They called THIS home ?!?!?!

"Thief Camp"

"Thief Camp"


Folks seem to like old photos, so I decided to dig up another one. 

The last photo of downtown Eureka in 1864  got people thinking about the amount of mud that would have been flowing down those dirt streets  during the rainy season.   Anyone that has lived in Humboldt for even one winter can probably imagine the mess.  Ugh !

This photo got me thinking about heat–or rather, lack of it.  There is  definite  crispness in the air now and the nights are getting cooler.  I could likely see my breath in the morning air if I ventured out early.

In the 1870s, Mrs. Crosby moved to Humboldt County with her new husband.  They bought themselves a plot of land and set about building a house.  In the mean time, there was a small cabin on the property and the Crosbys spent a couple of nights there.  According to Mrs. Crosby, these were the

“most miserable as regards to comfort I ever spent.  Such a lonesome, dark , dreary place I never was in!… I couldn’t keep warm; the floor was very open… some of them [floor boards] were so thin they bent with my weight…. nowhere did they join at the sides of the cabin and the cold came in from above, below on all sides…” [At the Banks of the Eel River, by Denis P. Edeline].


In December of 2007, my family moved into an old house and though all the floors and walls did come together, the first winter we spent here was miserably cold.   We had a large, inefficient wood stove that ate a lot of wood, but didn’t seem to turn much of it into heat.  I have to admit, though, that we did cut the firewood with a chainsaw and hauled it home in the back of our truck…  There was also a gas furnace in the kitchen that I could turn on in the mornings to warm the room before everyone got up for breakfast…

The house  also had a small electric water heater and we had to ration hot water for evening dishes and bathing.  Fortunately, though, we didn’t have to draw cold water from a well or haul it in a  bucket from a nearby creek. Nor did we spend time heating it over a fire before we could use it.

I mentioned in the comments section of the previous post that my grandmother always said that running water was her favorite modern convenience.  If you add “hot” to that description,  I think I’d have to agree.


8 Responses to They called THIS home ?!?!?!

  1. Kym says:

    Having worked in a house without hot running water I would have to agree but let me tell you a flush toilet is a mighty fine thing!

  2. Ben says:

    In 1971, we spent the winter in a house at Astrinsky’s in Phillipsville. I ill not describe the decrepit details of the place but the only heat was a fireplace. It snowed that winter and I would get up shivering very early in the morning to build a fire in that wood hog. The landlords were afraid to put in a wood stove for fear of fire. I suspect that place may have contributed to a divorce and it did burn down some years later. Faulty water heater.

    • lynette77 says:

      It is amazing to hear about the conditions people have, and CAN live in :-)… glad you survived your experience.

      I once worked with a man who grew up in southern Humboldt in the 70s and he remembers when his father finally put a shower in at their house. The shower went on the porch, but it was still better than the nothing they’d had before…

  3. Kym says:

    My kids first years were spent with kerosene lamps and an outhouse (try potting training to a giant hole in the ground that requires a walk through the dark past skunks!) I know we’re mostly glad to have moved on (especially on cold rainy days) but I still miss the wonderful golden light of the lamps and watching the sun rise from my throne.

    • lynette77 says:

      Even I don’t like the hole in the ground ! I definitely agree that we lose something when we modernize… the price of progress I guess.
      Just the other day I was thinking about how nice it is when we lose electricity–have to gather around together where it is warm and, oh, I don’t know, talk or something…

  4. Kym says:

    I remember as a kid loving the days when downed poles forced us into long games of monopoly!

  5. […] illustration  offers a great comparison to this “home”   […]

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