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."
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.
Historic photo of the John Walker
Courtesy of The Terry Skibby Collection
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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