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Small Parcel of Land Contributes to Jacksonville History

A small parcel of land facing California Street in Jacksonville, Ore., has played a major role in the town’s history.

Originally the land was part of Jacksonville’s Main Street.  The historic area consisted of wood-framed buildings called China Lots where early Chinese residents created the oldest Chinatown in Oregon.

The land sat vacant for many years after a fire in 1888 in David Linn’s furniture factory spread across the street to the Chinese wooden buildings, destroying the whole block.

In 1905, Dr. Charles Ray of the Rogue River Electric Company purchased the land.  He constructed a brick building with a square cupola in the center of the roof to be used as an electrical substation.

The substation brought electricity to Jacksonville until 1940, when the building served as a blacksmith shop, and later, as a machine shop.  In the 1970’s it housed a visitor information center. Today it has a  Christian bookstore.

The 1980 State of Oregon Inventory of Historic Properties described the building as a primary contributor to the downtown historic core.

Sources: "Rogue River Electric Company Building." Waymarking.com, silverquill, 16 Jan. 2014, www.waymarking.com › Home › Categories › Category. Accessed 2 Jan. 2017; Gregg, Kenneth. "Rogue River Electric Company #1." Historic Jacksonville Inc.History Trivia, 30 Aug. 2016, www.historicjacksonville.org/./rogue-rive. Accessed 3 Jan. 2017; Gregg, Kenneth. "Rogue River Electric Company #2." Historic Jacksonville Inc.History Trivia, 6 Sept. 2016, www.historicjacksonville.org/rogue-river. Accessed 3 Jan. 2017.

Luana (Loffer) Corbin graduated from Southern Oregon College, majoring in Elementary Education.  The summer after graduation she was hired to teach at Ruch Elementary, where she taught for 32 years. After retiring, Corbin worked for Lifetouch School Photography and then returned to Ruch as an aide helping with reading instruction and at the library.  More recently, she has volunteered at South Medford High.