manifest Destiny and all, I'm sure the ladies were of caucausian hue.

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  75. Ah, yes, I forgot that small point. Jacksonville is in the southwestern part of Oregon, roughly 30 miles from the southern border with California and 70 miles or so due east from the Pacific. Just west of the "Medford" dot as a matter of fact.

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  76. Yes, that is a nice change from the old days.

    That speed limit deferential does sound ridicoulus AA. Reminds me of the photo-enforcement we have over here: you can get tagged going 60 mph on the Interstate in Oregon while, once you cross the border into California you'll be blown off the road as the limit jumps to 70 miles an hour and the lack of Highway Patrol means you better be prepared to go faster.

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  77. Yes, the wine industry that's coming into Jacksonville and its outskirts is a mixed blessing. One Canadian vintner wants to redesign the old US Hotel building in the middle of town, tearing down a balcony around the facade of the old structure becausee he wants to covert it into a wine-tasting room. The rub is that the local Southern Oregon Historical Society is tapped out due to a lack of public funding formally given it by taxpayer funds from the county, now withdrawn in the teeth of the recession. So the Canadian buyer's money would restore the coffers of the Historical Society but we could mess up the exterior of the building and cancel the meeting rooms and wedding reception areas that the old Hotel now affords local residents.

    It's an old story--big money movies into a "quaint" area and does all it can to strip the place of its original charm, creating a mini-Disneyland with more parking lots and money traps for big spenders. The deal is still pending with th city council, however.

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  78. Perhaps he took exception to your attire, AA. Llamas are notorious clothes-horses. ;-) Glad you escaped unharmed. I don't get too near the critters myself, as this photo attests.

    The interesting thing about coyotes and llamas is that the pedators are indeed intimidated by these "mega-sheep". They have been used to protect sheep flocks. How they might deal with wolves is another matter, but the wolf alas is a species only found in eastern Oregon's rural climes.

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  79. It's a trusim I think that the American and Canadian West owe an infinite debt to the Chinese workers and their organizers who came to th shores of North America and built railroad ties over some of the most hostile mountain and desert terrain in the hemisphere. Thanks for that imformative bit of Canadian history, AA. The Chinese role in the 1860's building the Union Pacific end of America's first trans-continental railway (completed in May of 1869) was equally vital--hard to imagine what work was like for emigrants--far from home, digging tunnels literally through mountains with picks and dealing with dyamite charges and other primative explosives. Things were not so much better for the Irish-Americans crossing the Rockies for low pay and back-breaking toil as well.

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  80. I suspect the "Owl" might refer to a chain of drug stores (chemist shops) that used to operate down the West Coast. But yes it is odd why the advertising was affixed to the building. I've tried to get more info about this interesting building but for now at least an enigma is exactly what it is.

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  81. Yes, these scupltures are a nice new touch. This was the first I've seen of them.

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  82. Yes, I imagine someone was homesick and wanted to replicate a bit of the East Coast or Middle West. It does have a French design inspired I imagine from the Louisiana architecture the French left behind when Napoleon sold New Orleans and half a continent to the Americans in 1803.

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  83. Yes, this is good gentification in my view because it doesn't mess up the original feel of the street to much. That graveyard-looking area is actually just a small park. The actual pioneer graveyard is on a hill above town.

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  84. Hahaha--yes, AA, this is gorund zero for the recession in local real estate prices.

    When word finally got out George and Laura were staying the night , there was a lot of state police to deal with a small group of protesters that evening. I think President Rutherford B Hayes and his wife Lucy got a warmer welcome back in 1880.

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  85. That it is AA. Hope the developers leave this little vacant lot alone.

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  86. A great old Hank Williams ballad! Hank's great tunes are always appreciated over at "doug's site"

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  87. Hopw we can see you out here one day AA--really is a great area for the sites of nature. Of course, you've seen Big Sur and some of other great west coast wonders already.

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  88. Well put. That's the great thing about this town, AA. Because its not yet overly renovated the past seems much closer here than in Ashland or any other part of this area.

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  89. LOL! The male equivilent of the salon of course was the "saloon." With amourous females with marriage on their minds prowling the streets, a bit of snooker around the corner was more than called for if a man needed respite. I imagine this is where white men of sensibility hung out when the local bigots were meeting to find new ways to make the Chinese and the few blacks feel more unwelcome than they already were.

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  90. "Different places, different customs" as Kipling said I believe.

    Egad, now I know what's in Yorkshire pudding!

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  91. I found this church quite enchanting when I first saw it. It does look so delicate as to be a giant-verison of something on a shelf doesn't it?

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  92. Many Jacksonville residents would gladly support you there AA. I can tell you this SHOULD be its own county seat in my book. It puts the modern Medford county building to shame--that place looks like a prison.

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  93. Thankd AA. Glad the sun was helping me to bring out the beautiful contours.

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  94. Yes, it is a gem. And I agree no will ever capture the romance of email delivery and mail trucks in bronze...perhaps because there isn't any really.

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  95. There really is something serene about this little spot--such venerated little niches of the past are fewer than they should be.

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