Gold Towns: Shasta City

A gold discovery here in the spring of 1849 sparked a rush to the site. Men coming south from Oregon, as well as from Mother Lode locales in California’s eastern foothills, set up camp. By October a tent city of more than 500 was spread under the oaks. But Shasta City, as it was first known, was the entrance to the rich mines in the back country, and so developed into more of a shipping center than a mining town. Its location made it the supply depot for mule trains headed for the outback mines: 100 mule trains and teams were known to stop at Shasta in a single night. The monument to stage drivers located at the edge of the former business district lists the names of 144 stage drivers who rolled into Shasta City during the 1850s and 1860s. In 1872 the California and Oregon Railroad bypassed it to create the town of Redding six miles east. Today Shasta is a well-preserved ghost town featuring the longest row of brick buildings erected in Northern California during 1853-54. Iron shutters still swing on massive old iron hinges on the doors and windows of grass-filled, roofless buildings that once housed craftsmen and mercantile shops. Across the road, the Shasta County Courthouse has been restored to its 1861 appearance, and is filled with historic exhibits. Shasta is a California State Historic Park.


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