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.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Yreka Studio & Snappy Goodrich 1930's & 40's

The ad shown is from a 1937 Yreka HS Yearbook. The image is of the building (taken winter, 2009) that housed the Yreka Studio while John David "Snappy" Goodrich conducted his business here in Yreka. The building is located almost behind the Ley Fire Station at 111 So. Oregon Street.

John D. Goodrich was born in 1899 and spent time in the Los Angeles area prior to coming to Yreka. In 1923 he married Minnie Dae Clodfelter. It has not been exactly determined what year he arrived in Yreka, but by 1933 he is listed in the Yreka City Directory operating the Yreka Studio. It is believed that the front half of the building was the Studio and the rear portion of the building served as his residence. The Yreka Studio was "the" place to have one's photo portrait taken, and he had a lively business with Seniors from the High School as well as other important events. During these years (1930's - 1940's) when one had a roll of film to be developed ~ it was taken to a photo shop and developed. One day service in automated machines was unheard of, not to mention digital images! In addition to his portrait studio, he was a active photographer in the post card business. Many of his post cards can be found from time to time on eBay, and they often command a good price! Next time you find a older postcard turn it over and look to see who the photographer or artist was, you may find a little treasure! Goodrich traveled up and down the North West taking photos for his postcard sales. By 1945 he advertised on the back of his postcards as "Snappy's Scenic Portraits of the West".

Snappy Goodrich operated the Yreka Studio for many years, in 1949 his wife, Dae, passed away and he continued for a short while in the business, but in 1951 he sold the business to a individual with the name of Young who carried on the Yreka Studio. In later years the business was known as the Yreka Studio and Camera Shop or commonly known as YS&CS.

Information on the Yreka Studio is relatively scarce while Snappy Goodrich operated the business, although his skill behind the camera will live on for many years yet to come.
Copyright: Claudia A. East, 2009