The place where history meets Oregon’s special places and makes them even more special – the Rogue River Ranch National Historic Homestead Site! The site is located in southwestern Oregon approximately 75 miles northwest of the city of Grants Pass. The ranch is at the mouth of Mule Creek and nestled in the heart of the Rogue National Wild and Scenic River’s wild section. Once a major Native American site, there is evidence of over 9,000 years of Native American habitation. 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. The ranch structures remaining today represent the center of the old community of Marial.
The ranch hosted a trading post with lodging in the second story, a blacksmith’s shop, and numerous outbuildings that filled the early residents’ social and commercial needs.In 1868, John and Adeline Billings settled near Agness with their first three children. They moved upriver twice in the following years and had seven more children, making their final home at Big Meadows above Mule Creek in 1892. In the early 1880s, the Marks Brothers Mining and Milling Company 0perated a sawmill Flume and trestle over the East and flume Fork of Mule Creek c. 1910 system on the East Fork of Mule Creek, which is where John and his sons worked.
In 1887, Tom Billings, John and Adeline’s second son, filed an official homestead claim at the mouth of Mule Creek. One year later, Tom transferred the claim to his older brother, George. In 1894, Tom and his wife Anna had their first child, a daughter named Marial. The growing settlement at Mule Creek was named after Marial Billings.
The Ranch is open from May through October. More information is online at: http://www.blm.gov/or/resources/recreation/rogue/ranch.php