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History Adventures on Miner Street

When I visit Yreka, CA, with friends and family, one of my favorite places to wander is Miner Street. Good food and coffee can be easily acquired, and cute retail shops line the charming and historic street. 

During the mid-1800s, Yreka was a gold rush boom town. Today, the old buildings in downtown are iconic displays of the Gold Rush days. Some of the structures are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and several of the buildings are California Historical Landmarks.

Based on interpretive plaques and information gathered from Yreka Historic Preservation, below is a brief history of three historic buildings on Miner Street.

The Franco American Hotel
Frenchman Leon Marniesse started the Franco American Hotel in 1855. The hotel was an important stage stop, and it also housed a restaurant, saloon, the Wells Fargo & Company Express Office, and other businesses. Also, well-known people including President Hayes and Vice President Colfax stayed at the hotel. Today, you’ll find a jewelry store, a candy shop, and other businesses in the building like The Palace Barbershop. They proudly state that they’re the oldest continually operated barbershop in California.

Chamberlain-Stimmel Building
In 1856 H. E. Stimmel—a German native—purchased the Chamberlain-Stimmel Building and opened a stove shop. Eventually, Stimmel expanded his business into a general hardware store. When Stimmel died, the building was renovated. On the ground floor, patrons could shop for groceries and confectionary goods, and the upper half of the building housed a newspaper called “News.” Over the last twenty years, the building has housed various business like a cafe, art gallery, bakery, and more.

Peters & DeWitt Buildings
The Peters & DeWitt Buildings were home to numerous business in the 1850s like a brewery, bakery, photographic studio, grocery store, lodge, and dentists’ offices. It also housed Peter’s Opera House. Inside the opera house was a sloped floor, a stage, two balconies, and there was a platform outside where patrons listened to music and speakers.

The Elks Lodge purchased the building in 1960, and today it’s used for community events, meetings, and more. Also, there is an old, elaborate bar inside the building. If you’re in town, stop at the Elks Lodge for a drink and enjoy the old-time feel of the bar.

While you’re Yreka, take a historical walking tour with Yreka Historic Preservation (details below), look for the historical markers on each building and the horse hitching posts that still line the street.

Happy adventuring!

PRO-TIPS

—Lodging: Pair your historical tour with a stay at the Best Western Miners Inn. It’s within walking distance of restaurants, shops, and Miner Street.

—Historical Tours: Yreka Historic Preservation offers walking tours of Miner Street. If you’re interested in a tour, contact their office by phone or e-mail:

Phone: (530) 340-5673

Email: YrekaCHP@gmail.com

—Take a Virtual Field Trip: If you can’t make an in-person tour, download the Google Field Trip app to your smartphone. The app serves as a virtual tour guide. It uses your location information to recommend nearby landmarks, points of interest, historical tidbits, restaurants, and more!

Siskiyou County Museum: After you tour Miner Street, go to the Siskiyou County Museum. Admission is only $3.00 for adults, and children under five and get in free! Business hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 9 am to 3 pm. If you are traveling on a holiday, call ahead to check their hours. Also, the museum has an active Facebook page. Visit it for current event information and interesting links and historical photos.

—Helpful Historical Links: The Siskiyou County Historical Society has a list of useful links and museums their website. If you’d like to visit additional historic places in Siskiyou, it’s a great resource!

—Good Eats: End your history filled day with a meal at Etna Taphouse, Strings Italian Cafe, or grab a cup of coffee and a treat at Zephyr Books and Coffee on Miner Street.

 

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When I visit Yreka, CA, with friends and family, one of my favorite places to wander is Miner Street. Good food and coffee can be easily acquired, and cute retail shops line the charming and historic street. 

During the mid-1800s, Yreka was a gold rush boom town. Today, the old buildings in downtown are iconic displays of the Gold Rush days. Some of the structures are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and several of the buildings are California Historical Landmarks.

Based on interpretive plaques and information gathered from Yreka Historic Preservation, below is a brief history of three historic buildings on Miner Street.

The Franco American Hotel
Frenchman Leon Marniesse started the Franco American Hotel in 1855. The hotel was an important stage stop, and it also housed a restaurant, saloon, the Wells Fargo & Company Express Office, and other businesses. Also, well-known people including President Hayes and Vice President Colfax stayed at the hotel. Today, you’ll find a jewelry store, a candy shop, and other businesses in the building like The Palace Barbershop. They proudly state that they’re the oldest continually operated barbershop in California.

Chamberlain-Stimmel Building
In 1856 H. E. Stimmel—a German native—purchased the Chamberlain-Stimmel Building and opened a stove shop. Eventually, Stimmel expanded his business into a general hardware store. When Stimmel died, the building was renovated. On the ground floor, patrons could shop for groceries and confectionary goods, and the upper half of the building housed a newspaper called “News.” Over the last twenty years, the building has housed various business like a cafe, art gallery, bakery, and more.

Peters & DeWitt Buildings
The Peters & DeWitt Buildings were home to numerous business in the 1850s like a brewery, bakery, photographic studio, grocery store, lodge, and dentists’ offices. It also housed Peter’s Opera House. Inside the opera house was a sloped floor, a stage, two balconies, and there was a platform outside where patrons listened to music and speakers.

The Elks Lodge purchased the building in 1960, and today it’s used for community events, meetings, and more. Also, there is an old, elaborate bar inside the building. If you’re in town, stop at the Elks Lodge for a drink and enjoy the old-time feel of the bar.

While you’re Yreka, take a historical walking tour with Yreka Historic Preservation (details below), look for the historical markers on each building and the horse hitching posts that still line the street.

Happy adventuring!

PRO-TIPS

—Lodging: Pair your historical tour with a stay at the Best Western Miners Inn. It’s within walking distance of restaurants, shops, and Miner Street.

—Historical Tours: Yreka Historic Preservation offers walking tours of Miner Street. If you’re interested in a tour, contact their office by phone or e-mail:

Phone: (530) 340-5673

Email: YrekaCHP@gmail.com

—Take a Virtual Field Trip: If you can’t make an in-person tour, download the Google Field Trip app to your smartphone. The app serves as a virtual tour guide. It uses your location information to recommend nearby landmarks, points of interest, historical tidbits, restaurants, and more!

Siskiyou County Museum: After you tour Miner Street, go to the Siskiyou County Museum. Admission is only $3.00 for adults, and children under five and get in free! Business hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 9 am to 3 pm. If you are traveling on a holiday, call ahead to check their hours. Also, the museum has an active Facebook page. Visit it for current event information and interesting links and historical photos.

—Helpful Historical Links: The Siskiyou County Historical Society has a list of useful links and museums their website. If you’d like to visit additional historic places in Siskiyou, it’s a great resource!

—Good Eats: End your history filled day with a meal at Etna Taphouse, Strings Italian Cafe, or grab a cup of coffee and a treat at Zephyr Books and Coffee on Miner Street.