Skip to main content

Silent Sentinel

03/19/2013 03:28PM, Published by Gary VanDeWalker, Categories: In Print, Life+Leisure




Little Shasta Church

story: Gary VanDeWalker photo: photographybytaryn.com

The Shasta Valley in Siskiyou County is filled with silent sentinels who guard the invisible histories of generations past. Mysterious lava rock fences line fields, marking boundaries of ancient families who no longer know this land. Weathered barns draw the wind through their wide doors, whispering the tales of the small towns and settlements in which the pioneering spirit sought to overcome the wilderness and bring an order to the once unconquered countryside. One such community appears on the maps as Little Shasta. Today, the road runs by a lonely church which bookmarks the memory of the once-prosperous town.

Like a beautifully dressed lady, the Little Shasta Church is the often photographed reminder of a place which once graced this valley’s floor. The town was founded in May 1853 by a mountain climber, John B. Rohrer. The church is all that remains of the original community. Driving down the road, the many lava rock fences recall the town’s seasonal population of Portuguese gold miners. The men spent their winters building the community’s fences for 25 cents every 16 feet, earning a sum of 50 cents a day for their work and taking a Sabbath rest inside the whitewashed sanctuary of the church.

The community’s success was attributed to the rich farming soil in the area. The inhabitants sold subscriptions and built the church in 1878 for $3,250. The village consisted of two stores, a flour mill, two schools and the church. Mail delivery was once a week, with incoming mail on Wednesdays and outgoing mail on Saturdays. Mail was addressed to the city of Mount Shasta, not to be confused with the present day city, which at the time was still called Sisson.

The church is worth the afternoon drive. Turning off I-5 at the Montague exit, the road winds through the beauty of successive ranches, the Shasta River often glimmering at a distance. Taking a left onto A-12, small lakes, wetlands and fields of volcanic rock checker the view. Along Harry Cash Road, the Little Shasta Cemetery remains in quiet reverence to those who once lived here, the church asking visitors to view her beauty as she watches over this part of the valley.

While the town has faded away and its foundations have sunk into farmland, the church continues to be a source of life. On frequent weekends, couples exchange vows within the church. Children play after the ceremonies, their laughter mingling with the airy glee of all who have come here to share their moment of happiness with the church’s history. With her thin white spire, the church appears, as she has for 130 years, to almost smile and welcome all who come to her. As the cars drive away, she stands tall and returns to her silent vigil.



interest Taryn Burkleo Gary VanDeWalker Silent Sentinel Little Shasta Church


  • Spring 2017 Home and Garden Expo

    03/26/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    This event includes hundreds of exhibits with merchandise, product demonstrations and sample inte...


  • Spring 2017 Home and Garden Expo

    03/26/2017
    01:00PM — 06:00PM

    Popovics Home and Garden Expo is coming to the Shasta District Fair and Event Center! This is y...


It looks like we don't have any events for this date. You can always add an event.

  • Free Retail Healthy Food Sampling

    03/28/2017
    03:00PM — 04:30PM

    Celebrate National Nutrition Month with Free retail healthy food samplings on March 28, 2017 at A...


  • Shasta Bike Challenge

    03/28/2017
    06:00PM — 08:00PM

    Under the guidance of several longtime RMB members, you will be guided through the process of m...


  • Work Readiness Event

    03/30/2017
    09:00AM — 01:00PM

    Nervous about finding a job? Not sure how to get started? Come to the 2nd annual Work Readiness E...


  • Free Retail Healthy Food Sampling

    03/30/2017
    03:00PM — 04:30PM

    Celebrate National Nutrition Month with Free retail healthy food samplings on March 30, 2017 at S...


  • Beauty and the Beast, Jr.

    03/30/2017
    07:00PM

    Be Our Guest! You are invited to come to SSCCC’s amazing presentation of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST JR...


  • Tarzan

    03/31/2017
    07:00PM

    Based on Disney's epic animated musical adventure, Tarzan features heart-pumping music by rock le...


  • Beauty and the Beast, Jr.

    03/31/2017
    07:00PM

    Be Our Guest! You are invited to come to SSCCC’s amazing presentation of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST JR...


  • This Year Come to Red Bluff and Celebrate All Fool's Day aka April Fools Day! A Double Header We...


  • Cesar Chavez Day of Service

    03/25/2017
    07:00AM

    Clean up day in memory of Mr. Chavez to honor his legacy of commitment to equality and community ...


  • Dolores Huerta Day of Service

    03/25/2017
    08:00AM

    Feed the Homeless Event. We will be assisting with feeding the homeless population in Tehama Coun...


  • FREE family fun. Come join us at our 5th annual poultry show. See hundreds of purebred chickens a...


  • Spring 2017 Home and Garden Expo

    03/25/2017
    10:00AM — 06:00PM

    This event includes hundreds of exhibits with merchandise, product demonstrations and sample inte...


  • Spring 2017 Home and Garden Expo

    03/25/2017
    01:00PM — 06:00PM

    Popovics Home and Garden Expo is coming to the Shasta District Fair and Event Center! This is y...


  • We'll have live music at the Tied House as we celebrate! All In DIPA 16oz cans release party! Sp...


  • Wildcard Brewing Company's Brewhouse Tours

    03/25/2017
    04:30PM — 05:00PM

    Want to know more about what goes on behind the scenes at Wildcard? Join us for a tour. This is y...


  • Canvas and Cocktails

    03/25/2017
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Come drink and paint with us! You don’t need ANY art experience to enjoy this evening of fun, mus...


  • Pretty In Pink Prom

    03/25/2017
    07:00PM — 11:00PM

    Join Nor-Cal Think Pink at their 2nd Annual Pretty In Pink Prom Benefit Night. Enjoy hors d'oeurv...


  • Redding Community Contra Dance

    03/25/2017
    07:00PM — 10:00PM

    What is contra? Contra dance is the American cousin to Scottish and English Country set dances. I...


  • Spring 2017 Home and Garden Expo

    03/26/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    This event includes hundreds of exhibits with merchandise, product demonstrations and sample inte...


  • Spring 2017 Home and Garden Expo

    03/26/2017
    01:00PM — 06:00PM

    Popovics Home and Garden Expo is coming to the Shasta District Fair and Event Center! This is y...


  • Free Retail Healthy Food Sampling

    03/28/2017
    03:00PM — 04:30PM

    Celebrate National Nutrition Month with Free retail healthy food samplings on March 28, 2017 at A...


  • Shasta Bike Challenge

    03/28/2017
    06:00PM — 08:00PM

    Under the guidance of several longtime RMB members, you will be guided through the process of m...


  • Wildcard Brewing Company's Midweek Madness

    03/29/2017
    02:00PM — 08:00PM

    Visit either Wildcard location on Wednesday and get $3 off a growler fill.


  • Beauty and the Beast, Jr.

    03/29/2017
    07:00PM

    Be Our Guest! You are invited to come to SSCCC’s amazing presentation of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST JR...


  • Work Readiness Event

    03/30/2017
    09:00AM — 01:00PM

    Nervous about finding a job? Not sure how to get started? Come to the 2nd annual Work Readiness E...


  • Free Retail Healthy Food Sampling

    03/30/2017
    03:00PM — 04:30PM

    Celebrate National Nutrition Month with Free retail healthy food samplings on March 30, 2017 at S...


  • Beauty and the Beast, Jr.

    03/30/2017
    07:00PM

    Be Our Guest! You are invited to come to SSCCC’s amazing presentation of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST JR...


  • Tarzan

    03/31/2017
    07:00PM

    Based on Disney's epic animated musical adventure, Tarzan features heart-pumping music by rock le...


  • Beauty and the Beast, Jr.

    03/31/2017
    07:00PM

    Be Our Guest! You are invited to come to SSCCC’s amazing presentation of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST JR...


  • This Year Come to Red Bluff and Celebrate All Fool's Day aka April Fools Day! A Double Header We...


  • Love Your Pet Expo 2017

    04/01/2017
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    10th annual free pet-friendly event, with charity auction, pet adoptions, low cost vaccines, hear...


  • Friends of Shasta County Libraries

    04/01/2017
    10:00AM — 01:00PM

    On Saturday, April 1st, 2017, the Friends of the Shasta County Libraries will sell gently used bo...


  • Tarzan

    04/01/2017
    02:00PM

    Based on Disney's epic animated musical adventure, Tarzan features heart-pumping music by rock le...


  • Art Roster 5th Annual Forgery Show

    04/01/2017
    04:00PM — 07:00PM

    The Forgery Show is an annual art exhibit featuring the work of Mt. Shasta's ArtRoster Atelier pa...


  • Wildcard Brewing Company's Brewhouse Tours

    04/01/2017
    04:30PM — 05:00PM

    Want to know more about what goes on behind the scenes at Wildcard? Join us for a tour. This is y...


  • 2017 Young Artist Showcase

    04/01/2017
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    HIGHLAND ART CENTER ANNUAL YOUNG ARTIST’S SHOWCASE Weaverville, CA, March 22, 2017– It’s t...


  • Bunco Night Fundraiser

    04/01/2017
    06:00PM — 08:30PM

    Join us for a fun night of rolling dice! It's BUNCO time! This is a fun fundraiser that benefits ...


  • Tarzan

    04/01/2017
    07:00PM

    Based on Disney's epic animated musical adventure, Tarzan features heart-pumping music by rock le...


  • Rumi’s Caravan brings to life the rich tradition of ecstatic poetry, featuring the mystical poems...


  • This Year Come to Red Bluff and Celebrate All Fool's Day aka April Fools Day! A Double Header ...


  • Mojo Child at The Dip

    04/01/2017
    08:00PM

    "The Feast is about to begin..." -Jim Morrison Mojo Child delivers Doors music that is fun, en...


  • Clear Creek Wildflowers and Wild Plants

    04/02/2017
    01:00PM — 03:00PM

    Come walk with David Ledger from the Native Plant Society. Enjoy the beauty of blooming wildflow...


  • Tarzan

    04/02/2017
    02:00PM

    Based on Disney's epic animated musical adventure, Tarzan features heart-pumping music by rock le...


  • Mornings with Mommy

    04/04/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    Mornings with Mommy isn't preschool and it isn't childcare. It's something different. Mornings wi...


  • Art Roster 5th Annual Forgery Show

    04/04/2017
    04:00PM — 07:00PM

    The Forgery Show is an annual art exhibit featuring the work of Mt. Shasta's ArtRoster Atelier pa...


Check out our sister publication, Enjoy Magazine: South Valley Living
Wedding Style Guide 2017
Enjoy Magazine Facebook
Enjoy Magazine Instagram Instagram
Enjoy Magazine Pinterest Enjoy Magazine

Enjoy Our Sponsors