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[graphic] John P. Walker House
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[photo] The John Walker House, built in 1856, is one of the oldest residences in the Rogue River Basin
Photograph by Terry Skibby

The John Walker House reflects Ashland's early agricultural history, and is one of the oldest residences in the Rogue River basin. John Walker came to the valley in 1853 from the California mining fields. This Applegate Trail pioneer became a rancher and advocate of public education. His career illustrates both the farm-based economy of Ashland's early years and its continued commitment to education. He built his imposing home in 1856 (the date of newspapers found beneath the original wallpaper). The following year Walker was selected as director of the local school board and under his direction school taxes were levied for the first time; for many years, based on the extent of his holdings, Walker had a higher assessment than anyone else. An elementary school and one of Ashland's main streets are named for him. In 1884 the home was described as "among the most valuable and best improved farms in Southern Oregon."

[photo]
Historic photo of the John Walker House, c.1880s
Courtesy of The Terry Skibby Collection

Walker lived in his home with his wife Mary and their four children. The two-story clapboard frame house with an essentially square plan rests on a foundation of locally quarried sandstone. The original half root cellar is intact. With its brick floor and walls of cut sandstone, the cellar is cooled by spring water drained off by a sump. Today the property retains its bucolic sense with the small herd of cattle still grazing near the house.

 

The John Walker House is located at 1521 East Main St. It is a private residence not open to the public.

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