Streetview of the Orlando Coolidge
Photograph by Terry Skibby
The Orlando Coolidge House stands as a reminder of early agriculture,
beginning when Orlando Coolidge came to the area in 1862, purchasing
a large farm and becoming the first commercial nurseryman in Jackson
County. A. G. Walling, an early county historian, wrote in 1884
in A History of Southern Oregon, Comprising Jackson, Josephine,
Douglas, Curry and Coos Counties, that the large nursery Orlando
Coolidge established in 1869, "Is one of the most extensive of its
kind in Southern Oregon. It contains almost all varieties of fruits,
nuts, shrubs, flowers, and ornamental trees to be found on the coast.
. ." The Rogue Valley is still known for its outstanding fruit orchards.
By around 1877, Coolidge had prospered sufficiently to build his
imposing Ashland home on the edge of about 35 acres of fruit and
nut trees. After her parents' death, Minnie Coolidge lived in the
house until 1929. The Coolidge House's Italianate architecture,
which reflects both the time and economic status of its builder,
retains most of its significant design characteristics. This house,
situated on a high bank overlooking Main Street in Ashland, is architecturally
one of the community's finest examples of early private residences.
As befits its original owner, there are large and attractive trees
on the property, whose front landscaping resembles that of the adjoining
properties, the Woolen and Atkinson
houses--known locally as "The Three Sisters." They indicate a
shift in style and increased opulence resulting from the prosperity
brought by the arrival of the railroad (Ashland's population experienced
a 111 percent gain from 1880 to 1890). All are joined by a stone wall
built at the turn of the century when the hill was cut back to level
out the North Main Street entrance to Ashland. Although the beautiful
trees planted by Mr. Coolidge were sacrificed to this highway construction,
the resulting retaining wall created a high bank on which all three
houses sit, giving them a beautiful prospect across the valley to
Grizzly Peak. The Coolidge House now serves Ashland's tourist trade
as a bed and breakfast establishment.
Historic lithograph of the Coolidge
Courtesy of The Terry Skibby Collection
The Orlando Coolidge House is located at 137 North Main St.
It is now the Coolidge House Bed and Breakfast, call 541-482-4721
or visit their website for further information.