Colestin Mineral Springs, Jackson County, Oregon

Watchers
Article Covers
Places
"Colestin", Jackson County, Oregon
Ashland, Oregon


Colestin Mineral Springs, Jackson County, Oregon

Location

The "Colestin Mineral Springs" was located just north of the California-Oregon, near Ashland, Jackson County, Oregon. This area was located on what later would become a main line of the Southern Pacific Railroad. Prior to 1860, the Oregon-California Trail over the Siskiyou Summit on the Oregon-California border was a path used by Indians and fur trappers traveling on foot or on horse back. This same trail was used later by the cattle drovers, and later by the thousands of miners and gold seekers with their packmules and finally by the first emigrant wagon trains of the late 1840s and early 1850s. By mid-decade, the first stages coaches and mail carriers were crossing the Siskiyou Summit, and businesses appeared that facilitated travel over the summit: two brothers, Rufus and Byron Cole had established what would later be called "Cole’s Station" near a spring on Cottonwood Creek, just south of the California border to serve the first stage stop heading north and Barron’s Stage Station, “also known as the Mountain House,” was established in the Upper Bear Creek valley near the south end of today’s Emigrant Lake (Ashland Tidings, January 24, 1964; Wilson 1999).


Image:Colestin Map.JPG

History of Colestin Mineral Springs

Colestin Mineral Springs was established by its founder, Byron Cole before 1892, who settled during the time of California's "Gold Rush" to an area just outside of Ashland, Oregon, "Line three miles south of the Siskiyou Summit, just about a mile inside Oregon." ("Oregon Geographic Names" by our heroes Lewis A. McArthur and Lewis L. McArthur).
Geologic Map of Colestin, Oregon
Enlarge
Geologic Map of Colestin, Oregon
Due to the unique geologic formations, combined with volcanic activity created "mineral springs" in the area, Byron Cole saw an opportunity to build and establish the "Colestin Mineral Springs and Resort Hotel", in the early 1880's. At the time, Colestin was populated enough then that it was considered a town, and had its own post office. (From Colestin Caprines Goat Milk Soap website: http://colestincaprines.com/AboutCC.htm) The Hotel was described as "rural baronial, three-story, with porch around second story. There is a bear-like hugeness and hugness to the structure, which suggests a warm welcome and relaxed stay." ("In Search of Western Oregon", by Ralph Friedman, pg. 583)
Cole's resort hotel became a "destination for healing" among tourists and local residents. (Oregon Century: Part 18, by Ron Brown) In Southern Oregon, multiple volcanoes produced the rocks of the "Colestin Formation"; ash as well as basalt, andesite and rhyolite lavas. Erick Bestland of Flinders University, South Australia, notes at least separate episodes of volcanic activity in the Oligocene Colestin volcanoes of southern Oregon; a basaltic shield volcano, a small stratovolcano and a rhyotite vent. ("In Search of Ancient Oregon: a Geological and Natural History", by Ellen Morris Bishop)
Postcard from Colestin Mineral Springs
Enlarge
Postcard from Colestin Mineral Springs
The Colestin Mineral Springs and Resort gained fame all up and down the Pacific Coast for its hospitality, fresh air, food, and mineral water, and was a very popular spot in the late 1890's through the 1920's. At first the water was on tap, but eventually a bottling works was established and tourists could take some with them. The label on a Colestin water bottle claims the water is good for "kidney, stomach and rheumatic troubles, biliousness", etc. Biliousness is an old term for indigestion. The motto of the bottler was "A sparkling table water unequalled for medicinal properties". For a number of years residents of Jacksonville, Oregon could would ride their little Rogue River Valley RR west to Medford. At Medford they would board a southbound (westbound) SP passenger train that would drop them off at the resort, where they would dance, listen to music, relax, hike and spend the night, returning back to Medford and Jacksonville the next day. ("Trainorders.com discussion thread", Tony J. http://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?11,919148)
Bottle of Colestin Mineral Springs Water
Enlarge
Bottle of Colestin Mineral Springs Water
The company lasted well into the 1900's, at least into 1943, when the company received some negative publicity when 9 cases of its water was seized by the federal government for "mis-branding" for "false and mis-leading statements on its label". (U.S. vs. 9 Cases of Colestin Natural Mineral Water, 8 Sept. 1943), no doubt part of the government's efforts to stop what it felt were "exagerated claims" of many similar products of this time period.
The "Colestin Mineral Springs and Resort Hotel" which Byron Cole established, continued to do well until the main line of the railroad shifted to Klamath Falls and tourist traffic dropped off. In addition to the Cole's, many of the other nearby settler's families also moved away, causing the Colestin Post Office to be closed in 1943, which is also probably about the same time that the production of "Colestin Mineral Water" production ceased. By the turn of the 20th century, as logging and ranching took hold and the railroad became the predominant mode of transportation, Colestin blended back into the map as just another early western memory. (Colestin Caprines Goat Milk Soap website: http://colestincaprines.com/AboutCC.htm ) By the 1980's, the old hotel was gone and only the valley named for Byron Cole, still remains.
Fundraiser
Help fund new features!