Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Sitting across the street from the Siskiyou County Courthouse at 314 Fourth Street one finds this sturdy and well known icon in Yreka, The St. Joseph Catholic Church.
The information provided about this church was provided by folks from the church, and the actual researcher or author of the material provided is unknown. Our thanks is given to those who provide historical information for all to share!
The Catholic Church in Yreka has a substantial history, local tradition indicates that the first services held in Yreka likely were held in 1853, for the local miners working here. In 1855 two young priests were appointed by the San Francisco Diocese to serve Yreka, they were Father James Cassin, and Father Thomas Cody from Ireland. These first services provided by the priests were held in a little unidentified building on Yama Street. At the same time a larger church was being built west of the Catholic Cemetery located on the east side of Yreka. The little frame church was completed in 1855 and was the first Roman Catholic Church building in Yreka.
Repeated flooding of Yreka Creek provided the incentive to build a stronger, safer church and a new building was erected on the southeast corner of Fourth and Lane Streets away from the regular flood zone. This building was dedicated in 1867, however, a mere four years later in 1871, fire broke out in town ravaging many sections of Yreka and both the new church and parish house was destroyed.
Another four years passed and eventually arrangements were complete for a new replacement church to be built. The cornerstone of St. Joseph's Catholic Church pictured above was laid in September of 1876. A parish hall was built in 1950 that sits just to the north of the church, and in 1955 an addition to the structure was added.
St. Joseph's Catholic Church is truly one of Yreka's landmarks of history! For those that have a copy of our book, Yreka, Images of America a image from 1885 can be found on page 69. A view of the interior alter section from approximately 1900 can also be viewed.
Copyright: Claudia A. East, 2008