Southern Oregon History

Early pioneers Jesse and Lindsay Applegate opened the road to Southern Oregon in 1846. They came to Oregon on the original Oregon Trail, created a scouting party and set out in June 1846, blazing a trail through the Willamette Valley and continuing to just south of Ashland. In August 1846, hundreds of pioneers came to Oregon on the new Applegate Trail. By 1853, more than 3,500 pioneers took this route, which is followed today by Interstate 5 and Highway 66.

Hanley Farm
A 39-acre Century Farm that offers visitors a chance to learn about the history of agriculture in the Rogue River valley. Mary Hanley bequeathed her family farm to the Southern Oregon Historical Society, which now operates it so that young and old alike might rediscover their ties to the land. The property includes the Hanley Family House built in the 1850s, gardens, historic barns and exhibits of farm equipment. Buildings at the farm range in age from the 1850s to the 1950s.

The top of Hanley Butte, accessible by a footpath, offers a remarkable view of the valley, and unique botanical gardens make Hanley Farm a very special place to visit. The beautiful grounds offer spectacular views of the Rogue Valley in all directions, many suitable spots for wedding ceremonies and a large covered area for receptions, lunches and dinners. The site has an event coordinator to assist in organizing all types of public and private events. Although not open to the public on a regular basis, an event schedule of activities can be found by going to

Jacksonville Cemetery
Jacksonville Cemetery is the final resting place for more than 4,000 citizens in Southern Oregon's Rogue Valley. Stroll this wooded hillside and step back to the 1850s. View grave markers both ornate and humble, and placed across many well-organized sections such as Roman Catholic and Jewish, African-American and Native American, Odd Fellows and Masonic. Causes of death trace the violence and danger of 19th Century life with notes about diphtheria, smallpox, "Indian wars," and even lead poisoning. Of particular interest are the many examples of Victorian-era "funeral" symbolism, such as a hand pointing toward the sky, or intricate examples of lodge or official order insignia.

The Rogue River
"The happiest lot of any angler would be to live somewhere along the banks of the Rogue River, most beautiful stream in Oregon." Zane Grey, from Tales of Fresh-water Fishing

Author Zane Grey wasn't the first to discover the abundance of Coho and Chinook salmon and trout in the Rogue River. But it was his writings in the 1920s that exalted the river's rugged beauty and bounty of its swift waters, drawing world attention to the river and the region.

In the 1930s the Rogue saw famous actors of Hollywood's Golden Era - including Clark Gable, Ginger Rogers, Zane Grey and Herbert Hoover - vacationing and dining at historic lodges like the Weasku Inn or R Haus.

The film Rooster Cogburn, which starred John Wayne, was filmed in Hellgate Canyon. Zane Grey found other favorite spots along the North Umpqua River, and from 1932-37 he haunted a particular world-famous fly fishing, salmon, steelhead and trout area near the historic Mott Bridge.