Yesterday the New York Times, ran an article Absaroka, a proposed state between Wyoming, Montana, and South Dakota which never was. Which reminded me of the state that I grew up in, the great state of Jefferson. What, you’ve never head of the great State of Jefferson?
The state of Jefferson was proposed in October of 1941 as a new state along the Oregon/California border, encompassing Curry, Josephine, Jackson, Klamath, Del Norte, Siskiyou, and Modoc counties. In short, the residents of this area where not to happy with the neglect they felt they were receiving from their respective state legislatures. Particularly the fact that their roads were pretty damn horrible and this was seen to be hindering copper mining in the area. In November of 1941, the State of Jefferson gain nationwide attention when a group of young men started stopping people on route 99 south of the town of Yreka, brandishing hunting
riffles rifles and handing out a copies of a Proclamation of Independence:
You are now entering Jefferson, the 49th State of the Union.
Jefferson is now in patriotic rebellion against the States of California and Oregon.
This State has seceded from California and Oregon this Thursday, November 27, 1941.
Patriotic Jeffersonians intend to secede each Thursday until further notice.
Of course, if you look at the date on this declaration, you can pretty quickly figure out why the proposal for the State of Jefferson was soon lost to much more important matters.
Today the State of Jefferson still exists, if not legally, at least as a state of mind. Four hours north of Sacramento, and four hours south of Portland, the area is an isolated gem. Don’t tell anyone I told you, but it is a truly beautiful land, with fourteen thousand foot Mt. Shasta, Redwood forests, Crater Lake, Lava tubes, one of the largest cave complexes in the U.S., and numerous incredible valleys, rivers, and lakes. The region also boasts one of the best public radio networks around, Jefferson Public Radio, along with a world class Shakespeare theatre. Oh, and it has two ski areas, one on the flanks of Mt. Shasta, and the other on Mt. Ashland, the later being owned by the city of Ashland and notably for its short mogul filled runs. Some photos here.
So now you know why, if you talk to me on a Thursday, you might find that I’m in a bit of a rebellious state. Long live the great state of Jefferson!