Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Otho A. Bennett Home 1894

Photo copyright:

Claudia A. East, 2006

Sitting on the corner of 340 North Oregon and Howard Streets in Yreka, California is this most interesting victorian with many gables! The home was built in 1894 and the resident was Otho A. Bennett and his wife Nellie who were married in 1890. Mr. Bennett was born in 1861 in Indiana and in 1900 his occupation while residing in Yreka according to the U. S. Census was listed as "contractor and builder".

It is not clear to this author when Mr. Bennett arrived or departed from Yreka, but during the years he lived here he was clearly a busy man! Among notable buildings he was either the contractor or builder for here in town, are the Parr-Steele House (See an image and read about the house here: Parr-Steel House.) and our beautiful (yet hidden) 1897 Siskiyou County Courthouse North and South Wing Additions. (You can see an image and read a post of the courthouse here: Siskiyou County Courthouse.) Mr. Bennett won the contract to build the wings on the courthouse in July of 1896. It is mentioned in a 1953 article from the Siskiyou Pioneer that Mr. Bennett was an active member of the Yreka City Council in 1902.

This lovely home shows on Sanborn Fire Maps first in 1897, so the posted date of construction as 1896 is likely very accurate. In 1897 the map shows the front porch configuration of the home very much as it is seen today in this image above. The home has remained basically the same with some slight changes and additions (from the maps it appears changes were made mostly by enlarging areas at the rear of the home).

If one drives through our National Historic District along Third Street, be sure and take a jaunt around a few blocks west of Third Street to find many other historic homes. The Otho A. Bennett Home can be found just a block away!

Copyright: Claudia A. East, 2008.

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

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Greenhorn School

Photo copyright:
Claudia A. East, 2007.

The Greenhorn School District was first established in 1859. The photo above is the last school building that was used in the local Greenhorn District. This building stands near the Grange Building on the south entrance to Greenhorn Park in Yreka. The building clearly appears to be a old school building and the red color gives it a certain kind of dignity, however, there isn't any visible marker telling of its history that one sees when driving by. In the 1970's the building was used as a club house for the local "Trailriders" organization. It appears to still be in use today, but it is not obvious what group or organization is utilizing the building.

The original school building (unfortunately, no longer in existence) was first built near where Greenhorn Creek and Yreka Creek met. This location isn't any visible any longer as changes to Yreka Creek and Greenhorn have been made due to freeway construction and flood control.

It is interesting to learn that the Greenhorn area was considered to be a separate community from Yreka for some time. In 1868 the Greenhorn School District was merged with the Yreka School District, only to re-establish its own district again in 1878. It apparently continued to function as a separate district until 1927 when Greenhorn District combined with part of the former Rose School District. (The small Rose School District was actually just up Greenhorn Road about 3 miles straight up from Interstate 5. There is nothing left of the building that once stood for Rose School District, and according to records it began around 1901 and functioned about 15 years.) It wasn't until 1951 that the Greenhorn District was fully absorbed into the Yreka Union School District permanently.

Up through the 1950s it was not uncommon for small schools to be located throughout the county and countryside. Rapid transportation and good roads were not always available. Children usually attended schools relatively close to their homes even in rural areas for accessibility.

The Siskiyou County Office of Education has a wonderful addition to their website providing historical school information. There are many photographs that are very interesting. You can access the information here: http://www.sisnet.ssku.k12.ca.us/users/imcftp/public_html/schoolhistfirstpage.html

Click on the Historical Resources lists and one can find a page listing the names of all schools former and current within the county. One can spend hours surfing their offerings! Give it a try!

* Information for this post was gleaned from the History of The Schools of Siskiyou County, Compiled and Edited by Stanley J. Balfrey, published by the Siskiyou County Schools.

Copyright: Claudia A. East