Monday, January 26, 2009

Yreka's Welcome Arch

Yreka's Welcome Arch graces the corner of Miner and Main Streets about 1920.

It has been read that Yrekans first saw our own Welcome Arch in 1917. It was an exciting time with travel by automobile staging a promising future! By automobile, Yreka was the midway point between San Francisco and Portland on the Great Pacific Highway. It was a common practice by cities and towns of this era, as well as later into the century, to erect a welcome arch to announce their city along major new highways! Many times the arches had abbreviated statements to advertise the area's prized features like "water" or "climate". Yreka's arch was illuminated so travelers could see the sign from a distance and know this was a progressive town and to hail a welcome to all travelers!

The image above at first glance does not seem familiar, however, looking closely one can determine the building on the right that would have been the Siskiyou County Bank (building still standing at Miner and Third Street today) and the I.O.O.F. Building at the left just beyond the figure in the image.

In the 1930's the Pacific Highway was "modernized" and the route officially changed into Highway 99. By 1931 the portion of the new Highway 99 through the Shasta Canyon was complete, but the changes were yet to come in Yreka proper. During the mid 1930's Main Street (Pacific Highway, later Highway 99) was widened through town. It was quite the project as many buildings were demolished and front yards consumed, on one side of the street or other to make room for this wider new Highway. The building on the corner of Miner and Main that one can see in the image above just beyond the tree would have been the office of the California and Oregon Power Company (COPCO). This building as well as most of the block next to it was torn down and later new more modern structures in modest Art Deco style were built. The once elegant entrance to the Yreka Inn turned into road, curb, and short driveway. Driving down Main Street today one can see where the road was widened, many buildings have virtually no front yard but those on the opposite side of the street may appear as they did prior to the reconstruction. The Yreka Arch was taken down in the 1930s during this reconstruction of the Pacific Highway into Highway 99. It was in storage and fell into disrepair until 1976 when the local Soroptimists made the move to restore and replace the sign. The citizens of Yreka helped with funding and support and in 1977 the Welcome Arch was rededicated. It now sits at the Central Yreka Interchange but seems somehow smaller at eye level. This author, for one, is pleased that our Welcome Arch is still visible for travelers and residents alike.

Another view of the Yreka Welcome Arch and a view North on Main Street from Miner can be viewed on page 20 of our book, Yreka Images of America Series from Arcadia Publishing.

Copyright, Claudia East, 2009

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Henrietta Pashburg ~ Yreka Artist

Small dish hand painted by Henrietta Pashburg, circa 1910.

Photo copyright: Claudia A. East

Henrietta Pashburg was one of those "Victorian Ladies" that made her living painting. Hand painted china was a very popular item for many years. Henrietta was born in Yreka, California on June 25, 1876 to John and Mary (Fiock) Pashburg. She grew up in Yreka and her father made a living originally as a tobacco merchant and later offered more general merchandise. The store was on the corner of Miner Street and Fourth and is no longer standing. (You can read a post about this store and see an image here: Pashburg's Store

Henrietta graduated from the (then) quite new and wonderful Siskiyou County High School in 1896 according to records obtained from the Siskiyou County Museum. At the time of her graduation the school was only two years old. (You can read about the high school and see an image here: Siskiyou County High School. She lived in Yreka and participated in civic events was a member of the Stella Chapter # 39, Order of Eastern Star, Yreka. She even exhibited at the California State Fair in 1892 according to information on her artistic history. History indicates that she lived and worked in Yreka for a number of years before finally moving to San Francisco on a permanent basis sometime prior to 1922. While in Yreka Henrietta apparently had her own shop on Miner Street for some time but detailed information has not yet been found.

Times were likely exciting for a young woman at this time, women were actively promoting women's rights and suffrage and breaking out of more "traditional" roles. Henrietta (often going by Etta) was likely not the "typical" young Victorian woman. Apparently independent and self sufficient until she married her long time love, Mr. James Alexander Cobain, on August 9, 1932 in Reno, Nevada.

Henrietta lived and had a painting studio in San Francisco for many years but returned "home" as her family continued to live and work in Yreka or the immediate area. In 1922 she was noted in Who's Who Among Women of California. Henrietta lived a long life, passing on February 16, 1971 in San Francisco, burial in Yreka at Evergreen Cemetery.

Her china is often highly valued and is somewhat difficult to find. She apparently signed many of her pieces, H. Pashburg with or without dates under her signature. You can see another image of her work in our book, Yreka, Images of America Series from Arcadia Publishing on page 55. Seeing and often holding work someone accomplished many years ago brings a sense of the history "home".

Copyright: Claudia A. East, 2009

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Ringe Pool

Yreka's Ringe Memorial Pool Complex

During the summer in Yreka local residents and especially the children enjoy a cool dip at Ringe Memorial Pool located on Knapp Street adjacent to the current Yreka High School Gymnasium and football stadium. The pool was built in memorial to Henry F. Ringe by his wife's estate following her death in 1959. The finances for the pool were given to the City of Yreka for the construction of a municipal pool in her husband's memory.

Henry F. Ringe and his wife, Nellie lived in or near Yreka the majority of their lives. Henry's father, Frederick was a leather worker and had a harness and saddlery shop at 106 W. Miner Street which he operated for over 50 years. Apparently Henry and Nellie owned and operated a ranch southwest of Norden, Oregon for awhile and Henry made saddles and his father's store in Yreka provided an outlet for his work. Later Henry operated this shop until he retired in 1916. Henry became seriously ill around 1919 and underwent surgery in San Francisco, apparently to no avail. He was in constant pain and was very despondent at times. He died on April 30, 1921.

Henry F. Ringe lived in Yreka and was listed in several census reports living on Third Street. The original home is no longer standing, and was known as the "double house" (a duplex) and Henry with his wife, lived there alongside his father, Frederick, who lived in the other half of the duplex. [This was reported as being located at 107 and 109 Third Street.] A new home in the same location, following Henry's death, was built by his wife, Nellie in 1923.

In 1960 the Olympic sized Ringe Memorial Pool was built for the enjoyment of the citizens of Yreka.

Additional information about the Ringe family and their homes can be found in the 1963 edition of the Siskiyou Pioneer, page 34; The 2001 Siskiyou Pioneer, page 39; and in the book Houses that Talk by Fred J. Meamber and R. Bernice Soule Meamber published in 1986.

Copyright: Claudia A. East, 2009