The Franco-American Hotel is one of Yreka's major landmarks. It is located in the 300 block of
Miner Street in the heart of the "old town" Yreka. For many years it was a major hotel that
served many who traveled "well". Among notables who stayed here, President Hayes and his
family lodged here in 1880. The original building is reported to have been a narrow two story
brick home built sometime in the early 1850s. In 1855 a Frenchman, Leon Marniesse, purchased
the house and it soon became the Franco-American Hotel. [The exterior photo above was taken
during Yreka's 150th Celebration of the city's incorporation in 2007. The interior shot is of the
original lobby/entrance area of the Hotel as it is seen today.]
Over the years many changes and improvements were made to this property. A big change
came in 1867 when Mr. Marniesse increased the frontage of the building and added a second
story and balcony. Mr. Marniesse owned and operated the building until his death just a year
later in 1868.
Mr. John B. Rohrer obtained the Hotel following Mr. Marniesse's death and operated the hotel
with a first class restaurant for many years. During this time both North and Southbound stages
stopped here on a regular basis. After the railroad came to the area in the late 1880s "hacks"
(buggies for hire) carried guests and visitors from the train depot (either from Montague depot
or Yreka depot) to the hotel.
Around the turn of the century, 1899-1900 the ownership was held by a Charles Bohnart and
managed by Charles Herzog. Further improvements and building enlargements were made
during this time. It is interesting to note that today, behind this vintage building, is an
apartment complex. This apartment building was once a part of the Franco-American Hotel and
a portion of it served as a new dining room and the upstairs with additional suites. It was
moved north from the building to where it sits today.
During the 1940s the name was changed to Hotel Yreka and the facade was changed
dramatically. The balcony was removed and the building had a more "modern" streamlined
look to it. During the mid 1970s when Yreka received the designation of a National Historic
District the building facade was restored to its 1880s appearance.
Today the building still serves businesses on the street level as it has for 150 years! The hotel is
no longer in operation and is in need of restoration. Many residents and visitors long to see the
building restored and be a vital part of Miner Street once again.
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