Monday, September 8, 2008

Yreka ~ a view from 1897

Photo from the Overland Monthly 1897 showing south side of West Miner Street in Yreka. (The Weekly Journal was on the corner of Miner and Oregon Streets.)

It was 1897 and Robert J. Nixon publisher and editor of the Yreka Journal wrote a long article on the history of Siskiyou County and its wealth in gold for the February issue of the Overland Monthly magazine. Nixon included a number of wonderful photos of Yreka in his article as well as photos of neighboring towns in Siskiyou.

Below is an excerpt from this article and in the words of Robert J. Nixon:

Yreka 1897

"The new mining camp grew in population until in a few years it contained more than five thousand inhabitants. The buildings, as in the greater number of mining camps, were irregularly constructed, with narrow streets, the main street, leading to the Yreka flats and familiarly known as Miner street, still bearing traces of this irregularity. With many characteristics of a mining camp, this little town nestling among the hills of Siskiyou possesses a natural beauty that endears it to its inhabitants until they feel that there is no place like Yreka. The flats where the gold was first discovered have now been worked out and are covered with shafts, tunnels, and prospect holes. The town itself has settled down to a place of some two thousand inhabitants, with numerous substantial business houses and beautiful residences, becoming the principal town of a county larger than some States. Once only, in 1871, was the place visited by a disastrous fire, and at that time was all but destroyed. It was soon rebuilt in a more substantial manner.

When the Southern Pacific railroad extended its line northward from Redding, Yreka was left to one side about six miles. With commendable pluck the citizens set about forming a joint stock company for the purpose of building a railroad of their own to connect with the main line, and the little engine can now be seen making its daily trips over the hill east of town to connect with the Southern Pacific line at Montague. Nearly every property owner in the town owns stock in this little road and takes pride in the fact that each year since it has been built it has more than paid running expenses.

Yreka has three churches, Episcopal, Catholic, and Methodist, a free public library, a cozy theater, three hotels, and other attractions that testify to the soundness of the place. The court house in course of construction is acknowledged by all who have seen it to be unsurpassed in its architectural beauty by any public building in the State. For years this town was the home station of the California and Oregon and Idaho stage line."

For other views through the years of Miner Street in Yreka one may find them in our book, Yreka, Images of America on pages 35, 33, 30, 38, 45, 52, 116, and 124.

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