Historic Grants Pass
Downtown Historic District
The heart of downtown Grants Pass has been designated a National Historic District because of its historic buildings. In addition, Grants Pass has recently designated an expanded local Historic District which incorporates even more of the historic buildings downtown.
View a map with information about some of the most significant buildings in and around the Downtown Historic District. This map covers mostly commercial buildings. This map is available on the Historic District page of the Travel Grants Pass website, where you can also find information about things to do in the historic district. Copies of the map are also available at the visitor centers and many downtown businesses.
A city's heart and soul is its downtown and Grants Pass is no exception. In fact, with its Historic District, outdoor Southern Oregon Growers Market, plenty of free off-street parking, and a new public restroom and visitor information office, downtown Grants Pass is very special. Long accustomed to low vacancy rates, the core business district of Grants Pass is alive with activity and opportunities for small businesses. It is renowned for its numerous antique shops.
Historic Walking Tours
If you would like to learn more about our historic buildings, we have maps and walking tours of the Downtown Historic District and historic buildings in our historic neighborhoods. View online maps with photos and descriptions of significant historic buildings in Grants Pass. These interactive maps are mobile-friendly and include addresses, so you can take them with you on a walking tour.
- Walking Tour #1 - Historic Northwest Grants Pass . This map and walking tour covers mostly historic homes in Northwest Grants Pass which are on the National Register of Historic Places, and two of the oldest historic churches in Grants Pass.
- Walking Tour #2 - Historic District Buildings of Grants Pass. This map and walking tour match the Downtown Historic District map. It includes mostly commercial buildings in the Historic District.
You can also access these directly by clicking on the images of the maps.
The entire downtown has received a major, multi-million dollar face-lift with new streets, sidewalks, and other amenities designed to create a more pedestrian-friendly and economically vibrant atmosphere.
It's the Climate!
First hung on July 20th, 1920, the "It's the Climate" sign is a tribute to a great place to live, work, play and that we have great weather!
The sign was an idea of local resident Mr. John Hampshire an engineer and road contractor.
Arriving in Grants Pass in 1917, Mr. Hampshire started promoting the slogan he created, "It's the Climate", to all the local businesses.
Mr. Hampshire received permission from the railroad (railroads owned most of the right of way in those early times), and he paid a sign company to create an "It's the Climate" sign. John Hampshire paid the entire cost of the sign, plus shipping, and donated it to Josephine County.
The "It's the Climate" sign just celebrated its 95th birthday in 2015.
The city's Downtown Development Program also includes the Building Renovation Loan Fund. This program, a combination of grants and low-interest loans, assists downtown building and business owners in sprucing up interiors and exteriors of some of Grants Pass' greatest treasures, its historic structures.
Grants Pass' downtown is alive and thriving. From antique shops to galleries to restaurants, and entertainment venues, there’s always something to do and see in downtown Grants Pass.
All of the city's major Downtown Development functions are carried out by contracts with private-sector companies and organizations. The city implements a National Main Street Program "Four-Point Approach" through a contract with the Grants Pass/Josephine County Chamber of Commerce.
The Downtown Development Program specifically administers:
- Downtown amenities, such as benches, trees, pedestrian lighting and waste cans
- Downtown building renovation programs
- Downtown business development
- Downtown infrastructure capital improvement projects
- Downtown landscaping
- Downtown litter control
- Downtown parking programs and parking lot maintenance
- Marketing the downtown to tourists