Thursday, June 26, 2008

Witherill & Winckler Building abt. 1859

Standing at the southern corner of Miner and Oregon Streets is a wonderful brick building that you see in the photos. Originally the building had six arches across the brick front... the building has seen some changes during its life, but the general feel and appearance remain fairly true to its original design. In its service to the citizens of Yreka this building has hosted two different business suites nearly since the beginning!

Early in its life, the eastern half of the building was occupied by a tin shop according to Noonan's research publication of 1976, Yreka's West Miner Street Buildings, Blocks 200 - 300, 1851 - 1900. The west half of the building was known as the Winckler Building and the east half as the Witherill building. Adolph Winckler operated a grocery and general merchandise store here in the 1860s. In June of 1871 an advertisement appears in the Yreka Journal notifying that a "Brick Store is For Sale". The ad reads: "The large and centrally located brick store, on the south side of Miner Street, between Turnverein Hall and Winckler's store, will be sold at a bargain." [Referring to the Witherill building portion.] Another notice in the newspaper in 1877 speaks to the upgrading in the Witherill building and local builder E. Ranous was installing new shelves!

It was in 1883 the building became the location of the Yreka-Journal Weekly Newspaper. The older image above shows the Journal there when the image was taken around 1905. The newspaper served at this location until about 1915 when the Siskiyou News bought the building. The News utilized this space until 1941. Following that the building served many variety of businesses and even as a warehouse for a time.

Fortunately this building did not suffer much damage during the great 1871 fire that ravaged most of the business district, according to records the loss because of the fire was only $100.

The image with the Coca-Cola sign is a view of how the building appears today.
Copyright: Claudia East, 2008.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

DeWitt and Peters Building 1897-98

Currently standing on the corner of Miner and North Oregon Streets, The DeWitt and Peters Building broke ground in the fall of 1897 and the building was completed in 1898 at a cost less than $7,000. Prior to this building being constructed a portion of the lot was vacant and the east half of the lot was occupied by the old Yreka Brewery owned by G. H. Peters. In the 1850s the original Yreka Bakery stood on the west half of this lot on Miner and Oregon Streets according to research conducted by Robert Noonan in 1976 in his publication Yreka's West Miner Street Buildings, Blocks 200 - 300, 1851 - 1900.

The Yreka Journal on September 24, 1897 ran an article on this "new" building designed by Architect, G. W. Cooper. They described the layout of the building to have two new stores on the bottom floor, and a large assembly hall (rented by the Knights of Pythias and other orders...) and offices on the second story. "Mr. DeWitt of the Bee Hive store will occupy the corner and Peters will rent the other portion of the building downstairs." The building was also described as having a large cement cellar to be built in connection with the original cellar once used by the Yreka Brewery on the back portion of the lot. It was also stressed that there would be sidewalk elevators for "lowering and raising goods when wanted." In addition, the paper pointed out that the upper story would likely not be finished until spring as the cold weather might damage the plastering.

The exterior of the building is from red sand stone taken from a quarry at Little Shasta, according to a news article from the Yreka Journal ~ it was the first time this stone was utilized for building purposes in the area. According to further Noonan research (see above) a Mr. Ed Armstrong was in charge of the masonry, and the roof was constructed by the Iunker Brothers.

Today this fine building still stands and is proudly owned by the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks as a lodge. The photo above shows the building as it was in about 1905. Today the lower portion of the building is covered with board and batten siding to conceal the large windows.
You might wish to look at the SketchupbyDawn Blog for the August 14, 2008 post, he has a nice 3-D drawing of the original building. You can link here or check out the Blogs I am watching on the side panel:

For those of you with our book, Yreka, Images of America by Arcadia Publishing you can find other images with this building in the photos on pages 35, 52,and 115.

Copyright: Claudia A. East, 2008.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Yreka Inn 1925 (Sadly gone...)

In 1925 The Yreka Inn was built by L. L. Weaver and his brother, W. J. Weaver ~ entrepreneurs that originally began in the grocery business and subsequently into general merchandise, the lumber business, etc. and eventually into the Hotel industry.

The Yreka Inn had 102 rooms and was an "imposing" concrete structure. The Yreka Inn was located on the "Great Pacific Highway" (later known as Highway 99) midway between San Francisco and Portland in Yreka. It was reported in the History of the Sacramento Valley, California by Jesse Walton Wooldridge that "the prices ... are reasonable and the rooms are well filled throughtout the year by tourist and commercial travelers." The Inn had an adjoining restaurant and dinner house as well as a ballroom. The local Rotary clubs and other organizations were regulars with the hotel services. It was touted as a first class hotel!

In a newspaper account from the Siskiyou Daily News on December 2, 1941 the Yreka Inn was noted as the place that held the first meeting of the secessionists that began the movement from Northern California and Southern Oregon to form the State of Jefferson. That movement was "tabled" within a few days because of the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the beginning of World War II. However, many still hold the dream that someday a State of Jefferson might be formed.

Unfortunately in 1975 the hotel was razed when the property was purchased for a new local bank. The hotel was "older" then and the former Great Pacific Highway (Hwy 99) was bypassed by Interstate 5. Many wish the building could have been saved and restored, it would be an extraordinary valuable asset to the city today if it were still standing!

Above is a view of the front entrance with an unidentified woman standing in the front. The colored image on the right is from a vintage matchbook cover that was once given away at the Yreka Inn for advertising purposes. Additional images of this hote, including a interior lobby view can be seen in the Images of America book, Yreka on page 42.
Copyright: Claudia A. East 2008

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Yreka ~ a "birds eye view" Circa 1900

Yreka, California Post Card

In the early 1900's postcards were the fast and speedy way to send messages ~ a vintage version of emails with attached photos today! It was quite the rage and folks could "see" images from places far away they had never seen before, like the next county, or part of their own state and beyond.

In 1900 Yreka was described as a "typical mining town" and largely supported economically from the mining interests. In a news article focused on Yreka mining in 1895 from the Woodland Daily Democrat, it mentions a deposit of $10,000 just in one day from the mines in the area. By this time Yreka was connected with the outside world via the Yreka Railroad which met up with the California Pacific Railroad at Montague about 10 miles away. However, even with the railroad in place the "old fashioned" stage coach was still a major choice of travel, especially to outlying areas.

By 1900 Yreka was for most quite a "modern" city. The city water lines were in place, electricity was available, telephone lines were in place in the Courthouse and other areas in town, it was the County Seat so activity at many levels was notable. It was also the major business area for the county. In the photo above at the far left one can see the two story original public school for elementary students, in the center of the photo stands the newly improved County Courthouse with new wing additions from about 1898, along with many homes and business buildings as well as numerous roads leading to and within town. Not viewed in the image but just beyond the right margin the original County High School would have been standing proudly. (See earlier blog entry for image of High School)

A curious bit of information about Yreka happened every year around early spring. The Fire Department would wash down the main city business street, Miner Street, (getting rid of the mud and gunk ~ the streets were dirt) from the winter. Enterprising Yrekans would go down the hill a few blocks to Yreka Creek, where the slush was headed... and hunt for gold nuggets. The story goes that miners would drop small nuggets as they headed in and out of the numerous saloons along Miner Street...

Yreka was strongly connected to San Francisco at this time, as it was the major stopping point between San Francisco and Portland via the inland route. Much of the "outside worldly goods, news, and information" came from San Francisco and merchants regularly traveled back and forth for the newest techological wonders, fashions, household items and the like. San Francisco based newspapers (as well as Oakland) often included articles on happenings in Yreka and about prominant people from the area. When Yreka suffered major damage in a fire of 1871, the people of San Francisco generously donated to the city to help businesses rebuild and recouperate. When San Francisco suffered the great 1906 earthquake, Yrekans returned the favor. It is a little known fact, that Yreka gave more money per capita than any other city in the country following the "Great Quake".

Copyright: Claudia A. East, 2008.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Murder in the Wild West! 1864

One can only imagine the events described below as happening in the Wild West! Although the description is of events that happened on the streets of San Francisco, it was all about a man who lived in Yreka... The following is edited from a old news article from 1864...

It seems one Bill Davis, a noted gambler, who resides here at Yreka, was interested in and drove a horse race, which came off at Placerville on the 15th of June, and “throwed” the race, making some $4,500 by it. Hank Stevens, Ball, Dutch Abe, and Spanish Bob, four “sports” backed Davis’s horse and got broke; swore vengeance, killing on sight. On the 18th they all arrived in San Francisco (except Davis) and publicly said they were going to shoot Davis on sight. On the 21st, Davis came to town, and at two o’clock, P.M. was sitting having his boots polished, in a black’s adjoining the Fashion when Ball and Dutch Abe came to the door, and looking in exclaimed, “Here’s the dirty thief now,” and drawing their revolvers, commenced shooting. Davis jumped out of the chair, with one boot polished, and drawing his revolver, fired, and Ball fell dead across an iron grating. Davis then jumped out on the sidewalk, laughingly saying, “You’ve made a mistake,” and fired at Dutch Abe, the ball taking effect in his right breast. He fell, when Davis ran and caught the revolver from Ball’s hands, saying, as he walked towards the door of the Fashion, “Where’s the rest of you murderers?” – Blood was running down Davis’s left hand from the arm and also down the right cheek. As he was on the point of entering the door, he was met by Stevens and Spanish Bob, when Davis raised the revolver in his right hand and fired twice. Stevens fell, and Spanish Bob jumped over him on the sidewalk and fired. Davis staggering, but recovering, they (Davis and Spanish Bob) commenced in good earnest, each striving to fire a deadly shot. Davis was laughing all the time.

They then commenced firing at each other, about twenty feet apart. After Davis had fired two shots he threw his revolver at Bob, and changing the revolver he took from Ball into his right hand, he raised it, and it snapped three times; the fourth time it went off, and Bob fell. Davis had fallen before this, and was lying on his breast on the banquette. Davis threw the revolver into the street, saying, “Hell and furies, damn the thing.” He then pulled a Derringer, and both (only having one shot each) began crawling towards each other on their stomachs. When about five feet apart they both raised partly up and fired simultaneously, when Bob’s head fell, and he remained perfectly still. Davis then said, crawling towards Bob, “He’s gone, I cooked him,” and then partly turned on his side and tried to rise.

On examination, Ball and Spanish Bob were dead; Dutch Abe and Stevens mortally sounded, the first having been shot through the right lung, causing internal hemorrhage. The latter was shot through the left breast.

Spanish Bob had four wounds on him—two in the right breast, one in the right arm, and one between the eyes. Ball had a ball in his heart. Davis has six wounds—two in right leg, one in right breast, one in left shoulder, one in left wrist, (through) and one in right cheek, where a bullet had struck the cheek bone and glanced off, cutting out a piece of flesh of the size of a ten cent piece.

Stevens died on the 24th, at forty minutes past ten A.M. Dutch Abe died the morning before. Doctors say Davis will certainly recover.

Source: Weekly Standard, Raleigh, North Carolina. September 14, 1864. Page 1.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Siskiyou County Museum 1950

The Siskiyou County Museum ~ a treasure house of history!

The Siskiyou County Museum is located at 910 South Main Street, Yreka, California. The building was completed in 1950 and was designed specifically to resemble a historic structure, the Callahan Hotel, located in rural Siskiyou County. The small town of Callahan grew up around their hotel. It is interesting to note that the hotel still stands, and for many years was in  much needed repair and restoration.  Today the charming building has been lovingly restored into a private residence. (A drive from Yreka to the small town of Callahan today is a favorite excursion for many locals as the route is remarkably picturesque and is only about an hour from town.)

The Siskiyou County Museum is an excellent place to begin a quest for historical knowledge of Yreka and Siskiyou County. They have excellent permanent exhibits curated, designed, and installed by the former Museum Director, Michael Hendryx,  as well as temporary ones. In addition to the main building there is an outdoor exhibit area owned by the Siskiyou County Historical Society who works in conjunction with the museum  with buildings, machinery, and interesting artifacts. The outdoor area is open during the summer and "better" weather months. Permanent exhibits in the museum proper include a Native American Gallery, A Trappers Gallery, and The Gold Mining Gallery. Here one can see evidence of what life was once like before and during Gold discovery. A research library with materials owned by both the Siskiyou County Historical Society and the Museum is also available that is filled with books, newspapers, ephemera, and  photographs! A call to the museum is highly recommended before asking to use the research library.  Information about research possibilities can be found on the Siskiyou County Historical Society website.

The actual history of how the museum began and the people who inspired it all to happen is also quite interesting.  The Siskiyou County Historical Society officially began in October of 1945 as a result of an interest in placing historical markers on various sites throughout Siskiyou County.  In a short time this led to the organization of a historical society with the moral, but not financial support of the board of supervisors.  The first official member, at his own request was local Senator Randolph Collier who contributed $10 for membership dues.  Subsequently, a constitution and by-laws were adopted, officers elected in November of 1945, and the society was off to an energetic start, embarking on a relentless campaign to document and preserve the history of the county for future generations. 

Interesting facts to know:
  • Yreka was a "Destination" and not just a way stop to somewhere else. The Yreka Trail branches off of the Oregon Trail ~ and its history is fascinating. The Yreka Trail was known as the "bloodiest trial" in the West. 
  • The Gold recovered in this area (still many active mines and gold mining in the rivers) was a "Mother Lode" into itself! It is noteworthy that the Sierra Nevada "Gold Country" often receives much interest in the gold mining, and this area produced vast amounts of gold that are often overlooked.  During the "rush" Yreka was known as the "Richest Square Mile"!  
Copyright: Claudia A. East, 2008 ~ updated 2015

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Pashburg's Store ~ Miner Street, Yreka

Gone but not forgotten...

Adjacent is a photo of the South side of Miner Street, Yreka circa 1918. The two story building on the far right edge of the image with the three windows on the second story is the former Pashburg Store. The building is long gone and likely forgotten or unknown by many as this building sat on a portion of what is now Fourth Street and Miner.

John Pashburg was a German immigrant who came to Yreka soon after gold was discovered. For many years John operated a tobacco shop on this site ~ the building was erected sometime between 1856 and 1862. It is reported in old news articles and historical journals that John Pashburg lost his inventory and his building during the great fire of 1871. It is not clear to this author if the building was completely rebuilt or rennovated after the fire. The earliest photos of this building that this author has found shows the building to be a single story, it is unkown exactly when the second story was added. Originally living quarters for his family were in the rear of the building. The store operated as a tobacco shop for many years but at some point expanded to groceries and miscellaneous items.

An article appears in an 1897 newspaper in Yreka that states "John Pashburg...has contracted for the construction of a second story on his building, to be of corrugated iron. It will be extended back 40 feet, with an entrance on Third street an elevator at Miner street entrance to lower story. The work will be commenced next Monday." The building was added on to several times on both the lower and upper levels. Eventually a small addition on the side (that jutted further into Fourth Street) that once served as the local stage office and at another time a saloon, was added and that portion appears to have been rented out to other proprietors. Even though the article appears in an 1897 newspaper, there are photos of the building from what is reported to be the 1901 snow storm and it appears to still be a single story. The documentation for the various changes appear to be elusive.

It is a curious set of events about this plot of land the building sat on. In 1862 the City of Yreka sued the original owner a J. B. Rosborough for the "recovery of about one half of the original Fourth Street, between Miner and Center Street" according to a excellent work produced by Robert Archie Noonan in 1976 titled Yreka's West Miner Street. The building and business was in the "middle of the street" until 1931 when the building was razed to widen Fourth Street.

For a few years the top portion of this building sat on Fourth Street ~ and it can be viewed in our Images of America book, Yreka on page 45. Looking at the building located at 311 Miner Street, today operating as the Edward Jones Investment Representative office, the business in the rear of the building (currently a interesting clock shop), one can view the old metal siding on the exterior of the building. It has been reported that this metal exterior once faced a portion of the Pashburg building.

John Pashburg worked and lived in Yreka from 1854 until his death in 1910. He is listed as one of the pioneer merchant's. Upon his death his son and son-in-law inherited his business. He had a total of nine children with six living to adulthood. His wife was Mary Louise Fiock, and they were married in 1867.

Copyright: Claudia A. East, 2008

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Charles Iunker Home 1861

Located at 322 West Center Street, Yreka, California, stands the brick Charles Iunker Home built in 1861. Charles Iunker was a German immigrant who was an early settler in Yreka, arriving in 1855. Mr. Iunker started a brewery on South Oregon Street and it was known as the Iunker Brewery or Pacific Brewery. He also was the owner of the Bella Union Saloon on Miner Street. The Iunker Brothers ~ Charles and Albert, also owned a successful hardware store on Miner Street. When the Oregon-California Railroad originally decided to bypass Yreka local prominent businessmen organized the Yreka Railroad Company to build a connecting line. Mr. Iunker was one of the large stockholders according to historical notes.

There is a early residence photograph of this home in one of the Siskiyou County Historical Society Publications, specifically the 2003 The Siskiyou Pioneer issue on a Photographic History of Siskiyou County. (This may still be available at the Siskiyou County Museum) It is noted in the publication that when the home was first built Mr. Iunker had gas lines and water on both the first and second story. In earlier days the home was surrounded by a white picket fence, had a yard and two trees in the front. There was a covered porch on the East side of the building. The two chimneys apparent in the photograph are original to the home.

Today this fine building no longer serves as a home but still serves the community as business offices. Center Street is located just South of Miner Street and just North of Court House Square. It has wonderful historic presence, but is often overlooked by tourists or local history buffs because it is not directly in the National Historic District and sits amongst other newer business buildings.

Copyright: Claudia A. East, 2008