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Jaston Hartman and Sons Build Jackson County Bridges

An oil derrick builder, Jaston Hartman, left Ohio and moved to Jacksonville in 1900, where he used his skills to build Oregon barns.  He soon became Jackson County’s bridge superintendent.

Hartman and his sons built the larger hay barn in 1900 that still stands by the Hanley Road. As large steam and gas farm machines came into use, farmers needed taller barns with wider trusses.
Building the McKee Bridge solved a dangerous travel problem.  A horse drawn wagon had gone over the cliff at Dead Horse Hill, and others had close calls.  Hartman and Sons built a wooden bridge to cross the Applegate River at the south end of Dead Horse Hill.  Hartman’s sons, Wes and Lyle, were 16 and 14 when they began helping their father build bridges.  Lyle went on to set a county employment record as a bridge builder for 50 years.  
The family built hundreds of bridges.  By the 1960s, they were replacing bridges they had built years earlier.  
Although the plaque on the McKee Bridge misspells Hartman’s name as Jason, the grave marker in the Jacksonville Cemetery has it correctly as Jaston.

Sources: Miller, Bill. "A bridge by any other name." Mail Tribune 22 June 2018 [Medford, Ore.]. Web. 19 June 2014.

Maryann Mason has taught history and English in the U.S. Midwest and Northwest, and Bolivia. She has written history spots for local public radio, interviewed mystery writers for RVTV Noir, and edited personal and family histories.  Her poetry has appeared in Sweet Annie & Sweet Pea Review (1999), Rain Magazine (2007), and The Third Reader, an online Journal of Literary Fiction and Poetry. In 2008 she published her first chapbook, Ravelings.  She organized a History Day for Southern Oregon.