Mt. Shasta Sisson Museum volunteers are overtime to get the museum ready for the Opening Night Celebration, which is happening on Friday, March 29, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. The newest exhibit, “50 Years Later: The Interstate and the Lake,” recalls the two major construction projects that changed our area.

Mt. Shasta Sisson Museum volunteers are overtime to get the museum ready for the Opening Night Celebration, which is happening on Friday, March 29, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. The newest exhibit, “50 Years Later: The Interstate and the Lake,” recalls the two major construction projects that changed our area.

Charlie Moss, the resident engineer for the Department of Transportation, was interviewed for this project. Moss worked on the freeway from Dunsmuir to the Oregon border. “The first design of the interstate route would have built the freeway where Jefferson Street is. We did not want to build the freeway on the swampy part of the town. Lake Street was a swamp. We had to take the muck out and put base to fill it in. Pilings needed to be sunk until they hit solid ground. The 30’ Burger King sign was sunk about 30 feet into the ground until it hit rock. Springs are all over that area where we built the freeway. As we cut the side ditches, we would find soil like peat moss. One hole in the peat moss, water shot out of it like a geyser.”

He related how hard he worked, “I enjoyed my job, enjoyed the challenges. Many times, I worked 24 hours/day and slept in my car. I was running 3 crews on 3 different sections of the freeway.” His wife Doris agreed, “He would come home just to get his lunch box refilled, because on the jobs, they would be laying the concrete.”

Moss related how the freeway construction project was exceptional, “A brand-new design of a concrete layer was used to help build the freeway. The State rented it. It could pave an area 36 feet wide if you wanted it to. It would lay concrete in front, then hopper, vibrate it, and pave the road. We worked to get the bugs out of the system.” This paving lasted 50 years and was just replaced in 2018.

The freeway bypass in Dunsmuir was built in 1960 and Interstate 5 was completed through Mt. Shasta to Weed by in 1973. The ribbon cutting ceremony for the Collier Rest Area occurred in 1970.

The year 2019 also marks the 50th anniversary of the completion of Box Canyon Dam, which created Lake Siskiyou. The display will include information and artifacts describing this project and its impacts on the people and the environment up to the present day.

The Opening Night Celebration is a major fundraising event for the museum. Tickets are $25/person and are Mt. Shasta Chamber of Commerce, at the museum, and online (www.mtshastamuseum.com).

On March 30, the museum will resume its normal operating hours for April and May - Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Check the website at www.mtshastamuseum.com, go to the museum’s Facebook page, or call the museum (530-926-5508) for more details. The Mt. Shasta Sisson Museum is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization. It is located at 1 North Old Stage Road.