Status: Active Town
Elevation: 2,648 Feet ( 807 meters)
Gallery: View 21 Yreka, California Photos
County: View Siskiyou County Mines
Date Settled: 1851
Current Population: 7,295
Peak Population: na
Primary Mineral: Gold
Yreka was born when gold was discovered on the flats near a ravine called Black Gulch in March of 1851 by Abraham Thompson, a member of a mule train party enroute to Scott Valley from southern Oregon. Six weeks after the discovery 2,000 miners had arrived in "Thompson's Dry Diggings" to test their luck. By May, the gold rush "boomtown" was composed of tents, shanties and a few rough cabins. Several name changes occurred until the little city was called Yreka, apparently a Shasta Indian word meaning "north mountain." Incorporation proceedings were completed on April 21, 1857.
Joaquin Miller described Yreka during 1853-54 as a bustling place with "...a tide of people up and down and across other streets, as strong as if in New York". More stage lines used the town for a stage stop than any other community in the state. Two sizable Chinatowns existed on Miner Street and in 1889 a shortline railroad connected the city with the Southern Pacific's westcoast line. The heart of the community, then and now, was Miner Street--named appropriately enough after those hardworking individuals who built the town.
Text courtesy of the Yreka Chamber of Commerce