The Franco-American Hotel is one of Yreka's major landmarks. It is located in the 300 block of Miner Street in the heart of the "old town" Yreka. For many years it was a major hotel that served many who traveled "well". Among notables who stayed here, President Hayes and his family lodged here in 1880. The original building is reported to have been a narrow two story brick home built sometime in the early 1850s. In 1855 a Frenchman, Leon Marniesse, purchased the house and it soon became the Franco-American Hotel. [The exterior photo above was taken during Yreka's 150th Celebration of the city's incorporation in 2007. ]
Over the years many changes and improvements were made to this property. A big change came in 1867 when Mr. Marniesse increased the frontage of the building and added a second story and balcony. Mr. Marniesse owned and operated the building until his death just a year later in 1868.
Mr. John B. Rohrer obtained the Hotel following Mr. Marniesse's death and operated the hotel with a first class restaurant for many years. During this time both North and Southbound stages stopped here on a regular basis. After the railroad came to the area in the late 1880s "hacks" (buggies for hire) carried guests and visitors from the train depot (either from Montague depot or Yreka depot) to the hotel.
Around the turn of the century, 1899-1900 the ownership was held by a Charles Bohnart and managed by Charles Herzog. Further improvements and building enlargements were made during this time. It is interesting to note that today, behind this vintage building, is an apartment complex. This apartment building was once a part of the Franco-American Hotel and a portion of it served as a new dining room and the upstairs with additional suites. It was moved north from the building to where it sits today.
During the 1940s the name was changed to Hotel Yreka and the facade was changed dramatically. The balcony was removed and the building had a more "modern" streamlined look to it. During the mid 1970s when Yreka received the designation of a National Historic District the building facade was restored to its 1880s appearance.
Today the building still serves businesses on the street level as it has for 150 years! The hotel is no longer in operation and has been partially rejuvenated. The upstairs currently serves as a residence. For those of you that might have a copy of our book, Yreka, Images of America by Arcadia Publishing you can find other views and information on pages 4, 13, 45, and 52.
Copyright: Claudia East, 2008 ~ updated 2015