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  • Writer's pictureDunsmuir Hardware

Are you ready to leave the city life behind? Opportunity is knocking.

Life has really gone crazy, hasn't it? Now more than ever you must be thinking about getting out of the city. We may have exactly what you're looking for. Our fully operational True Value Hardware Store is for Sale. My wife and I bought Dunsmuir Hardware in 1975. It was an opportunity for us to get our kids (and ourselves too) out of the city and move toward a slower, more wholesome, healthier, and more meaningful lifestyle. And in forty-five years it has been all that and more. Now it’s time for us to realize that it has come to that point in our lives when we have to let go of it. It isn’t easy.

We love our old store. It has made it possible for us to live a great life. We live in a beautiful place – next to the upper Sacramento River in the Siskiyou range of the Cascade mountains. Situated in a forested park-like setting at the base of Mount Shasta with four beautiful seasons each year. Wonderful and friendly small-town people. Clean air. Pure water. Peaceful lifestyle. We are selling the entire business, inventory, and all of the antiques that have made the store a tourist attraction as well.

Where Are We?

Located in the far northern part of California lies the town of Dunsmuir, California. Dunsmuir is a city in Siskiyou County, northern California. It is on the upper Sacramento River in the Trinity Mountains.

The official city slogan is "Home of the best water on Earth". Dunsmuir is currently a hub for tourism in Northern California, with Interstate 5 passing through it. Visitors enjoy fishing, skiing, climbing, or sight-seeing. During the steam locomotive railroad era, it was notable for being the site of an important Central Pacific (and later Southern Pacific) railroad yard, where extra steam locomotives were added to assist trains on the grade to the north.

Located in the Shasta Cascade area of Northern California, Dunsmuir is a popular destination for tourists. Visitors come to fish trout in the Sacramento and McCloud Rivers or to see and climb Mount Shasta, Castle Crags, or the Trinity Alps. Visitors ski (both alpine and cross-country) and bicycle, or can hike to the waterfalls, streams, and lakes in the area, including nearby Mossbrae Falls, Hedge Creek Falls, Lake Siskiyou, Castle Lake, and Shasta Lake.

Dunsmuir is located on the Upper Sacramento River, a blue-ribbon trout stream that attracts fishermen from all over the world. Wild rainbow trout abound in the river. Additionally, the City has a private stocking permit from the Department of Fish and Game. The City currently has a "Big Fish Program" and stocks the river within the city limits with trophy-sized rainbow trout up to 14 pounds (6.4 kg). These stockings take place during the summer months. Catch-and-release fishing is permitted in the river during the off-season, so fly-fishing is available year-round.

The town is also a destination for historical and cultural tourists, as the town has preserved an authentic 1920s and 1930s look and feel. Dunsmuir's long connection with the railroad draws railfans to enjoy the sights and sounds of the railroad in the steep Sacramento River canyon. Dunsmuir is officially a Union Pacific "Train Town" and enjoys many financial benefits because of its relationship with the railroad.

Dunsmuir has frequent events that draw people from far and wide. Dunsmuir has been described by many as an ideal venue. During the summer, the City hosts many local weekend festivals, including "State of Jefferson Brewfest", "Dogwood Daze", "Railroad Days" and the "Tribute to the Trees" al fresco dinner/concert along the river in the City's pristine park, home to Dunsmuir Botanical Gardens. These events, along with the wonderful work done by the volunteers of the Botanical Gardens, bring joy to those visiting Dunsmuir. The City also has another river's edge park, Tauhindauli Park, over which passes Interstate Five, and several popular easy access fishing spots.


Sites in and near Dunsmuir have been inhabited for over 5000 years. At least three waves of early peoples swept through the area, establishing residence. At the time of the first European-American contact in the 1820s, the site of Dunsmuir was within the range of the Okwanuchu tribe of Native Americans. Some believe the indigenous peoples of the area were wiped out when the U.S. Army fed them poisoned beef when they came in and signed a peace treaty. However, this point remains open to speculation, as there are few concrete sources of evidence to support this claim.<citation needed>

During the 1820s, early European-American hunters and trappers passed through Dunsmuir's site, following the Siskiyou Trail. In the mid-1830s, pioneer horse and cattle drives came up the Sacramento Canyon, delivering livestock from Mexican California to the new settlements in the Oregon Country to the north. In 1841, an overland party of the famous United States Exploring Expedition passed through the area.

The California Gold Rush led to increased traffic along the Siskiyou Trail through Dunsmuir's site, leading to the first non-Native American settlers at Upper Soda Springs in north Dunsmuir in the early 1850s. The discovery of gold at Yreka, California dramatically increased movement through the site of Dunsmuir, and a toll bridge and stagecoach hotel were built at Upper Soda Springs.

In 1887, the completion of the Central Pacific Railroad along the line of the Siskiyou Trail led to the creation of the modern town of Dunsmuir. The railroad developed a division point on the flats south of Upper Soda Springs, where railroad steam engines would be serviced, and added to trains to push them up the steep grades north of town. A roundhouse and turntable were built. All this activity required the creation of a town, initially known as 'Poverty Flats' or 'Pusher'. South of the present downtown and north of Castella is an area known as Nutglade, which was previously known as Dunsmuir and before that, Cedar Flat. So the name moved north from the South rail yard to the main rail yard. During the railroad heyday, Dunsmuir was the largest town in this County which is the size of Delaware and Rhode Island combined.

In 1888, Alexander Dunsmuir, second son of British Columbian coal baron Robert Dunsmuir, was passing through, and according to contemporary accounts, was so taken with the beauty of the area that he offered to donate a fountain to the new town if they would rename the town in his honor. The offer was accepted, and Dunsmuir's fountain remains operational, relocated to the City Park's baseball field, that was frequented by Babe Ruth and other N.Y. Yankees.

By the early 1900s, Dunsmuir was the largest town in Siskiyou County, and for a long time had been the largest California city north of Sacramento. The construction of the Pacific Highway along the Siskiyou Trail in the mid-1910s brought more tourists. By the mid-1950s, the railroad transitioned from steam to diesel locomotives, and the substantial workforce in Dunsmuir was not needed, resulting in the town's contraction. Interstate 5 runs through the canyon along with the railroad and the upper Sacramento River.

As a result, Dunsmuir retains today much of the charm and scale of the 1920s and 1930s and has been designated on the National Register of Historic Places. The downtown area is now a designated historic district. The California Theater, currently under renovation, is unique in that after fifty years without an organ, they were able to acquire and re-install their original Wurlitzer instrument.[importance?]

In July 1935, two fugitives were passing through town. Police Chief F.R. "Jack" Daw and California Highway Patrol Officer C. "Doc" Malone went to catch them. The criminals ambushed the officers wounding Officer Malone and killing Chief Daw. One of the criminals, Clyde Johnson, was caught and put in jail in Yreka to await trial. A group of vigilantes from Dunsmuir went to Yreka, broke Johnson out of jail, and lynched him. To this day the identity of those vigilantes has never been formally acknowledged. It is said to have been the last public lynching in California.[5]

On the night of July 14, 1991, a Southern Pacific train derailed into the upper Sacramento River at a horseshoe curve of track known as the Cantara Loop, upstream from Dunsmuir. Several cars made contact with the water, including a tank car. On the morning of July 15, it became apparent that the tank car had ruptured and spilled its entire contents into the river - approximately 19,000 gallons of a soil fumigant - metam sodium. Ultimately, over a million fish, and tens of thousands of amphibians and crayfish were killed. Millions of aquatic invertebrates, including insects and mollusks, which form the basis of the river's ecosystem, were destroyed. Hundreds of thousands of willows, alders, and cottonwoods eventually died. Many more were severely injured. The chemical plume left a 41-mile wake of destruction, from the spill site to the entry point of the river into Shasta Lake.[6] The accident still ranks as the largest hazardous chemical spill in California history.[7]

The Upper Sacramento River is now largely recovered from the spill though some species (crayfish and frogs) have not yet come back. The watershed is carefully stewarded by The Upper Sacramento River Exchange. The popular fishery is again healthy. Recent changes to angling regulations have opened the Upper Sacramento River to catch-and-release fishing all year round. Five-pound trout have often been caught right in the city.

City parks and botanical gardens

Dunsmuir has numerous parks located throughout the city, with multiple city parks currently under development and improvement.

Dunsmuir City Park and Botanical Gardens is a 10-acre (4.0 ha) municipal park and botanical garden maintained by Dunsmuir Botanical Gardens Inc., a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization of volunteers within Dunsmuir City Park.[8] It requires public support to maintain the Gardens, which are on the City of Dunsmuir property under the general control of Siskiyou County, via the Board of Directors of the Dunsmuir Park & Recreation District. In 1924, New York Yankees Babe Ruth and Bob Meusel visited the park as part of a barnstorming tour, playing an exhibition baseball game against Dunsmuir locals.[9] The original grandstand was recently[when?] repaired and repainted after suffering damage in a winter storm. There is a plaque commemorating the event outside the grandstand.

Tauhindauli Park and Trail are on the former site of Upper Soda Springs resort along the Sacramento River canyon. It consists of approximately 10 acres (4.0 ha) of level ground on the bank of the river, the surrounding hillsides, and continues north along the eastern bank of the Sacramento River to the Dunsmuir City Park, in the heart of Dunsmuir. Long a local fishing spot, swimming hole, and site of both historical[citation needed] and ecological significance,[to whom?] the site has been improved to enhance its recreational opportunities and esthetics. Environmental work and levee restructuring have improved flood control for the entire town. The Tauhindauli river restoration project created a park with pathways winding through native grasses and plants, with fishing access and picnic areas. For ecological and flood-control purposes, riparian forests and meadows have been restored close to their original condition. Levees have been moved and built up for maximum protection for the park from river erosion and to restore the watershed to the natural habitat which provides food for animals. The Park can be accessed from River Avenue. to the south and Stagecoach Road to Upper Soda Springs Road in the canyon. Tuahindauli Park and Trail was a project of the Dunsmuir Garden Club. Funding for this project came principally from the Cantara Trustee Council and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.[10]

Historic resorts and waterfalls

Shasta Springs was the name of a popular summer resort on the Upper Sacramento River, during the late Nineteenth Century and early Twentieth Century. It was located just north of the City of Dunsmuir, California and just north of Upper Soda Springs along the Siskiyou Trail in northern California

Upper Soda Springs is on the banks of the Sacramento River in Dunsmuir, California. It consists of approximately ten acres (40,000 m²) of level ground on both sides of the River, the surrounding hillsides, and continues north along the eastern bank of the Sacramento River to the Dunsmuir City Park. The State of California and the City of Dunsmuir are creating a new park on this historic site. The Upper Soda Springs site contains a riparian ecosystem and includes its namesake mineral water springs. In large part because of its location on the Siskiyou Trail, the site mirrors the history of the state and of the American West.

Mossbrae Falls is a waterfall flowing into the Upper Sacramento River, in the Shasta Cascade area in Dunsmuir, California. The falls are located just south of the lower portion of Shasta Springs. Access to the falls via a mile-long hiking trail on the Union Pacific Railroad tracks is currently closed, as Union Pacific and the City of Dunsmuir figure out a safer route to the falls.

Hedge Creek Falls is a waterfall on Hedge Creek, in the Shasta Cascade area in Dunsmuir, California. There is a small cave located behind the waterfall, allowing visitors to walk behind the cascading water.[11] Shortly after the waterfall, Hedge Creek flows into the Sacramento River south of Mossbrae Falls. There is a viewing platform over the river, with a view of Mount Shasta. Access to the waterfall and viewing platform is via a short hiking trail. The trail starts at a small park off the Dunsmuir Ave/Siskiyou Ave exit on Interstate 5.[12] The close proximity to Interstate 5 makes the waterfall a very popular stopping point for passing motorists. Charles E. Bolton, better known as Black Bart, robbed the Roseburg, Oregon to Redding, California stage near Dunsmuir on October 25, 1879. Evidence found at the time indicated that Bart hid in the shallow cave behind the falls prior to the holdup. This was one of three holdups committed by Black Bart in this area. Normally he operated much further south.


Dunsmuir has an oceanic Mediterranean climate (Köppen Csb), with mild wet winters and hot dry summers. Its climate is similar to nearby cities, Yreka and Medford (about ninety miles north in the state of Oregon). There are an average of 54.3 days with highs of 90 °F (32 °C) or higher and an average of 99.7 days with lows of 32 °F (0 °C) or lower. The record high was 109 °F (43 °C) on August 8, 1981, and the record low was 4 °F (−16 °C) on December 21, 1990.

The average annual precipitation is 63.31 inches (160.8 cm). There is an average of 98 days with measurable precipitation. The wettest year was 1983 with 117.47 inches (298.4 cm) and the dryest year was 1976 with 23.72 inches (60.2 cm). The most rainfall in one month was 39.20 inches (99.6 cm) in January 1995. The most rainfall in 24 hours was 6.44 inches (16.4 cm) on January 1, 1997. Snowfall averages 29.2 inches (74 cm). The most snowfall in one year was 226.6 inches (576 cm) in 1952, including 119.5 inches (304 cm) in January 1952.[13][14]


Dunsmuir is located at 41°13′18″N 122°16′23″W.[16]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.7 square miles (4.4 km2), 97.86% of it land and 2.14% of it water.

At an elevation of approximately 2,350 feet (720 m) above sea level, a unique setting is created by the Sacramento River in which class 3 whitewater rapids are usually created during summer runoff through a town of about 2,000 residents. In plain view from some of the city's public streets, this may be one of the few places in western North America where three categories of "twos" (population, elevation, and whitewater difficulty) are met or eclipsed. (Eastern US example-The Cherry River at Richwood, WV)[citation needed]

Mt. Shasta's lava layers filter the drinking water and eliminate the need for filtration or treatment; thus the town's marketing slogan, "Home Of The Best Water On Earth".[17] Three water fountains are located on Dunsmuir Avenue in the Historic District. Two of the fountains previously ran 24 hours a day, however, they have since been changed in 2015 to only flow on demand due to water conservation measures placed on the state of California by Governor Jerry Brown.[citation needed]



The 2010 United States Census[19] reported a population of 1,650. The population density was 951.0 people per square mile (367.2/km²). The racial makeup of Dunsmuir was 1,443 (87.5%) White, 32 (1.9%) African American, 17 (1.0%) Native American, 15 (0.9%) Asian, 4 (0.2%) Pacific Islander, 30 (1.8%) from other races, and 109 (6.6%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 167 persons (10.1%).

The Census reported that 1,650 people (100% of the population) lived in households, 0 (0%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 0 (0%) were institutionalized.

There were 763 households, out of which 180 (23.6%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 276 (36.2%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 84 (11.0%) had a female householder with no husband present, 51 (6.7%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 80 (10.5%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 6 (0.8%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 271 households (35.5%) were made up of individuals and 99 (13.0%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.16. There were 411 families (53.9% of all households); the average family size was 2.77.

The population was spread out with 320 people (19.4%) under the age of 18, 110 people (6.7%) aged 18 to 24, 354 people (21.5%) aged 25 to 44, 584 people (35.4%) aged 45 to 64, and 282 people (17.1%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 47.0 years. For every 100 females, there were 105.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 101.2 males.

There were 1,110 housing units at an average density of 639.8 per square mile (247.0/km²), of which 416 (54.5%) were owner-occupied, and 347 (45.5%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 2.8%; the rental vacancy rate was 15.6%. 886 people (53.7% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 764 people (46.3%) lived in rental housing units.


Dunsmuir has a City Manager form of government with an elected five-person Council, a Chamber of Commerce, and two school districts.

The Dunsmuir Fire Department and The Dunsmuir Fire Protection District operate together under a Joint Powers Authority (JPA). The department has an automatic aid agreement with the Castella Fire District and all three are overseen by a single Fire Chief. The fire department runs on average 400 to 500 calls per year. The original city fire department was founded in 1897.

In 1992 the City of Dunsmuir Police Department was disbanded and law enforcement services for the city were contracted to the Siskiyou County Sheriff Department. Dunsmuir contracts for 7,200 hours of service per year which provides the City with a Sergeant and four Deputy Sheriffs. The sheriff department answers around 2,500 calls for service annually.

State and federal representation


Amtrak's Coast Starlight stops daily in both directions at the Dunsmuir Amtrak station,[24] located on one of Dunsmuir's two commercial streets, both in the historic district. This is the only stop in Siskiyou County, and the northernmost Amtrak station in California, located at a midpoint between Redding and Klamath Falls, Oregon. The County bus service, the Stage, from Dunsmuir north through the County (Mt. Shasta, Weed, Yreka, etc.) connects to Amtrak. The station is maintained by city residents and local rail enthusiasts and includes a museum,[25] telephones, restrooms, and shelter from the weather. The town itself is a railroad museum with an operating turntable.

The city is bisected by Interstate 5, linking Yreka and Oregon to the north, and Redding and Sacramento to the south. Dunsmuir Municipal-Mott Airport is the city-owned public-use airport, located 3 nautical miles (5.6 km; 3.5 mi) north of the central business district.

Notable residents

In popular culture

  • Gerrold, David (September–October 2016). "The Dunsmuir Horror". Fantasy & Science Fiction Magazine. 131: 136. The central conceit of the story is that the town of Dunsmuir is comparable to Brigadoon in that it exists only intermittently.

See also

What more could you want? Come and check out the area and the store. We think we have the dream you're looking for.

Want to learn more about this amazing business opportunity? We’re open from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm Monday to Saturday and 10:00 am to 4:00 pm on Sundays. Come and see us we’re at 5836 Dunsmuir Avenue Dunsmuir, California, or call (530)235-4539.

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