Yreka, California: Wikis


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City of Yreka
—  City  —
Statue at entrance to Yreka Historic District
Location in Siskiyou County and the state of California
Coordinates: 41°43′36″N 122°38′15″W / 41.72667°N 122.6375°W / 41.72667; -122.6375Coordinates: 41°43′36″N 122°38′15″W / 41.72667°N 122.6375°W / 41.72667; -122.6375
Country United States
State California
County Siskiyou
 - Total 10.0 sq mi (25.6 km2)
 - Land 10.0 sq mi (25.6 km2)
 - Water 0.1 sq mi (0.2 km2)
Elevation 2,582 ft (787 m)
Population (2008)
 - Total 7,368
 Density 736.8/sq mi (287.8/km2)
Time zone Pacific (PST) (UTC-8)
 - Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP code 96097
Area code(s) 530
FIPS code 06-86944
GNIS feature ID 1652661

Yreka (pronounced /waɪˈriːkə/ "wye-REE-ka") is the county seat of Siskiyou County, California, United States. The population was 7,290 at the 2000 census.



In March 1851 Abraham Thompson, a mule train packer, discovered gold near Black Gulch while traveling along the Siskiyou Trail from southern Oregon. This discovery sparked an extension of the California Gold Rush from California's Sierra Nevada into Northern California. By April 1851, 2,000 miners had arrived in "Thompson's Dry Diggings" to test their luck, and by June 1851, a gold rush "boomtown" of tents, shanties, and a few rough cabins had sprung up. Several name changes occurred until the little city was called Yreka, apparently taken from a Shasta Indian word meaning "north mountain" or "white mountain," a reference to nearby Mount Shasta.[1][2] Mark Twain, in his Autobiography (p. 162, Harper/Perennial Literary, 1990), tells a different story:

Harte had arrived in California in the [eighteen-]fifties, twenty-three or twenty-four years old, and had wandered up into the surface diggings of the camp at Yreka, a place which had acquired its mysterious name — when in its first days it much needed a name — through an accident. There was a bakeshop with a canvas sign which had not yet been put up but had been painted and stretched to dry in such a way that the word BAKERY, all but the B, showed through and was reversed. A stranger read it wrong end first, YREKA, and supposed that that was the name of the camp. The campers were satisfied with it and adopted it.

Well-known poet Joaquin Miller described Yreka during 1853-1854 as a bustling place with "... a tide of people up and down and across other streets, as strong as if a city on the East Coast." Incorporation proceedings were completed on April 21, 1857.

In November 1941, Yreka was designated as the capital of the proposed State of Jefferson, a secession movement along the Oregon and California border that has gained cultural traction in the following decades.

Commerce and tourism

Located at the northern edge of the Shasta Cascade area of Northern California, Yreka sees many tourists. The core of the historic downtown, along West Miner Street, is listed as an historic district on the National Register of Historic Places. Yreka is home to the Siskiyou County Museum,[3] and to a number of Gold Rush-era monuments and parks. Visitors also come to enjoy trout fishing in the nearby Klamath,[4] Sacramento[4][5][6] and McCloud[4][5] Rivers, or come to see and climb Mount Shasta, Castle Crags or the Trinity Alps.[7] Visitors also engage in nearby skiing (both alpine and cross-country), or bike or hike to the waterfalls, streams and lakes in the area, including nearby Falls of the McCloud River, Burney Falls, Mossbrae Falls, Lake Siskiyou, Castle Lake and Shasta Lake.[7] In addition, because of its status as the county seat of Siskiyou County, there are a number of businesses related to the County courts, County Recorder, and other official county functions.


Yreka is located at 41°43′36″N 122°38′15″W / 41.72667°N 122.6375°W / 41.72667; -122.6375 (41.726617, -122.637568).[8]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 10.0 sq mi (26.0 [[km2]]). 10.0 sq mi (25.8 km2) of it is land, and 0.1 sq mi (0.2 km2) of it (0.70%) is water.

The elevation of Yreka is approximately 2,500 feet (760 m) above sea level. It is nestled in the Shasta Valley south of the Siskiyou Mountains and north of Mount Shasta, a dormant volcano towering above the valley at just over 14,000 ft (4,300 m) above sea level.


Climate data for Yreka, CA
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 22
Average high °C (°F) 12.2
Average low °C (°F) 0
Record low °C (°F) -17
Precipitation mm (inches) 106.7
Source: [9] {{{accessdate}}}

[citation needed]


Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1860 1,631
1870 1,063 −34.8%
1880 1,059 −0.4%
1890 1,100 3.9%
1900 1,254 14.0%
1910 1,134 −9.6%
1920 1,277 12.6%
1930 2,126 66.5%
1940 2,485 16.9%
1950 3,227 29.9%
1960 4,759 47.5%
1970 5,394 13.3%
1980 5,916 9.7%
1990 6,948 17.4%
2000 7,290 4.9%
Est. 2007 7,348 0.8%

As of the census[10] of 2000, there were 7,290 people, 3,114 households, and 1,880 families residing in the city. The population density was 730.8/sq mi (282.0/km2). There were 3,303 housing units at an average density of 331.1/sq mi (127.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 86.56% White, 0.48% African American, 6.04% Native American, 1.82% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 1.70% from other races, and 3.33% from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 5.38% of the population.

There were 3,114 households, out of which 29.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.8% were married couples living together, 13.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.6% were non-families. 34.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 17.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.27 and the average family size was 2.92.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 25.5% under the age of 18, 7.8% from 18 to 24, 23.5% from 25 to 44, 23.8% from 45 to 64, and 19.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females, there were 88.3 males. For every 100 females, age 18 and over, there were 83.9 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $27,398, and the median income for a family was $37,448. Males had a median income of $31,632 versus $23,986 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,664. About 17.5% of families and 21.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 33.6% of those under age 18 and 8.8% of those age 65 or over.


In the state legislature Yreka is located in the 4th Senate District, represented by Republican Sam Aanestad, and in the 2nd Assembly District, represented by Republican Doug LaMalfa. Federally, Yreka is located in California's 2nd congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of R +13[11] and is represented by Republican Wally Herger.

General information

The city is the seat of Siskiyou County and has many services that support the many small communities in the area. The high school buses carry students from towns that would not otherwise be able to fund a secondary education.

In Yreka, the gold-mining era is commemorated with a gold museum, as well as with a remnant of a silver mining operation in Greenhorn Park. The high school sports mascot is a gold miner. School colors are red and gold.


  • "Yreka Bakery" is a popular palindrome, but no such business currently exists,[12] although sources indicate that there was one as early as 1886,[13] which may have been the foundation of Mark Twain's story. A business with the name Yreka Bakery existed in the early 1970s until the late 1990s. Martin Gardner mentioned that Yreka Bakery was in business on West Miner Street in Yreka,[14] but it was pointed out by readers "the Yreka Bakery no longer existed. However, in 1970 the original premises were occupied by the Yrella Gallery [also a palindrome], and Ms. Wilson sent a Polaroid picture of the gallery's sign to prove it."[15]
  • Yreka is mentioned in Ann Rule's true crime novel, "The I-5 Killer".
  • The official city flower of Yreka is the Yreka Phlox.[16]


There have been two documented lynchings in the town of Yreka. The first took place on August 26, 1895, when four men - William Null, Garland Stemler, Luis Moreno, and Lawrence Johnson - were simultaneously hanged by a lynch mob from a railroad tie suspended from two adjacent trees. The four men were all awaiting trial for various charges of murder and robbery.

Yreka's second lynching took place in August 1935. At the funeral of Dunsmuir, California Chief of Police, F. R. Daw, a number of mourners planned the lynching of his alleged murderer, Clyde Johnson. Early on the morning of August 3, 1935, the masked mob, estimated as large as fifty, forcibly removed Johnson from his jail cell and dragged him three miles south of town where they hung him from a pine tree. Local and state officials expressed mixed reaction to news of the lynching.

District Attorney James Davis declared that he would open an investigation and "do everything the law requires to apprehend members of the mob." On the other hand, the California Attorney General, referring to the recently delayed execution of an accused murderer, stated that the "uncontrollable unrest" was a natural result of the "apathy of the Supreme Court of the United States." [17]

See also


  1. ^ Origin of name Accessed June 4, 2007.
  2. ^ Origin of name Accessed June 4, 2007.
  3. ^ Siskiyou County Museum website accessed 2008-02-21.
  4. ^ a b c Siskiyou County information site accessed 2008-02-21.
  5. ^ a b Ross, John (2005). Trout Unlimited's Guide to America's 100 Best Trout Streams, Updated and Revised. Guilford, CT: The Lyons Press. ISBN 1592285856. 
  6. ^ Brooks, Wade (2006). Fly fishing and the meaning of life. St. Paul, MN: Voyageur Press. ISBN 0760325758. , p. 92. Excerpts of the text of this book are available here courtesy of Google Books.
  7. ^ a b Outdoor recreational activities in area accessed 2008-02-24.
  8. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. http://www.census.gov/geo/www/gazetteer/gazette.html. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  9. ^ weatherbase.com
  10. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. http://factfinder.census.gov. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  11. ^ "Will Gerrymandered Districts Stem the Wave of Voter Unrest?". Campaign Legal Center Blog. http://www.clcblog.org/blog_item-85.html. Retrieved 2007-10-20. 
  12. ^ [1]
  13. ^ Legendary origins of Yreka
  14. ^ Martin Gardner, Mathematical Circus, p. 246
  15. ^ Martin Gardner, Mathematical Circus, p. 251
  16. ^ Smith, David (September 11, 2009), "Council names Yreka Phlox city flower", Siskiyou Daily News, http://www.siskiyoudaily.com/homepage/x244359558/Council-names-Yreka-Phlox-city-flower .
  17. ^ "The corpse of Clyde Johnson. August 3, 1935 . Yreka, California". Without Sanctuary lynching photos and history. http://www.withoutsanctuary.org/main.html. Retrieved 2009-05-05. 

External links



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