Step back in time at the Rogue River Ranch National Historic Site

Story and photos by Kyle Sullivan, Public Affairs Specialist

Front of house and museum, post-restoration — looking easterly.

Take a step back in time at Oregon’s Rogue River Ranch National Historic Site!

Located at the mouth of Mule Creek and nestled in the heart of the National Wild and Scenic River’s wild section of the Rogue River, this historic site tells the story of the area’s transition from mining to recreation and conservation.

Archeological excavations have shown that Native Americans inhabited the area for over 9,000 years. Prior to contact, they flourished in the area, relying on the river and upland habitats for complex subsistence practices, as evidenced by rich material cultures.

Nighttime view of main house and museum looking south toward the confluence of the Rogue River and Mule Creek.

In the 1880s, the site evolved into a small gold-mining community, with up to 100 residents trying to scratch a living from the gold-bearing gravel bars of the Rogue River.

Now a museum, the site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in the early 1970s. Its comprised of the main house, constructed in the early 1900s by miner/homesteader George Billings; a large building referred to as “the tabernacle,” which was previously used for community gatherings; a blacksmith’s shop; an agricultural landscape with orchard trees; a garden space; and open fields once used for livestock.