Address: 100 West California Street,
Jacksonville, OR 97530
The Beekman Bank, constructed around 1863, was one of the few wooden commercial buildings to survive Jacksonville’s numerous fires.
When Cornelius C. Beekman purchased this lot, he had
already been in Jacksonville for almost 10 years. In
1853, Beekman had obtained a job with Cram, Rogers & Company, an express
company in Yreka, as a “connecting agent” in the new mining town of
Jacksonville, Oregon. Beekman
himself rode over the Siskiyou Mountains two or three times a week from
Jacksonville to Yreka carrying gold dust, parcels, and letters for miners and
Cram, Rogers & Company failed in 1856, and Beekman purchased their Jacksonville stables and corral for $100, establishing Beekman’s Express. He initially operated out of a one-story structure that he shared with Dr. Charles Brooks’ Drugstore on the southeast corner of California and Third streets.
also used the Beekman Express structure as a “gold dust office.” In 1857, Beekman’s office became the
first bank in Southern Oregon and the second oldest financial institution in
the Pacific Northwest. By the time
he constructed the current Beekman Bank site, some $4 million in gold
reportedly passed across his counters.
Beekman ran his bank with a personal touch. When someone wanted to borrow money, he had to approve the request. If the individual was trustworthy and the investment sound, he loaned my own money rather than that of the bank. However, rather than paying interest on customer deposits, Beekman charged the depositors for storage. Beekman also sold books, supplies, and stationery out of the bank.
By 1912, Beekman had competition from the Bank of Jacksonville, new banking regulations had been introduced, and most businesses had moved to Medford. He officially announced the closure of his bank that year, but continued to operate for his old customers until 1915, the year he died. At his death the doors were closed, and the Bank building remains as it was when Beekman operated it.
The Beekman Bank became the property of Jackson County, managed by the Southern Oregon Historical Society. In 2011, management of the Bank was transferred to the Jacksonville Heritage Society.
A “Viewing Room” is open to the public on a daily basis, providing visitors with limited access to this historic landmark. The Jacksonville Heritage Society has plans in place to expand the public area and to open the space for periodic events and activities.
For information on private tours, upcoming events, and rental availability of the Beekman Bank, contact the Jacksonville Heritage Society at email@example.com.