The Britt Gardens Site, a well-preserved archaeological site of a homestead occupied by the Britt family for over a century, is among Oregon’s latest entries in the National Register of Historic Places. Oregon’s State Advisory Committee on Historic Preservation (SACHP) recommended the nomination of the site at their June 2019 meeting. The National Park Service – which maintains the National Register of Historic Places – accepted the nomination on March 6, 2020.
The Britt Gardens is the former homestead of the photographer, agricultural innovator, and renowned capitalist Peter Britt. Britt arrived in Oregon in 1852 and lived and worked at this property until his death in 1905. Britt’s photographs documenting prominent people, places, and events in the second half of the 19th century were known throughout the Pacific Northwest.
Additionally, Britt helped pioneer the pear and grape agricultural industries that helped define the region’s economy. Pear orchards became a powerful economic driver in the 20th century, and grape cultivation for wineries lead part of the region’s 21st century economy. Britt is also known for creating a formal garden on his property that was a cherished community space and popular tourist destination.
While homestead sites are commonly found around the state, the historical context, condition, and archaeological deposits of the Britt Gardens Site make it a remarkable site for providing information. Two generations lived on the property for over a century, and well-preserved photographs, diaries, letters and family heirlooms provide important data about the settlement of Oregon.
The Britt Gardens Site is the 10th individual property in Jacksonville to be listed in the National Register, and the first listing since March 2000.
The National Register is maintained by the National Park Service under the authority of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. More information about the National Register is online at oregonheritage.org (listed under “Designate”).
Properties listed in the National Register are:
- Recognized as significant to the nation, state, or community;
- Considered in the planning of federal or federally assisted projects;
- Eligible for federal and state tax benefits;
- Qualify for historic preservation grants when funds are available;
- Eligible for leniency in meeting certain building code requirements;
- Subject to local laws pertaining to the conservation and protection of historic resources.
National Register listing does not place any restrictions on a property at the state or federal level unless property owners choose to participate in tax benefit or grant programs.