Shasta City, once the “Queen City of the Northern Mines” during the Gold Rush, was a thriving, cosmopolitan community and one of the largest and wealthiest cities in Northern California. Up to 2,000 mules a day hauled in goods from San Francisco and Sacramento for distribution to the gold mine camps. In 1872 the railroad came through and built its terminus in Redding instead of Shasta City due to Redding’s slightly lower elevation and closer proximity to the existing rail line. Redding flourished, and Shasta went into decline.
Today, Shasta City is a ghost town. On its site Shasta State Historic Park was established in 1937 to preserve this important part of California history. The park was opened to the public in 1950 following the restoration of the courthouse, which today serves as the Visitor Center and is filled with historical exhibits and artwork. Since then other buildings including a general store and a bakery have been restored, as have two cemeteries. Only the foundations and parts of a wall or two remain of about a dozen other buildings in what was once the city’s central market district. A wooden walkway passes in front of them.