Wednesday, December 31, 2008

News from the Distant Past...

Yreka, North Residential Area, circa 1899

At this writing the New Year, 2009, is imminent! Often at the end of a calendar year reflections and remembrances are made. This historical post will focus on random happenings that have made the news in our rich and varied past.


W.W. Coryell and Bailey have opened a butcher shop next door to the Yreka House. We wish them success. June 18, 1862.

Wells, Fargo, & Co. Express office will move to-day to the building adjoining the Franco-American on Miner St., opposite Fourth. The Post Office will be removed to the corner of Third and Miner. September 27, 1862.


At three o'clock yesterday the telegraph reported that it was snowing and blowing at Yreka. This may be considered the latest news by telegraph, as the wire was down between Jacksonville and Marysville, making the fourth break since Tuesday. May, 6, 1864.

Great preparations are being made for the fair next week. More horses are training for the races than ever! October 5, 1870.


Yreka. The stage from Oregon was robbed this morning at 2 o'clock about ten miles north of here. Only one robber was seen, who stopped the driver. No passengers were on board. He took nine mail sacks and the express box. The latter contained only a small amount, but the mail probably had considerable. The officers are in pursuit.
September 2, 1881.


While Mrs. H. McKay, a school mistress, was on her way to school about eight miles from Yreka, Monday, she was fiercely attacked by an infuriated steer in an open field. Being of great courage and quick perception she saw that her only safety lay in promptly taking the bull by the horns, which she did, and succeeded in warding off his attack until help came. February 22, 1883.


Yreka. It has been raining all day, with snow from four to five feet deep on the high mountains. The Klamath river is up about five feet, with prospects of a great freshet, unless the weather turns cold. January 8, 1884.

Yreka, July 25th.~The slaughter house of the City Market was burned again about 12 o'clock last night for the fourth time in three years. It was the work of incendiaries. The citizens are much excited and fear another incendiary crusade like that of 1882. July 26, 1884.

Counterfeit five-dollar pieces are being circulated in Siskiyou county, two of which, at least, are reported to have come from Scott valley. A drummer brought one over from Etna last week. The piece is a little darker color than Uncle Sam's money, and is about the right weight. There is no mint brand, but otherwise it is a good imitation of "honest" money.
February 27, 1897.


Fred Meamber, the popular and handsome proprietor of the Yreka Bottling Works, left yesterday for a business trip along the railroad.

Chas. A. Henry of Henley, who was shot through the fleshy part of the arm last week, is recovering rapidly under the treatment of Dr. Poole.

The Yreka Social Club will give a dancing party next Friday night, January 20, at the Peters and DeWitt hall. This will be a private affair for the members only.

January 18, 1899.

Compiled by Claudia A. East

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

St. Joseph Catholic Church ~ 1875

Sitting across the street from the Siskiyou County Courthouse at 314 Fourth Street one finds this sturdy and well known icon in Yreka, The St. Joseph Catholic Church.

The information provided about this church was provided by folks from the church, and the actual researcher or author of the material provided is unknown. Our thanks is given to those who provide historical information for all to share!

The Catholic Church in Yreka has a substantial history, local tradition indicates that the first services held in Yreka likely were held in 1853, for the local miners working here. In 1855 two young priests were appointed by the San Francisco Diocese to serve Yreka, they were Father James Cassin, and Father Thomas Cody from Ireland. These first services provided by the priests were held in a little unidentified building on Yama Street. At the same time a larger church was being built west of the Catholic Cemetery located on the east side of Yreka. The little frame church was completed in 1855 and was the first Roman Catholic Church building in Yreka.

Repeated flooding of Yreka Creek provided the incentive to build a stronger, safer church and a new building was erected on the southeast corner of Fourth and Lane Streets away from the regular flood zone. This building was dedicated in 1867, however, a mere four years later in 1871, fire broke out in town ravaging many sections of Yreka and both the new church and parish house was destroyed.

Another four years passed and eventually arrangements were complete for a new replacement church to be built. The cornerstone of St. Joseph's Catholic Church pictured above was laid in September of 1876. A parish hall was built in 1950 that sits just to the north of the church, and in 1955 an addition to the structure was added.

St. Joseph's Catholic Church is truly one of Yreka's landmarks of history! For those that have a copy of our book, Yreka, Images of America a image from 1885 can be found on page 69. A view of the interior alter section from approximately 1900 can also be viewed.

Copyright: Claudia A. East, 2008

Monday, December 8, 2008

Yreka in Winter

Winter has arrived in Yreka. However, as of this writing during the first week of December, 2008 we have had little rain and no snow this winter. However, this is not always the case. Many years we have had considerable snow and often it arrives all at once!

The image of "snowballs" on trees in Yreka on the left is of a postcard mailed around 1930, and the image was likely taken a few years prior. It is believed that this is an image of Fourth Street near Miner, before it was "widened". The building on the right side is where Dave's Clock's are now along with Edward Jones that sits on the corner of Miner and Fourth. The structures on the left were torn down during the street renovation in the early 1930s.

This month in the Yreka City Newsletter (one finds the newsletter with their city utility bill...) they present interesting information about snow in Yreka obtained from the Siskiyou County Museum archives. There is an interesting photo in the newsletter from a snowstorm in the early 1900s of Miner Street. They present information about "snow shoveling" in the infamous 1901 snow storm that dumped 6 or 7 feet of snow within two days. Within a week, wages for shoveling snow went from $1 an hour to $2.50 an hour. These were incredible wages considering the 1901 yearly household income in the United States averaged $750 a year!

Many times when heavy snowfall has occurred all at once, it often is followed by heavy rains ~ and very quickly Yreka finds itself in the midst of a flood. The above mentioned 1901 heavy snow storm did just that and the ensuing rains flooded Yreka Creek and significant damage to the train station, railroad tracks, homes, and businesses came to our residents. If a copy of the 1976 Siskiyou Pioneer is in your home library one can view some of the devastation from the 1901 storm on pages 51, 29, and 27.

Just a few years ago, either in 2003 or 2004 we had a snowfall of 3 feet in a very short time. It brought mobility within town to a grinding halt. With our past history of snowfall and then rain, Yreka is sure to experience more of the same in the future.

Copyright: Claudia A. East, 2008

Monday, December 1, 2008

Answers to Yreka's History Mysteries?

This will be a very different post from others in this blog. This time I am presenting some of my little Yreka "mysteries", and hope some of you may know the answers, or at least part of them! If you know the answers or have information that might prove helpful to my queries, please post a response! Even if you don't know a response would be great!

Little "mystery" # 1:
  • The image above is of a group of unidentified men standing on the corner of Miner and Third Streets, right in front of what was then, The Siskiyou County Bank. Behind them and to the right is currently where the Masonic Lodge resides. This image was taken before the current lodge was built in the mid 1920's. The streets do not appear to be paved and that jibes with the date estimate. There is also a buggy in the background. The mystery are the men in the image. Can anyone identify them? Or even venture a guess?
Little "mystery" #2:
  • When the original courthouse was "expanded and remodeled" in 1896-7, a cupola was added to the top of the structure. While researching this topic, it has been clearly shown that the cupola was still on the courthouse in 1915. In 1927 the cupola shows on fire maps, and seems to be in a photo from the newspaper in 1931 during fire ladder practice. By 1939 the cupola is clearly gone from photos. Searching newspapers I haven't been able to find the date the cupola was torn down. Do you know the answer to this little mystery of mine? Or, do you have dated photos that show the cupola that is different from my information? If you do, please post a comment and let me know! thanks.

Little "mystery" #3:

  • The canons that once graced Yreka City Hall are gone. In 1913 a City Hall was built on North Main Street (currently part of the parking lot area of Miner's Inn) and in the front of the building were two small canons that stood on either side of the entrance at the top of a small flight of steps. These canons were reportedly canons that had been used in the Modoc Indian War. (If you have a copy of our book, Yreka from the Images of America Series, you will find a photo on page 80.) The building was torn down in 1976, and the canons ... well what happened to them? The museum doesn't have them. Do you know?

If you can even venture a guess, or pose a mystery in return ~ I welcome your comments!

Copyright: Claudia A. East, 2008