Wedgewood Weddings Jefferson Street Mansion
The Mythical State of Jefferson in far northern California is a land of vast wilderness, wild rivers, gold country, Native American culture and rural communities characterized by a spirit of independence. Visitors to this rugged region must come prepared, for once you depart from the civilization of the Interstate 5 corridor or coastal Highway 101 you enter a land of independence and individuality where you can explore the territory that was almost the nation’s 49th state.
Residents of the handful of southern Oregon and northern California counties that comprised the Jefferson Territory made several bids for secession, beginning in the 1850s. The most viable attempt came in 1941 when Jeffersonians planned to inaugurate their own governor, an event covered by The San Francisco Chronicle, The Oregonian, and four Hollywood newsreel companies as well as Life and Time magazines. The “patriotic rebellion,” as activists called it, was based on frustrations with state governments over the lack of maintained roadways in a region rich with harvestable natural resources. The attack on Pearl Harbor four days after the inauguration ended the secession movement.
Nowadays the State of Jefferson, with its sweeping tracks of wilderness and remote river canyon villages, is less of a political movement and more a cultural entity loosely defined by the independent attitude held by its residents. Despite the failure to win political independence, the would-be state has gained recognition in the hearts of residents and in a growing number of visitors to the area. The “XX” of the Great Seal of the State of Jefferson that symbolized citizens’ feelings of being double-crossed by both state governments is seen along the Byway on signs, vehicles, t-shirts and hats.
The State of Jefferson Scenic Byway runs through the middle of historic Jefferson Territory where a tour can last for a few days or several weeks. Summertime in the State of Jefferson is ripe with events and activities for families and travelers to enjoy. River rafting, gold mining, fishing, camping and hiking are plentiful in the area. A host of museums reveal the history of settlers and Native American tribes, while residents share the legends and tales that pervade this now mythical state.
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