Sunday, March 22, 2009

Henry Egbert Building ~ Circa 1860

Photo copyright Claudia East, 2009.

The Henry Egbert Building sits at 320 West Miner Street in Yreka, California right next to the Franco-American Hotel. The construction of this building was more "efficient" from many of the historic structures along this section of Miner Street. The walls are common to the adjacent buildings, but the roof is supported on sides and in the middle with post and beam construction, and the original rear wall is made of sandstone dating that wall quite early.

According to information located on the historical plaque placed by the City of Yreka the New England Bakery and Temperance House was operating here as early as 1855. The plaque also notes that shade trees were once planted in front of the building in 1871.

This building first appears on Sanborn Fire Maps in 1885. The structure is actually identified as almost two structures or as a "split building" with two businesses, a grocery store in one half and a saloon in the other. In the 1888 and 1890 Fire Maps the building is shown to house three businesses, a grocery, a saloon with billiards in the back and a very small barbershop. The first public record at the county level shows Henry Egbert as the owner of the property in the Book of Deeds in 1894.

By 1897 the Egbert Building serves as offices on one part and a saloon on the other, with the small barbershop being replaced with a tiny bakery. In 1901 the building houses two saloons and a small bakery one of the saloons located here was named the "Dew Drop Saloon". It is currently not known the exact time frame, but it is told that one bakery served hot coffee and toast every morning at 6:00 a.m. By 1908 the bakery was gone, but the two saloons remain! Information for the next 20 years is unknown, but by 1927 the building was home to an undertaker on one side and a tailor with cleaning and pressing services on the other.

Around 1928 or so the new grocery store chain, Purity Stores called 320 West Miner home for the Yreka store and they utilized the entire two part structure. At this time the building was about half the depth it is now, and a portion was added in the 1930s on the side of the Franco American Hotel. Purity operated their store here until around 1938 when they moved to a new larger store on Broadway with their distinctive barrel type roof. A picture of both the exterior and interior of this building in its day as a Purity Store can be found in our book, Yreka, Images of America on page 40.

Sometime between 1938 and 1949 the Yreka Seed & Grain Company called this building home and it operated here perhaps up in to the 1960's. During the 1950's a second portion was added to the building making it the size it is today, approximately 4,000 sq. ft. Following the Yreka Seed & Grain company the building became Black's Appliances and served the community there until 2006. The building is often referred to by locals today as the "Black's Building". The City of Yreka owed this structure for a number of years and it was under consideration for a variety of possible uses.  However, the City sold the building and it is now home to the "Dulcimer Shop".

There are gaps in information about this building and anyone with specific knowledge is encouraged to comment on this post!

Copyright: Claudia A. East, 2009

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Pine Grove Trailer Park

The Pacific Highway, (later known as California Highway 99) came right through Yreka. The automobile was becoming a common mode of transportation and Yreka residents did not want to be left out of this new potentially revenue producing opportunity! Everyone needed fuel, some needed repairs, others would be hungry, and still others may stop and see our sites or stay overnight or two.

It was in 1916 that an article ran in The Siskiyou News that an "Auto Park" was sorely needed in Yreka to serve the campers that were passing by. It wasn't too long before several "Auto Parks" began to pop up in town. When the Pine Grove Auto Camp and Trailer Park was in its earlier days it was "out of town". During its heyday, Pine Grove had fuel, a small restaurant, auto repair, cabins for rent, and trailer camping spaces ~ not to mention, beer.

This was a popular and convenient stop along the way, shade trees as well as pines gave protection in the warmer months, weary travelers could rest, get a bite to eat and fuel up the car before heading out to their next adventure down the road! Just remember, Yreka is about half way from San Francisco to Portland. A good stopping place.

The last owners to operate the Pine Grove Auto Camp and Trailer Park and offer all of the services were Lloyd and Edna Watson, they owned this business from the 1950's until the early 1980's. Naturally, the business changed or evolved during the nearly 30 years they were proprietors. The restaurant closed as well as the gas station and auto repair, and many of the trailers became permanent residents, although they still welcomed "overnighters". The trailer park is still there today, located near the south end of Fairlane Road in Yreka, however it is only a shadow of it's former self with most of the buildings gone.

As one drives by remember that the road once was the famed Pacific Highway right in front ~ and if the road could tell its tales of adventure we might listen to stories of slower days gone by. For those of you with a copy of our book, Yreka, Images of America Series by Arcadia Publishing you will find additional photos of Pine Grove Trailer Park on page 23.
Copyright: Claudia A. East, 2009

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Sharp's Mill Teepee Burner ~ Yreka

Sharp's Mill Teepee Wood Burner, Sharp's Road, Yreka, CA

At the end of Sharps Road in Yreka, near the Siskiyou Fairgrounds, stands one of the two remaining Teepee (wood) Burner's left in the Yreka area. At one time there were as many as 13 lumber mills in our area. It is likely that this is part of what is left of the J. F. Sharp Lumber Company that thrived in Yreka for Many years. At one time it seemed that every single lumber mill had some sort of burner to help rid the mill of waste. Today we hardly think of waste as a major consideration to lumber mills as all the wood by-products (sawdust, chips, etc.) are used in such a wide variety of ways from presto-logs to strand board. But, back in the day, only about 50% of most trees were utilized in lumber products and the rest, was ~ well, waste. The teepee type metal burners were a Northwest invention and came about during World War I. This kind of wood burner was actually a new improved safety measure from the open pit burning that once occurred. These wood burners were used until the passage of the clean air act in 1970 and were eventually phased out during the next 10 years.

At one time Highway 99 passed nearby Sharp's Mill and the burner; recollections abound as a kid riding in the car at night ~ it was always an event to see the Teepee burners! They were like their own little Fourth of July display! Upwards from the Teepee one could see sparks and embers churning out into the night sky and floating upwards. Naturally, one could see the display during the day, but oh, at night ~ it was awesome to an 8 year old in the 1950's. It seemed completely magical, and the imagination of a child could find pictures in the smoke and embers, or fly high above riding on the heat waves.

These rusty and generally abandoned burners are still found sitting near roads if one keeps a keen eye out while riding along vintage routes in the Northwest. For those of you that have a copy of our book, Yreka, Images of America Series an aerial view of Teepee burners and mills on Sharps and Oberlin Roads from the 1940's appears on page 98.

Copyright: Claudia A. East, 2009