Sunday, March 22, 2009

Henry Egbert Building ~ Circa 1860

Photo copyright Claudia East, 2009.

The Henry Egbert Building sits at 320 West Miner Street in Yreka, California right next to the Franco-American Hotel. The construction of this building was more "efficient" from many of the historic structures along this section of Miner Street. The walls are common to the adjacent buildings, but the roof is supported on sides and in the middle with post and beam construction, and the original rear wall is made of sandstone dating that wall quite early.

According to information located on the historical plaque placed by the City of Yreka the New England Bakery and Temperance House was operating here as early as 1855. The plaque also notes that shade trees were once planted in front of the building in 1871.

This building first appears on Sanborn Fire Maps in 1885. The structure is actually identified as almost two structures or as a "split building" with two businesses, a grocery store in one half and a saloon in the other. In the 1888 and 1890 Fire Maps the building is shown to house three businesses, a grocery, a saloon with billiards in the back and a very small barbershop. The first public record at the county level shows Henry Egbert as the owner of the property in the Book of Deeds in 1894.

By 1897 the Egbert Building serves as offices on one part and a saloon on the other, with the small barbershop being replaced with a tiny bakery. In 1901 the building houses two saloons and a small bakery one of the saloons located here was named the "Dew Drop Saloon". It is currently not known the exact time frame, but it is told that one bakery served hot coffee and toast every morning at 6:00 a.m. By 1908 the bakery was gone, but the two saloons remain! Information for the next 20 years is unknown, but by 1927 the building was home to an undertaker on one side and a tailor with cleaning and pressing services on the other.

Around 1928 or so the new grocery store chain, Purity Stores called 320 West Miner home for the Yreka store and they utilized the entire two part structure. At this time the building was about half the depth it is now, and a portion was added in the 1930s on the side of the Franco American Hotel. Purity operated their store here until around 1938 when they moved to a new larger store on Broadway with their distinctive barrel type roof. A picture of both the exterior and interior of this building in its day as a Purity Store can be found in our book, Yreka, Images of America on page 40.

Sometime between 1938 and 1949 the Yreka Seed & Grain Company called this building home and it operated here perhaps up in to the 1960's. During the 1950's a second portion was added to the building making it the size it is today, approximately 4,000 sq. ft. Following the Yreka Seed & Grain company the building became Black's Appliances and served the community there until 2006. The building is often referred to by locals today as the "Black's Building". The City of Yreka owed this structure for a number of years and it was under consideration for a variety of possible uses.  However, the City sold the building and it is now home to the "Dulcimer Shop".

There are gaps in information about this building and anyone with specific knowledge is encouraged to comment on this post!

Copyright: Claudia A. East, 2009


Anonymous said...

You have a really nice blog. I am in Visalia, Ca, and every time you post something new it goes on my yahoo main page; which I like very much. One day I think I will visit your town. I would like to see and know more about the people and the Indian Tribe; if you ever have time.

Claudia East said...

Thank you very much for you nice comment! Much appreciated. Indian historical information is very interesting here, and if you ever visit Yreka our County Museum has some excellent displays on the Indians from our area as well as Gold Rush!

Joanne said...


Thank you! I just love stories of towns and the people. People make up the town right? God bless you and your blog. I will look forward to reading more about Yreka from you.

Visalia, Ca

Claudia East said...

For your information, there will be a meeting of the Yreka Development Commission On April 2, 2009 at the Yreka City Hall Meeting Chamber at 4:00 p.m. At this meeting proposals are being given for the future of the Black's Building. The Commission will recommend a plan of action to the City Council. The public is invited!

Paul E said...

Please say it isn't so, that Yreka wants to tear the building down! The city of Yreka has a golden opportunity to enhance the historic district with the "Black's Renovation Proposal". Does the city lack vision of what a great tourist destination it could become by encouraging this kind of renovation in the historic district?

Besides the proposed uses as a home for the Chamber and the TV station, I could see this functioning well on the streetfront with an art gallery and a coffee shop or cafe, to help draw people through the building.

What is the city's plan to do with the property if they tear it down?

Seattle, WA
(former Hilt, Hornbrook, & Yreka resident)

Claudia East said...


The City has not made a final decision. Before it is decided I believe (think) an engineering study must be provided to see if the removal will create any problems for the adjacent buildings. Two of the council members feel it is in the best interest of the success of Miner Street to remove the building and put in a plaza of sorts to access the parking area behind the building. Most folks agree that the historic district does not have any kind of attractive entrance and this would be one way to solve this issue. There are ongoing meetings. I am in favor of saving all of the historic buildings in town, and we (my husband and I)have proposed alternatives. Yreka has such great history, I hope others will voice their opinions as well. Thank you for posting on my blog!

Christina said...


Do you believe the building was constructed ca. 1860 or 1880? The title says "1860" but the url says "1880." Whichever it is, what information made you narrow down to this date?

Claudia East said...

There is no actual definite date for this building. However, on the inside of the building are two stone walls that are very likely the first part of the structure from approximately 1860 or earlier. The 1880 comes of previously indicated records. Our premier town historian told me after I wrote this piece that the first owner was actually one of the people that first discovered gold here. The building was changed over the years and title of land was not recorded until after our county was formed.