Living History: The Beekmans Are Back!

“Living History” returned to Jacksonville’s historic Beekman House on the second Saturday of each month from May through August.  The year is 1932.  Julia Beekman has passed away, and daughter Carrie is planning to move to Portland where her brother Ben lives.  Carrie and Ben are going through the closets and cupboards prior to closing up the house, and the public is invited to share their memories of “growing up Beekman.”

Ben Beekman

Ben and Carrie Beekman, cousins, and a former cook will be the guides for these “Closets and Cupboards” tours.  Participation is by advance reservation only!  Tours require a mnimum of 10 people and are limited to a maximum of 15 participants.  The $20 cost includes a picnic lunch, a history talk, and the “living history” tour.  Reservations can be made by calling 541-245-3650 or e-mailing

“Beekman House ‘living history’ tours were a big attraction for many years,” observes Carolyn Kingsnorth, president of the Jacksonville Heritage Society, the current tour sponsor.  “This is a way for JHS to reintroduce them and gauge the current public appeal.  The Southern Oregon Historical Society is helping us with this project, going into their collection and restocking the cupboards and closets of the House with literally hundreds of family objects that have been in storage for years.”

 An added special Closets and Cupboards Tours will be offered on September 1st.

JHS is also offering private bookings of this tour at other times to groups like book clubs, garden clubs, church groups, etc.  Kingsnorth notes, “We can adapt our history talk to their interests—the original landscaping, the family’s literature and music interests, the Beekman involvement with Jacksonville’s historic Presbyterian Church, for example.  And we may be able to offer a tea instead of a picnic lunch.”

If the new “living history” tours don’t fit people’s schedules or wallets, JHS and the Beekman Legacy Society will also be offering themed Beekman House tours between noon and 4 p.m. on the third Saturday of the month from May through November.  “These tours do not include the Beekman family or the opportunity to explore the cupboards and closets,” Kingsnorth points out.  “However, we will emphasize a new aspect of Beekman family life each month and include related activities on the lawn or in the Carriage House.”  Admission for these events is $3 for adults, and $2 for children under 12.

Carrie Beekman

“Even without the additional artifacts the Beekman House is an incredible treasure trove,” Kingsnorth points out.  “This 1873 residence was owned and lived in by only one family—the wealthiest pioneer family in Jacksonville.  And it’s still entirely furnished with family artifacts, not the period pieces that are common in most historic homes.  It’s the museum that visitors expect to find in an historic town.  And now JHS and the Beekman Legacy Society are bringing it back to life!”

To reserve a Closets and Cupboards tour or for additional information about other tours, events and opportunities at the Beekman House, call 541-245-3650, or e-mail