Saturday, August 30, 2008

City Apartment Building & Franco American Hotel

Photos Copyright Claudia East, 2008.

The Photo on the left is an apartment building owned by the City of Yreka, located just off the corner of North and Third Streets. (Close to the back of the Franco American Hotel) The photo on the right is the back of the current Franco American Hotel just around the back of the apartment house on the left.

So, what do these buildings have to do with each other? Well, they were once connected and part of the Franco American Hotel! The apartment building was once part of the kitchen and was connected to the Dining Room on the first floor, the second floor had hotel rooms. I am not exactly sure when this portion of the building was added to the Franco, but in Robert Noonan's book (thesis), Yreka's West Miner Street self-published in 1976 he reports that in 1899 the dining area was enlarged and a new two story brick dining room with additional suites of sleeping rooms upstairs. He also mentions in passing that this section of the building was "recently" (in 1976) moved northward and now serves as an apartment house. This section of the hotel, actually seems to appear on fire maps with rooms on the second floor in 1897. However, the plans may have been made and construction underway for a finish date of 1899.

It is interesting to note that in 1939 this area of the hotel still had rooms on the top floor, but the bottom floor was sectioned into two parts, one serving as a card room and the other as the Southern Pacific Stage for railroad passengers. The old dining room which actually is in the photo on the right, turned into a saloon.

If one looks carefully at the photo of the back of the old hotel, one can see that the bricks on the back of the building are of different construction, and are actually pulling away from the building. This is where the two buildings used to connect. When they moved the building they also turned it 90 degrees from this location as it originally was "in line" with the Franco American Dining Room.

Copyright: Claudia A. East, 2008.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Erickson & James Garage

Photo by Claudia East, 2008

The building above can be seen from Main Street in Yreka, right near the corner of Yama and Main (221 North Main St.); today it serves as the "James Place Annex" and is filled with wonderful antiques as an addition to their lovely mansion that sits directly west of the building. (One can see a tiny portion of the roof and the distinctive blue color scheme.) Many of our local "old-timers" remember this building as the Erickson & James Garage and straight in front was a small service station where one could fill up the tank of their auto as they cruised down Highway 99 in Yreka. Those of you that have access or a copy to our book, Yreka, Images of America can see what this actually looked like in its heyday on page 41.

The garage was originally constructed in 1924 by the former owner of the Fry/James House, Donald Montgomery and within two years he sold it to Daggett & Moore, another historical business that was well known. This was touted as a "fireproof" garage and original dimensions were broadcast in the newspaper as being 125 feet long and 70 feet wide. Large garages of this type were in demand for winter storage of automobiles (as anti-freeze was not readily available) in addition to automobile repair and the like. Having a garage at one's home was not necessarily the norm in the 1920's. In 1939 the building became the Erickson and James Garage. The company provided sales and service for Pontiac, Buick, and GMC automobiles. The garage closed in 1968. Later it reopened as the James Place Annex.

A walk around this building both inside and out one can quickly imagine how it appeared to the weary traveler or the local folks ~ it was well kept and had a good business! It probably didn't hurt that it was nearly right next to the famous Yreka Inn during that time.

Copyright: Claudia A. East, 2008

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Fry / "James Place" House

Photo copyright by Don East, 2002.

This beautiful home located at the corner of Third and Yama Streets in Yreka has stood here since 1899 when Charles B. Fry had it constructed by local builder J. H. Ranous. There is a good deal of history about this particular lot of land and who lived there along with other local history available in the excellent publication, Houses That Talk by Fred J. Meamber and R. Bernice Soule Meamber published in 1986. One bit of information that is quite interesting is that there was a home located on this spot and originally Fry was going to have the house remodeled, and then he decided to tear it down and build new. (The house that was there was disassembled and moved to 419 Third Street, the Ackerman House. Information is in a May post in this blog ~ F. S. Ackerman House.)

The Fry's owned this house until about 1924 and sold it to a Donald Montgomery who owned it for only two years. During the years of the first half of the century various folks rented the house or the property changed hands. At one time it was even divided into four apartments. In 1967, however, the home became the property of the Alden James Family. In 1971 the lovely old home was turned into a antique store and has been known as the "James Place" ever since. It has become a true icon for Yreka.

If traveling or living in Yreka it is a pleasure to go to the James Place and not only look at the lovely antiques for sale, but to examine the building. The entry is lovely with a staircase that is large and ornate and it just invites one to climb the stairs and see what is up above!

If you have a copy of our book, Yreka, Images of America you will find another image of this home on page 59, along with additional historical information. On page 57 you will discover an image of the Ackerman house that once stood on this corner before the Fry House was built!

Copyright: Claudia A. East, 2008

Monday, August 18, 2008

Fairgrounds and Yreka City Park

Photos by Claudia East, Copyright 2008.

The current Yreka City Park at the corner of Miner and Gold Streets in Yreka has a delightful, and perhaps to some, a surprising history! Originally this parcel of land was used as the "Fairgrounds" when fairs and similar events were held in Yreka. Viewing old fire maps it can be seen that around 1900 there were corrals located just about where the park entrance is seen above. In addition, during that time, empty store fronts would also be used for displays of fair entries. Estimated to have been in 1910, a large Agricultural Hall was built at the corner of Center and Fourth Street (currently where the parking lot is for Siskiyou Title) and displays were also shown there.

Later in the 1920s the county set aside money to have the fairgrounds at the current site of the Siskiyou Golden Fair. There was a horse race track in the area and it was a HUGE event to have horse races for many, many years. It was one of the highlights of the "fair"! At the time the Fairgrounds known to this generation was underway, the "Fairgrounds" on Gold and Miner Streets turned into Yreka's Athletic Park. (The stories of the fund raising for the city park is another story...)

However, it was on August 10, 1921 that an article appears in the Yreka Journal explaining about an "Archway Going Up for Fair Ground" ~ this archway is what we see in this photo. The Journal description does give some information that was in the original design, but the actual finished item was a bit less in overall size. Below is a portion of the article written about this archway. Please read on, there are some very interesting facts!

An excerpt from the Yreka Journal, page 1, August 10, 1921:
"The fair ground entrance on the corner of Gold and Miner is progressing nicely. It will be in the form of a quarter circle, with a cobble stone wall three feet high, and a lawn fence wire four feet higher, and two cobble stones at each side of the center arch, the arch to be made of the building stone exhibited in an arch at the Panama Pacific Exposition in 1915. The stone having been gotten out in the Marble Mountain country and various sections of the county by Mr. J. B. Russell; who also polished the stone and went to San Francisco and built the notable arch that attracted universal attention and took the gold medal for the largest and best stone exhibit from any state or county. It is made up of marble, gray and black granite, onyx, jade, red rock sandstone, rhodennite, and various other stone....The first top stone will be engraved "SISKIYOU," above this is a coping and above that is a top pile on which will be chiseled, "YREKA PARK 1921."

The next time a visit to the park is in order, be sure and stop and an examine this interesting structure and think about the history behind its origins! It is actually made up of stones from throughout the county of Siskiyou! For those that have a copy of our book, Yreka, Images of America you can view a photo of the J. B. Russell Marble and Granite Works that was once located at 404 Second Street (now Broadway) on page 34, and another image of the archway on page 89.

Claudia A. East, Copyright, 2008.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Yreka's Carnegie Library ~ 1915

The view to the left is a current photo of the former Carnegie Library that served Yreka for 55 years. It currently houses the Yreka Police Department, but the outward front of the structure looks just like historic images, although an addition was made to the rear of the building in later years. This wonderful building has stood in the same place since 1915 ~ at 415 Miner Street.

The Carnegie Library "story" is a interesting one if you aren't familiar with Andrew Carnegie and his wonderful gifts to the American people. Carnegie immigrated from Scotland with his parents as a small child and is often regarded as the quintessential self-made man, he was one of the richest men in the world at the height of his success. He built Pittsburgh's Carnegie Steel Company along with several other steel companies. As a child he learned to love to read and became self-educated because he was able to borrow books, this eventually lead him into one of his many interests in philanthropy and education. One of his notable projects was providing grants to cities (often focusing on smaller communities) for Library buildings. His grants were clever in many ways, they not only provided money for the buildings but part of the grant requirements were that the city or community had to submit or earn a portion of the money needed, as in purchasing the land and books, etc. It gave the communities a great resource and the incentive to make it work!

According to information from the files of the Siskiyou County Library, on March 14, 1913, a letter with a promise of $8,000, from the Carnegie Corporation to pay for a building to house a public library was received in Yreka. In June of 1913 the City of Yreka acquired property on Miner Street for this new library. The Yreka Improvement Club donated $100 to be applied to the purchase of the lot, at a later time the Yreka Improvement Club donated additional funds. Many of these local funds were raised by giving dances, card parties and the like. It is noted in this information that on October 21, 1915 the Grand Opening of the Yreka Carnegie Library occurred.

It may be of interest to note that this Carnegie Library was not Yreka's only Library! There were several early libraries, including the Yreka Ladies' Library Association in 1857, and the Siskiyou County Library established around 1910. For many years there were two libraries serving the community. The Siskiyou County Library and the Yreka Carnegie Library was merged (consolidation agreement) into one institution officially in 1968.

There is a 1915 photo of this building in our Yreka, Images of America book on page 63, and another on page 124 showing the building in the background during a drill exercise of the 10th Regiment of the California State Guard in 1942. There are other photos of the Siskiyou County Library on pages 64, 65 and 66 in the book as well.
Copyright: Claudia A. East, 2008.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Warrens Building 1930 ~ 1966

The Warrens Building is the largest building directly in the center of this image. For those of you not familiar with a 1930-ish view of Yreka the building took an entire block from the corner of Miner Street and Broadway (formerly Second St.) to Center Street. Immediately to the left of the Warrens Bulding is the Montgomery Ward Building, and next to it the Broadway Theatre. If one looks carefully a view of the Masonic Lodge second story can be seen in the photo and the white building next to it is the "remodeled" (for the date) Franco-American Hotel on Miner Street.

The Siskiyou News
ran an article about this new and exciting building in the paper on January 11, 1930. It was touted as being "Among Best in California". It was a two story building with offices on the second story and on the ground floor the north end of the building (at the corner of Miner and Broadway (then Second Street) was the new home for the First National Bank, and at the other end of the building on the ground floor was the Post Office. There were additional spaces for rent along the frontage of Broadway on the ground floor.

The concrete building was erected at a cost of more than $200,000 ~ not a amount to sneeze at during the depression! The newspaper describes the interior of both the Post Office, "furnished in oak and modern in every detail" as well as describing the types of fixtures and accommodations that will be available. The First National Bank was described as being "ornately furnished with marble wainscoting, tile floors and walnut woodwork". It also was to have a feature never before on the Pacific Coast! This was a "York night depository" where patrons could leave deposits and they would be safe.

On February 11, 1966 fire broke out in the upstairs of this building and it was damaged beyond repair. Sadly it is gone and today is a small bank on a portion of the lot along with parking on what was a icon of Yreka. This was once a wonderful example of Art Deco design that graced our little town.

For those of you with copies of our book Yreka, Images of America by Arcadia Publishing you will find a nice photo image of this building on page 41, it will give you a real sense of how the business street once appeared to residents and patrons alike.
Copyright: Claudia East, 2008.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Broadway Theatre 1930

It was on January 16, 1930 that The Siskiyou News ran an article announcing that there was to be a new theatre in Yreka! It was advertised to be "equal to any theater in the larger cities and superior of any now in northern California or southern Oregon." It was also announced that the cost was expected to be $70,000.

Bernice M. Warrens (sister to Victor E. Warrens, financial investor and builder of Yreka's once famous Warrens Building) was the owner of the theatre and she leased the proposed theatre to a Walter H. Leverette of Medford who was the owner of a chain of theaters operating in Southern Oregon.

It was reported that construction would begin no later than March 1st and it was expected that the Grand Opening would be June 1, 1930. The Theatre would be called the "Broadway". The expected seating capacity was to be approximately 1,000 people. It was designed not only to show movies, but had a full stage complement. The floor was carpeted in the "finest of carpeting" and a large foyer and well appointed rest rooms would be included. It also was to have a box office located on the sidewalk in a small booth as was the general custom of the day. Over the street it was planned for a huge electric sign to be suspended bearing the word Broadway!

It may be of interest to note that originally the building had a Moorish design, very popular at the time ~ but before long the exterior was rennovated to a more "modern" Art Deco design and the once familiar large neon sign that read Broadway (partially viewed in image above) appeared. In our book, Yreka, Images of America one can see the original view of the building on page 43. Additionally, sometime between 1929 and 1933 the name of the road that is in front of the theatre was changed from Second Street to Broadway.

The Broadway was changed sometime in the late 1970's (to my fuzzy recollection) to the Broadway Twin when multi-plex theatres became the more profitable way to run the business.
Copyright: Claudia East, 2008

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Bella Union Saloon & Grace Hospital

The former Bella Union Saloon and former Grace Hospital were located where the two story building viewed at the center of the photograph is at 325 West Miner Street, Yreka. The Bella Union was a local "watering hole" in 1852 and Charles Iunker and a Louis Rapi became the owners in 1859. Iunker also operated a brewery on Oregon Street. In 1861 the former Bella Union building was replaced by a two story residence and provided space on the ground floor for businesses. ~ This information is provided on a plaque placed on the wall of the building.

It is curious to note, however, that earlier pictures of this section of buildings there isn't a noticable two story building... whether it was later rebuilt, burned in a fire, or what is not clear to this author. It may appear further research is in order.

It is known, however, that in late 1916 this building on the top floor became the Grace Hospital. It was in 1916 when the county high school burned to the ground and the students were relocated for the remainder of the year to the building on Oregon Street known as The Mount Shasta Hospital (built by H. B. Gillis, and currently known as the DeClerk Offices). The Siskiyou News dated October 19, 1916 ran an article on page one about this new Grace Hospital. Apparently a Dr. G. W. Hathaway decided to open this hospital to fill a need since the Mount Shasta Hospital was given to the high school.
The article describes the accommodations for this new 12 room hospital. It had an operating room as well as maternity room which both faced Miner Street, as well as a "optical dark room" and two wards for men and two wards for women as well as private rooms. There was also a large sun room, nurses room, Dr. Hathaway's office, reception room and living rooms. The newspaper article described the new hospital as "a model of convenience". The hospital was expected to be opened about November 1, 1916.

It was not uncommon for small hospitals to be available, Yreka may have had three or four in operation at one time in addition to the county hospital. Many times a doctor would open their own hospital for the treatment of their private patients. Small hospitals like this were not uncommon up through the 1950's. During the 1960's many small hospitals found it difficult to obtain expensive equipment and laboratories and many were merged into community hospitals, county hospitals, and larger private hospitals.

Today the lower portion of this building is home to a shop that caters to health care workers and their "scrubs". A portion of the ground floor is home to the Miner Street Arthouse.
Copyright: Claudia East, 2008