Thursday, November 20, 2008

Yesterday ~ and Today!















What do these two buildings have in common?
Well, they are the same structure, or at least what remains. The photo at the right is one of the structure taken in 2008, The Yreka Motel and Trailer Park, located at 336 North Main Street, Yreka, CA. The black and white photo is an image of the home when it belonged to the Churchill family, in a time that graced a much "slower" Main Street in Yreka in 1897. The Churchill family has been a prominent local family and lineage goes back to some of the first pioneers in our area. This lovely victorian building served as a home until about the mid to late 1920's. It may have served a dual purpose during part of this time in the 20's, but maps in 1927 show the building to be "lodgings".

In 1939 the maps are still showing the building serving as "lodgings", and in addition, there was a small apartment building to the rear with four additional apartments. This author has not yet researched the actual date the home changed from a residence to a "lodging" or from a "lodging" to a motel and trailer park, but it is an educated guess that the motel appeared sometime after the early 1930's. The road right in front (our Main Street) was once the mighty Highway 99 and all the travelers who traveled through our area drove right by this location. It was in 1933-34 era that Highway 99 was widened and improved through Yreka. This establishment is listed as a motel and trailer park in the 1939 city directory, so it is clear it changed to a motel within that 10 year period. By 1948 the Yreka Motel and Trailer Park was very active and a first class concern! A lovely 1948 image of the Yreka Motel and Trailer Park is viewable at the U. C. Davis Special Collections ~ Photographs at their website.

(http://www.lib.ucdavis.edu/dept/specol/manu-collections/photographs/index.php?collection=eastman) Search for "Yreka" once the Eastman Collection is visible.

At some time after 1948 this beautiful building had a fire and the top floor burned and was never rebuilt and the building "modernized". The building once sat in a perfect location to be a host to travelers. In the late 1940s trailer travel was a booming business with young families as well as others following World War II. During this era highways went through towns and cities for access to services rather than avoiding them as we do today in an effort to reduce travel time.

This building has served as a motel and trailer park for many years, in addition it also served dual purpose as a bus station for Trailways in the 1960's or 1970s. It would be lovely if this once grand lady could be revitalized to her former glory.
Copyright, Claudia A. East, 2008

2 comments:

brendalynn said...

The house pictured on the left looks remarkably similar to the Gillis mansion, doesn't it? I see there are minor differences--but might they be related by builder or architect?

Claudia East said...

Yes, the building does look similar to the Gillis Mansion. In fact, last year while visiting the Gillis Mansion I noticed a photo on the wall that was of this Churchill Home! The windows in the upper story give it away. Interesting idea about the same builder... nice research topic!