How can Liberty Street start and end at Siskiyou?
I walked Liberty Street on a windy, partly cloudy afternoon in April 2018. Liberty Street has an Ashland Tree of the Year, architecture from historic to modern, not just one but two “Little Free Libraries,” and access to Ashland’s extensive trail system.
Here’s how Liberty Street can start and end at Siskiyou — it goes from Siskiyou Boulevard to the Siskiyou Mountain Range.
You’ll find tiny Triangle Park where Liberty meets Siskiyou Blvd.
Triangle Park tends to be quiet. You might see high school students eating lunch in the charming gazebo during the school year, or young people walking slack lines attached to the posts in the park. The one day Triangle Park comes alive with a “boom” and a “bang” is the 4th of July. When Ashland’s huge Independence Day celebration rolls around, parade headquarters is at Triangle Park. It becomes a beehive of organizers, marching band members and honored guests ranging from locals, to Oregon’s U.S. Senators, to our Sister-City Queen and city council members from Guanajuato, Mexico.
A few steps from the park, you will see a historic bungalow-style house built in 1910, called the Grubbs Rental House. There are many historic houses on Liberty Street, but this simple one caught my eye to share with you.
Lovely Garden and Healing Massage
At the corner of Alaska Street, Joseph and Janie enlisted some of their friends to turn a large lot into a beautiful cooperative vegetable and fruit garden. Let’s see how many of the fruits in their garden I can remember: cherries, blueberries, raspberries, mulberries and gooseberries. Yes, they like berries. Sorry, they are not for public consumption!
Joseph and Janie are both massage therapists with the business name Advanced Myotherapy. Janie also teaches Eden Energy Medicine all over the world, but I have benefited from her healing skills in both massage and energy medicine, without going any farther than Liberty Street.
They have the most amazing camellia bush I have seen in my life, and I have seen many. Is it still a “bush” when it’s two stories tall? The dramatic two-story camellia is hard to see from the street, so I am including photos of it here for you.
Anyone who walks or drives on Liberty Street will remember this colorful house.
Some people love it and some think it sticks out like a sore thumb. I’m in the “love it” camp. Traditional neighborhoods where all homes are built in the same style or similar colors can be aesthetically pleasing. But there is freshness that comes with variety, and Liberty Street has variety.
I would like to point out the beautiful, colorful tulip garden in the front yard of this colorful house. Notice the deer fence, without which the tulip garden would not exist.
Short Ashland Deer Rant
I may go on a rant about the Ashland deer from time to time as I write my Walk Ashland articles. The number of plants that Ashland deer do not eat seems to be shrinking from year to year. For example, the first 15 years I lived in Ashland, the deer did not touch the Hypericum in my front yard. Now they eat it regularly. At least rosemary, lavender, daffodils and iris seem to be safe for the present.
Little Free Library
A few steps up the street, I came to the first of two “Little Free Library” stands on Liberty Street. This book sharing movement began in 2009 when Todd Bol of Hudson, Wisconsin placed the first Little Free Library in his front yard. There are now over 65,000 registered Little Free Libraries in over 80 countries around the world! (And many more not registered with the official group.) Ashland has at least six in total. I will find them all as I walk every street in town.
Liberty St is home to two striking trees that caught my eye. The first, at 391 Liberty St., is Ashland’s 2001 Tree of the Year. Each year residents nominate favorite trees around town, the Tree Commission narrows the selection to a few, and then residents vote for their top choice. The 2001 choice is a majestic Blue Atlas Cedar. My photo through the electric wires doesn’t do it justice. You have to see it for yourself.
The other tree, toward the top of Liberty, is a very unusual Ponderosa pine. Before this, every Ponderosa pine I have ever seen was straight as an arrow, reaching for the sky. Not this one. It forks, and then forks again. With tall trees, I have read that a lightning strike can destroy the crown of the tree and lead to a forked top as the tree strives to continue growing. This tree looks like it just decided to be different.
Here is a close-up of the forked section of the Ponderosa pine. Does anyone have an explanation how or why this tree is so different? If you do, please leave a note in the comments.
Architecture Old and New
Ascending Liberty Street, I took photos of two houses with contrasting architectural styles. This is another example of the variety of houses on Liberty. If you like traditional, here is one for you – on the 500 block.
If you prefer modern, you might like to view this one on the 600 block.
If you love bedtime stories, this one might be more to your liking.
“The Road Goes Ever On and On”
Finally, arriving at the top of Liberty Street, you have the option to leave the city streets for the world of trails. From here, you can connect with a variety of trails and forest service roads that will take you almost anywhere.
As Bilbo said to Frodo in Lord of the Rings: “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”
From the top of Liberty Street, as well as from many other streets in Ashland, you can follow trails to the top of Mt. Ashland. If you are really swept off your feet, you could end up walking all the way to Canada or Mexico on the Pacific Crest Trail.
I hope you have enjoyed walking Liberty Street with me. Stay tuned for the next installment.