The Oregon Wine Experience® at Bigham Knoll
Historic Bigham Knoll in Jacksonville will once again play host for the 2016 OWE. Often locally referred to as “The Old School,” the Bigham Knoll main building served primarily as a school from 1908, the year it was built, until 2005. Now, the owners Mel and Brooke Ashland, after restoring and greatly improving the building and other campus facilities, run their businesses here. They also house a German Restaurant and host many events and groups.
525 Bigham Knoll (525 East E Street in Jacksonville)
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Jacksonville began as a gold rush town, and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1966. Gold was first discovered here at Ruch Gulch in 1851. As the news spread, the area was inundated by gold miners seeking their fortunes. Before then, the area was populated primarily by the Upland Takelmas Native American tribe.
Originally named Table Rock City because of the view of the two mesas about 10 miles away, Jacksonville emerged from the mining campsites and thrived to become the county seat and the largest city in Oregon. Settlers coming west on wagon trains found the Rogue Valley to be a desirable place to establish land claims and earn a living as farmers and ranchers – that is until the railroad bypassed the town in 1884. Jacksonville remained as the county seat and as the prominent town in Southern Oregon, however the boom was over and businesses and residents turned to agriculture and eventually tourism to survive.
Jacksonville has 100+ buildings on the National Register of Historic Places. To see these and learn more about their colorful past, you can walk the streets on your own with a map or take a narrated Audio Tour. These tours can be purchased at the Visitor’s Center or downloaded for free from JacksonvilleOregon.org. Other fun tours are via a Segway, Bike Rental, and Historic Trolley Tour!
Some notable historic buildings include the Beekman House and Beekman Bank, which are frequently open for tours. The Historic Jacksonville Cemetery is another great place to learn about our history and enjoy the beautiful views and scenery.
Housed in the historic commercial buildings and former homes, Jacksonville’s businesses and restaurants are independently owned and offer unique merchandise and culinary perspectives. It is easy to lose yourself for a day of fun exploring our wonderful shops and boutiques. When you are ready for a break, Jacksonville has some of the best restaurants in Southern Oregon. You can choose from welcoming, casual coffee shops and bistros to full-service, five-star restaurants, many of which offer lovely outdoor patios.
Jacksonville is home to Oregon’s first winery, and is a gateway to the wine region’s 70+ wineries! The Southern Oregon AVA is made up of several, smaller wine trails, including the Applegate Valley Wine Trail, The Upper Rogue Wine Trail, the Bear Creek Boutique Wineries, and The Umpqua Valley Wineries.
Jacksonville is also home to several charming tasting rooms. As part of the Southern Oregon World of Wine Festival, you may take a scheduled tour or simply travel to the area’s many wineries on your own.
Jacksonville is fortunate to have an amazing trail system. The Jacksonville Woodlands is a 280 acre hillside woodland park, with 16+ hiking trails close to town. Wildflowers, shrub oak, madrones and more will greet you – along with some fabulous views. Forest Park provides perfect trails for mountain biking, hiking and horseback riding.
Many tasting rooms, bars and restaurants offer live music on weekends and often throughout the week. We are also home to the Britt Festivals – the Pacific Northwest’s premier open air performing arts festival! World-class artists come to perform in this beautiful, intimate venue set among majestic Ponderosa pines and native madrones. Check out their website at www.brittfest.org for the schedule!