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As It Was: Two Germans Open Jacksonville, Ore., Bakery and Saloon

Two German immigrants in the 1800s, John Wintjen and Herman Von Helms, decided Jacksonville, Ore., needed a bakery, so they opened one, followed by a billiard saloon in 1860.

To reach Jacksonville, the billiard table survived an ocean voyage around the Horn to Crescent City, and a mule-drawn freight wagon trip from there.

In the 1880s, the owners added a brick balustrade and the name “Table Rock Billiard Saloon” at the front of the building .

The saloon proved very successful and became one of Jacksonville’s longest running businesses.  It contained a cobbler shop and housed the town’s first museum.  Helms asked townspeople to share items they had collected.  Soon a large case contained items from the Takelma Indians, Jacksonville gold, freaks of nature, coins, fossils, and other items telling the story of Jackson County. 

When the saloon closed in 1914, Helm’s “Cabinet of Curiosities” held a collection valued at $50,000, the equivalent of more than $1.2 million in present-day dollars.

A fire gutted the building in 1960, leaving only the outside façade intact.  Restored in the 1970s, the present-day building houses a coffee shop.
 

Sources: LaPlante, Margaret. Jacksonville Images of America. Arcadia Publishing, 2010, p. 36;  "The Table Rock Billiard Saloon." Historic Jacksonville Inc., 22 July 2014, www.historicjacksonville.org/table-rock-saloon/. Accessed 14 Sept. 2018; “Jacksonville Museum #1." Historic Jacksonville Inc., 10 Apr. 2018, www.historicjacksonville.org/table-rock-saloon/. Accessed 15 Sept. 2018.

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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.