Friday, February 19, 2010

Yreka and the 1930s

Photo of Miner Street during the 1930's from the National Archives.

During the 1930s our country faced the "Great Depression", Yreka certainly had its trials, but on the whole the local economy fared better than many. During the early part of the 1930s major road work was completed through town with the widening of Highway 99 (The Pacific Highway) and many buildings along Main Street were either moved back, suddenly became very close to the road, or were demolished and new ones built. Also in the early 30s the new Highway 99 was completed through the Shasta Canyon just north of town. This was a major feat and news paper accounts of the new bridges and the road conditions were touted throughout California!

In addition to the road construction, the early 30s also brought some major commercial building to town. The new Montgomery Ward Building on Broadway opened in Sept. of 1929, the Warren's Building opened for business in 1930 as well as the new Broadway Theatre! In 1931 the new Ley Fire Station was built, and towards the end of the decade the new Lake's Building was constructed just to the south of the Broadway Theatre.

In public service we see familiar "old family" names such as A. L. Herzog, Mayor; B. F. Ackerman, Councilman; V. W. Hart, Councilman; John Goodrich, Councilman; and J. G. Goble, Councilman. Bernard Pollard was Fire Chief, and U. F. Brown was City Clerk. Charles Doggett served as Chief of Police, and R. C. Collier was Police Judge.

Reviewing the City Directory it can be learned that there were many businesses in town, at least 5 Auto Camps, 5 Auto Dealers with names like Graham-Paige, Chrysler-Plymouth, Chevrolet, Ford, and Studebaker. There were three Drug Stores, dry cleaners and laundry, furniture stores, and gold buyers, six different grocery stores including Safeway and Purity, two lumber stores, three hotels, four meat markets, and six different places to shop for millinery goods! In addition there were 11 restaurants and a host of other businesses and services!

During the 1930s the economy was fueled by gold, lumber, agriculture, and county and city government as well as travelers along the new Highway 99. People did business locally and "going to town" meant going to Yreka! The population was much smaller, an estimated 2,500 - 3,000 people within the city limits.

Copyright: Claudia A. East