Thursday, May 28, 2009

Gold in Yreka!

Siskiyou Gold Display, 1947

Above is a postcard image of the Siskiyou County Gold Display from 1947. There are prize winning specimens of placer and quartz nuggets within the photograph. All of the gold was mined or found in our county! This is the only known collection of its kind and this same collection was shown at the 1939 World's Fair in San Francisco, California on Treasure Island to let the world know that gold is a big deal in Siskiyou County!

Today one can view this gold collection that has been added to and is displayed quite professionally. In the foyer of the Siskiyou County Courthouse located in Yreka one finds this impressive collection of gold. The display has often been estimated at $1 million, but with today's gold prices pushing ever upward, it is everyone's guess to the real value! Our County gold display is encased by a layer of native rock and measures 8 by 12 feet and is located just a few feet from the law enforcement officers that guard the area. Although the display is protected by a thick layer of bulletproof glass and is virtually burglar proof, in 1979 a couple made an unsuccessful attempt to steal the gold collection. They apparently entered the courthouse through a bathroom window and smashed the display setting off a silent alarm. The police arrived and apprehended the two after a short chase down a nearby street about a block away.

This gold is owned by the county of Siskiyou and was accumulated a little at a time by the members of the Board of Supervisors through purchases and donations. One of the most valuable items is a gold nugget discovered by a miner in a pile of discarded shavings near Hawkinsville just a few miles north of Yreka. Also found in the collection is the "shoe nugget" found near the Scott River in 1913 and purchased by the City for $550.

The County Treasurer-Tax Collector for Siskiyou County is the person chiefly responsible for the display and the acquisition of the contents. A former Treasurer-Tax Collector, Susan Reather, said that the gold within the collection represents nearly all the mines from Siskiyou County. Mr. Mike Hendryx, the Siskiyou County Museum Curator and Director, arranges the exhibit and adds new donations from time to time with the able assistance of the law enforcement officers at his side.

A special thanks to Mike Hendryx for providing the historical information about our world class Gold Display!

Copyright, Claudia A. East 2009.


Joanne said...

Nice article, Claudia! Everyone interested in gold should plan a stop to see this. It's the only one of its kind in CA - All other Gold Rush counties replaced theirs fearing for its safety.
I once "toured" the display with one of the old family members who donated and he knew the gold from his family's mine just by its look, and was upset that it had been moved to a different location within the display.
The pictures and descriptions are an excellent lesson in the rich variety of gold present in our hills and river valleys.

Claudia East said...

Thanks Joanne for the nice comment! It is a great display and I think lots of people should go and view it! Actually so much to do and see here, but people often don't take the time. Nice to know a few folks actually read my blog! :) Thanks and drop by again!

Anonymous said...


B Tiemeier said...

Just read that it was stolen. I HOPE they catch the thief!

Anonymous said...

This crime is going to be difficult to solve....If the perps wait and sell out of state in small amounts.. they'll have to do something stupid to get caught!
Let's hope for STUPID!!
Good Luck

Anthony Centore Ph.D. said...

Good article - I'm Hoping the police catch the people who lifted it!

Kirsten said...

My great grandfather, Maurice Renner, born in Hospenthal, Switzerland, 12/24/1838. He immigrated to Yreka in 1859 at age 21 and at first mined for gold. He became one of the first mayors of Yreka. He was also owner of the Eagle Inn and cattleman during his lifetime. He married E,elie Vetterlein. Died in 1908 and they are both buried in Evergreen Cemetery. His gold collection was donated to Yreka either by himself or family members.

Claudia East said...


Thanks for the information! Have you seen the post I did on the Renner Home?