JACKSONVILLE, OR—You are invited to “Step Behind the Counter” of the oldest financial institution in the Pacific Northwest—Jacksonville’s 1863 Beekman Bank Museum—when Historic Jacksonville, Inc. opens the museum for summer tours. Established as a “gold dust” office in 1856, it was the first “bank” north of San Francisco.
Scheduled 2023 “banking hours” are 11am to 3 pm, Saturdays and Sundays, from May 27 through September 3. The Beekman Bank Museum is located at 110 W. California Street (the corner of California and North 3rd streets) in Jacksonville. Guests can interact with costumed docents sharing stories of late 19th Century banking practices, gold shipping, and handshake deals; step behind the counter and peer in drawers containing old checks, stage schedules, and paperwork; and enter the vault that stored millions in gold!
Visitors can spend as much or as little time as they like—although we suggest they allow at least 30 minutes. Tours are FREE, but donations are encouraged since all monies go towards the preservation and maintenance of this historic legacy!
The original bank was established in 1856 as a “gold dust” office. (If we’re factual, it was a safe.) Cornelius Beekman had come to Jacksonville in 1854 as an express rider between Yreka and Jacksonville carrying newspaper, mail, parcels, and gold over the Siskiyous. When his employer’s firm failed, he established Jacksonville’s Beekman’s Express and his gold dust office. In 1863 he became Jacksonville’s Wells Fargo agent and constructed the Beekman Bank.
During Jacksonville’s heyday as the governmental, commercial, and social hub of Southern Oregon in the late 1800s, the Beekman’s Bank saw over $40 million in gold cross its counters—equivalent to over $1 billion today! The current 1863 structure is the only commercial wooden building on California Streeet to survive Jacksonville’s many fires. It has been preserved intact as a museum since Cornelius Beekman, the wealthiest and most prominent of Jacksonville’s pioneers, locked the doors in 1915.
Additional information is available at 541-245-3650; email@example.com; and www.historicjacksonville.org/behind-the-counter/.