Local groups work to save an historical Downtown Redding building.
It’s known as the Wells Fargo Express Building.
It’s a small, square building that sits next to the railroad tracks on Yuba Street in Downtown Redding. It is often plagued by trash and vandalism and currently appears to have a hole in its sagging roof.
Despite its appearance several groups want to save it including: the Shasta Historical Society, Viva Downtown and the City of Redding itself.
“It’s not the first building in Downtown Redding,” said Shasta Historical Society Executive Director Christine Stokes. “But it was built in 1905, and it was really important for the commerce and the trade.”
“Goods from around the country came here and were taken out by freight wagon to the various communities in all of Northern California,” added Shasta Historical Society President Gary Lewis. “This was the center for trade and commerce in Northern California.”
The building was saved from being torn down in September 2013 after an injunction was granted and the owner, Union Pacific, agreed to bring it up to code.
That hasn’t happened, at least not yet.
The City of Redding has also proposed a land swap with Union Pacific to move the entire railroad yard out of Downtown Redding, leaving about two-and-a-half acres around the building to be developed as parking, a park, or both.
Lewis said the timing is right.
“They’re going to re-figure California Street for bicycle use,” Lewis said. “The City just got a grant to go forward with their Downtown Redding specific plan. We want this to be addressed in the specific plan.”
Stokes said the building is irreplaceable.
“We don’t have that many historic buildings anymore, and it’s just a shame,” Stokes said. “When they knocked down the Carnegie Library, that was a shame. We don’t want to see something like that happen again.
The bus depot will stay where it’s currently located under Amtrak’s responsibility.
As far as the homeless population is concerned, Lewis said he believes the renovation will help.
“By doing something in a positive vein here, we’re going to make it more vibrant,” Lewis said. “More people will come here for useful activities and maybe we won’t have as much of a problem with transient population.”
The public’s opinion will be welcomed at a meeting Wednesday July 23. It takes place upstairs in the Shasta College Health Sciences Building in Downtown Redding at 4 p.m.