View of Shasta, CA
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Shasta, Shasta County, Cal.
San Francisco: A. Roman & Brother. 1856.
Sheet size: 13 ¼ x 18 ¾ inches
Framed size: 24 ¼ x 31 ½ inches
Lithographed view, with full Original hand-color
This fine view of Shasta in California is from "Kuchel & Dresel's California Views" which included "all the important cities and mining towns, with a few of Oregon and Washington, issued during 1855, 1856, 1857, and 1858. They were sometimes published by a local merchant, often the bookseller [as here]. Many of them were framed by a border of views of important buildings, ranches, and mines in and about the town portrayed." (Peters,
p. 142). Kuchel was born in Zweibrucken in the Rhineland in 1820, and when he arrived in America worked initially for P.S. Duval in Philadelphia. He moved to San Francisco, and in 1855, formed a brief, yet highly productive partnership with fellow German-émigré Emil Dresel. Their lithograph views are widely considered to be amongst the most artistically virtuous and historically authoritative illustrations of West Coast from this fascinating period.
The town of Shasta was a major center of operations for the Northern Gold Rush, as 49ers flooded into the region by way of the Siskiyou Trail. During the time that this view was printed, the town had a population of over 3,500 residents, it's vibrant atmosphere immortalized in Joaquin Miller's Life Amongst the Modocs, where the author recounted the story of his arrest for horse-stealing, and his subsequent escape from the Shasta Jail, aided by local Indians. Shasta's heyday lasted until the 1870s, when it fell into a steep decline, having been bypassed by the Central Pacific Railroad in favor of nearby Redding. Three distinct editions of Kuchel & Dresel's Shasta were produced, of which the present example is the first edition.
Peters, California on Stone, p. 145; Reps, Views and Viewmakers of Urban America, no.411.