Arcata High School, 1897

Arcata High School, 1897

My son graduated from Arcata High School a few weeks back. One of the speakers at the graduation joked that the architect of the current school also designed prisons.  Not so here…

5 Responses to Arcata High School, 1897

  1. skippy says:

    What a beautiful ‘Grand Old Dame’ of a school building gracing Arcata in 1897. Arcata had become a booming and thriving town by this time; electricity already having made its appearance a few years prior along with the other modern marvels at the turn of the century. It wasn’t always this way for the previous generations– the pioneering parents and grandparents– of the Arcata youth pictured here.

    44 years earlier Arcata– then called Union– was just becoming a settled place; a crossroad of lush agriculture, supplies, and transportation for the Trinity mines to the east. Judge John Carr gave his first impressions upon visiting Arcata, reminiscings likely to have been remembered by the immediate ancestors of these school children:

    “A Trip To Humboldt”
    “During the summer of ’53, hearing of the beauties and richness of Humboldt county, I made up my mind to visit that section. Buying a mule, I started from Weaverville, to take a more extended view of the resources of this county. On my arriving at Big Flat, on the lower Trinity, there were rumors of the Indians having broken out and being on the war path. I found waiting for company Judge Peters and two others, and we were joined there by General Denver, all bound for Uniontown, now Arcata…

    “We laid by for a couple of days before starting and, in the meantime, word came to Big Flat that Johnson, the packer, was killed by the Indians while encamped on a prairie in the redwoods. The five of us held a consultation whether to venture over the trail or not. We came to the conclusion to take the chances and go through, and did so. We started next morning, quite a band of us, for Uniontown, and arrived all right about the middle of the afternoon, and found the place a good deal excited over the Indian troubles.

    “We found Uniontown quite a town for those days; everything had a sort of permanent look about it. We put up at the American Hotel, then kept by “Kease” Wiley, a good place to stop at, with lots of fresh vegetables and fresh milk and butter, something we were not accustomed to getting in the mines. The hotel was on the northeast corner of the plaza. Nearly opposite on the other side of the street, was Murdock’s store, and opposite that was Boles & Coddington’s store. Boles & Coddington did quite a large business. They had a branch store on Big Bar, on the Trinity River, where they sold a large amount of gold-dust. Near the southwest corner of the plaza W. C. Martin and H. J. Dart kept store. Old man Jacoby kept a restaurant on the south side of the plaza, and a bar and billiard room, which was considered the ‘tony’ place of the town. Old Mr. Nixon had a dwelling-house on the northwest corner of the plaza, which was the best private dwelling I had yet seen in the State.

    “In about eight or ten days the volunteers returned from the war, with not a scalp to adorn their shields. It was a bloodless war, so far as they were concerned. Here the General and myself were in a pretty fix, wanting to get home, and no one but us two willing to take the chances. We had about eighty miles of Indian country to travel through, and not even Judge Peters to accompany us or give us the benefit of his experience. We left Uniontown in the afternoon…

    “My first sight of Arcata was a pleasing one. I thought it one of the most beautiful places for a town I had seen in the State, lying in and surrounded by a beautiful and productive country, with a forest of majestic redwoods for a background, and Humboldt Bay tying in front of it. All vegetation round the town looked green and fresh—so different from what I had been accustomed to. To me it seemed like an earthly paradise. We did not visit Eureka or any other portion of the county. I made up my mind then that at some future day Humboldt county should be my permanent home.”

    (Pioneer Days in California, Judge John Carr, 1891; pp.245-249)

    • Lynette M says:

      Skippy, I have to admit I hadn’t read through all the comments before I “stole” your info for a post. If I had, this might have gone first. Thank you so much for being so generous with your knowledge (though I’m only owed like, $7.50 by the state [ per your post on Ernie’s blog], so your talents only extend so far.. 🙂

  2. skippy says:

    Here’s some of the exciting Arcata news that these pictured high schoolers likely would have known about at the time. Arcata was a happening and progressive place:

    “One of the large timbers on which the engine and dynamos for the Arcata Electric Light Works will be placed in position shortly was hauled Wednesday. One end was fastened to a pair of truck wheels and the other end dragged. It required three span of horses to drag it and then considerable difficulty was experienced in turning corners. Electricians Taylor and Littlefield are hard at work wiring the residence on the hill. About 500 lights have been put in up to date. The arc lights are ready and so soon as the incandescent dynamo arrives and is put in place Arcata will have her lights.”

    Advertisement: ‘”The Glorious 4th is coming so let the Eagle SCREAM and Old Glory FLUTTER to the Wind from the mast heads. Arcata Celebrates and Begins the Day’s festivities with a National Salute of 13 Guns at Sunrise. A Grand Procession will form at Armory Hall, at 9 o’clock in the following order: 1) The Arcata Cornet Band. 2) Co, B, 10th Inf. Bat., N. G. C. 3) Citizens on foot. 4) School Children in Floating Palace. 5) Officers of the Day in Carriages will parade though the principal streets, terminating on the plaza which will be beautifully decorated for the occasion. …'”

    “Arcata has demonstrated the fact that a good (4th of July) celebration can be gotten up on short notice and carried to a successful issue in spite of the fact that almost every other place in the county had a celebration also. As early as Monday morning the decorating committee commenced delivering redwood trees around the plaza and up the principal streets … by Tuesday night the town looked like a miniature park. …The 4th opened with the firing of the national salute on the plaza … The first event of the day was the hose tournament … The Calithuptian parade from Alliance came into view … There were about 75 wheels in line and some very funny and original costumes were seen. The man who couldn’t keep his pedals caused much merriment as did also the man with the hay rope whiskers. After circling around the plaza they gathered around the bandstand where Grand Calithumpian Orator Tim Spaulding, addressed his motley followers. … After the noon intermission, the afternoon games and races were called. The first was a 6 mile, free for all, bicycle road race, beginning and ending on the plaza … Celebration Gossip: Everybody said those 2 little girls in the Calithumpian parade were “just too cute” and those 2 boys fooled lots of people including the Calithumpians themselves.”

    From “Special Notes: ‘”$25 Reward will be paid for information that will lead to the arrest and conviction of the party or parties that stole my chickens. We have in our midst a genuine chicken thief. Chickens come home to roost, and this thief will be caught, for I know you just as well as if I had caught you in the act, for you, like some other thieves, forgot to cover your tracks. … It is well known that I am a confirmed invalid and a party that would steal chickens from me, would steal acorns from a blind sow. I live in the Frances house, and my name is Peter McGeorge.'”

    In the “Special Column” : ‘”For Rent — A nice six room, sunny cottage, two blocks west the plaza. Rent $5.50 per month, inquire of Gustave Muhlberg.”

    “T. J. Crawford has accepted the agency of the Imperial ($105) and the Elliot ($85) Bicycles– and will have four new wheels up on the steamer to-day. Any prospective buyer may have use of wheel for one week, and if not satisfactory in every respect, have the privilege of returning the same. Mr. Crawford will sell on easy installments to reliable persons. Call and inspect the wheels at Crawford’s store.”

    “Russell, the bicycle, horse and all around thief, was finally captured at the Jacoby Creek quarry last Saturday and Howell’s horse and Martin’s rifle and pistol recovered. He is now in jail in Eureka awaiting conviction and sentence. As well as being a first-class thief, he is a first-class liar. He denies, without blinking his eyes, that he was at Trinidad, or that he robbed Martin’s cabin or stole Howell’s horse.”

    Advertisement: “Back Again From Europe! By the solicitation of many friends and patients, Dr. H. Ehrlich the Eminent Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat Surgeon From Berlin, Germany, will make his next visit to Arcata, Tuesday, April 25th, Union Hotel, 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., One Day Only and return once a month. Do you want that Catarrh cured? Do you want that Deafness cured? Do you want to see with those Weak, Watry, Dim Eyes? If so, go and consult Dr. Ehrlich this trip.”

    </b "Advertisement: Customers should bear in mind that with every purchase made by a lady amounting to $1 or over, she receives a high grade toilet article free. And every school child, with a purchase of a pair of shoes, receives a valuable and instructive pocket encyclopedia. Humboldt Manufacturing Co.”

    Front page news: “Arcata not only has a fine natural park now, but a beautiful picnic ground as well, and the number of spirited men and women who helped to make Park Day a success may well be proud of their efforts… Men were seen wending their way up towards the park carrying axes, brush hooks, mattocks and other tools, and by the middle of the forenoon, a considerable clearing was the result, and brush fires were burning in every direction … People were surprised at the extent of the level land available for a ground, there being about 5 acres in one piece. Just above this is a sort of bench, making an ideal place for a band platform. The place where the dance platform will probably be located is level, without stumps … Several trees suitable for hanging swings were left, and when the work is completed, as fine a picnic ground as can be found in the country will be seen. …”

    (Arcata Union Newspaper; various dates: 1895-1905)

  3. […] “Skippy” was generous enough to share the following as a comment after my post/photo of Arcata High  and (Skippy, I hope you understand that) I just didn’t want to risk anyone missing this […]

  4. […] a beautiful ‘Grand Old Dame’ of a school building gracing Arcata in 1897. Arcata had become a booming and thriving town by this time; electricity already having made its […]

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