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As It Was: Jacksonville Creating Granite Pathway of History

Pedestrians approaching the Jacksonville, Ore., City Hall will soon be taking a walk through history.

The city’s Boosters Club is replacing sidewalk panels in front of City Hall by more than a dozen granite slabs, each etched with a short history of the town’s development.

The Medford Mail Tribune reported recently that the slabs will begin with the discovery of gold in the 1850s.  Among other bits of history will be descriptions of Chinese settlement, Peter Britt’s gardens and photography, and how early town fires led to brick buildings.

Local historians Larry Smith and Carolyn Kingsnorth will review each panel’s story for accuracy.

The Jacksonville City Hall has a long history itself.  Built in 1883 as the Jackson County Courthouse before the county seat moved to Medford, it became a museum operated by the Southern Oregon Historical Society until it closed and ownership was transferred in 2012 to the city.

Thin strips of granite inlaid in a park’s sidewalk in Astoria, Ore., each engraved with a sentence about that city’s history, inspired the Jacksonville project.

The Boosters Club expects to finish the historical pathway by the end of this year.

Source:  Boom, Tony. "Jacksonville history will be at your feet." Mail Tribune, 10 Mar. 2019 [Medford, Ore.] , p. B3.

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Kernan Turner is the Southern Oregon Historical Society’s volunteer editor and coordinator of the As It Was series broadcast daily by Jefferson Public Radio. A University of Oregon journalism graduate, Turner was a reporter for the Coos Bay World and managing editor of the Democrat-Herald in Albany before joining the Associated Press in Portland in 1967. Turner spent 35 years with the AP before retiring in Ashland.