Thursday, April 7, 2011

Strawberry Valley Stage Station

New song update! Lyrics below

Siskiyou County August 29, 1993

The 1951 Cadillac Series 62 sedan pulls out of the Roseburg Best Western at dawn for California and a long Sunday with over twenty state landmarks on the docket in several counties to visit. Windows are down to lessen the cigarette smell coming off the music gear, for Roseburg-ians may have changed from working in the timber industry to running B&B’s and wineries, but their smoking habits haven’t. Playing stints there over 10 years or so was great fun, and a rare place to do the old off color ‘ski show.’ But when ‘The Motel Face’ is exchanged for ‘Classical Gas’, the writing was on the wall for that material…..we all grow up sooner or later. Meanwhile the windows-down Caddy reenacting the old high school cruising game of ‘freeze’um’ motors down the pass and into Hilt, California, heading for a favorite haunt, Mt. Shasta City and the first destination.

Mt. Shasta City - 1940

The Holiday Haus (now called Finlandia Motel) seemed to buck the tradition here of naming a business either Berryvale, Sisson, or Mt. Shasta, and was favorite northbound stop after a long day’s drive from the desert on the way to Oregon, but on this trip it’s southbound and over to the other side of the interstate to Old Stage Road at Jessie St. for the landmark.

Sisson Museum

Sisson Inn

Before it became Mt. Shasta City this gateway to the outdoors resort town was called Sisson, after Justin Hinkley Sisson, who named the town after himself….changing it from Berryvale in 1888. In 1923 townfolk changed it to Mt. Shasta.  According to the Siskiyou Historical Society: ‘Sisson was known as a mountain guide, hunter, fisherman, marksman, and for his philanthropies. He was very enterprising. He reclaimed the swamp he had acquired and raised hay; served as a guide for the hunters, fishermen and scientists that came to the area; contracted with the government to carry a Geological Monument to the summit of Mt Shasta; raised trout for the guests of the hotel; acquired land at the bend of the McCloud River to take his guests to; and, finally, he contracted with the railroad to come to the Mt Shasta area and start the town of Sisson. It was known that he donated the land for the first school.... Part of the agreement was that the names of the streets were to carry the names of members of his family, i.e., Jessie and Ivy streets were his daughters; Alma Street, his wife's sister; Field Street, after his wife's maiden name, etc’ It has been said that he even rescued John Muir from a snowstorm on the mountain.

J.H. Sisson


Ch) I want to go huntin’ I want to go fishin’
Climb Mt. Shasta with Justin Sisson
Run along the river, fast as I can
Singin’ Justin Sisson was a Shasta man
Justin Sisson was a Shasta man

High in California where the pine trees grow
And the Sacramento River is a-startin’ to flow
Where the wind’s daughters and the bald eagle flies
Shasta stands a pushin’ through the sky

Came a pioneer man and jack of all trades
To this valley and the match was made
Came in eighteen hundred and sixty one
Had a long life, he had a good run

Reclaimed the swamp, he raised the hay
A mountain guide when people came to stay
Put up a place for the traveler to dwell
Two stories high called the Sisson Hotel

In his spare time he raised trout it seems
Ran through the valley, a-stockin’ the streams
Fishermen, hunters, climbers, all
Came by the score to Shasta’s call

John Muir climbin’ on the mountain one day
When a blizzard came up, nearly put him away
He sat in a hot spring, for help he’s a-wishin’
Got himself rescued by Justin Sisson

With eyes to the future he was heard to say
“Need to get around better than we do today”  
Sayin’ “bring on the trains, bring in the rail”
Central Pacific through the Siskiyou Trail

His ghost for a hundred years and countin’
Is seen slowly walking down the mountain
Where the wind’s daughters and the bald eagle flies
And Shasta stands a pushin’ through the sky

Plaque inscription:NO. 396 STRAWBERRY VALLEY STAGE STATION - Across the road from this marker stood the Strawberry Valley Stage Station which served the patrons of the line from its completion in 1857 until 1886, when railroad construction reached the valley. The small building across the road was the Berryvale Post Office, which operated from 1870 to 1887, its first postmaster was Justin Hinckley Sisson. Behind the marker stood the famous Sisson Hotel, well known to mountain climbers, fishermen, hunters, and vacationers throughout California, it was built about 1865 by J. H. Sisson and in 1916 was destroyed by fire. The Mount Shasta trout hatchery was founded in 1888, but J. H. Sisson had started rearing trout to stock the streams in the vicinity in 1877. When the business center was moved to its present location on the railroad in 1886, its name was changed from Strawberry Valley to Sisson, and in 1923 the town was renamed Mount Shasta City.
Location: SW corner of

W Jessie St
and Old Stage Rd, 1 mi W of Mt Shasta
Google maps: 41.30897,-122.32697

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