Cressler and Bonner started the first mercantile establishment in Modoc County, here, in the first building erected in the town of Cedarville. The building was originally built by James Townsend in 1865, who was killed by indians shortly after its completion. Purchased by William T. Cressler and John H. Bonner in 1867, the building was used as a trading post and general store until larger quarters were constructed in 1883-84. Today, those quarters, the Cressler and Bonner Building dominate Main Street in Cedarville. Thier business thrived as thousands of emigrants passed through this area heading toward Cedar Pass and ultimitely to Alturas during the Gold Rush.
The mercantile, banking and ranching firm of Cressler and Bonner played a major roll in the settlement and development of Surprise Valley and Modoc County. The original trading post stands as the oldest structure in Modoc County to date. It remains tucked within a magnificent grove of trees planted by the original owners, in a park in the center Cedarville.
John H. Bonner was also instrumental in securing the construction of the first road spanning from Cedarville to Alturas; it was later named the Bonner Grade. This route, which became an important stage and freight road, was maintained by Bonner until 1871, when Siskiyou County took it over.
The plaque inscription reads:
The first building erected in Deep Creek settlement, now Cedarville, was built in 1865 as a trading post by James Townsend, who was killed in an Indian fight it 1866.
The historic landmark and remains of the original log trading post are housed in Cedarville's Park. The land for Cedarville Park was donated to Modoc County by descendants of Mr. Gressler in 1957 and the building was reconstructed in 1977 with funds provided by The State Recreational Bond Act of 1974.
Through Modoc County, the northeastern corner of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, thousands of early emigrants traveled in search of newly discovered gold during the Gold Rush of the mid 1800s. Prior to settlement, this region was inhabited only by Paiute, Pit River (“Achumawi”), and Modoc tribes. As settlers flocked in to California, battles with the Modoc Indians over territory and resources stained this area’s history in bloody conflict. The Modoc War (1872–1873), fought here, was the last of the Indian Wars to occur in California.