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Communities of the

Mount Shasta Region

McCloud Yreka

Edgewood Montague

Dunsmuir Gazelle

Weed Mt. Shasta City

Carol Jean Cox

Communities of the Mount Shasta Region A Historical and Geographical Interpretation by Carol Jean Cox

Copyright Š 2014 by Carol Jean Cox Published by CAREAN Publishing P.O. BOX 247, Nevada City, CA 95959 Printed in the United States of America All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by an means - for example, electronic, photocopy, recording - without the prior written permission of the publisher. The only exception is brief quotations in printed reviews. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Cox, Carol Jean. Communities of the mount shasta region: a historical and geographical interpretation / Carol Jean Cox. - 1st ed. p. cm. ISBN 978-0-615-80312-8 Front Cover Photography by Bruno Grossi– Back Cover Aerial Panorama created by Dr. William A Bowen, California Geographical Survey ( Maps designed by Shanin Martin-Ybarrondo


Communities of the Mount Shasta Region A Historical and Geographical Interpretation by Carol Jean Cox Table of Contents Dedication...............................................................................5 Preface.....................................................................................7 Chapters Introduction............................................................................9 1. Dunsmuir..............................................................................13 2. McCloud...............................................................................33 3. Mt. Shasta City......................................................................57 4. Weed ....................................................................................79 5. Edgewood............................................................................101 6. Gazelle.................................................................................119 7. Yreka...................................................................................137 8. Montague............................................................................161 Mount Shasta Field Class Images.........................................182 About the Author................................................................185 Acknowledgments................................................................186 References............................................................................189



Chapter 2 McCloud




The community of McCloud is located on the southeast slope of Mount Shasta. Photos courtesy of the Heritage Junction Museum in McCloud.


McCloud Introduction/Location The rural community of McCloud is located on the southeast slope of beautiful Mount Shasta in Northern California. McCloud is a historic lumber mill town in Siskiyou County situated amidst forested slopes in the McCloud River drainage. The community’s exact geographic location is 41°15’ N and 122°8’ W, and its elevation is 3,281 feet. McCloud has never been adjacent to the busy thoroughfares of the Siskiyou Trail, Southern Pacific Railroad, Pacific Highway, historic Highway 99, or Interstate 5. Its relative location away from major transportation corridors gives the town a distinct character of seclusion. However, its relatively close distance of 15 miles from these transportation corridors has permitted easy accessibility to the town. Historically, the town’s situation within the heavily-forested McCloud River watershed allowed access to vast amounts of trees; thus, establishing mill sites within this forest was most efficient. To transport the finished lumber from the McCloud area, a relatively short railroad line was built over to the main Southern Pacific Line in Mt. Shasta City. Today McCloud’s location has allowed the community to remain relatively isolated, and as such the town has become an out-of-the-way destination drawing tourist and resident alike who value this tranquil and picturesque location.

History The area was first inhabited by the Achumawi Native Americans, who inhabited permanent settlements during the winters, near streams such as Squaw Valley Creek just north of McCloud. During the summers these people would continually move in search of food. The name Achumawi literally is translated as “flowing river people.” Mount Shasta marked the northwest corner of their expansive territory and for thousands of years these people lived in the abundance provided by their forested environment. In 1827 a Scottish-born trapper, Alexander McLeod, led the first party of the Hudson Bay Company into this wooded area. Soon after, in 1829, his group was temporarily stranded by winter storms near the McCloud River headwaters. The next travelers through this region included gold 37

McCloud History

miners en-route to the Yreka gold fields during the California Gold Rush. Ross McCloud, a prominent early pioneer and settler in the 1850s, operated an inn at Upper Soda Springs (Dunsmuir) and was instrumental in improving area roads and trails. In 1856, he advertised the completion of a new trail through the McCloud River Valley from Sacramento to the gold fields in Yreka that didn’t require having to cross any mountains. It was during this time period that references to this locale changed in spelling from McLeod to McCloud. Permanent settlement began in 1872, when a salmon hatchery was established along the McCloud River. A post office near the hatchery soon followed in 1877. Early homesteaders such as Joaquin Miller established homes in nearby Squaw Valley and settlers soon built sawmills to process the enormous amounts of virgin forests into lumber. Of these early mills, one very successful sawmill was built by “Friday” George in 1892. This mill was later purchased by George Scott and William Van Arsdale in 1897. While the trees were abundant and easily processed by the mills, transporting heavy lumber by oxen over the steep grade to the main rail line in Sisson (Mt. Shasta City) was inefficient and costly. The newly formed Scott and Van Arsdale Corporation soon acquired a number of the small local sawmills and created the McCloud Lumber Company. The McCloud Lumber Company eventually totaled 86,000 acres of timber as well as federal and private contracts for cutting.


The McCloud River watershed and verdant forests as seen from McCloud. Photo by Carol J. Cox.

McCloud History

Locomotive No. 9 was used to haul logs for the McCloud River Railroad. Courtesy of the Heritage Junction Museum in McCloud.

Railroads made it economically feasible to transport heavy lumber, so the very next year in 1898, rail track was laid from McCloud to the main line of the Southern Pacific Railroad in Sisson. The McCloud Lumber Company and the McCloud River Railroad had both the ability to generate and transfer lumber. One train engine could pull 70 cars of logs using only a crew of five men. Spur lines of the railroad transported the trees to the mill site, where the logs were floated in the log ponds and then milled. Operations continued around the clock using multiple rigs or saws simultaneously. As the resource base was logged near McCloud, the rail line was extended further out. Over time the railroad line was extended from Mt. Shasta in the west, through McCloud to Hambone, and south to Pondosa. In the 1950s the line was further extended to Burney. Large amounts of lumber were transported out of the McCloud River Valley and over to the main north-south railroad line in Sisson which, in turn, moved the lumber up and down the West Coast. In addition to lumber transport, the McCloud River Railway operated passenger service between 1898 and 1952. Later, during the 1950s and 1960s, special excursion trains were operated on these same tracks.



The Company Town

1909 panorama of McCloud mill and company town. Courtesy of Siskiyou County Museum.

The McCloud River Railroad transported both wood and passengers. Shown above is the depot, train and company town. The railroad became a focus for the community. Courtesy of Siskiyou County Museum.



The Company Town

The Company Town The town of McCloud was formally planned by the McCloud Lumber Company in 1897. By 1904 the town of McCloud had been carefully crafted using a grid system consisting of rows of company-owned residences. The company town was efficiently structured with housing centered around the “downtown” area of the company store, or mercantile, the train depot, and company services. Other company buildings in the downtown area included a recreation hall, theater, banks, and restaurants. Schools for the workers’ children and churches were also centralized within the town. Two mill sites were on the north and south peripheries of the community, and Highway 89 framed most of the town buildings to the south.

The company store was central to the downtown economic activity. Streets were designed to be spaciously wide. Courtesy of College of the Siskiyous.



The Company Town

Each street had its unique style of housing that reflected the status of the company worker. For the many laborers, each house on the road was a replica of the next, with larger homes indicating higher standing within the company. Adjacent to the central business part of town was an area known as Lawndale, where the company managers resided in mansions. Often referred to as “Snob Hill” or “Executive Row,” many of these homes have been restored and some converted into bed and breakfast inns. The former residence of the McCloud River St. Joseph’s Catholic Church was created from wood from the McCloud Mill. Lumber Company president was Photo by Carol J. Cox. built in 1907 and today is the site of the McCloud Guest House Bed and Breakfast. Dignitaries such as President Herbert Hoover, Ty Cobb, Jean Harlow, and some of the Hearst family have stayed here.

Company houses built for workers are exact replicas of each other. Photo by Carol J. Cox.



The Company Town

McCloud Executive Lawndale Home. Photo by Carol J. Cox.

McCloud Guest House - former residence of the president of the McCloud River Lumber Company. Photo by Carol J. Cox.



The Company Town

McCloud was segregated into ethnic workers neighborhoods. Shown above is one of the Italian areas known as Tucci Camp. Photo by Carol J. Cox.

In designing the town, the McCloud Lumber Company created regions of ethnicity, or neighborhoods that segregated its workers according to race and stature within the company. Company workers who were White and not Italian resided in the area between California, Broadway, and Quincy

Beaumont Area Baptist Church. Photo by Carol J. Cox.



The Company Town

Streets. This area was most central and preferable. The segregated Italian ethnic neighborhood of Tucci Camp was an area centered on Tucci Street, north of town and next to the railroad tracks. This area today is characterized by very wide streets, alleyways, few trees, and numerous cars. When the new sawmill was built in the north part of town, another Italian neighborhood, known as “New Mill,” was also created. The Mexican population lived in “Little Tijuana,” just north of Tucci Camp. However, little remains of this area as it was destroyed by fire. There were two areas for the African American community, “Colored Town” and “Southern Avenue.” “Colored Town” was closest to the original mill area and farthest from the town businesses. When the new mill was built, the Southern Avenue ethnic neighborhood moved to the northeastern area of McCloud and became the neighborhood of Beaumont. Today, remnants of the African American population and a Baptist Church remain in this area of McCloud. Centrally located, schools in McCloud were not segregated. Regardless of ethnicity, the McCloud Lumber Company was maternalistic and provided complete care for all workers and their families. Stores, banks, recreation halls, swimming pools, schools, and hospitals were company-owned buildings operated by company personnel for the residents employed by the company. The town was often referred to

The McCloud River Lumber Company sawmill as seen from the millpond. Courtesy of the College of the Siskiyous.



The Company Town

as “Mother McCloud”: a moniker given to honor the corporation that literally fed, clothed, and sheltered its townspeople for several decades. The company owned and managed many aspects of worker life, sponsoring parties during the Christmas holidays with presents and bonuses for workers and their families and organizing sporting events. For 70 years, the synthesis of the mill and railroad sustained this prosperous company-owned town of the early 20th century. McCloud was a mill town, designed, owned, and operated by the company. The community had carefully orchestrated business streets, segregated residential areas, and company analogous housing. By the 1950s the town’s population was 2,600 and almost half of the residents were employed by the McCloud River Lumber Company. Then, in 1963, the town, railroad, and mill were sold to U.S. Plywood Corporation, which, in turn, dismantled all its holdings except the lumber mill. All of the town’s buildings and former company houses were put up for sale in 1965 and sold to John W. Galbreath and Co., while the forested land was later sold to John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company. The Mercantile Mall continued to serve as the main shopping center for former company workers and the community until the 1980s. However, the days of the big company-owned town were gone, and the economic uncertainty of the future overshadowed the community.

P&M Cedar Products used the site of the McCloud Mill. Photo by Carol J. Cox.

It was expected that lumbering would continue for another 50 years, but after privatization of the town and with the decline of the timber 46


The Company Town

industry in the 1970s, the economy of McCloud deteriorated. U.S. Plywood merged with Champion International and after 13 years of operation in 1979, the company was forced to close the mill. When the large sawmill closed its doors, it marked the end of an era. In 1980 P&M Cedar Products bought the mill, computerized its operation, and produced premium lumber products employing a limited number of workers. However, in 2002, the mill again closed. With the sawmill abandoned, the prospect of economic recovery seemed elusive. Then, in 2003, the Nestle Corporation negotiated a contract with McCloud to plan a million-square-foot bottling plant on the site of the defunct McCloud River Lumber Company In 1991, McCloud lost its historic and to provide over 200 jobs. depot to a fire. But, by 2008, the bottling plant Courtesy of the Heritage Junction proposal was derailed by residents Museum in McCloud. and environmentalists alike. With the lumber company dismantled, the associated railroad was unnecessary. As a result, the McCloud Railroad has had several owners, including U.S. Plywood-Champion Papers (1969), Champion International (1972) and Intel Corporation (1977). In 1992, one year after McCloud lost its historic midtown depot to a fire, the McCloud Railroad was purchased by Jeff Forbis. By 1996 the Forbis family brought back an excursion train service with the Shasta Sunset Dinner Train, and 47

McCloud Today

one year later, restored steam locomotive No. 25 was added to the steam and diesel powered trains. Although much of the original rail line had been abandoned, the reincarnated McCloud Railway operated freight business including the transportation of lumber products and diatomaceous earth, while the Shasta Sunset Dinner Train and afternoon excursion trains provided passenger service. This new tourist train revitalized the community and new bed and breakfasts, and specialty shops thrived. Sadly in 2009 the Forbis train enterprise ended leaving McCloud without one of its primary visitor attractions.

McCloud Today Today, the community of McCloud is an area of retirement, tourism, and recreation. The 2010 census shows McCloud had a population of 1,101 residents compared to 1,343 at the 2000 census. 94% of the population was White and 6% Hispanic. 17% were under the age of 18, 6% aged 18-24, 17% aged 25-44, 34% aged 45-64 and 26% over the age of 65. The median age was 52 years. McCloud’s scenic location situated on the forested slopes of Mount Shasta, near the McCloud River, has lured outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds. Although former company houses still line the streets and retain their uniform appearance, many have been renovated and serve as vacation homes today. New lots and subdivisions are also being offered in the vicinity. The McCloud area boasts a beautiful river with waterfalls, fishing, hiking, and a very restful environment. In addition to these environmental attributes, the town has developed seasonal events and activites such as golf and square dancing for the retirement community. Many people now come for extended periods of stay during the summer months. In addition, the 1897 lumber company mercantile building has been completely renovated to offer services for the tourist community, including a book store, candy store, soda fountain, diner, and upscale shopping. The impressive Heritage Junction Museum houses artifacts donated by the community, allowing visitors to envision the past. A number of bed and breakfast inns now occupy the former companyowned buildings. The McCloud River Inn is housed in the 1900 building which used to be the McCloud Lumber Company headquarters. The 1903 company hospital was renovated and opened as the Century House Inn. The McCloud Guest House and Stoneybrook Hotel are also former company buildings serving as bed and breakfast inns. Built in 1924, the McCloud Hotel 48

McCloud Today

The historic mercantile and downtown of McCloud in 2010. Courtesy of the Heritage Junction Museum in McCloud.

was originally used as housing for company workers who did not have families. Completely restored, it re-opened in 1995 as a community centerpiece. Although most economic activities today relate to tourism, retirement living, real estate, and services for the traveler, McCloud has spawned some industry-related businesses. One such example is Terra Mai, a flooring company that exclusively uses reclaimed woods and antique railroad ties as part of its wood collection. The loss of the Nestle contract might indicate that small, environmentally conscious industries may be a part of McCloud’s future.


McCloud Conclusion

McCloud River Inn today is housed in the former headquarters of the McCloud River Company. Photo by Carol J. Cox.

Conclusion In the 1800s the community of McCloud was predicated on the abundance of harvestable forests and access to the nearby Southern Pacific Rail line. These extensive woodlands gave rise to the activities that shaped McCloud’s persona: lumber and railroads. The synthesis of these two industries created the economic foundation for this once companyowned mill town. Fifty years ago bustling saws produced extraordinary amounts of lumber in this remote, Northern California town. Today, the mills and railways that established and sustained the community are but distant memories. The old mill, which once housed steam powered saws, was replaced by a computerized, small-log mill. Today all former mills stand silent. Landmarks of the past are slowly fading from the community as lumber company buildings are remodeled, ethnic areas integrated and log ponds, train cars, and machinery removed. For the old-timers, all that remains are the photos and stories of days gone by. Projecting a relaxed ambiance, McCloud’s sense of place is characterized by the pine, fir, and cedar trees that thrive in the McCloud River drainage. Today, as in the past, these dense forests lure tourists and residents alike to enjoy the natural beauty of the area. McCloud has gone through a number of transitions from a company town to individual ownership and from a mill town to a tourist community. Within the context of historic, economic, 50

McCloud Conclusion

The McCloud Hotel. Photo by Carol J. Cox.

The McCloud rail yard. Photo by Carol J. Cox.

and technological change, this community has adapted and survived. The one constant of the community of McCloud is the aesthetic quality of its location, with its verdant forests and backdrop of the majestic Mount Shasta.


A Tribute Marty Markin Founder and curator of the McCloud Heritage Junction Museum “Marty Markin had been interested in McCloud ever since she and her husband started coming to the area. They loved McCloud. When Marty and her husband moved to McCloud, Marty had an art shop. She always wondered why there was no museum as the town had such an interesting history and people in the community had all of these wonderful things in their garages. “In 1981 Marty Markin was Marty Markin. invited to the Women’s Club of McCloud. At the meeting Marty said, ‘I think the town needs a museum.’ When asked who will spearhead this effort? Marty said, ‘I will do that.’ So Marty offered to start a museum and the Women’s club gave her $200.00 to get started on organizing a museum. Marty called community organizations and formed a Board of Directors. The first officers were chosen and the President of the McCloud River Railroad offered to house the museum in a room in the depot. The name Heritage Junction Museum was suggested and unanimously adopted. Although the depot was offered as the original site of the museum, within a few years, in 1990, the depot building burned down. Thankfully, all of McCloud’s wonderful artifacts were not in that location or everything would have been lost. “Housing the museum still posed a dilemma. Interestingly, the McCloud River Lumber Company mill was moved to Anderson in 1979. So when the mill closed down and moved, the union members signed over the deed for the building to the museum. “Marty was president of the museum from 1985-2009. She loved it and accommodated anyone and she came to the museum at any time. She just had a true love for the museum. But, when Marty was 90, she decided it was time 52

to move closer to her family in Sacramento. In May 2009, the town wanted to honor Marty and to say goodbye. Over 100 people came to see Marty and to wish her well. Her creation of and dedication to the fine collection at the Heritage Junction Museum in McCloud remains her legacy.� Interview with Betty Gray August 12, 2010. (Heritage Junction Museum founding board member)

Marty Markin showing students the museum.

Author’s Note - For 15 years Marty always met my students when we would come to McCloud. The museum is certainly one of the most interesting community collections of artifacts anywhere. The students were enthralled with items they had never seen, unusual day-to-day implements such as beauty salon devices, enormous chainsaws, costumes, gas pumps, the piano of Phoebe Hearst, and the gigantic wheel that powered the mill. These items brought the past to life for those living in a much different era today. Marty would answer questions, describe what it was like and even at times invite my class to guess as to what some of the implements could have possibly been. The McCloud museum is one that people will not forget, and it has been a favorite for my students throughout the years. Interviewed August 12, 2010. 53

A Personal Story Bob and Betty Gray McCloud, Ages 88 & 81 (Betty) “During the depression years, my father was a machinist for the Southern Pacific Railroad in Dunsmuir. And being a young man, he was one of the first to be laid off. So he came over and helped build highway 89, and we lived in a tent out in the woods for two summers. And then he was offered a temporary job at the McCloud Railroad machine shop in 1935. So after he was offered the job, we needed to live in McCloud. “I grew up in McCloud when it was a company-owned town. Everything was owned by the company and our houses were maintained by the company, every Bob & Betty Gray. seven years they were painted and papered. We’d bring the books home and get to choose our own colors and what we wanted. It was a great life; we had board sidewalks all over town. The company hired high school boys like my brother to work in the summers in crews to repair the sidewalks or to do any yard work or park work. I felt we had a great community to grow up in. Every Christmas, the company gave us a Christmas party at the local theater. They brought what was in the Mercantile store on the stage at the museum and we could all go up and pick up one toy. And every family was given a turkey for Christmas. “The company was supportive in everything we did, but people said ‘you owed your soul to the company store.’ We didn’t. But we could charge at the store and during the depression years, McCloud River Lumber Company allowed the men to work one to two days a week and they could charge. But some people remember that at the end of the depression years, 54

or those that couldn’t repay, the slate was wiped clean. Now that’s why the company was called ‘Mother McCloud’. Because they took care of their people, and we had a great life here. “In the early 1960s the McCloud River Lumber Company sold the lumber company to US Plywood; the mill and the timber lands went to Champion International. Up to that time McCloud had owned and operated a company town. US Plywood did not want to do that, so the town was sold, giving the first rights to the people living in the homes. Mother and dad were able to buy their house that we moved into in 1936. And in about 1968, they bought the house for $6,500. We’d lived there all of our lives. It was a privilege to live here.” (Bob) “I came in 1942 from the south by way of hitch hiking with my thumb. When I came to McCloud, my first impression was that the town was segregated. Even the neighborhoods were segregated and were all Italians, or all Blacks.” (Betty) “We had three parts of town. We had Tucci Camp, Old Mill, and New Mill. You came from a different place, and I attribute that to that you want to live with people who are like you are.” (Bob) “One thing that I can say is that McCloud took care of its people. It was a wonderful well-organized community that you had obligations to contribute to. So it was not a typical company town.” (Betty) “What I have noticed, working in the museum, is how many people always come back to McCloud. If you’ve grown up in McCloud you have a hometown feeling about it.” Interviewed August 12, 2010.


Yreka Montague

Communities of the Mount Shasta Region is an integrative exploration of towns based on history and geography. Each community is examined to understand the foundations of the town, its evolution over time, the current situation, and future prospects. No research has ever been published with this collection of communities, combination of historical research, and breadth of geographic analysis and field observation.

Gazelle Edgewood Weed

Mt. Shasta City



Communities of the Mount Shasta Region  

"Communities of the Mount Shasta Region is an integrative exploration of towns - Mt. Shasta City, Yreka, McCloud, Gazelle, Montague, Edgewoo...

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