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Ashland is a small town in southern Oregon located about 15 miles north of the California border. It's the first city you reach along Interstate 5 after you enter Oregon. The estimated population in 2006 was 21,430 residents. Ashland is well known for its Oregon Shakespeare Festival and also for Lithia Park, which is a National Historic Site. In 1851 when gold was discovered at Rich Gulch, a lumber mill was established on Ashland Creek (then called Mill Creek,) in order to capitalize on the mining in the area. The community slowly grew and officially became the town of Ashland Mills in 1855. A turning point came in 1887 when Portland and San Francisco were joined by rail at Ashland. The city then thrived on rail trade, especially with orchard products, such as the famous “Ashland peach” which won top honors at the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago. In 1908, the Women's Civic Improvement Club decided to petition for a park along Ashland Creek. Lithia water was also discovered in the area around the same time, which led to a plan to establish a mineral spa at the park. John McLaren, landscape architect of San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, was hired by the city to design what became known as Lithia Park. The Oregon Shakespeare Festival was born during a Fourth of July celebration in Ashland in 1935. Angus L. Bowmer arranged the first performances of what would become an award-winning, internationally known regional theater company. Today, Shakespeare and other plays are presented at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's outdoor Elizabethan Theater, as well as at the Angus Bowmer Theatre and the New Theater.

The city of Ashland is home to Southern Oregon University. The town offers superb dining and accommodations and has a charming downtown to stroll and explore. Historic landmarks abound, including the Ashland Springs Hotel. Several bed and breakfast inns are located in Ashland, many of them in fine old Victorian homes. In addition to its many cultural offerings, Ashland offers an abundance of outdoor recreational opportunities. Mt. Ashland is only 15 miles from downtown Ashland and has 23 ski runs and 80 miles of cross-country trails. There are several excellent bike trails in the area and many mountain lakes offer steelhead, salmon and trout fishing. The Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, which is one of the most diverse biological environments in the country, is located just outside of Ashland. The Oregon Caves National Monument is about two hours away, and Ashland is about an 80-minute drive to Crater Lake National Park, located at the headwaters of the Rogue River. River rafting, camping, hiking, golf and tennis are just a few of the other activities available in the region. Ashland also has two wineries that offer daily wine tasting and is home to a state-of-the-art interactive science museum. As you can see, this is not your typical small town. Ashland, Oregon offers a high quality of life for residents and history, culture and gorgeous outdoor beauty for visitors.


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