Monday, August 18, 2008

Fairgrounds and Yreka City Park

Photos by Claudia East, Copyright 2008.

The current Yreka City Park at the corner of Miner and Gold Streets in Yreka has a delightful, and perhaps to some, a surprising history! Originally this parcel of land was used as the "Fairgrounds" when fairs and similar events were held in Yreka. Viewing old fire maps it can be seen that around 1900 there were corrals located just about where the park entrance is seen above. In addition, during that time, empty store fronts would also be used for displays of fair entries. Estimated to have been in 1910, a large Agricultural Hall was built at the corner of Center and Fourth Street (currently where the parking lot is for Siskiyou Title) and displays were also shown there.

Later in the 1920s the county set aside money to have the fairgrounds at the current site of the Siskiyou Golden Fair. There was a horse race track in the area and it was a HUGE event to have horse races for many, many years. It was one of the highlights of the "fair"! At the time the Fairgrounds known to this generation was underway, the "Fairgrounds" on Gold and Miner Streets turned into Yreka's Athletic Park. (The stories of the fund raising for the city park is another story...)

However, it was on August 10, 1921 that an article appears in the Yreka Journal explaining about an "Archway Going Up for Fair Ground" ~ this archway is what we see in this photo. The Journal description does give some information that was in the original design, but the actual finished item was a bit less in overall size. Below is a portion of the article written about this archway. Please read on, there are some very interesting facts!

An excerpt from the Yreka Journal, page 1, August 10, 1921:
"The fair ground entrance on the corner of Gold and Miner is progressing nicely. It will be in the form of a quarter circle, with a cobble stone wall three feet high, and a lawn fence wire four feet higher, and two cobble stones at each side of the center arch, the arch to be made of the building stone exhibited in an arch at the Panama Pacific Exposition in 1915. The stone having been gotten out in the Marble Mountain country and various sections of the county by Mr. J. B. Russell; who also polished the stone and went to San Francisco and built the notable arch that attracted universal attention and took the gold medal for the largest and best stone exhibit from any state or county. It is made up of marble, gray and black granite, onyx, jade, red rock sandstone, rhodennite, and various other stone....The first top stone will be engraved "SISKIYOU," above this is a coping and above that is a top pile on which will be chiseled, "YREKA PARK 1921."

The next time a visit to the park is in order, be sure and stop and an examine this interesting structure and think about the history behind its origins! It is actually made up of stones from throughout the county of Siskiyou! For those that have a copy of our book, Yreka, Images of America you can view a photo of the J. B. Russell Marble and Granite Works that was once located at 404 Second Street (now Broadway) on page 34, and another image of the archway on page 89.

Claudia A. East, Copyright, 2008.

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