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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Jacksonville in Jackson County, Oregon — The American West (Northwest)
 

The Britt House: Simple Frame to Cottage Gothic

 
 
The Britt House: Simple frame to Cottage Gothic Marker image. Click for full size.
By Douglass Halvorsen, March 10, 2013
1. The Britt House: Simple frame to Cottage Gothic Marker
Inscription. It was in early November 1852, when 33-year-old Peter Britt arrived in Jacksonville pushing a two-wheeled cart full of photographic equipment. He selected a home site on this very hillside, with its magnificent view, to build a small log cabin for shelter. After trying his hand in gold mining and failing to find anticipated riches, Britt turned his attention to what he knew best: photography. To be a proper photographer, Peter needed a decent studio and a better home. With improved finances, Britt built a plain, one-story building. During an early remodel, Britt added decorative 'gingerbread' trim introducing the fashionable new 'cottage gothic' architectural style. A few years later he added more living space by building a second story and moving his studio to the top story. Years later, in 1883, another two-story wing was added. By then, Britt's opulent home boasted spacious living quarters, and wine cellar, solarium, and two sky-lit studios on the second floor.

Fieldstone steps and terrace walls, a bubbling fountain and goldfish-filled pond added a touch of romance to the park-like grounds surrounding the Britt house. several out-buildings, including a carriage shed, water tower, dog house, and winery, were located close by.

Britt's surviving children, Mollie and Emil, continued to live in the ornate Victorian
The Britt House: Simple Frame to Cottage Gothic Marker image. Click for full size.
By Douglass Halvorsen, March 10, 2013
2. The Britt House: Simple Frame to Cottage Gothic Marker
house after Peter's death in 1905. They kept their father's studio as a museum. Emil died in 1950 and Mollie died in 1954. The old estate was eventually turned over to Southern Oregon College in Ashland.

In 1914 Mollie and Emil discovered fire issuing from the roof of their home. Quick response by the Jacksonville Fire Department saved the residence as well as the Britts' priceless belongings. This was the first in a series of fires that would eventually consume the home.

In 1957, a flue fire sparked a blaze that damaged about fifty percent of the historic Britt home. Peter's photographic studio was destroyed. High winds fanned the flames and firemen had difficulty getting hoses through dense shrubbery and hedges of the overgrown Britt garden. Most of Britt's photographic equipment and many valuable antiques had been removed by the Southern Oregon Historical Society for safekeeping.

Disaster struck again, however, on March 16, 1960, when another fire swept through the Britt home bringing the 100 year-old house to final ruin.
 
Erected by Jacksonvill Applegate Rotary and Southern Oregon Historical Society.
 
Location. 42° 18.858′ N, 122° 58.238′ W. Marker is in Jacksonville, Oregon, in Jackson County. Marker is on South 1st Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Jacksonville OR 97530, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Peter Britt: A Passion for His Garden (within shouting distance of this marker); Peter Britt: Man of Culture and Commerce (within shouting distance of this marker); World War II Three Trees Memorial (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Undermining the Great Depression (about 400 feet away); History Right Here - Furniture Fabrication (about 400 feet away); Britt Sequoia (about 400 feet away); China Quarter (about 400 feet away); City Hall (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Jacksonville.
 
Categories. Notable Buildings
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on January 20, 2018. This page originally submitted on January 18, 2018, by Douglass Halvorsen of Klamath Falls, Oregon. This page has been viewed 38 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on January 18, 2018, by Douglass Halvorsen of Klamath Falls, Oregon. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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