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  • Granite Street homes offer peek into history

    Tour of Ashland's historic Granite Street neighborhood yields stories from city's past
  • A stroll up Granite Street in Ashland provides views of historic homes that were occupied by many of the town's leading early residents.
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  • A stroll up Granite Street in Ashland provides views of historic homes that were occupied by many of the town's leading early residents.
    "The old families lived here," said Ashland historian Terry Skibby, who led a recent walking tour of houses ranging from humble to grand.
    A 1902 Queen Anne-style creamy yellow home with white trim at 19 Granite St. was occupied by jeweler William A. Freeburg.
    He had the misfortune to lose a $250 diamond out of his ring somewhere between his home and his business on Main Street, the Ashland Tidings reported in 1912.
    Born in Ashland in 1868, Fred D. Wagner worked for the newspaper and built a home at 25 Granite St. in 1900. When his wife died just two years later, he sold the house to his mother.
    The white home has decorative scrollwork on its porch posts and a stately magnolia tree in the front yard.
    Southern Pacific Railroad brakeman Peter A. Nelson lived in a 1901 Craftsman bungalow-style home at 29 Granite St.
    An ornate 1890 Victorian at 35 Granite St. was the home of Ashland Mayor G.M. Grainger. His daughter was married in the home's front parlor, which features a large bay window.
    Ashland City Hall was built during Grainger's tenure, and the town added sidewalks, streetlights and park improvements.
    A relatively plain house at 40 Granite St. that is now home to apartments is hiding an earlier house.
    "The old house is still inside," Skibby said. "Originally, it faced the other direction. A new house was built around it. Originally, it was a Gothic design."
    The old house was owned by Jacob Wagner, the longtime manager of the Ashland Flour Mill, which stood near the entrance to Lithia Park. Wagner served as a Jackson County commissioner and as a senator in the Oregon Legislature.
    A 1905 Craftsman home at 41 Granite St. was built by Gwin S. Butler, who had a long and distinguished career in business and civic affairs.
    Butler lost his father to suicide when he was just 5 years old. His mother remarried, and Butler so admired his stepfather that he later donated a statue of President Abraham Lincoln to be erected in his stepfather's memory in Lithia Park.
    A 1915 Craftsman bungalow at 55 Granite St. replaced an older home once on the site.
    A striking, white, two-story Italianate home at 65 Granite St. dates back to 1884. It features a first-floor porch and second-floor balcony that stretch across the width of the house.
    It was likely built for the Rev. J.H. Mayfield and his wife. In 1887, they sold the house for $2,000 to Patrick Dunn, who settled a donation land claim southeast of Ashland in 1851 and was one of the area's earliest settlers.
    Another two-story home with a wide porch and balcony stands at 73 Granite St. Built in 1890, it was owned by billiard saloon partner Robert Taylor, who later lost the house to foreclosure.
    A circa-1922 Craftsman bungalow at 77 Granite St. was the home of prominent Ashland attorney William "Billy" Briggs. He served as the town's city attorney and died in 1990 after reaching more than 100 years of age.
    A grand 1902 Italianate home at 88 Granite St. was the home of Domingo Perozzi, who had a lasting influence on Ashland. Born in Switzerland, Perozzi established the Ashland Creamery in 1896. He astutely used the railroad passing through Ashland to distribute milk and butter throughout Southern Oregon and Northern California.
    Perozzi was instrumental in the purchase of an Italian marble fountain from the 1915 Pan-American Exposition in San Francisco. The fountain was donated for installation in Lithia Park, where it is known today as the Butler-Perozzi Fountain. Perozzi's family also donated 40 acres to help found the college that is now Southern Oregon University.
    A circa-1939 bungalow home at 119 Granite St. may have been moved to the site, replacing an earlier house. Rumors persist that Johnny Gruelle, author of the Raggedy Ann and Andy series of books, may have penned stories while staying there and at a neighboring cottage at 108 Granite St. in the 1920s.
    Staff reporter Vickie Aldous can be reached at 541-776-4486 or valdous@mailtribune.com. Follow her at www.twitter.com/VickieAldous.
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