Jackson County was organized in 1852, before Oregon became a state. The county seat was originally in Jacksonville, which was the center of gold-mining activity.
It was also only logical that settlers would locate near Butte Creek and its rich river bottom land. Lake Creek and Brownsboro were the first areas settled near what eventually became Eagle Point.
Henry R. Brown settled in the area in 1853 and it was for him that Brownsboro obtained its name. The first store and mill in Eagle Point were built by the Brown family.
The first Eagle Point school district was organized in 1856. While citizens attempted to hold school in 1857, the district had no school building so school only lasted a few days. It wasn’t until 1863 that school actually began.
The first school in Oregon was established in 1849. Boards of directors were organized and regular meetings were authorized. Education was under the control of the state.
Unfortunately, school records were not important in those early years, so a lot of the early history is missing. It was known that a school was just a quickly put together structure with floors of rough sawed boards of hewed logs. Teachers were also janitors. School was generally not held in the winter. It was just too cold and too difficult to get there through either snow or mud.
Wherever there were a few children, a school cropped up. Families didn’t pay any attention to district lines, children simply went to the school that most convenient. Sometimes a school was put on skids and would move to the “center” of population.
Boundaries were actually established in 1893 by the legislature.
School District 9 was once 31 (or so ) separate districts. The first high school opened in 1923. Thirteen students enrolled but by graduation time, there were only five students.
A high school was constructed in 1928. The remains of that school are the original part of Little Butte Elementary today. The first high school was built for $13,000 and included restrooms. Out buildings were allowed to fall into decay.
Long Mtn School is now the Eagle Point Museum
Long Mountain District was formed Dec. 17, 1865. At some unknown date, a nice little building housed the Long Mountain School until 1936. It eventually was moved to Eagle Point to serve as a classroom (probably around 1945) when consolidations were well underway. Later it was skidded down to the teacher’s cottages where it served as a dressing room for the athletes. After that it became a general storage area for the school district.
This structure became the first building for the Eagle Point Museum in 1978. It was through a combined community effort that the structure was moved from school property to its present location. Additions were made to the museum in 1993 and again in 1996.
Funds for the historical societies in Jackson County ended in 2008 and in order to continue having a fine museum with its many artifacts, the museum board and membership agreed to give it to the City of Eagle Point. It is now open Wednesday through Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. during the winter. Hours will be extended during the summer.
By Nancy Leonard
Of the Independent