National Register of Historic Places in Siskiyou County, California

Dunsmuir Historic District 20 February 2011
(Click Photo to Zoom)
National Register #82000993
Dunsmuir Historic Commercial District
Bounded by Sacramento, Shasta, Spruce, Cedar

Efforts to connect California and Oregon by rail were initiated as early as 1863. Early surveys of the Siskiyou Mountains determined that the winding, deeply incised channel of the Sacramento River was the most viable route through the southern portion of this barrier between Califonia and Oregon.

Over two decades passed before the Southern Pacific Railroad reached the southern border of Siskiyou County in 1886. A railroad camp named Pusher was built just south of the Dunsmuir Historic Commercial District.

This embryonic station was renamed Dunsmuir. By October, a roundhouse, machine shop and division superintendent's headquarters had been built. Simple wood frame business buildings were built west of the track along what became known as Sacramento Avenue.

On December 17, 1887 the last spike was driven in Ashland, Oregon, extending Southern Pacific's network of tracks from Portland to New Orleans. The rugged stagecoach journey between Portland and Sacramento, that had taken seven days to complete in 1869, had been reduced to thirty-eight hours on the iron horse.

Dunsmuir's strategic location midway between Portland and Sacramento and its position at the southern end of severe grades and curves up the Siskiyou Mountains into Oregon, made the town a logical choice for the headquarters of all railroading activities on the Shasta Route. Engines were repaired, locomotives and train crews were assigned, and "helpers" (extra engines) were added to trains to help them climb the steep 2.2% grade out of the Siskiyou Canyon.

At the height of the town's close association with the railroad in the early 20th century, nearly 2,000 men were on the Dunsmuir switching yard payroll.

The Shasta Route occupies a unique position in railroading history due to seemingly insurmountable engineering difficulties caused by heavy seasonal rain and snow, and the scenic spectacle provided by Mount Shasta and the Siskiyou Mountains. Numerous bridges, severe track curvatures, and sixteen borings were among the engineering feats necessary to traverse the 4,135 foot Siskiyou Summit.

In the words of railroad magnate Charles Crocker, "The Sierra Nevada Mountains, which first confronted me, were nothing compared with the Siskiyous for sublimity of achievement and scenery and wonderful engineering skill."

Source: Adapted from the NRHP Nomination Form submitted in 1982.

The 97-acre Dunsmuir Historic District contains thirty-two contributing buildings and three contributing structures.

Name Year Address Remarks Sort Address Sort Name
Petty Building19275911, 5915 Dunsmuir AvenueDunsmuir 5911Petty Building
Eachus Building19255833, 5835 Dunsmuir AvenueDunsmuir 5833Eachus Building
Talmage19245817, 5821 Dunsmuir AvenueDunsmuir 5817Talmage
Hutaff Building/Travelers Hotel19175810, 5815 Dunsmuir Avenue and 4208, 4212 Pine StreetDunsmuir 5810Hutaff Building/Travelers Hotel
Warner Building19214300 Pine StreetPine 4300Warner Building
Manfredi Bakery Building19285751, 5759 Dunsmuir Avenue and 4213, 4215 Pine StreetDunsmuir 5751Manfredi Bakery Building
Dunsmuir Masonic Temple19255739, 5741 Dunsmuir AvenueDunsmuir 5739Dunsmuir Masonic Temple
19205731-5737 Dunsmuir AvenueVernacular late VictorianDunsmuir 5731
Josephine Lee House19155721 Dunsmuir AvenueDunsmuir 5721Josephine Lee House
Williams/Clark House18905711-5717 Dunsmuir AvenueThe original 1890 Queen Anne residence was altered with a storefront addition around the year 1930. Dunsmuir 5721Williams/Clark House
Tallarico Building19265726, 5728 Dunsmuir Avenue Dunsmuir 5726Tallarico Building
Jones Building1925 5732, 5736 Dunsmuir AvenueDunsmuir 5732Jones Building
Hotel Weed/Hotel Dunsmuir19045744 Dunsmuir Avenue and 5751 Sacramento AvenueThe original Hotel Weed, built in 1904 in the Richardson Romanesque style, was expanded around the year 1945 with an Art Moderne addition.Dunsmuir 5744Hotel Weed/Hotel Dunsmuir
State Bank of Dunsmuir19105800 Dunsmuir AvenueThe brick portion of this building dates to 1910, and the reinforced concrete portion dates to 1926.Dunsmuir 5800State Bank of Dunsmuir
Levy Building19265804 Dunsmuir AvenueDunsmuir 5804Levy Building
Koenig Building19235814, 5816 Dunsmuir AvenueDunsmuir 5814Koenig Building
Rochford Building19255824, 5826 Dunsmuir AvenueThe fa├žade was significantly altered in 1959.Dunsmuir 5824Rochford Building
19035832, 5832A Dunsmuir AvenueThe original 1903 building, one of the oldest in the district, has been repeatedly altered over the years.Dunsmuir 5832
19165836 Dunsmuir AvenueExtensively altered during World War II.Dunsmuir 5836
19125838, 5840 Dunsmuir AvenueExtensively altered in the mid-1960's.Dunsmuir 5838
Leach/Van Fossen Apartment House19045844, 5866 Dunsmuir AvenueDunsmuir Leach/Van Fossen Apartment House
City Hall and Fire Department Station19255902 Dunsmuir AvenueThese building combine features of the Renaissance Revival and Mission Revival styles.Dunsmuir 5902City Hall and Fire Department Station
Pontier Building19245911 Sacramento AvenueSacramentoPontier Building
19265901 Sacramento AvenueTwo reinforced concrete buildings.Sacramento 5901
I.R. Wells Building19035859 Sacramento AvenueSacramento 5859I.R. Wells Building
Van Fossen Building19035841 Sacramento AvenueSacramento 5841Van Fossen Building
Wagoner Building19035827-5831 Sacramento AvenueSacramento 5827Wagoner Building
Red Cross Drug Store19035825 Sacramento AvenueSacramento 5825Red Cross Drug Store
Thompson Building and White and O'Neil Building19035749 Sacramento AvenueSacramento 5749Thompson Building and White and O'Neil Building
Rostel Building19035743 Sacramento AvenueSacramento 5743Rostel Building
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