Yreka, California

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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 Rocky Gulch while traveling along the Siskiyou Trail from southern Oregon. This discovery sparked 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:

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.

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