The name Bigham Knoll refers to an early pioneer family who arrived in Jacksonville in 1853 and owned this parcel of land.  John Bigham gave a section of his property known as the knoll to the city’s school district for the creation of a new school in 1867.

The first school building on “Bigham’s Knoll” – a two-room building – was built that year.  It burned in 1870.  Another fire in 1903 claimed the subsequent wood building. This was followed by a two story brick building which only lasted two years and was claimed by fire in 1906.

And the large brick building you see today was built in 1908 and was declared “One of the Hansomest and Best appointed Schools in the State” by the Jacksonville Post.  The gymnasium was added in 1924 and additional classrooms were added to the rear of the school building in 1936.  Then in 1948 another classroom wing was added to the gymnasium.

The senior high classes were consolidated into the Medford school district in 1959 with elementary classes continuing in the Bigham Knoll buildings.  The second floor was closed off and classes were consolidated into the first floor and the classroom wing until a new elementary school was built in another location in 1983.

The buildings fell into disrepair until 1993 when Cascade Christian High School took ownership along with a 12-year renovation.  The private school eventually built a new building and moved their students to Medford in 2007.

Brooke & Mel Ashland, long-time Jacksonville residents, wanted to take an active role in preserving this part of Jacksonville’s history as well as wanting to invest in the town’s future.  Brooke is co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Cutler Investment Group, LLC.  Mel is founder and partner in Ashland Partners, LLP a firm that audits investment managers.

They purchased the property in 2007 and began serious renovations that are ongoing.  The buildings underwent seismic retrofitting, total systems placement, new roofs, and a new tower structure that is a building within the building to support the bell tower.

Brooke & Mel moved both companies into the Old School Building and daughter Hilary opened a German restaurant in the lower floor called Schoolhaus Brewhaus.  This has brought new life to the knoll and created a wonderful addition to what Jacksonville has to offer.

The Jacksonville Heritage Society is the non-profit organization associated with Bigham Knoll.  JHS is dedicated to bringing back a children’s history museum to Jacksonville.

Renovations - 1908 School House

Renovations - Exterior

Renovations - Classroom Wing & Gymnasium