Beginning Friday, May 5, 2017, ghosts and spirits from Jacksonville’s pioneer past will again be the subjects of Historic Jacksonville’s Haunted History walking tours. On the first Friday of each Month from May through September, costumed docents will share notable tales of woe, sorrow, and regret at 7, 7:15, 7:30, and 7:45 p.m. These approximately one-hour tours, which leave from the Jacksonville Visitors Center at the corner of North Oregon and C streets, are limited to 15 people and reservations are required. The cost is $5 per person, with profits going to historic preservation efforts.
“Here in Jacksonville we take our history seriously,” notes Carolyn Kingsnorth, President of Historic Jacksonville, Inc. “We respect the legacy the pioneers left us. But we’ve also learned that some of these pioneers have been reluctant to leave and are still with us in the form of spirits and ghosts.
“These tours are not your typical ‘ghost tours’ with special effects. They are history tours about real hauntings resulting from past events. The stories—some scary, some benign—come from multiple sources, from people who have experienced these lingering spirits. These tours are our attempt to recognize and honor these restless souls.”
This year, Historic Jacksonville, Inc. will be offering two different tour routes. “May and June will feature Britt Hill tours with saloons, Oregon’s first Chinatown, and two of the most haunted houses in town,” says Kingsnorth. “This tour is a little strenuous since it does require our tour guide and guests to huff and puff their way up Britt Hill—but the stories are worth it!
“In July, August, and September, we’ll be taking the Courthouse route with tales of brothels, disease epidemics and hangings. The two routes give participants the opportunity to come back for more and give us the opportunity to share more of Jacksonville’s storied history.” Private tours for groups of 10 or more are also available.
In October, Historic Jacksonville will offer the Britt Hill tour on October 13 and the Courthouse tour on October 14. “They will be part of what will literally be a month-long celebration of the ‘spirits of Jacksonville’ with the Friends of Jacksonville’s Historic Cemetery offering their “Meet the Pioneers’ tours the first weekend; our tours the second weekend; and the Chamber of Commerce’s ‘Haunted Trolley’ tours the third and fourth weekends.”