A History of Black Americans in California:
The Quarters (Lincoln Heights)
Weed, California has been a major forest product manufacturing center since Abner Weed established a lumber mill company town in 1900. The company furnished employment and housing for its workers, and also provided mercantile goods and social services until at least 1942. The mill was operated as a family business for only three years before Weed created a corporation. R. A. Long of Long Bell Lumber Company in Louisiana, a major shareholder, acquired control of the corporation by 1916. Long Bell operated the mill until 1956 when International Paper Company took it over. Shortly after International Paper acquired the business, the decision was made to sell all the company houses and lots. Thus ended the era of the company town. Five years later, the town of Weed was incorporated.
Black people did not settle in Weed until the 1920s, after the Long Bell Lumber Company closed two of its Louisiana mills, one in Longville and the other in De Ridder. When these mills closed in 1922, the company offered to advance transportation money to workers and to guarantee company housing and employment if they agreed to relocate to Weed. When Black workers arrived in 1922 and 1923, company housing was made available for them in one section on the northwest end of town. Although there is no record of the exact number of persons who came to Weed in the early 1920s, either from Long Bell's two Louisiana operations or through other personal contacts, the United States Census shows that Siskiyou County's Black population increased from 447 in 1920 to 541 in 1930.
Several business establishments, two churches, and a cemetery were developed by Black residents in this totally segregated section, which was then known as the Quarters. Only recently has the Quarters been formally named Lincoln Heights.
A hotel, an apartment house, and a club established in the 1920s were the only commercial establishments until 1947 when Dannie Piggee and his brother-in-law, David Douglas, built a small barbecue restaurant. A decade later, Piggee moved his barber shop from the Berryhills Hotel, where it had been for 32 years. For a few years, he had a confectionary in the shop. The barber shop is the one remaining business establishment in the Quarters. This shoe-box-shaped building has a low, pitched roof. There have been no major alterations to the building, and it has its original wood frame and foundation, now quite weathered.
The Mt. Shasta Baptist Church and the Wayside Church of God and Christ are the two existing churches in Lincoln Heights. Mrs. Ella Berryhills organized the older Mt. Shasta Baptist Church sometime around 1922. The congregation worshipped at the Berryhills Hotel until 1924, the year the church edifice was completed on a lot made available by Long Bell. The 1982 congregation, under the spiritual leadership of Reverend Henry Gaines, consisted of approximately 100 adults, including a few families from the neighboring towns of Dunsmuir and Mount Shasta. When the building was refurbished in 1976, the entry was moved from its original location at the east end of the building to the west side. The building was painted at that time.
Elder Ike Finley organized the Wayside Church of God and Christ in his home about 1927. The first church edifice was a small structure built near Highway 97, across the road from the present site. Three years later, the congregation constructed the present building which has been occupied continuously since 1930. The building has remained essentially unchanged since its construction, except for a brick foundation put in during the 1970s.
The Lincoln Heights Cemetery is a Black cemetery which until 1972 was administered by the Mt. Shasta Baptist Church and bore its name. The Winema Cemetery Association now owns both Lincoln Heights and Winema, the White cemetery. The association was founded as a non-profit corporation in 1972 to manage and maintain the town's two cemeteries. The association is supported through memorial gifts, service club donations, and United Way appropriations.
The Lincoln Heights Cemetery is a 1.7-acre tract located in the all-Black Lincoln Heights section of Weed. The land for the cemetery was made available by the Long Bell Lumber Company sometime in the 1920s, probably not long before 1924, the year of the first interment.
NEXT> San Pablo Park