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Reader Nominations for Coolest Small Towns

Posted by jillcobb15 on Saturday, December 20, 2008 1:53 AM
This is pretty easy to do. I live in Jacksonville, Oregon, population 2100. In the early years, 1860's, it was a gold rush town with multiple miners coming to seek their fortunes. It is situated in the Rogue Valley between two mountain ranges and adjacent to an inactive volcano. When the gold ran out,(some, including me are still searching for it) agriculture took over. For many years, the pear crop was the main industry. (Home of Harry and Davids) Now, in addition to pears, vinyards are present everywhere boasting the same climate as France. In the spring the hills just glow with the pink blossoms of the trees, creating a wonderful site. In Jacksonville, we have an area called the Woodlands. It has been preserved for hiking and nature loving and is a real joy for everyone. Our town is a national historic landmark as it has been preserved in it's original state. The historical core consists of several blocks of houses and buildings from the l800s in their original state. All the citizens work together to keep the town as plain and simple as it was in the l800s. But this is not without efforts from the citizens because when people come to Jacksonville, they want to stay. We still have our city meetings in the old town hall. Some of the meetings attract more people than the building can hold, but that doesn't seem to deter interested parties. We have many organizations in Jacksonville whose main emphasis is the preservation of Jacksonville and building community relationships. We have a Christmas parade every year and a Pioneer Day celebration in the summer. We have a pioneer cemetery that is cared for by volunteers. Each year for several days we have tours of the cemetery with relatives of the decedents dressing in historical dress and telling about their ancestors. I just wish that I was more articulate to describe our city but when you are so emotionally involved, it is difficult to do. I moved there by default over ten years ago, which is a long story. All I can say is the town grew on me very quickly and it is my place in this world.

Posted by BeamerRed on Friday, December 19, 2008 10:24 PM
Baker City, Oregon Baker City is a historical city located on the Oregon Trail. Gold brought many miners to the area . Many of the early homes and businesses were built with gold money resulting in great establishments that have been restored, like the Geiser Grand Hotel which has a noted female ghost. Baker sits at the foot of the Elkhorns, a dramatic moutain range. To the Northeast you see the Eagle Cap Wilderness area of the Wallowa Mountains. The Carnegie Library is now the Crossroads Art Gallery,an outstanding exhibit area. Recently a salt lick art exhibit was held with many submissions. Barley Brown, a microbrewery, serves some of the best beers with great food. Late summer, Shriners from all over head to Baker City to sponser an All-Star Football game for small school players to benefit Shiner Hostipal for Children. Baker is close to the Anthony Lake Ski Area which is reputed to have the best dry snow skiing in the United States.

Posted by bbarfod on Friday, December 19, 2008 9:33 PM
I nominate Baraboo, Wisconsin. It's right on the river. It has a town square, complete with cannon. It's the home of the Ringling Bros circus with two live performances per summer day and a fun hands-on museum. At its outskirts it has the Baraboo Candy Factory which makes Cow Pies candy which is delicious. It is close to Devil's Lake, a picnic and camping area. Devil's Lake has its own diving school, Little Devils. The region around Devil's Lake attracts archaeologists from around the United States. The glaciers stopped in Baraboo -- years ago. The people are friendly. On the town square is "The Al Ringling Theater" which is a restored opera-movie house where the annual dance recitals are held. Next door is Corner Drug Store which has a functioning soda fountain and also dispenses prescriptions from the back area. It is the county seat for all the farms around there! It's wonderful with its restored Victorian mansions right on the main street of Ringling Bros. street.There is a Cornerstone Art Gallery with an art fair every year. There's a neon light museum. Theater Arts are alive in Baraboo. Every child and adult seems to be involved with theatrics. The Circus Ringmaster is the organist at the Presbyterian Church. There are three florists in this small town. It's also the only town under 10, 000 with two elephants as part of the population. You can live in the town but be less than 5 miles to a farm or an apple orchard called Sky High with a real Grandmother who makes Grandmas' Apple Pies. The Village Booksmith is a fantastic used book store with its own little community of events such as evening reading, author birthday celebrations, and poetry readings. Looking for your own butcher? There's also a stand-alone butcher shop. Plus around the town square, there's a farmers' market on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Devils Head is the nearby ski resort - in flat Wisconsin it is the only one. It's the only place where you can run away and join the circus -- without leaving home!

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