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Plants adorn the Jacksonville Post Office

Imagine a picture of the Jacksonville post office in 1903, with varnished and polished woodwork, oil paintings, engravings, deer antlers on the walls, and spotless linoleum floors.  Envision many hanging flower pots containing “heavy foliaged plants and trailing vines.” Add pots lining the entry way and plants on the clerk’s desk.

The Southern Oregon Historical Society collection includes two photographs of the plant-filled post office of John F. Miller. They are captioned “Interior of the new Post Office in Jacksonville” and “Man and woman in the Post Office in Jacksonville.”

The Jacksonville Sentinel called the post office a “combination of a parlor and a greenhouse.”  The U.S. Postal Service eventually required removal of the plants.

Miller was the Jacksonville postmaster from 1897 until 1912 when the office was moved and Miller didn’t feel well and took his first vacation in 13 years.  His wife, Mabel Prim Miller, ran the post office briefly before dying at age 30 in December 1912. 

Miller died in 1930 in Jacksonville, where he had one of the most admired gardens in the Rogue Valley that included blossoming shrubs, dahlias, lilies and rare plants.

Source: "Jacksonville's Model Post office." Jacksonville Sentinel 3 July 1903: 2. Print; Lewis, Raymond. "Tillie." Table Rock Sentinel 5.2 (1985): 5. Print; SOHS 2091 Interior of the new Post Office in Jacksonville. Photograph. Southern Oregon Historical Society, Medford, Ore;  SOHS2087 Man and woman in the Post Office in Jacksonville. Photograph. Southern Oregon Historical Society, Medford, Ore.                

Pat Harper is the archivist for the Southern Oregon Historical Society, where she digitizes records, manages websites and learns more about regional history from the SOHS volunteers. After receiving her Master’s Degree in library science from the University of Illinois in 1980, Harper worked as a reference librarian, then as a library administrator. From 1994 to 2005, she was the Siskiyou County library director and lived in the country near Hornbrook, California.