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The five Redwood Coast Heritage Trails are self-guided tours, each consisting of eight significant locations throughout the Redwood Coast region. The trails include historic sites that still reveal traces of the past, notable collections of historic and cultural artifacts, and special places where our heritage is honored and celebrated. Several locations, rich in heritage, are to be found on more than one trail. You can follow one trail at a time, visiting all eight locations in order (most of the trails can be completed in a single day). Or, jump from trail to trail to tour sites that are located close together. Use this guide to find the sites, to help interpret what you’re seeing, and to better understand each site in its historical and cultural context.


Self-Guided Tours of Historical and Cultural Sites

On the Redwood Coast and City of Eureka maps in this guide, the five different trails are numbered and identified with their special logos. The description for each location includes directions, hours and other pertinent information.You will also find supplementary information in this guide, including resources for further research. A publication of the Humboldt County Convention & Visitors Bureau made possible by a grant from the USDA Forest Service, Six Rivers National Forest Humboldt County Convention & Visitors Bureau 1-800-346-3482 Credits: Research and writing by Tony Smithers, with valuable input from Ray Hillman. Illustration, design and production by Marian Brady. Thanks to Catherine Monroe Mace of the Humboldt County Historical Society for photo research assistance. Cover photo from Ericson Photograph Collection, Humboldt State University Library.



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Bringing in the harvest near Arcata.

Logging train on trestle bridge.

Photos: Ericson Photograph Collection, Humboldt State University Library


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This detail map shows the Heritage trails to explore in Eureka’s downtown and old town areas. See their respective stories in the following sections by ikon and numbers shown here.



1775 – A Spanish vessel captained by Juan Francisco de Bodega lands at Trinidad. 1806 – Boats from the O’Cain enter Humboldt Bay, naming it “Bay of Indians” and “Bay of Rezanov.” 1848 – Gold discovered in the Trinity region causes a population boom in northwest California. 1849 – Dr. Josiah Gregg & party rediscover Humboldt Bay with an overland expedition. 1850 – The Laura Virginia finds the entrance to Humboldt Bay. Several towns are founded. 1853 – Fort Humboldt is established; it operates for just 13 years before the army abandons it. 1856 – Eureka incorporated; its nine sawmills produce 2,000,000 feet of lumber a month. 1860 – Indian Island massacre occurs. Gold Bluffs mining boom creates a new “rush.” 1861 – Indian war reaches a fierce new peak which lasts until late 1864. 1884 – William Carson builds his legendary mansion. 1914 – Northwestern Pacific Railroad completed from Eureka to San Rafael. 1918 – Save-the-Redwoods League is formed & starts buying forest lands in 1921. 1923 – The Redwood Highway is opened for automobile traffic. Grand hotels are built. 1941 – Tanker Emidio sunk by Japanese submarine off Cape Mendocino. 1955 – Earthquake and floods hit the Redwood Coast. 1964 – The Great Eel River Valley Flood devastates many communities. 1968 – Congress creates Redwood National Park.


Eureka Heritage Society P.O Box 1354 Eureka, CA 95502-1354 707-445-8775 or (707) 442-8937 Humboldt County Historical Society 703 8th Street Eureka, CA 95502 707-445-4342 Humboldt County Library Humboldt Room 1313 Third Street Eureka, CA 95501 707-269-1900 Humboldt State University Library Humboldt Room Collections One Harpst St. Arcata, CA 95521 707-826-3441 holdings.htm Timber Heritage Association P.O. Box 6399 Eureka, CA 95502 707-822-5906 or 707-443-2957

Photo by Shannon Taylor

3. Indian Island

Humboldt County Historical Society

Located off Highland Avenue on the bluff overlooking the Bayshore Mall. From Highway 101/Broadway, turn east onto Highland, directly across from Marie Callender’s. Turn left into the fort. Open daily, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm; free admission. 707-445-6567 Established in 1853, Fort Humboldt was only occupied

2. Clarke Historical Museum Located at 240 E Street (corner of 3rd St.) in Old Town Eureka. Open Tuesday to Saturday, 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. 707-443-1947. Admission is free; donations accepted. Gift shop & book store on premises. The Clarke Museum’s Nealis Hall of Native American Heritage contains literally the finest collection of Northwest Traditional regalia, such as that worn by this Hupa woman, is on display at California artifacts in the world. the Clarke Historical Museum.


Ericson Photograph Collection, Humboldt State University Library

From the very by the Army for 13 years. start of white settlement on the Redwood Coast, clashes occurred between the settlers and the native peoples. An escalating cycle of violence led the U.S. government to establish Fort Humboldt in 1853. Built to protect both sides of the conflict, the fort’s fate was to oversee the relocation of native peoples onto the reservations that had been established inland. For a short time, over 300 Native Americans were interned in an 80-foot diameter stockade at Fort Humboldt. Much of this unhappy story is frankly told in an exhibit located in the restored hospital building, which also includes various artifacts from the fort’s comparatively brief existence (it was occupied until 1866). Among the fort’s early garrison was Captain Ulysses S. Grant—later to become the victorious Civil War general and president of the United States. Between the Civil War and the fort’s closure, it functioned primarily as a supply depot for a series of outposts including Fort Gaston.

Famous for their basket-making skills, the Redwood Coast tribal groups are well represented with examples from miniatures— made purely to demonstrate skill—up to truly enormous storage baskets. Both the renown Hover Basket Collection as well as the Becker Collection of baskets and ceremonial garb are on display in this surprising museum. Exhibits also include a redwood canoe and a large and incredibly detailed Yurok house model, complete with household items. There are many fine examples of fishing and hunting gear, as well as the attractive basket caps made and worn nowhere else but on the Redwood Coast. The visitor will also see significant examples of the ceremonial clothing and regalia, as well as local stone tools and zoomorphs on display. And finally, exhibits of contemporary Native American crafts demonstrate that these time-honored skills are still being taught and passed from generation to generation.

The Sun Set Twice on the People That Day, a mural that commemorates the Indian Island Massacre and honors the Wiyot people and other indigenous cultures on the Redwood Coast, can be viewed between 612 and 636 F St., Eureka.

Within a decade of Humboldt Bay’s rediscovery by Europeans and its rapid settlement, the stage had been set for tragedy. It was the same dismal tale told throughout the West: the settlers felt it was their right and destiny to push the native peoples off of the best land, and any resistance was an excuse for violent retaliation. The Wiyot people inhabited the Humboldt Bay region in a number of villages including Tuluwat on present-day Indian Island. This was the site for an important ritual dance known as a World Renewal Ceremony. Early in the morning of February 26, 1860, a group of settlers paddled their boats over to the island and, while the exhausted Wiyots were sleeping, brutally massacred as many as 100 elders, women and children. The only outrage this seems to have caused was that of writer Bret Harte, then living in Arcata, who wrote a newspaper column condemning the murders and was promptly run out of the county. Today, the 500 enrolled Wiyot tribal members hold an annual Candlelight Vigil of remembrance and healing, at which the entire community is welcome. 4. Hoopa Tribal Museum Located on the Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation. From the coast, take Highway 299 east (toward Redding). When you reach Willow Creek, turn north onto Hwy. 96 and proceed about 12 miles to the town of Hoopa. The The White Deerskin Ceremony is an important event in the Tribal Museum is spiritual life of the Hupa people. located in the center of town near the Tsewenaldin Inn and Ray’s Food Place. Open Tuesday to Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, and summer Saturdays from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. 530-625-4110. The Hoopa Tribal Museum offers one of the finest collections of basketry, jewelry, redwood canoes, tools and ceremonial regalia in Northern California. The museum shares the history and culture not only of the Hupa people, but of the Yurok and Karuk tribes as well. More than just a building, the museum preserves and transmits a living culture and way of life. In fact, most of the artifacts on display are on loan from tribal members, and are taken out regularly to be used in traditional ceremonies and demonstrations.Visitors are welcome to spend time and learn about local heritage and culture, and knowledgeable museum staff are available to answer questions. The Hoopa Tribal Museum is also the starting point for guided tours of the traditional village of Takimildin and other historic sites located in the Hoopa Valley. Guided tours are available on request— call for an appointment. There is a nominal fee for the tour, and group rates are available.

Ericson Photograph Collection, Humboldt State University Library

1. Fort Humboldt State Historic Park

Located in Humboldt Bay between Eureka and Samoa. To reach the view point and historic marker, take the Samoa Bridge (Hwy. 255) from Eureka and exit at Woodley Island. Drive all the way and park at the west end, then walk a few yards north of the Fisherman’s Memorial Statue. Indian Island can also be viewed by canoe or kayak, but visitors may not step foot on the island.

When Spanish captains Bodega and Heceta visited Trinidad in June of 1775 (and named it thus because it was Trinity Sunday), they noted and described a large, permanent village of sturdily-constructed wooden houses. This was the Yurok village of Tsurai (pronounced chair-eye), which had seen 1,000 years of continuous use and was in fact lived in until 1916, making it one of the very last original Native American communities on the Redwood Coast to be occupied. This was near the southern boundary of the Yurok people’s territory, which ran northward along the coast to Wilson Creek in Del Norte County, as well as 36 miles up the Klamath River. One of the most unusual aspects of Yurok culture was the permanence of their habitation made possible by the incredible natural bounty of the Redwood Coast, particularly the abundant salmon and shellfish. The private, family rights to home sites and fishing sites made possible by this fixed lifestyle was almost unheard of among Native American peoples. A final note—the descendents of the Tsurai villagers don’t call this location Indian Beach. To them, it’s Old Home Beach.


Near what was once a seasonal fishing village of the Yurok people in present-day Patrick’s Point State Park, Sumeg Village was built in 1990. This recreated Yurok community was constructed using completely authentic materials and designs, creating not only a time capsule of Redwood Coast life before the arrival of Europeans, but also a living, vibrant center to preserve and share Native American culture. The village contains a number of family houses that visitors are welcome to explore. Made from heavy, split redwood planks, the houses are partly under ground. There is also a sweat house, a dance pit and several dressing and preparation areas used for actual dances and ceremonies that Yuroks and neighboring tribal members perform in Sumeg Village. Adjacent to the village is the Native Plant Garden, which grows examples of the many plants used locally for basketry, medicinal, sustenance and ceremonial purposes. There is a good example of a redwood dugout, recently made by Yurok artisans, at the trailhead.

Located at the Thomas Kuchel Information Center of Redwood National Park, off of Highway 101 just south of Orick. 707-464-6101 Time and again around the world, indigenous peoples have developed amazing technologies, using available resources, that are ideal solutions to their needs. Such is the case with the redwood canoe, more correctly termed a dugout. The canoes were used by the Hupa and nearly all of the Yurok elder Axel Lindren purifies a newly-constructed redwood canoe. Redwood Coast peoples, but the Yuroks were the acknowledged masters in their construction. A fallen redwood tree was split in half with antler wedges, then carved and scraped with mussel-shell adzes to hollow, shape and smooth it. The builder sculpted seats, knobs and braces into the canoe’s interior, and these features took on spiritual significance, imbuing the craft with vitality. Canoes for both river and ocean use were made, and they were used for fishing, hunting sea lions, transportation of people and goods and even in religious ceremonies. 8. End of Trail Museum Located in the Trees of Mystery gift shop on Highway 101 just north of Klamath. 800-638-3389. Admission is free. Open daily 9:30 to 4:30, summer hours 8:30 to 7:30.


6. Sumeg Village Located in Patrick’s Point State Park, Highway 101 at Patrick’s Point Drive about six miles north of Trinidad. You can park at the visitor’s Traditional redwood plank houses and sweat lodges, center and take the Sumeg Village/Native used by several Redwood Coast peoples, have been Plant Garden Trail, or recreated at Sumeg Village. drive through the park to the Sumeg group day use area. 707-677-3570; day-use fee.

7. Redwood Canoe

For an immersion in Native American history and culture that goes well beyond the tribes of the Redwood Coast, visit the free End of Trail Museum at the iconic Trees of Mystery attraction. Assembled over four decades by Marylee Thompson, this museum contains one of the largest privately-owned collections of Native American art and artifacts in the world. The museum’s six rooms include the Entrance Gallery with a stunning assortment of baby carriers; the Local Room dedicated to artifacts of the Yurok, Karok and Tolowa peoples; the Southwest Room which includes many wonderful kachinas (ceremonial dolls); the cedar-lined Northwest Room which contains some of the collection’s most stunning tools, masks and clothing; the Plains Room, where the artifacts all share the portability required by nomadic peoples; and the California & Great Basin room, displaying the highest accomplishments of the basket maker’s art. Also of extreme interest is the museum’s collection of rare Edward Curtis orotone photographs.

Ericson Photograph Collection, Humboldt State University Library

Located in the town of Trinidad, Highway 101 about 20 miles north of Eureka. From the Memorial Lighthouse (at Trinity and Edwards Sts.), take the gravel path marked "Primary Trail to Indian Beach." From the bottom of the stairs the village site, now densely overgrown, was about 1/8 of a mile east on the bluff This Yurok elder, identified as Mrs. Childs, was one of overlooking the beach. The the very last residents of the Village of Tsurai. actual ancestral site of the village is sacred and not accessible to the public.

Ericson Photograph Collection, Humboldt State University Library

5. Village of Tsurai

The End of Trail Museum showcases numerous native baskets. Pictured are the baskets offered by the A. Brizard Co. in the early 1900s.

11. Clarke Historical Museum Located at 240 E Street (corner of 3rd St.) in Old Town Eureka. Open Tuesday to Saturday, 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. 707-443-1947. Admission is free; donations accepted. Gift shop & book store on premises.

Located on Mattole Road two to four miles west of the Avenue of the Giants. Take Highway 101 to the Founders Grove/Honeydew exit in Humboldt Redwoods State Park. Follow signs for Mattole Road/Petrolia to cross under the highway, and proceed west.

Ericson Photograph Collection, Humboldt State University Library

9. Bull Creek Pioneers

Pioneer settlement of the A pioneer homestead deep in the Redwood Coast backcountry redwood forest. followed a pattern similar to that which prevailed throughout the American West. Bull Creek, a tributary of the South Fork of the Eel River settled in the 1860s, was fairly typical of the industrious, isolated pioneer life. Stop and hike Johnson Prairie Road & trail (1.5 miles round trip) to view a homestead and the gravesite of Addie Johnson who, like so many pioneer women, died in childbirth. A mile further west on Mattole Road, the Albee Creek campground is on the site of John Albee’s homestead. An old schoolhouse was just across the creek. Hamilton Barn environmental camp marks the location of another pioneer home site. One mile further west, turn into the Cuneo Creek group horse camp. The campsite is dotted with venerable apple trees planted by early settlers —after two major floods in 1955 and 1964, little else remains. 10. Ferndale Museum

Dairy farming was the economic engine that turned Ferndale into “Cream City.”


Ericson Photograph Collection, Humboldt State University Library

Located at the corner of Shaw & Third Streets, Ferndale. Hours—February through May and October through December: Wednesday to Saturday, 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. Hours—June through September: Tuesday to Saturday, 11:00 am to 4:00 pm and Sunday 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. Closed in January. 707-786-4466. Admission is free; donations accepted.

Just two years after the settlement of Humboldt Bay, brothers Seth and Stephen Shaw crossed the Eel River by canoe, then paddled up the Salt River to the edge of the foothills. In a region of dense alder thickets and immense, six-foot high ferns, the brothers began clearing land in what would later become Ferndale. Now a scenic, 20-minute drive from Eureka, Ferndale was fairly isolated in the 19th century, though it prospered first as a supply and transportation hub, and later as the center of a thriving dairy industry—which it still is today. The Ferndale Museum documents the town’s pioneer days as well as its development into the prototypical rural Victorian community. Enjoy the old-time parlor, barbershop and blacksmith shop, among many other exhibits and artifacts. Another slice of small town history can be experienced at Golden Gait Mercantile, 421 Main St. Upstairs there’s a museum of Victorian-era household goods, while downstairs is a genuine emporium of vintage and reproduction products of the past.

A significant part of the Redwood Coast’s pioneer heritage is interpreted at the Clarke Historical Museum. The museum was founded by schoolteacher The Clarke Historical Museum recreates an elegant Victorian Cecile Clarke parlor, just like this vintage English drawing room. in 1960, and since that time its collection of Humboldt County artifacts has steadily grown through donations and acquisitions. Much of the museum’s collection is in storage, and new curated exhibits are staged regularly. Among the permanent exhibits is a collection of early firearms used on the Redwood Coast that includes rare muzzleloading rifles typical of what the first pioneers would have carried. An entire room is elaborately furnished and decorated as a Victorian parlor, portraying the height of comfort and elegance to which every successful pioneer would have aspired. The museum also includes the Nealis Hall of Native American heritage, displaying a world-class collection of Pacific Northwest Indian basketry, regalia, tools and other artifacts. 12. Humboldt Bay Discovery Located between the North and South Spits of Humboldt Bay. From Highway 101 in Eureka, turn west on the Samoa Bridge, Highway 255, and cross over to the North Peninsula. Turn left on New Navy Base Road and follow 7 miles to its end at Samoa Dunes Recreation Area. Park and approach the north jetty on foot. From the south, leave Hwy. 101 The Laura Virginia, a schooner like this 1860s at Hookton Rd., follow to Table vessel, was the first ship to locate and navigate the Bluff Rd., turn right and follow to entrance to Humboldt Bay. South Spit Management Area. Drive approx. 5 miles to the end. Picnic facilities at both locations. Caution—do not approach the water during storms or when heavy seas are running, and always be wary of unpredictable “sneaker waves.”

Virtually invisible from sea, Humboldt Bay was one of California’s biggest secrets. Historians speculate that Spanish galleons, Russian fur traders, American and British explorers—perhaps even Sir Francis Drake—sailed past the bay without suspecting its existence. The first known discovery of the bay by Europeans—it was quite familiar to its Wiyot inhabitants—occurred in 1806 when Jonathan Winship was in command of the O’Cain, a Boston ship hired out to the Russian government, arrived on the Redwood Coast to hunt sea otters. One of the O’Cain’s boats entered and explored the bay, which was named the “Bay of Rezanov” after their sponsor. The discovery was promptly forgotten, buried in the Imperial naval archives. It was not until 44 years later that H.H. Buhne piloted the schooner Laura Virginia into the bay, after the survivors of the Gregg expedition had shared its location. In the spirit of the times, the settlers on board named the bay after the much-admired German scientist and geographer Alexander von Humboldt—who himself never visited the place.

15. Willow Creek-China Flat Museum

13. Arcata Plaza

Located near the intersection of Highways 299 and 96 in eastern Humboldt County. Open April through October: Wednesday to Sunday, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. 530-629-2653. Admission is free; donations accepted.

One of only ten original town squares The Arcata Plaza has been the focus of community in California, the celebrations for over 150 years. Arcata Plaza has survived since pioneer days as the town’s heart and soul, and has stood witness to Arcata’s gradual transition from frontier settlement to bucolic college town. The Plaza was laid out as a commons in the original 1850 plat of Union (the town’s first name) and was the staging ground for the many pack trains, of up to 40 mules each, heading for the Trinity gold mines. This open space also served as a parade ground for the local militia, as well as a place where the citizens could graze their cattle (cows were banned from the Plaza in 1901). But gradually, use of the Plaza shifted from business to pleasure. Parades and races, concerts and theatricals, holiday celebrations and community events were more and more frequent in the 1870s and 80s, while vintage photos show an elegant band- stand in the center. In 1906, the bronze statue of William McKinley was erected by his admirers, and the martyred president has presided over life on the Arcata Plaza ever since.

The naming of the Mad River came about during one of the most dramatic episodes of the Redwood Coast’s exploration and discovery. In 1849, eight men set out from the Trinity River with the goal of finding a fabled bay and discovering a route by which the gold camps could be supplied from the sea. Among their number were Dr. Josiah Gregg, the expedition captain, L.K. Wood, David Buck and others. From the outset, the men were beset by foul weather, lack of supplies and brutal terrain. What they thought was an eight-day journey stretched into weeks as they struggled first over sheer mountains, and then through impenetrable redwood forests. Fatigue and frayed nerves grew as they finally reached the coast, primarily over Dr. Gregg’s constant stopping for scientific measurements and observations. As they crossed an unknown river south of Trinidad, the tension boiled over into a bitter argument that nearly turned violent. Before the party pressed on to rediscover Humboldt Bay, the river was named to express how they felt at the time—Mad.



Located in Redwood National Park. Take Highway 101 to Bald Hills Road, just north of Orick. Turn east and drive 17 miles from Hwy. 101 (partly unpaved). Park at the trailhead and hike two miles through prairie and oak woodlands to the site (bring drinking water and sun protection). Allow 3 hours minimum. Picnic facilities and portable toilets at site.

In the late 19th century, a significant sheep ranching industry thrived in the Redwood The Old Home Place barn on Coast foothills, particularly in the Mattole Lyons Ranch is a classic example of pioneer building. River and Bald Hills areas. Lyons Ranch was a fairly typical example of the rugged isolation these pioneers endured to make a living. Affectionately known as “Home Place,” the Lyons Ranch supported generations of the Lyons family. The site consists of an original barn and bunkhouse, spectacularly located high above the Redwood Creek watershed. The remains of an orchard and family gravesites remind us that people lived their entire lives in this beautiful, remote place. The Lyons Ranch barn, maintained by the National Park Service and open for public inspection, is a striking example of pioneer construction. Every method of converting timber into a building material—peeled poles, split planks and shingles, hewn beams, hand-sawn boards and milled lumber—can be found in this impressive and charming structure.


16. Lyons Ranch

14. Mad River Located between Arcata and McKinleyville. Highway 101 crosses over the Mad River at North Bank Road —to get closer to the assumed historic site, exit at Giuntoli Lane. Less than 1/4 mile west, turn right onto Heindon Rd. And follow the Coastal Access signs through the Arcata Bottoms. Stop at the The dense forest of giant redwoods helped turn the Gregg party’s “eight-day” ramble to the coast into Hammond Trail Bridge, or proceed to the parking lot of weeks of toil and privation. Mad River County Park.

This excellent small museum documents the early history of remote Willow Creek, originally called China Flat. The region was first inhab- ited by the Hupa people, and today’s Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation is the largest reservation in California. Hydraulic mining for gold near Weitchpec. The first European to visit Miners throughout the Klamath/Trinity region the area was the famous were supplied through Willow Creek. mountain man Jedediah Strong Smith, who camped at Kimtu Bar in 1828. In 1849 the Gregg party arrived at this point and struck off toward the coast. In just a few years, China Flat was serving as a supply center, with mule trains bringing supplies for the gold workings, a role that surprisingly lasted until the 1930s. Following World War II there was a 30-year boom in logging and milling the region’s quality fir timber, but today Willow Creek is best known for a legend that dates back centuries: Bigfoot. The whispered rumors of a huge humanoid creature that howled in the woods took on new life with a spate of sightings beginning in 1958. An entire wing of the China Flat Museum is devoted to Bigfoot evidence and research.

Ericson Photograph Collection, Humboldt State University Library

Ericson Photograph Collection, Humboldt State University Library

Exit Highway 101 northbound at Old Arcata Road/Samoa Blvd; proceed west two blocks, then turn right on G St. and follow to Plaza. From Highway 101 southbound, exit at Sunset Ave. and proceed straight on H St. to reach Plaza.

19. Falk Ghost Town

Ericson Photograph Collection, Humboldt State University Library

Located in the town of Scotia, approximately 25 miles south of Eureka on Highway 101. Take the Scotia exit and follow Main Street to the Scotia Museum. Then continue on Main to the visitor The logging and milling town of Scotia is still privately parking lot to owned by a lumber company. access the Freshwater Aquarium and self-guided mill & factory tour. Open weekdays 9:00 am to 4:30 pm, Memorial Day through Labor Day. No cost. 707-764-2222. Picnic area.

The Pacific Lumber Company-owned town of Scotia—one of the last of its kind—continues to exist for the sole purpose of growing and harvesting redwood and fir timber. Amid the present-day activity, the story of how the Redwood Coast timber industry got its start is told in the newly updated Scotia Museum. Through historical artifacts, vintage photos and interactive technology, visitors see how forestry practices—and Scotia itself—have changed over the last 140 years. Outside the museum are examples of two major innovations without which the redwood timber boom could not have happened, the loco- motive and the steam donkey. Only after the transition from animal power to steam power was it really feasible to harvest the gigantic redwoods in mountainous terrain. Continue to the self-guided tour of the “Value Added” mill to see how today’s lumber companies produce their products from smaller trees, and to the Freshwater Aquarium to learn how this industry manages its lands and resources.

Located in Rohner Park, Fortuna. Exit Highway 101 at Main Street Fortuna and follow east one mile to Park Street; turn left into park. Open daily from 12:00 to 4:30 pm. The Fortuna train depot now resides in the City’s Rohner Park and houses the Fortuna Depot Museum. 707-725-7645. Admission is free; donations accepted.


Humboldt County Historical Society

18. Fortuna Depot Museum

Once the Northwestern Pacific Railroad connected the Humboldt Bay region to the rest of California in 1914 (with it’s own gold spike ceremony at Cain Rock), rail became the mainstay of shipping, commercial and passenger travel. The Northwestern Pacific was responsible for rail operations throughout Northern California’s “Redwood Empire,” and purchased many other rail companies including the Eureka and Eel River Railroad. This latter transaction brought it the Fortuna Depot, built in 1893 and originally standing at the foot of 7th Street (where the station master’s house still stands). Abandoned by Northwestern Pacific in 1965, the Depot was purchased by the City of Fortuna and moved to its present location in Rohner Park. Today the old Depot is an excellent museum of early life in Fortuna (originally called Springville) and the Eel River Valley. The collection includes railroad, ranching, fishing gear, Native American and pioneer artifacts, as well as extensive resource materials for those wishing to conduct research.

Ericson Photograph Collection, Humboldt State University Library

17. Scotia Museum & Mill Tour

Located in the northern part of Headwaters Forest Reserve. Exit Highway 101 just south of Eureka at the Elk River Road exit, then turn right on Elk River Road and follow for six miles (bear to the right where Elk River Road intersects Bustling mill camps sprang up throughout the Redwood Walnut). There is a Coast. Some turned into towns—some disappeared. parking area with informational signs at the reserve boundary. The town is a two-mile round trip hike—allow about one hour, and bring water. BLM info: 707-825-2300.

Dozens of tiny communities on the Redwood Coast began as lumber camps, primitive outposts in the deep forest where many men—and a few women—worked to harvest and mill the huge virgin redwood trees into lumber. Over the years, some of these grew into respectable towns with schools, churches and post offices. But this was no guarantee of permanence. The town of Falk was once home to 400 souls, employees of the Elk River Lumber Company and their families, but today there are but a few traces of this thriving community. Founded by Noah Falk in 1880, the Elk River Mill and its supporting town were at the terminus of an eight-mile rail line that ran to Bucksport on Humboldt Bay. For about 50 years the busy mill produced and shipped millions of board feet of prime lumber, but the Great Depression shut the mill down for good.Visit Falk and search for the faint trace of foundations, some small wooden structures, a Model T dumptruck and gardens run rampant…as the tenacious redwood forest reclaims its dominion. 20. Fort Humboldt State Historic Park Located off Highland Avenue, on the bluff overlooking the Bayshore Mall. From Highway 101/Broadway, turn east onto Highland, directly across from Marie Callender’s. Turn left into the fort. Open daily, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm; admission is free. 707-445-6567. Steam-ups are held The Steam Donkey, adapted to logging by John Dolbeer, on the 3rd Saturday made logging the giant redwoods economically feasible. of the month, May through September.

Ericson Photograph Collection, Humboldt State University Library

Timber & Rail Heritage Trail

Once the value of redwood lumber was established, the Redwood Coast timbermen wouldn’t rest until they had learned how to harvest the largest trees. Platforms called “springboards” were set in the trunks allowing the lumberjacks to avoid cutting the thickest part near the base. To axes were added cross cut saws up to 24’ long, two-man tools appropriately dubbed “misery whips” used to make the necessary cuts when felling a tree. Horse and ox teams were replaced by the Steam Donkey, a stationary winch invented by John Dolbeer that dragged the huge logs through the forest with cables. Small logging locomotives traversed rail lines built deep into the woods (crossing ravines on high wooden trestles) to bring the timber to the mills. Fort Humboldt’s collection of historic logging equipment includes a c1890 Dolbeer type steam donkey, the Bear Harbor Lumber Co. Gypsy Locomotive #1 and the Elk River Mill and Lumber Co. #1 “Falk” locomotive. These are kept in working order and fired up occasionally on “Steam Up” days. There is also a small museum building displaying hand tools and other logging artifacts.

21. Samoa Cookhouse

In the heyday of the Redwood Coast timber industry, Humboldt Bay was ringed with sawmills busily turning the clear, straight-grained redwood logs into lumber. Working in a mill was nearly as hard (and dangerous) as working in the woods, and the mill workers needed the same hearty and plentiful nutrition that the lumberjacks enjoyed. The Samoa Cookhouse first opened in 1890 to feed workers at the adjacent Vance Lumber Co. (later the Hammond mill), and has been serving up three square meals a day ever since—served boarding house-style and all-you-can-eat. The mills are mostly gone now and the Cookhouse, the last of its kind, caters to local residents and visitors hankering for a nostalgic taste of our timber heritage. Within the building you will find a small museum of logging and cookhouse artifacts including saws, axes and other hand tools, vintage kitchen implements and a wonderful collection of photographs chronicling the local timber industry. You don’t have to eat at the Cookhouse to visit the museum. 22. Old Arcata Wharf Located at the Arcata Marsh & Wildlife Sanctuary. Take Highway 101 to Arcata and exit at Samoa Blvd. heading west. Turn south on I Street and follow approximately one mile to the Klopp Lake parking lot. A historic marker is at the south end of the parking lot.


The early timbermen on the Redwood Coast had never seen anything like the mighty redwoods in their native eastern woods. The sheer logistics of felling a 15-foot diameter tree with puny axes—not to mention getting that tree from the woods to the mill—were almost overwhelming, and at first they contented themselves with logging fir, spruce and the smaller redwood specimens using human and animal muscle. The trees found in what is now the Arcata Community Forest were ideal not only because hillside redwoods were generally smaller than those found on the rich alluvial flats, but also because the loggers could use gravity to help them move the logs out of the forest. Powerful teams of oxen were used to haul the logs down “skid roads,” paths lined with timbers and lubricated with water or grease, to where they could be rolled into the water and floated to the mill. Many of the Community Forest’s hiking trails follow original skid roads—watch for the interpretive signs and imagine yourself guiding a log weighing many tons down the hill behind your team of 16 or more oxen.

Originally called Union, the town of Arcata was settled in 1850 for the same original purpose as Eureka—to supply the Trinity and Klamath River gold mines—and quickly grew into a bustling commercial center. But located at the northern end of shallow Humboldt Bay, Arcata lacked Eureka’s deep water mooring and needed to improve its shipping access. In 1855, the Union Wharf and Plank Walk Company built a mile-and-a-half long wharf across the marshes and mudflats to a deep-water channel in the bay. A wooden-tracked railroad ran along the wharf and connected with the depot at the southwest corner of the Arcata Plaza. Though the cars were horse-drawn, this was the very first common carrier railroad in California and it operated continually until the 1930s. From the edge of the Klopp Lake parking lot the wharf angled off to the southwest, and at low tide many of its old pilings are clearly visible. To learn more, visit the small rail display located on the ground floor of Jacoby’s Storehouse on the Arcata Plaza.

Take Highway 299 east eight miles to Blue Lake Blvd. Turn right on Greenwood St., then left on Railroad Ave. to museum at 330 Railroad Ave. Open April A festive Fourth-of-July crowd poses with a decorated through locomotive on the Annie & Mary Line in Blue Lake. September on Sundays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. For information: Blue Lake Museum Society, 707-668-4188.

Humboldt County Historical Society

24. Blue Lake Museum/Annie & Mary Line

Ericson Photograph Collection, Humboldt State University Library

The Union Wharf and Plank Walk extended over a mile into Humboldt Bay.

Located in Arcata Community Forest. Exit Highway 101 (northbound) at 14th Street and turn right. Heading south, exit at Sunset Ave., turn left to cross over the highway, then turn right onto L.K. Wood, then left onto 14th St. Continue east on 14th to the park entrance at An ox team hauls logs out of the woods down a Union Street. Follow Redwood Park Road until “skid road.” the parking lot at its end. Follow the Nature Trail (trail #1) at the west side of the parking lot.

Ericson Photograph Collection, Humboldt State University Library

Photo courtesy Regional Visitor Publications.

Located on the North Peninsula. From Eureka, cross the Samoa Bridge (Highway 255) from Highway 101 (4th or 5th Street), then turn left. From Arcata, take Samoa Boulevard until it passes the Samoa Bridge. Proceed about 300 yards to Cookhouse Road & follow signs. Open year-round The Samoa Cookhouse has been feeding except for Christmas day. hungry loggers and visitors for over 100 years. 707-442-1659.

23. Arcata Historic Logging Trail


Running from the shipping port of Arcata to the lumber camps of Blue Lake and Korbel, the Arcata & Mad River Railroad was typical of the numerous short haul rail lines operating on the Redwood Coast well before 1914, when the region was finally connected by rail to the outside world. Begun in 1854 and extended in 1881, the line was affectionately dubbed the “Annie & Mary” in 1907 in honor of two well-loved railroad employees. Running inland up the Mad River Valley (roughly the first ten miles of Hwy. 299), the line carried freight a good distance toward the Trinity River gold mines before it was transferred to wagons and pack trains. In later years, however, the Annie & Mary line’s mainstay was redwood timber as well as farm produce and passengers. On weekends, the cars were often filled with picnickers heading for Camp Bauer in Korbel. The Blue Lake Museum is located in the 1890s Arcata & Mad River Railroad depot, and contains displays and artifacts celebrating the local history of timber and rail.

27. M.V. Madaket

Maritime Heritage Trail

hundreds of maritime casualties on the

Of the hundreds of treacherous Redwood Coast. shipwrecks that occurred on the treacherous North Coast of California, the loss of the Northerner on January 6, 1860 was one of the most catastrophic. Northward bound from San Francisco, the steamer Northerner struck a submerged rock two miles off of Cape Mendocino (on what is today known as “The Lost Coast”) and was wrecked with the loss of 17 passengers and 21 crew members. The ship used the last of her steam to get to Centerville Beach where the 65 people still on board were rescued. The Centerville Beach Memorial Cross, State Historic Landmark #173, was erected there in honor of those who lost their lives in this tragedy. As the Redwood Coast region was settled and maritime traffic increased accordingly, the number of shipwrecks and other tragedies grew alarmingly. A state shipwreck database lists over 350 vessels that were wrecked, foundered, stranded, heavily damaged or in collisions between the 1850s and the 1950s in Humboldt, Del Norte and Mendocino counties.

28. Eureka Waterfront From Eureka Public Marina on Waterfront Drive to Waterfront Park, foot of L Street to foot of T Street. The Eureka Boardwalk runs from C Street to the F Street Plaza, Old Town.

This is the original Cousins fleet of Humboldt Bay ferry

This small boats, including the Nellie C—renamed the Madaket. museum preserves and interprets the entire Maritime history of the Redwood Coast, including displays that represent Humboldt Bay shipping and commerce, the fishing industry, shipwrecks and disasters, lighthouses and lifesaving, ship building and Coast Guard local history. (The U.S. Coast Guard has a strong legacy of heroism and service on the Redwood Coast, and in fact Eureka is one of only two official Coast Guard Cities in the United States.) The museum’s collection is far larger than its available display space, but some of the more interesting artifacts include the lens from the Table Bluff lighthouse and cupola from the Humboldt Bay lighthouse; two fine rowing boats used around the bay for decades; numerous ship models; pieces of wrecked ships as well as many tools and instruments used by mariners of the past. Museum volunteers are always on hand to answer questions.


Humboldt County Historical Society

26. Humboldt Bay Maritime Museum Located in Old Town Eureka at 423 1st Street, near the F Street Plaza. Open 12:00 to 4:00 pm Tuesdays through Saturdays. 707-444-9440. Admission is free; donations accepted.

Imagine Humboldt Bay at the turn of the 20th Century—lumber mills going day and night, ships constantly loading and offloading, and a myriad of small boats bustling to and fro. The Bay was truly the main artery through which the commerce of the Redwood Coast flowed. A native of Nantucket named Walter Coggeshall built a small empire on this activity with his Coggeshall Launch and Tow Boat Company. In addition to servicing the passenger and cargo ships on the Bay, the company operated numerous ferry boats that kept busy shuttling people from point to point— especially taking workers to and from the mills and shipyards at Samoa and Fairhaven. One of these boats, the M.V. Madaket, is still going strong and offers tours of Humboldt Bay. Built in 1910 by one of Coggeshall’s competitors and originally named the Nellie C., the Madaket is owned by the Humboldt Bay Maritime Museum and is considered the oldest continuously-operating passenger motor vessel in the United States. The MV Madaket has a long and The Madaket also boasts the smallest colorful history on Humboldt Bay. licensed bar in California!

The waterfront of a seaport and timber town like Eureka necessarily became its focus of commerce and activity. From earliest settlement, lumber mills lined the shore where their products could be loaded The corner of F and 2nd was and is the heart of Old Town Eureka. There was a high concentration of directly onto waiting ships. Numerous lumber bars and bordellos in this lively waterfront district. schooners, steamers and ferries crowded the waterfront, while a significant fishing industry also developed. The sailors and fishermen who came on shore were a hard-working breed, and when they mixed with the equally rough lumberjacks and millworkers who came to the waterfront seeking to “blow off steam,” the result was explosive. Old Town Eureka’s 2nd Street, locally known as “Two Street,” was notorious for its Wild-West concentration of bars and bordellos, so much so that writer Jack London visited specifically to research tough characters for his novels. Opened in 2001, the Eureka Boardwalk celebrates the town’s maritime heritage and is a splendid vantage from which to watch fishing boats come and go while you contemplate the rugged ghosts of the past.

Humboldt County Historical Society

Located seven miles west of Ferndale on Centerville Road. From Main Street in Ferndale, turn right onto Ocean Avenue and travel west. Park at Centerville Beach County Park; there are restrooms and picnic facilities. The cross is to the south on the hill overlooking Centerville Beach. This beached schooner was just one of

Ericson Photograph Collection, Humboldt State University Library

25. Centerville Beach Cross


Narrated harbor cruises offered daily April through October. The 75-minute tours depart from the foot of “C” or “F” Streets, Old Town Eureka. For information call 707-445-1910.

30. USS Milwaukee Wreck Located on the ocean beach of the North Peninsula. Highway 101 to Samoa Bridge (Highway 255), south on New Navy Base Road for 1.2 miles. Park on the right (near a large boulder, almost directly across from the pulp mill smoke stack) and cross dunes to the beach. Wreck is visible only during minus tides—exercise extreme caution near the ocean at all times. Humboldt County Historical Society

Maritime tragedy is never so poignant as when those who attempt to rescue others become victims themselves. Such was the fate of the USS Milwaukee, a Navy cruiser that was beached in January 1917 after it attempted to rescue the U.S. Navy submarine H3, The wreck of the U.S.S. Milwaukee drew which itself had beached on crowds of curious spectators to the North Peninsula. the North Peninsula after becoming lost in heavy fog. Dispatched to salvage the early submersible craft, the Milwaukee—like many another ship before and since—fell victim to the powerful currents that prevail on the Redwood Coast and found itself driven onto shore. Miraculously, only one life was lost in the incident, but the ship itself was a total loss and was left to salvagers and souvenir hunters. For decades, the decaying hull of the Milwaukee was a popular backdrop for beach picnics, and even today her rusted bulkheads can be seen, a short distance offshore, at very low tides. 31. Fairhaven

Located on the North Peninsula, across Humboldt Bay from Eureka. Turn off Highway 101 at the Samoa Bridge (Highway 255) and cross over to the peninsula. Turn left on New Navy Base Road and follow for 3.5 miles to Lincoln Ave. Turn left into Fairhaven, then take the second right (Park Street, unmarked) until it ends at the shore of Humboldt Bay.


Though there’s little to see today, the tiny town of Fairhaven was once the center of a major shipbuilding industry on Humboldt Bay. The Pacific Northwest timber trade created a constant demand for cargo vessels to ship milled lumber from ports in California, Oregon and Washington to markets around the world, but especially to San Francisco. The lumber schooner was a unique

32. Redwood Coast Lighthouses A. Cape Mendocino Lighthouse Operating 1868 to 1951. First-order Fresnel lens on display in replica lighthouse at Humboldt County Fairgrounds, Ferndale. Original lighthouse building moved to Shelter Cove in 1998. B. Punta Gorda Lighthouse Operating 1912 to 1951, fourth-order Fresnel lens and fog signal at Windy Point. Located in King Range National Conservation Area near Petrolia, accessible by a 3.5-mile hike.

Today, only a few traces remain of the

C. Table Bluff Humboldt Bay Lighthouse. Lighthouse Operating 1892 to 1953. Fourth-order Fresnel lens and fog signal. Lens is on display at Humboldt Bay Maritime Museum, Eureka. Structure moved to Woodley Island, Eureka in 1987. D. Humboldt Harbor Lighthouse—Operating 1856 to 1892. Low brick walls indicate remains of the tower and keeper’s house, and may be seen in the dunes west of the Coast Guard headquarters on the North Peninsula. E. Trinidad Head Lighthouse—Operating 1871 to present. Not open to the public, but the original fourth-order Fresnel lens and 400-lb fog bell are on display at the Trinidad Memorial Lighthouse, a replica built in 1948. F. Battery Point Lighthouse—Operating 1856 to 1965. Fourth-order Fresnel lens, historic photos and lighthouse artifacts on display. Guided tours conducted by resident keepers, April-September. 707-464-3089. (Located in Crescent City) G. St. George’s Reef Lighthouse—Operating 1892 to 1975. Located six miles offshore, was the most expensive lighthouse ever built in the U.S. First-order Fresnel lens on display at Del Norte County Historical Museum. Helicopter tours offered: 707-464-8299. (Located near Crescent City)

Ericson Photograph Collection, Humboldt State University Library

The incredible bounty of the seas—just like the wealth of redwood timber—was an unexpected gift to the settlers who first came to the Redwood Coast. Humboldt Bay is the second largest bay on the California coast and is ideally This memorial statue on situated for harvesting seafood. It is in Woodley Island, known simply the southern range of salmon, the as The Fisherman, commemorates the Humboldt Bay northern range of albacore, and in the heart of the Dungeness crab, bay shrimp, mariners who have lost their oyster and clam producing region. The lives at sea. marina on Woodley Island is a fine location to soak up the salty heritage of local fishermen. Along the embarcadero is a series of interpretive signs explaining various aspects of the fishing industry, while the marina itself is home to numerous trollers and trawlers—from some of which you can buy fish and crab directly. At the south end of the island, stop at the Fisherman’s Memorial statue and pay homage to mariners who have lost their lives at sea.


Located in Humboldt Bay directly across from Old Town Eureka. From Highway 101 (4th Street south, 5th Street north), turn west onto the Samoa Bridge (Highway 255) and take the Woodley Island exit. Proceed to any of the parking areas. The Don Clausen Embarcadero extends the entire length of the marina.

sailing ship developed for this trade—shallow draft for crossing coastal bars such as the entrance to Humboldt Bay, uncluttered decks to simplify loading, and easily handled by small crews. Hans Ditler Bendixsen’s Fairhaven shipyard specialized in these vessels. Of the 93 ships The Bendixen shipyard at Fairhaven launched Bendixsen built between dozens of lumber schooners and other vessels. 1869 and 1901, 41 were two-masted, 30 were three-masted and 12 were four-masted schooners. Ultimately, the lumber schooners could not compete with safer and more reliable steamships. Today, the last surviving example of a lumber schooner is the C.A.Thayer located in San Francisco. A typical three-master, the Thayer was launched by Hans Bendixsen’s Fairhaven shipyard in 1895.

Humboldt County Historical Society

29. Woodley Island

Architectural Heritage Trail

35. Eureka Neighborhoods

In the 1920s the Redwood Highway opened up the Redwood Coast to automobilists year-round, and a new era of travel began. To cater to the growing auto trade, several luxury hotels were built including the Benbow, Scotia and Eureka Inns. All three are examples of the English Tudor Revival architectural style, and all are noteworthy for their lavish use of redwood and other local materials. The Benbow Inn, opened in 1926, is solidly built of redwood, Douglas fir and Eel River stone. Hand-decorated accents, carved wood and cherrywood wainscoting are just some of the special touches in this four-diamond hotel on the National Register of Historic Places. Appropriately for its lumber-town location, the 1923-24 Scotia Inn is built entirely of redwood and highlights the artistry that could result using some of the finest wood ever grown. The Eureka Inn, opened in 1922, has the distinction of using more board feet of redwood lumber in its construction than any other structure in the world. Its paneled, high-ceilinged lobby emulates a 17th Century baronial hall. 34.Victorian Village of Ferndale Take the Fernbridge exit (Route 211) from Highway 101 about ten miles south of Eureka. Cross the bridge over the Eel River and proceed five miles to Ferndale. Ferndale Chamber of Commerce: 707-786-4477,

Photo by Jack Hopkins

Many have described a visit to Ferndale as a step back in time, and it’s not surprising to learn that the entire town is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In the late 19th century, Ferndale’s dairy The Victorian Village of Ferndale still industry reached its peak and retains the charm of a bygone era. successful local farmers and merchants translated their prosperity into “Butterfat Palaces”—large family homes built inthe latest styles. Today’s residents have lovingly preserved and restored these vintage Queen Annes, Eastlakes and other classic Victorians. Ferndale’s Main Street is largely intact and includes dozens of original commercial buildings, while the Shaw House (703 Main), built by Ferndale founder Seth Shaw in 1854, is one of California’s finest examples of Carpenter Gothic architecture. Walk by these other classic homes (private residences— please do not disturb): 1249 Ambrosini Lane (1883), 1027 Van Ness Ave. (1885), 452 Shaw Ave. (1897), 1249 Rose Ave. (1899), 362 Berding St. (1890), 445 Ocean Ave. (1875), 831 Main St. (1895), 923 Main St. (1894) and 1042 Main St. (1899).


In a major survey conducted in 1979 by the Eureka Heritage Society, over 1,600 of Eureka’s 10,000 buildings were identified as having particular architectural and historic significance. (The survey was published in an excellent book, Eureka: An Architectural View.) Today, the majority of these structures have been restored to their original condition, turning Eureka into a vast, open-air museum of Victorian architecture. A drive down virtually any Just as it was in the 1890s, pride of ownership is strong in Eureka and contributes to a remarkable street in any collection of preserved Victorian residences. neighborhood will yield vintage homes, but some parts of town are especially rich. The 200 block of Hillsdale Street contains a number of homes built between 1890 and 1904, all of which have been carefully restored. The 200 block of Clark Street (1877 to 1898) is similarly impres- sive, as is the 900 block of 3rd Street (1887 to 1904). On C Street, take note of #1228 (1900), #1439 (1886), #1461 (1895) and #1804 (1891). Other fine Victorians can be seen at #2114 E St. (1898), #2436 E St. (1906), #1207 F St. (1892), #828 G St. (1882) and #1604 G St. (1908). 36. Carnegie Library Located at 636 F Street in Downtown Eureka (corner of 7th Street, across from the Eureka Inn). Morris Graves Museum of Art: 707-442-0278,

Eureka’s 1904 Carnegie Free Eureka’s Carnegie Free Library has been proudly reborn as the Morris Graves Museum of Art. Library was one of 142 public libraries built in California with the help of Scottish industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. The citizens of Eureka matched Carnegie’s $20,000 grant with over $8,000 in cash, plus contributions of labor and materials. Local architects Knowles Evans and B.C. Tarver designed the Classic Revival structure. The building’s exterior creates a massive impression for what is only a 10,000 square foot structure, beginning with its Greek pediment and columns, red brick walls and heavy lintels and sills made from Mad River granite. The colorful Roman mosaic floor of the portico extends into the circular atrium, which is framed by soaring, two-story redwood columns. Beyond the skylit atrium there is a semi-circular rotunda that completes the classic form. Operated as a library until 1972, the building was transferred to the Humboldt Arts Council in 1995 and, after significant fundraising and restoration, grandly reopened as the Morris Graves Museum of Art in 2000.

Photo is from a vintage penny postcard.

The Benbow Inn is located at 445 Lake Benbow Dr. south of Garberville (visible from Hwy. 101); the Scotia Inn is at 100 Main St., Scotia; the Eureka Inn is located on 7th Street, This photo was taken soon after the Eureka Inn’s grand between F and G, opening in 1922. in Eureka. Scotia and Eureka Inns may be closed for renovation.

Humboldt County Historical Society

33. Benbow, Scotia & Eureka Inns

Humboldt County Historical Society

Generally located south of Highway 101 (4th & 5th Streets). Hillsdale Street is located between E and C Streets, 7 blocks south of 5th St. Clark Street runs between Broadway and C Streets, 6 blocks south of 5th St. These are private residences—please do not disturb occupants.

Ericson Photograph Collection, Humboldt State University Library

Just as the residential The Vance Hotel on 2nd and G Streets in Old neighborhoods of Eureka Town Eureka was the social and commercial are rich in beautifully center of town for many years. The building has preserved Victorian now been completely restored. homes, the Old Town district is a treasure trove of Victorian commercial buildings. Originally the central business district encompassing the waterfront and some major public buildings, Old Town fell on hard times in the mid-20th century as the focus of commerce shifted elsewhere. But a coordinated effort to preserve and restore the district’s 150-plus vintage structures has transformed Old Town into a bustling, exciting neighborhood of shops, restaurants, museums, apartments and offices. Among the more notable buildings are the Vance Hotel (1872, Second Empire style) at 525 2nd St., the Buhne Building (1884, Renaissance Revival style) at 600 2nd St., the Weaver Building (1892, Eastlake/Stick style) at 102 F St, the Palmtag Building (1893, Queen Anne style) at 208 F St., the Carson Block (1891, Sullivanesque style) at 227 F St., the Gross Building (1902, Classical Revival style) at 517 5th St., and many others. Note the use of cast iron on several shop fronts. 38. William Carson Mansion Located at 143 M Street, Eureka (at intersection of 2nd Street). The building is owned by a private club; no interior tours available.


The essence of Victorian architecture is its ornate embellishment —its beautifully-turned columns and balusters, decorated gables, complicated designs for windows and doors and intricate mouldings, corbels and surface treatments. These were not items that just any sawmill could churn out, but the products of specialized mills or “job shops” employing highly-skilled craftsmen using the finest materials—which in the case of Eureka’s Victorians meant redwood. Blue Ox Millworks and Historic Park has been instrumental in preserving (and in some cases rediscovering) the classic craftsmanship of Victorian architectural millwork. Using salvaged old-growth redwood lumber and a variety of original, vintage woodworking machines, the craftsmen at Blue Ox reproduce the millwork for hundreds of historic renovations on the Redwood Coast and throughout the United States. A tour of the millworks showcases various projects in progress as well as other demonstrations of craftsmanship including a plaster shop, ceramics, blacksmithing, boatbuilding, sawmill, shingle mill and more. 40. Jacoby’s Storehouse

Ericson Photograph Collection, Humboldt State University Library

The 1886 Carson Mansion may well be the ultimate Victorian in the country. Built by lumber magnate William Carson to keep 100 of his workers employed during a slump in the timber industry, the mansion’s towers and turrets, columned porches, multiple gables and ornate gingerbread detail—not to mention the paint job—evoke everyone’s ideal of how a Victorian should look. The iconic Carson Mansion (2nd & M Streets, Old Town Eureka) has been called the most Carson asked the photographed Victorian in the United States. Newsom Brothers, respected San Francisco architects, to design a family home that reflected his business success and social stature. The Newsoms responded with an exuberant design that combined many of the current styles including Italianate, Eastlake, Stick and Queen Anne. The mansion that arose on a bluff overlooking Carson’s lumber mills and docks became the pride of the city, and set the trend for a period of highly ornate architecture in Eureka. The Newsoms also designed the J. Milton Carson House, locally known as The Pink Lady, which William Carson built across the street in 1889 upon the wedding of his son.

Located at the foot of X Street, Eureka. From Highway 101 (4th Street south & 5th Street north), turn north on V Street and proceed to 2nd Street. Turn right and then left into the Millworks. Note: this location is The Blue Ox Millworks is one of the few remaining Victorian “job shops” in the U.S. where custom millwork is created. scheduled to change in 2006; please call ahead to verify address. 707-444-3437,

Located on the Arcata Plaza, corner of 8th and H Streets. Exit Highway 101 at Samoa Blvd. (northbound), head west then turn right onto G Street and proceed to the Plaza. Southbound, exit Highway 101 at Sunset Ave. and proceed straight down H Street to Seen here in its final evolution, Jacoby’s Storehouse on the Arcata the Plaza. Plaza is an architectural survivor.

Humboldt County Historical Society

Located between 1st and 7th Streets and between C and I Streets. (49-square block National Register Historic District includes Old Town and Downtown Eureka.) Begin at the Gazebo, 2nd and F Streets.


39. Blue Ox Millworks

37. Old Town Eureka

While everyone else during Arcata’s Gold Rush boom years built their homes and businesses out of wood, August Jacoby—a prominent merchant—built his new storehouse on the Arcata Plaza out of local brick and stone, with a clay and concrete roof. When it was completed in 1857, Jacoby’s Storehouse was the only fireproof structure in Humboldt County, and was a source of pride to the citizens of Arcata. His foresight was valuable—in 1875 a fire swept around the Plaza and destroyed dozens of businesses, but left the storehouse untouched. In 1880, the building was purchased by Alexander Brizard. A merchant and pack train operator, Brizard remodeled the storehouse in 1898, and in 1907 he lengthened and widened the structure, adding the present second and third stories. Today, the fully restored Jacoby’s Storehouse contains a bank, several restaurants, retail shops and offices. The building is a California State Historic Landmark, the plaque for which draws attention to the original, two-foot thick stone wall.

Humboldt Heritage Trails  

Step back in time and take a self-guided tour through historic Humboldt County. The guide details five heritage trails -- Native American, P...

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