Weaverville Historic District

A Return to the Past

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National Register of Historic Places #71000209

The Historic District of Weaverville is centered on four blocks on Main Street (Highway 299) and is on the National Register of Historic Places. There are over 35 marked old buildings to explore.

The Weaverville Historic District comprises an area of about 11 acres bounded by Center Street on the east and South Miner/Oregon Streets on the west, bisected longitudinally by Main Street and running about 1800 feet south from Garden Gulch.

Representative buildings within the Historic District, in all about 25 buildings – include most of the architectural styles common to the Northern California gold mining towns of the 19th Century. Wood two-story residences, wooden church, brick single- and two-story commercial building, and lodge halls. Some buildings possesses the unique spiraling iron stairways to give access to second floors in separate ownership. A Chinese tamped earth structure and the frame and brick Chinese temple, together present a pleasantly nostalgic atmosphere reflecting a past era.

Some of the brick buildings have been stuccoed on the exterior and the minor changes and adaptations to suit needs of the owners are evident, but in the main buildings of the Weaverville Historic District retain the feeling and associations of their heyday.

Travel back in time as you discover the District’s charm on a self-guided walking tour.

History

Trinity County Historic Court House

The Trinity County Courthouse is a fine example of the Italianate architectural style.

Founded 1850, the Weaverville Historic District consists of thirty-one contributing buildings on Main Street.

Weaverville is one of the best preserved towns of the Shasta-Trinity Gold Rush era. As a commercial hub, Weaverville supplied food, tools, equipment and clothing to thousands of prospectors and miners over a large section of Northern California.

Named for John Weaver in 1850, the camp of forty-niners was the political as well as the commercial and entertainment center of Trinity County.

Early wood buildings lost in a series of disastrous fires were replaced with brick construction. By 1858, there were about twenty-five brick buildings along Main Street.

Several of these buildings have an unusual circular iron stairway leading from the sidewalk to the second floor because the upper and lower stories had different owners. The first stairway was built in he summer of 1860 by Ira Howe, the owner of the upper floor, shortly after completion.

The thirty-one historic buildings include examples of most of the architectural styles common to the Northern California gold mining towns of the 19th century—wood two-story residences, wooden church, brick single and two-story commercial building and lodge halls, a Chinese tamped earth structure, and the frame and brick Chinese temple.

A large and active Chinese population centered in a two block area where the Weaverville Joss House is located. This area was referred to as Chinatown.

The nearby cemetery offers a glimpse into Weaverville past. You can take a self-guided walking tour of the cemetery and enjoy more history and pictures.

At one time, Weaverville had three Chinese cemeteries. The Chinese intended to return to China after making their fortune in America. Should they die in the United States before they returned to their homeland, the Chinese wanted their remains to be sent to China. The law, however, required their burial in California for sanitary reasons. The remains would have to stay buried for three years, but for a four-year period after that, the remains could be disinterred and shipped to China. After that four-year term expired, the remains were to be left undisturbed. For that reason, Chinese societies and organizations made certain that remains were properly disinterred and returned to China within the four years.

More reading…

  • List of Historic Markers in Weaverville: Historic Marker Database
  • Learn about the impact of fires on the old Weaverville Business District and how the Weaverville Fire Department was formed: WFD History

Historic District Buildings

The buildings in the historic district have housed many different business over the years, but have maintained the name of their original owners.

The county Historical Society has a walking PDF tour map of the District with additional descriptions for  download.

Original Building Name Year Built Current Business Occupant Remarks
Whitmore House 1895 The Whitmore Inn Built after the disastrous fire of 1890.  An example of Victorian homes in Weaverville, now a Bed and Breakfast Inn.
Trinity Congregational Church 1891 Trinity Congregational Church The previous church, built in 1880, was destroyed in the 1890 fire except for doors, windows and furniture which were salvaged for this church, which is almost a replica of the 1880 church. Parsonage to the left was built in 1902.
Reverend A.T. Jackson House 1893 The Highlands Art Center, Snyder-Highland Foundation. Building is a typical residence, with outbuildings and meadow (orchard)behind a white picket fence, built in early 1890s. Open to public as the Highland Art Center.
Mar Guoy House 1896 Banana Belt Sales & Repairs On the southern edge of Chinatown.  Rammed earth building, extensively remodeled.  Survived the 1905 fire due to the earth walls.  Became a mortuary in 1912.
Pacific Brewery 1855 Red Dragon Restaurant  Used as a brewery by various owners, including the Meckel Brothers, until prohibition in 1917.  Among the first ‘fire-proof’ brick buildings.  Iron doors & shutters confined the fire of 1861 to the inside of the building.
 Old Fire House,   1900s Old Fire House A group of five Chinese buildings were destroyed by fires. A rare Chinese rammed earth adobe building is all that remains.  The rammed earth wall on display here is believed to be one of the only two remaining examples in exposed rammed earth walls to be seen in California.
Comstock & Martin Building 1854 Barking Mad Art Studio Originally two stories was gutted by fire in 1863 and remodeled into one story building.  Also, the most important livery stable in town was next door towards Hwy. 3.
Shaving Saloon
1854  Gold Rush Jewelers Isaac Dixon’s Humboldt Shaving Saloon occupied this spot in 1854, and it was used as a barber shop by a variety of owners for about 100 years.
New York Hotel 1854 New York Saloon Built in 1854 as a single story frame building by Morris and Brady. It burned in the town fire of 1859 and rebuilt as a brick two-story. Then gutted in the big fire of 1863 and rebuilt. The hotel was known as the official Stage Stop until after the turn of the century. In 1931 the entire brick front was remodeled, arches placed and two rooms added over the saloon.
Edgecombe and Magnolia Buildings 1856 Main Street Shoes Started as the American Hotel.  Upper floor of Magnolia Building housed North Star Lodge #61, I.O.O.F. 1856 to 1859, then Masonic Trinity Lodge #27 bought the second floor. They moved in 1967 when the Lodge sold their interest to the telephone company. Was combined and remodeled to house the Telephone Company-Golden West Telephone Company.  Spiral staircase to second story.
Anderson Building 1855 Sweet Sheep Yarn Built by Davidson and Harris Drug Store. Then run as Weaverville Drug Store from 1862 until closing in 2005.  The Weaverville Drug Store had been in business at the same location and under the same name since 1862.
Clifford Building (Native Sons Hall) 1855 Trinity County Chamber of Commerce One of the first condominiums in California with each floor having a different owner, which required the spiral staircase (in 1859) to access the upstairs.  The entire building came under one owner in 1970 occupied by a Dress Shop on lower floor & the Native Sons had use of the upper floor.  This may be the fourth building on this site, fires having destroyed at least two of the previous buildings.  The Trinity County Chamber and Visitor Center now provides information for tourists.
Hocker Store 1855 Trinity Title Company  Mr. Henry Hocker established his mercantile business here.
Condon’s Saloon & Empire Hotel
1861 Weaverville Hotel & Emporium Built as the “Miner’s Hotel,” its name was later changed to “Empire Hotel.” In 1915, after the top floor of the building was destroyed by fire, it was rebuilt and rechristened the Weaverville Hotel. Remodeled as a Bed and Breakfast and Emporium, decorated with beautiful antiques.
Bandstand 1901 Bandstand Built to showcase the talents of the Ladies’ Eltapome Band. Before radio and television, it was the major source of entertainment and pleasure ushering in the twentieth century.  Still used by Santa Claus during Mountain Magic Christmas to hear the Christmas wishes of Trinity County children.
Hocker Building/Courthouse & 1st Weaverville cabin site
1856 Trinity County Courthouse Built by Henry Hocker. Prior to being purchased by the county in 1865, this building had several commercial uses including a period as a saloon. The masonry on the Courthouse was limestone quarried from the South Pacific Railroad Company Brown Mountain Quarry on Brown Mountain. “The limestone is coarsely crystalline.”  Remodeled in 1935 following the routing of Highway 299 past the side of the building.  One of the oldest courthouses in California. The site of the first cabin built in Weaverville is believed to be just to the east of the courthouse where there is now a  parking lot.
J.S. McCain and Company 1852 Angela’s Beads Buildings both built as one building owned and operated as Morris Hardware.  There were wagon sheds, horse stalls, corrals & warehouses in the back.
D.M. Eder and Rhodes & Company 1854 Mamma Llama Cafe & Eatery and Main Street Gallery The Eder Building was the first fireproof brick building in Weaverville. Later, it was combined with the Rhodes Building to create “Gents Furnishings & Dry Goods” which later became “Van Matre’s Clothing Store”.
Tinnin Building 1856 Trinity Journal Originally a fire-proof brick hardware store and tin shop.  The back of the building was used as a pack station & ice house in the early 1900s.
Buck & Cole Building 1856 Olson Stoneware. An early condominium. Top floor was once the Weaverville IOOF Hall. Ryan’s Store was on the first floor for over 50 years. This was the last condominium ownership building in Weaverville. (The Ryan family now owns Top’s Market) The exterior remains nearly original. The staircase was added in 1860.
R.A. Fagg Building 1854 La Grange Cafe Originally the “City Drug Company.”
A. Solomon Building 1856 La Grange Cafe Originally a stove and tinware store by S. Markewitz. After 1858, occupied by various banks.  The vault is now the wine cellar for La Grange Cafe.
F.W. Blake Building 1856 The Diggin’s Saloon Built by Moss, Mabie & Co. Used to be F.W. Blake Bank and the Wells-Fargo Express. Now the Diggin’s Saloon.
Joss House 1850 Joss House State Historic Landmark Built by the Chinese as a place of worship in the midst of Chinatown. This building was destroyed by fire. In 1874, the present building was started. Was presented to the State as a historical park in 1956 and dedicated in 1961.
J.J. “Jake” Jackson Museum Complex Jackson Museum The museum was dedicated June 23, 1968. Source of funds being State Bond Act Grant; County Funds; Historical Society Funds. Displays early day Trinity County mining, logging, and household artifacts, produces booklets about Trinity County history and holds demonstrations at the Blacksmith Shop, Stamp Mill & Sawmill.