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As It Was: Muleskinners Viet Schutz, Peter Britt Invest in Jacksonville, Ore.

When the gold rush town of Jacksonville, Ore., attracted thousands of miners in 1852, two men started a lucrative pack train business to bring supplies to the miners.  The partners, Viet Schutz and Peter Britt, invested their earnings in the future.

Britt bought photographic equipment and became famous for his early photographs.  Schutz built the City Brewery, a three-story building against a hillside, using stone-lined caverns in the earth for his beer cellar.  Schutz Hall included a bar, dance hall, athletic facilities, and his home where he and his wife raised four children.

Beer-making required large amounts of water, and Schutz’s beer hall had its own reservoir, flume and waterwheel.

After Schutz’ death in 1892, Britt took over the building for his winery which produced as much as 3,000 gallons of wine a year under his Valley View label – related by name only to the present Valley View winery in the Applegate Valley.

After Britt’s death in 1905, a temporary school used the brewery building on two occasions when the Jacksonville school building burned down.  Abandoned after that, Schutz Hall was torn down in 1958, leaving behind a stone-lined wine tunnel.

Source: Informational signage in Jacksonville, Ore.  One panel produced by the Jacksonville Woodlands Assoc. and Historic Jacksonville, Inc. Another panel by Jacksonville Boosters Club, August 2018

Alice Mullaly is a graduate of Oregon State and Stanford University, and taught mathematics for 42 years in high schools in Nyack, New York; Mill Valley, California; and Hedrick Junior High School in Medford. Alice has been an Southern Oregon Historical Society volunteer for nearly 30 years, the source of many of her “As It Was” stories.