Looking at Lake Shasta's reflective surface, and imagining streets and buildings right below on the lake bottom, may take a little creative thought. However, what remains of the waterlogged Victorian-era city of Kennett conjures up the history of this once-prosperous town. Kennett contained two of the most productive copper-producing mines of the WWI years. The vital mineral was used in the manufacture of bullets.
Historian, filmmaker, author and artist, Myra Buteau, presented the members of the Shingletown Historical Society, and guests, with a slide presentation that she narrated concerning this slice of Shasta County History. Myra also autographed copies of her book, Kennett, the Town Under Shasta Lake.
This favored site along the Sacramento River was utilized by native Americans, gold-seekers, and by the railroad men creating the path to Ashland, OR. A limestone quarry increased the value of the town site. The Hotel Keswick was three stories high and furnished with the lavish appointments of the time. There was even a four-story saloon to satisfy the numerous workers who made their way through its swinging doors after a day of hard labor.
But time does pass and, with the end of the war and the demand for copper waning, residents moved on. By 1931, the town was unincorporated, leaving properties available for purchase by the U.S. government, and the beginning of the building of Shasta Dam in 1935.
According to her research, most of the buildings were not dismantled, but left standing. However, the town was so deep in the canyon that it is inaccessible even when Shasta Lake is at its lowest.
This piano in the Shingletown Museum came from Kennett.
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