The city of Ashland Oregon is a southern Oregon city
found close to the California border. Among its many attractions, the Ashland Shakespeare
Festival is by far the most well known and continually
draws the largest crowds year after year. In addition
to the Shakespeare Festival Ashland Oregon hosts, the
city is also known as home to Southern Oregon University
and has gained national attention as one of the most liberal
cities on the west coast, according to exit poles from
the most recent presidential election.
The history of Ashland Oregon as a settlement and town
begins in the year 1851, when Abel Helman and Eber Emery
came to town to try and capitalize on rumors of gold in
the surrounding hills and area. The town of Ashland actually
began as a camp for miners, and grew as the number of
miners grew, adding services and women as the need increased.
Eventually, a lumber mill rose up near the mining community
and with it a number of new jobs. Ashland Oregon continued
to expand as a settlement, and by the late 19th century Ashland could be reached by rail from Portland,
Oregon, and San
The history of the Ashland Shakespeare Festival stretches back almost as far as the inception of the town of Ashland Oregon. The first Shakespeare Festival Ashland Oregon hosted was actually staged at in 1935 on the fourth of July for a community celebration of sorts. Angus L. Bowmer was the organizer of the first Ashland Shakespeare Festival, and the celebration has only grown in size and renown since that time.
Unlike some Shakespeare Festivals, which last for a few weeks or a month during the summer, the Shakespeare Festival Ashland Oregon hosts each year actually begins in the month of February and lasts until the month of November. Though the exact start and end dates are adjusted from year to year, ten months is the typical duration for the celebration. Almost every play a visitor can think of, from King Lear to Romeo and Juliet, is performed in Ashland at some point during the Shakespeare Festival. Tickets to the festival can be purchased for an individual show, or they can be purchased to attend multiple shows. There are three Elizabethan-style theaters in Ashland Oregon for the festival's use, one of which is outdoors. The theaters are, in Elizabethan tradition, in the round, and offer a great way to see a play.
Lithia Park, the National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory (a crime lab dedicated to wildlife) and the Bathroom Readers' Institute are all also found in Ashland. The oldest continuous city band in the United States, the Ashland City Band, is still alive and well and giving performances in Ashland.