The first (and then) only high school in Siskiyou County was built in Yreka in 1894. Students came from throughout the county to attend high school here. The school was located on the corner of North Oregon and Knapp Streets. The first graduating class was in 1896, with eight students listed on the roster. It is interesting to note that for many years the school physically stood just outside the official city limits to the North of town. The city limit was right at the south edge of the school property.
This fine building was one of major civic pride. The high school was usually mentioned when promoting the city of Yreka or the County of Siskiyou. The County prepared a special booklet for the 1915 Panama Exposition in San Francisco and among the entries was acclaim for the excellence of the school.
On October 3, 1916 fire broke out late at night and the entire building was consumed. The only thing that remained in the morning was the first two floors outer brick walls. It was a total loss to the community. The Siskiyou News ran an article about the fire on October 5, 1916. The building was insured, however, and plans were quickly made to rebuild a newer, more modern building.
Where this fine building once stood, the City and County rebuilt a new school ~ which is also gone today. Currently the same spot is occupied by a small sports park and all vestiges of this once proud building are gone except for a plaque at the park entrance.
Copyright: Claudia East