Sunday, July 31, 2011

The State of Jefferson

After spending the night in Southern Oregon, we started the long
trek to the Bay Area to see Lynn's sister, Lenlee. On the way, there
is an interesting little quirk of both history and geography. The
State of Jefferson. What? You've never heard of the State of
Jefferson? Most people haven't. It does exist however in the
states of mind of many citizens of Northern California and Southern

It almost became reality in December, 1941. Many citizens of the
area were fed up with a lack of roads and support from the state
capitals in Salem and Sacramento. The people of the area needed
help getting their wealth of timber and minerals out of the area and
felt they weren't being supported. After several weeks of planning
and proceeding, Independence ceremonies for the 49th State (before
Alaska and Hawaii joined the union) were to commence the week of
December 8th, 1941. A governor was elected and the town of Yreka
was to be the capital. As we now know, the world, and this part of
the country as well, changed on December 7th, 1941 with the
bombing of Pearl Harbor. Folks tended to focus on the war effort,
roads into the area improved and the State of Jefferson never
became reality.

We found out about the State of Jefferson and Yreka only several
weeks before by watching the great television show, "How the States
Got Their Shapes"
. I saw that we would be going through Yreka on
this trip, so it became a must-stop spot for our trip.

Wini owns and runs the Tasty Q Ice Cream and Lunch Counter,
located in the Yreka Chamber of Commerce building. She's a
really nice lady, but she'll definitely let you know how she feels
about the local, state and national governments if you give her
an ear. She's a good representative of the rebellious spirit that
still exists in the area that would have been the State of Jefferson.

Even though it's in beautiful country, Yreka is a slightly depressed
area. Folks are a bit down on their luck. However, everyone we
met were very friendly and somewhat optimistic about the future.
They want what most Americans want. To be happy and healthy
and have a nice life.

Although this has nothing to do with the rest of this post, I really
enjoyed this sign. it's really old-timey and quaint. It just made
me feel good.

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