The railroads of the late 1800's and early 1900's were exciting in so many ways! It suddenly provided transportation at wonderful new speeds ~ and a new way to expand one's business and pleasure. Yreka was thrilled when the first news (around 1873) of a California & Oregon Railroad was coming our way! Unfortunately by 1886 Yreka was given the gloomy news that the railroad would be bypassing the city and finding a less expensive route. In 1888 the Yreka Railroad began construction to lay a track to the small town of Montague about 7 1/2 miles away to meet up with the California & Oregon Railroad. The city fathers knew without rail service Yreka would be in financial trouble. Within one year the new Yreka Railroad was open for business!
The original station was located near what is now South Main and Broadway, where the roads merge, at the "Y". It served Yreka there until about 1910. The station was rebuilt to the East of Yreka Creek where it remains today. The move was prompted by several very bad floods of Yreka Creek and damage interrupted the rail traffic. 1901 saw one of the worst floods and there are numerous vintage photos of this event in local history books largely courtesy of the Siskiyou County Museum.
The current station is larger than the original, but has the same appearance as the original depot. This railroad route has been through many changes over the years and currently operates the "Blue Goose Train" ~ an excursion for locals, tourists, and railroad fans! They have a nice website you may wish to visit: Yreka Western If you visit Yreka in the summertime, this is a great activity!
The Yreka Railroad has had a rich yet sometimes fretful history, it has been a very important part of the city of Yreka and has influenced her history beyond measure.
Copyright: Claudia East