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Situated about six miles (10 km) west of Redding, California along Highway 299, Shasta was once home to some 3,500 residents and a thriving commercial district. However, in the mid-xxxxs, the newly constructed Central Pacific Railroad bypassed Shasta, in favor of Redding and the town declined into "ghost town" status.The poet Joaquin Miller refers to Shasta in his xxxxs novel, Life Amongst the Modocs, based on the experiences of Miller as a young man living in the area in the xxxxs. In this book, Miller describes his brief imprisonment in a Shasta jail for horse-stealing and subsequent escape with the aid of his Native American wife.