A Visit to Shasta State Historic Park, Again

Last May I posted about a visit to Shasta State Historic Park, but at the time the Courthouse Museum was not open. Well, guess what? It’s open now, Thursday through Sunday. It’s a great time to visit. We went there today.

State Parks staff are still working on the exhibit in one of the rooms, so the upgrade is not complete. But there is still plenty to see. The town of Shasta has a rich history and the state park does a good job of bringing it to life.

We visited the courthouse museum first, where I left a copy of my Alvin Coffey book for them to consider putting in the gift shop. Alvin is featured in one of the museum’s displays.

Life could be wild and woolly in old Shasta. Here is a display about the Ruggles brothers, who held up a stagecoach. They used the pistol in the holdup and used the ax to bust open the strongbox. You can see that they didn’t get away with it and justice was swift.

Downstairs you can see the jail, with an appropriate collection of leg irons, handcuffs, nooses, truncheons, and a horrible hobble called an “Oregon boot.” The gallows is just outside.

It’s not all display cases at Shasta State Historic Park. We ate our picnic lunch in the wide shade of a leafy oak tree, then went inside the barn to admire a handsome stagecoach that once plied the route from Trinity County to the Sacramento River.

After that we ran across the road to see the “Southside Ruins,” the remains of the brick fire-proof buildings that once were a central feature of Shasta, the “Queen City of the Northern Mines.” It’s all well worth a visit. You can even get lunch or an ice cream at Shorty’s Eatery, open under new management.

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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