A Visit to Shasta State Historic Park

On Sunday I visited Shasta State Historic Park along with a group of trail enthusiasts from the Oregon-California Trail Association. We were in Anderson for a “Spring Symposium” and our field trip was to drive 40 or so miles on the Nobles Emigrant Trail, starting at its terminus, Shasta City.

Shasta City, once a thriving mining community and the first county seat, is now a handful of old brick buildings on either side of Highway 299. Most of the park is an open-air display that can be visited any time. The museum, inside the courthouse, is still closed to the public while State Parks readies things like new displays and ADA compliance.

We were fortunate to be given a special tour by parks guide June Morris. She couldn’t take us inside the museum, but she let us take a look at the gallows and guided us around the old cemetery.

The gallows behind the courthouse
Shasta Union Cemetery
An infant’s grave

The cemetery was hilly, overgrown with weeds and wildflowers, and home to many a sleeping pioneer — not only miners, but wives and children as well.

Here is the tombstone for James Ella Stockton, who died at the age of not-quite 24, after giving birth.

When she was born, her father was so certain that the baby would be a boy, that he registered the name as James, only to find out that the baby was a girl. Ella was added to make the name sound feminine.

The image on the tomb is a classic example of tombstone iconography. It shows a mourning angel with a drooping trumpet in one hand, weeping over a funeral urn.

Keep an eye out for the reopening of the Courthouse Museum at Shasta State Historic Park so that you can plan a visit. I am hoping that this summer I can visit again, tour the buildings and museum, reacquaint myself with the inhabitants of the cemetery, and have a picnic in the park.

About nancyleek

Nancy is a retired librarian who lives in Chico, California. She is the author of John Bidwell: The Adventurous Life of a California Pioneer.
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1 Response to A Visit to Shasta State Historic Park

  1. John Gallardo says:

    Thanks, Nancy, for updating us on the situation there.

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