Address: 206 North 5th
Street, Jacksonville, OR 97530
The imposing, Italianate, brick and stone historic Jackson County Courthouse was declared the crowning glory of Jacksonville when it was constructed in 1883. The general contractor, L.S.P. Marsh, completed the project on time and under the $32,000 budget.
Marsh took personal responsibility for all of the woodwork, from the structural framing down to the trim work. He personally built the beautiful curved double stairway that leads from the entry hall to the 2nd floor courtroom.
All of the materials were purchased locally, including the native sandstone from Kanaka Flats. The chiseling and shaping were done on site. The brick mason was George Holt, who also built the U.S. Hotel, Redmen’s Hall, and the Kubli Building.
The completed building stood 62’ wide by 90’ long, with 22” thick walls. Initially there were 10 rooms housing juries, judges, witnesses and various County officials—Treasurer, Clerk, Commissioner, Sheriff, District Attorney, and School Superintendent—in addition to the 41’ by 68’ courtroom. A back stairway, referred to as “Prisoner’s Walk,” led directly from the outside to the 2nd floor courtroom.
Ironically, the new Courthouse, the most monumental structure in the town, was completed in 1884, the same year that the Oregon and California Railroad by-passed Jacksonville in favor of Medford.
As Jacksonville waned and Medford grew, numerous attempts were undertaken to relocate the County seat to the new business and residential hub. However, it was 1927, before Medford prevailed.
Jacksonville and the Courthouse still had one last glory moment that year when the trial of the DeAutremont brothers attracted nationwide attention. After a three year manhunt that extended into Mexico, Canada and Australia, the three DeAutremont brothers were apprehended and charged with the murder of four railroad employees during a 1923 holdup in railroad Tunnel 13 in the Siskiyou Mountains. Billed as the West’s last great train robbery, this was the final trial held in the courthouse before all legal business was moved to the newly erected courthouse in Medford.
Since then, the Courthouse has housed a number of community organizations. During the 1930s it was home to the Boy Scouts and the Jacksonville Grange. During World War II, the courtroom was used for dances, private gatherings, and Civil Air Defense meetings. In 1950, the recently formed Southern Oregon Historical Society (SOHS) dedicated the courthouse as a museum.
The museum closed in 2010 when SOHS elected to concentrate its resources on programming. Management of the building passed to the Jacksonville Heritage Society on September 1, 2010.
present, the Courthouse building is not open to the public.
However, the Courthouse lawn can be rented by local organizations for community events. Saturday mornings from May through October, it is the site of the Jacksonville Farmers’ Market. The day before Mothers’ Day, the Jacksonville Garden Club hosts its annual plant sale. During June, July, and August, the Saturday Artists join the farmers on the lawn. Labor Day weekend Jacksonville Celebrates the Arts on the Courthouse grounds. Other events occur at different times during the year.
For information on the Courthouse grounds’ rental availability and fees, contact the Jacksonville Heritage Society at email@example.com.