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[graphic] Map of the state of Oregon, noting the location of Ashland with a star [graphic] Ashland Oregon: From Stage Coach to Center Stage Header   [graphic] Ashland Oregon: From Stage Coach to Center Stage Header [graphic] Ashland Oregon: From Stage Coach to Center Stage Header
[graphic] Ashland Oregon: From Stage Coach to Center Stage Header
[graphics] rotating images of Ashland
[graphic] Introduction
     

[photo]
North Main Street in downtown Ashland, also known as The Plaza
Photograph by Terry Skibby

The National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places, the Historic Commission of the City of Ashland, the Oregon State Historic Preservation Office, the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers (NCSHPO), and the National Alliance of Preservation Commissions (NAPC) proudly invite you to explore Ashland, Oregon: From Stage Coach to Center Stage. Located in the scenic Rogue River Valley, Ashland lies just 14 miles north of the California border at the foot of Mt. Ashland. This latest National Register of Historic Places Travel itinerary illustrates the development of the city from a small transportation and farming center founded in 1852 into a community with a strong cultural identity. Ashland has 48 individual places listed in the National Register of Historic Places. This itinerary highlights 32 of those historic places which depict the charm and historical significance of the community and provide insights into how Ashland's past has contributed to its dynamic, thriving existence today.

[photo] Historic view of North Main Street and The Plaza, c.1890
Courtesy of The Terry Skibby Collection

First settled in 1852 as a milling center, Ashland was incorporated in 1874. The town became known for education and culture; Skidmore Academy, founded in 1872, grew to become Southern Oregon University. The railroad arrived in 1884; by 1891 the town had a library, City Band, and Opera House. When Ashland joined the Chautauqua circuit in 1893, its reputation as a resort and educational center grew. Once a bustling railroad hub, the town declined when the main line was diverted through Klamath Falls in 1927. Ashland revitalized and became a magnet for cultural tourism in 1935 with the establishment of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, which today is the largest regional repertory theater in the United States, offering 11 classical and contemporary plays in three theaters from February through October. Southern Oregon University, part of the state's regional comprehensive higher education system, provides library, computing, and community outreach resources to serve the region and complements the many artistic, musical, and theatrical opportunities available here.


[photo]
East Main Street in downtown Ashland
Photograph by Terry Skibby
The City has provided support for historic preservation efforts through its sponsorship of the Historic Commission and through recognition of individual citizens' efforts to keep its history alive. For example, Ashland for many years has had four locally-designated historic districts. In large part as a result of city support, two of these--the Ashland Railroad Addition District and the Downtown District--have now been placed in the National Register, while the others are in the process of nomination and consideration. Although Ashland was a hub city before the railroad arrived, the importance of rail transportation on its life and commerce are apparent in a tour of the Railroad Addition Historic District. The imposing multi-storied railroad depot was torn down years ago, but the South Wing of the Ashland Depot Hotel has been preserved as a reminder of those glory days. Also reflecting the historic district's diverse population in those early days is the Nihls Ahlstrom House, the simple home of a railroad worker and the John McCall House, the imposing home of a prominent resident. Among public buildings are the Peerless Rooms Building (where both passengers and local boarders once resided), and Trinity Episcopal Church (the only church in Ashland still in use by its original denomination). Unlike many western small towns, Ashland still has a vibrant downtown, as a visit to the historic Downtown District makes clear. Walking from an early fraternal lodge, the International Order of Oddfellows (IOOF) Building, on the Plaza, to the recently restored Mark Antony Motor Hotel (Ashland Springs Hotel) is a stroll through both time and styles of living and of architecture.

Ashland, Oregon: From Stage Coach to Center Stage offers several ways to discover the historic properties that played important roles in the City's past. Each highlighted property features a brief description of the place's significance, color, and where available, historic photographs, and public accessibility information. At the bottom of each page the visitor will find a navigation bar containing links to three essays that explain more about early days of the Applegate Trail Settlement, Ashland's Golden Spike, and All the World's a Stage. These essays provide historic background, or "contexts," for many of the places included in the itinerary. The itinerary can be viewed online, or printed out if you plan to visit Ashland, Oregon, in person.

[photo]
Historic view of East Main St., c.1928

Courtesy of The Terry Skibby Collection

Created through a partnership between the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places, the Historic Commission of the City of Ashland, the Oregon State Historic Preservation Office, NCSHPO and NAPC, Ashland, Oregon: From Stage Coach to Center Stage is the latest example of a new and exciting cooperative project. As part of the Department of the Interior's strategy to revitalize communities by promoting public awareness of history and encouraging tourists to visit historic places throughout the nation, the National Register of Historic Places is cooperating with communities, regions and Heritage Areas throughout the United States to create online travel itineraries. Using places listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the itineraries help potential visitors plan their next trip by highlighting the amazing diversity of the country's historic places and supplying accessibility information for each featured site. In the Learn More section, the itineraries link to regional and local web sites that provide visitors with further information regarding cultural events, special activities, lodging and dining possibilities as well as histories of the region, to help you explore further. Visitors may be intersted in Historic Hotels of America, a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, located in Oregon, including the Ashland Springs Hotel.

Ashland is the 10th of more than 30 organizations working directly with the National Register of Historic Places to create travel itineraries. Additional itineraries will debut online in the future. The National Register of Historic Places and the Historic Commission of the City of Ashland hope you enjoy this virtual travel itinerary of the city's historic places. If you have comments or questions please just click on the provided e-mail address, "comments or questions" located at the bottom of each page.

[graphic] link to Applegate Trail Settlement essay
 [graphic] Link to Applegate Trail Settlement essay
[graphic] footer [graphic] Link to All the World's a Stage essay
 [graphic] link to Ashland's Golden Spike essay

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[graphic] Link to the National Park Service website