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[graphic] Orlando Coolidge House
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Streetview of the Orlando Coolidge House
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.

Historic lithograph of the Coolidge House, c.1883
Courtesy of The Terry Skibby Collection

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.

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.

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