Friday, September 12, 2008

To Be Demolished.... Siskiyou County Courthouse from 1800's

Top: Siskiyou County Court House and Hall of Records, circa 1915.
Bottom: The "old" Siskiyou County Court House, as viewed today from the back side.

Sitting behind the large rectangular front of the Court House today is both our 1856 "original" and 1897 wing additions to the building. The larger building one sees when going to the Court House today at the front entrance was built in 1953-54 and actually "swallowed" the original Hall of Records viewed in the image at the top left. Our historic building that sits behind the bigger box-like structure has served the County of Siskiyou in a long and distinguished career. A majority of major happenings throughout our county either happened within or near these walls or were discussed here by many of the well known historical figures from Siskiyou County.

According to the Siskiyou Daily News on Friday, September 5, 2008 the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors approved an application to the State Court Administrator to use funds to demolish the old courthouse and build a 8,000 square foot addition to the newer portion of the Court House (The 1953-54 addition). Along with the "old" Court House, the Sheriff's Office along with the old jail (seen at the right in the photo above) and the cement construction "annex" building that sits along Butte Street will also be demolished. You can read the complete news account from the Siskiyou Daily News Here:

Another note of historical interest will happen by the end of September 2008, the management responsibility and title to the County Court House will be transferred to the California State Judicial Council to meet the mandate requirements of the Trial Court Facilities Act of 2002.

The "newer" (big box like structure) section of the Court House built in 1953-54 will be remodeled. The buildings are older and reported to be in need of updating for security and growth. However, it is a very sad day for historians, preservationists and the citizens of Siskiyou to realize that our beautiful Court House and once lovely "public square" will be no more. Our original Court House is one of the oldest in the State of California and is nearly alone in its status because unlike many others near to this age, it has never suffered a fire. It is too bad the county can't agree to an alternative for the new addition needed to be placed on a dirt parking lot or something else near or next to the existing Court House to help save this structure. If you have never walked around the block of our "public square" it is time to walk that walk and gaze at part of the history that formed our county before it is gone!

You can find additional information and pictures of the Court House in our book, Yreka, Images of America on pages 82, 83, 84, 85, and 86. You can also revisit a earlier post from May 6, 2008 in this blog that shows an image of the original 1856 section of the Court House.


Debbie Scott said...

oh uhgg! It really makes me sad that this building will be gone. I had heard about the news and made a special trip to see for myself and I had no idea there was such a beautiful bldg behind our 'new' courthouse. If they would just demolish the Sheriff's office and the bldg on Butte St people would be able to view the old courthouse and I really think it would make a great attraction for Yreka. It is a perfect place for a city park!

I would like to know why they spent all that money on painting a bldg they are turning around and demolishing. How is all of this in the best interests of the citizens? Don't they work for us? Our community is in need of so many things. I don't understand how this became a priority. Well I guess I do understand. We have a saying in our family when we are playing card games, "If you're keeping score and you're not winning, something's wrong."

Claudia East said...

Thanks for the comment, Debbie! I think they could "reverse" the building and put the main entrance to the Court House Square on Oregon Street instead and make the older portion the lovely entrance. The front and back were very similar in looks. The really sad thing is they want to make lots of parking lots with fences around it for security. Wouldn't it be nice if they would build a new complex somewhere else and turn our courthouse square into a lovely "public" place again!