Humboldt Bay, 1854 & 1876

November 20, 2020

Source: County of Humboldt Collection 

This post makes me sad as Don Tuttle recently passed away and he is the one that connected me to the source of some wonderful historic photos. I am thinking of you Don…

Please click the photo to enlarge for wonderful detail…

Miranda- Early Years

November 18, 2020
Source: HSU Special Collection

Someone recently asked that I give Southern Humboldt- and specifically Miranda, some love. I am glad he did. I found this great photo online and the following (now condensed and paraphrased) information from Wikipedia. It is just a happy coincidence that it focuses on the same post office…. By the way, it looks like the sign behind the grumpy kid is promoting a dance. I wonder if the (happy) woman is Etta…?

Miranda was known as Jacobsen’s Valley until the post office was established on August 26, 1905. The name Miranda may have been named after a girl, well-known Spanish place name or a family name. Miranda means “admirable.” Another account states that Etta Coombs chose the name “Miranda” for the post office she started. The town of Miranda is a five-minute walk from the south fork of the Eel River, and is located amidst giant redwood trees. Miranda is located on the Avenue of the Giants between Myers Flat to the north and Phillipsville to the south.

The End of Teepee Burners…

November 17, 2020
HSU Special Collection: “Eyesores” 1966
HSU Special Collection: “Eyesores” 1966

I’ve written about slash or teepee burners before HERE and HERE. They were used to burn sawdust and wood scraps from lumber operations. The material was delivered to an opening near the top of the cone by means of a conveyor belt or Archimedes’ screw,

In the 1950s and 1960s, most mills had one – but unfortunately they spit smoke and ash directly into the air. An air quality study completed by the Bureau of Air Sanitation in 1959 and published in 1961 found that “The concentrations of settleable particulate matter at the Arcata High School were higher than those for any other California city for which data are available and well above that for any known American city.” Yikes.

Thankfully they seem to have been going by the wayside by the mid 1960s though it clearly took awhile to clean ’em up…

George (Washington) Pate on a Wagon (Rio Dell)

November 16, 2020
Source: HSU Special Collection

As some folks know, I grew up in Rio Dell but have been unable to find many old photos of the place. Searching “Rio Dell” online I did find this rather simple but wonderful photo- and I think that is the hill above Belleview Ave in the background.

The information with this photo says George Pate, Rio Dell (?).

I did find Mr. Pate’s information on Find A Grave, and he was, in fact, from Rio Dell. He died in 1907 just after his 70th birthday. He doesn’t look anywhere near that old in this image, making this a pretty old photo…

Mr. Pate was a veteran and suffered “worse than wounds” (I am not sure what this means…- maybe mental health issues/trauma?). I found the following information in his online obituary


“Old Soldier Called”.  Not unexpected came the call of “taps” to Veteran George W. Pate at his home in Rio Dell on Monday, July 22, 1907.  Burdened with years and since the war handicapped with internal troubles contracted during arduous campaigns he at last succumbed.

George W. Pate was born in Maquoketa, Jackson county, Iowa, May 18, 1837.  His youth and early manhood were spent on the farm.  In 1862 when the country needed men he enlisted in Co. F. 31st Iowa regiment and served until the end of the war.  Tho present at Lookout Mountain, Chickamauga and with Sherman during his march to the sea, Comrade Pate was never wounded, though he suffered worse than wounds and was never a well man again.

At the close of the war he returned to the work on the farm.  In December of 1889 he came to California, settled at Rohnerville and farmed.  About 13 years ago he obtained his present home at Rio Dell where he has since resided.

George never married.

George Washington Pate

BIRTH18 Jul 1837 Hurstville, Jackson County, Iowa, USA
DEATH22 Jul 1907 (aged 70)Rio Dell, Humboldt County, California, USA
BURIALSunrise CemeteryFortuna, Humboldt County, California, USA
PLOTBlock 2, Lot 22, Grave 1
MEMORIAL ID17426559 · View Source

Seeking information on Jack Ryan (framed and falsely convicted for double murder in the 1920s)

November 14, 2020
Photo found among the corrupt attorney’s ego collection

Jack Ryan was framed for a double murder by corrupt Humboldt County District Attorney Stephen Metzler in the 1920s during prohibition. I’ve known about Jack ever since I found the DA’s ego collection (newspaper clippings and more) in a trunk in a Eureka antique store years ago. I wrote about him briefly on my blog HERE but I woke up this morning knowing it was time to do more.

And so… I am looking for any and all information, stories, descriptions that anyone might have about Jack, his brother Walter David (strangled with barbed wire in an attempt to get Jack to confess), Metzler and/or others involved in the case. You can email or even share in the chat so others can see it.

Below you’ll find a time line of the case outlined by Northwestern University

Chronology of the case of Jack Ryan

Compiled by Steve Art

— 2006, Center on Wrongful Convictions, Bluhm Legal Clinic, Northwestern University School of Law

October 7, 1925 — Twenty-one-year-old Henry Sweet and his seventeen-year-old girlfriend, Carmen Wagner, leave their homes in Eureka, California to go hunting on Coyote Flat, forty-five miles to the southeast.

October 11, 1925 — Sweet’s body is discovered in an abandoned cabin. He has been shot once in the back.

October 23, 1925 — Wagner’s body is found in a shallow grave near Baker Creek, a few miles from Coyote Flat. She has been shot twice and has skin and dried blood beneath her fingernails. Later that day, Walter David, Jack Ryan’s half-brother, is arrested in connection with the murders.

October 24, 1925 — Jack Ryan is arrested in connection with the murders. The two brothers have no known connection to the victims and were considered suspects only because they lived in the area and, in the vernacular of the press at the time, are considered “half breeds.” David has a verifiable alibi and is soon released. Ryan is charged with Wagner’s murder, which appears to be the stronger case.

March 12, 1926 — A jury of twelve white men returns a verdict of not guilty at the end of Ryan’s five-week trial.

January 1927 — Stephen Earl Metzler, a lawyer and bootlegger, is elected district attorney of Humboldt County after campaigning on the promise that he would solve the murders within two years. Upon assuming office Metzler sets about fulfilling his campaign promise. Rather than pursuing Bill Shields, an obvious suspect with a clear motive who has been placed at the scene of the crime by an eyewitness, Metzler makes him a strategist and consultant in the renewed investigation.

October 31, 1927 — David, Ryan’s half-brother, is found tortured and strangled to death with barbed wire.

November 1927 — Metzler attempts to intimidate Ryan, sending anonymous letters warning that a similar fate awaits him unless he confesses to the murders. This and other tactics to elicit a confession fail.

July 12, 1928 — Metzler pays a woman $100 to falsely accuse Ryan of having sex with her thirteen-year-old daughter. Ryan is arrested and charged with three counts of statutory rape. Out of fear of remaining in Humboldt County, Ryan pleads guilty to two counts of rape; the third count is dismissed. Ryan is immediately sentenced. That night, Metzler intensively interrogates Ryan.

July 13, 1928 — Following the all-night interrogation Ryan confesses to both murders. A second prosecution for the Wagner murder is barred on double jeopardy grounds, but without legal representation, Ryan pleads guilty to the Sweet murder. He is sentenced to life in prison and is taken to San Quentin State Prison the same day.

1930 — Metzler is indicted and convicted of conspiracy to violate the National Prohibition Act.

1939 — Franklin D. Roosevelt pardons Metzler.

1947 — The U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs launches a reinvestigation of the Ryan cases. Metzler acknowledges to agents that he had set Ryan up, and that Shields had likely killed the couple. The Bureau’s report, issued the following year, is instrumental in Ryan’s parole.

May 11, 1953 — Ryan wins parole.

March 20, 1969 — Governor Ronald Reagan commutes Ryan’s life sentence to time served, in effect releasing him from parole.

August 23, 1978 — Ryan dies of natural causes.

April 15, 1996 — Governor Pete Wilson grants Ryan an unprecedented posthumous pardon after an extensive reinvestigation of the case by Richard H. Walton, a local DA’s investigator.

Requa Saloon and more…

November 13, 2020
Source: HSU Special Collection

I was actually looking for saloon pics when I accidentally ran across another great photo of Requa, which is located just north of Humboldt in Del Norte County, near the mouth of the Klamath River. I’m not sure what prompted the crowd, but this offers a great collection of old cars, clothes, buildings and more…

This may be located directly above the boat photo from yesterday (to the left of the Klamath Inn) but it is hard to tell for sure…

Klamath (Requa) Inn, 1918

November 12, 2020

Source: HSU Special Collection

Please do click to enlarge this photo to see all the great detail- from the dogs and kids to the barrels of supplies to….

I haven’t been to Requa in a long while but don’t remember this many buildings- and am thinking many have probably been lost to floods over the years. But the Klamath (now Requa) Inn is still standing. It is the same one whose owners refused to lodge folks from the Humboldt side during the Spanish Flu in 1918, the same year this photo was taken.

Here’s more info on the Inn from their website: The town of Requa (pronounced Rek-wah) was a bustling fishing center on the Klamath River in the late 1800s when a hotel was first constructed to serve the Klamath’s numerous fish cannieries. Although the bustling commercial center is now a sleepy village in the Redwood National Park, the Historic Requa Inn has been a feature of the area for 100 years. Built in 1914, the plain, almost utilitarian arts and crafts Inn continues to be a special place today. And this is a special place. Since time immemorial the Yurok people have had a village at Rek-woi – making Requa one of the longest, continuously inhabited places in California.

Buy a City Lot for $150 or Chicken Ranch for $2,000

November 10, 2020

This is another fun one from the 1915 Humboldt County, California : the land of unrivaled undeveloped natural resources on the westernmost rim of the American continent

To Get to Humboldt By Sea in 1915 ($8 fare and 18 hours…)

November 5, 2020

More fun….

I found this advertisement in Humboldt County, California : the land of unrivaled undeveloped natural resources on the westernmost rim of the American continent – which had an incredibly lofty title but is really fun to look through…

It was published in 1915 and written by Ward, Charles Willis.

I got curious about Ward and found this in Wikipedia: Ward was known for travelling the coastal United States in his 70-foot-2-inch (21.39 m) luxury motor boat, the Ethel M. Ward, built in 1910 at Port Clinton, Ohio. Toward the end of his life, Ward resided in California, where he operated “large nursery interests at Eureka“. He died here in 1920.

Wikipedia also gives this history of the North Pacific Steamship Company- and mentions both the FA Kilburn and Santa Clara…


The North Pacific Steamship Company was chartered in March 1869 in Oregon, with a capital of $5,000,000. The company was the successor to the California, Oregon and Mexican Steamship Company.[1]

In 1906, the company purchased the George W. Elder, which had been launched in 1874. The company also operated the steamship Roanoke, launched in 1882. Both boats had been built as nightboats for the Old Dominion Steamship Company.

On July 21, 1907, the former running mate to the George W. Elder, the Columbia collided with the lumber schooner San Pedro off Shelter Cove, California, causing the Columbia to sink, killing 88 people. Among the dead was Captain Peter A. Doran, a former commander of the George W. Elder. Both the George W. Elder and Roanoke arrived at the site of the disaster and picked up Columbia’s survivors from the badly damaged San Pedro. The George W. Elder returned some of the survivors to Astoria, Oregon.[2] The George W. Elder also towed the San Pedro to shore, following the disaster.[3]

During World War I, the George W. Elder was leased by the Pacific Mail Steamship Company, which was at the time owned by the Grace Line. The George W. Elder was used during this time as part of a four ship feeder service for Central American and Mexican ports.

By 1909, the NPSC was operating four ships. The George W. Elder and Roanoke worked its primary route from Portland, via Eureka and San Francisco to Los Angeles. The F.A. Kilburn ran between Eureka and San Francisco. And the Eureka operated along the Oregon coast, connecting Portland, Astoria, Coos Bay and Eureka.[4]

By 1915, the company’s fleet had expanded to eight ships. However the NPSC vessels, the largest of which could accommodate 234 passengers, were smaller and slower than the 800-person “Great Northern” and “Northern Pacific” of the Great Northern Pacific Steam Ship Company. The NPSC found a niche by supplementing service on the key Portland–San Francisco Line with stops at Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, San Diego and other smaller ports that were bypassed by the major lines.[5]

Despite a larger fleet, the NPSC was also struggling financially due to the loss of its steamer Santa Clara on the bar of Coos Bay, Oregon, in 1914. The management considered closing the company’s doors in 1915. Financial relief came when the California South Seas Navigation Company chartered both Roanoke and George W. Elder. Neither were used for passenger service under this charter.

By 1916, the NPSC fleet had shrunk to two ships, but a third was added to fill an opening left by the sale of the independently operated Aroline to H.F. Alexander in February 1916. With more capacity, the company scheduled service every five days (previously weekly) on its Southern California-to-Oregon route and added calls at Eureka and Coos Bay. The NPSC reported that although it had received offers for its ships it was committed to continuing a coastal service.[6]

Only months later, the company again had to confront disaster. Roanoke left San Francisco bound for Valparaíso, Chile at midnight May 8/9, 1916 with a cargo of explosives, wheat, oil and gasoline.[7] The ship foundered in heavy seas in the Pacific Ocean off Point Buchon, California at about 3 p.m. on May 9.[7][8] 47 people died and three crew members were rescued from a lifeboat that beached near San Luis Obispo, California.[7][9]

On May 8, 1917, Charles P. Doe sold the North Pacific Steamship Company to Thomas Crowley and Andrew Mahoney of San Francisco. Of the company’s three remaining ships, the George W. Elder had been chartered for offshore cargo work, while the coastal runs between Portland and San Francisco every five days were handled by the F.A. Kilburn and the Breakwater. The new owners changed the company name to the Independent Steamship Company, which was also known as the Emerald Line.[10] All three vessels were sold to the Mexican Fruit and Steamship Company early in 1918.[11]

After the war, the aging George W. Elder was sold to Artigas Riolrio Compania, based in Valparaíso, Chile. It was renamed America and served the Chilean coastline until 1935. The America was reported scrapped at this time, but it remains uncertain whether the job was done in Japan or Valparaiso. Either way, the America had reached an outstanding age of 61 years.

List of ships[edit]

This transport-related list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it.

Eyesores of Eureka: The Carson Mill in 1966

November 4, 2020
Source, HSU Special Collection

I’ve posted about the Carson and Dolbeer Lumber Mill, but recently ran across this photo cataloged under “eyesores” on the HSU Special Collections website.

Fortunately the city of Eureka has been working hard over the last number of years to clean up these “eyesores” and this site is much improved as the parking lot for the city-owned Adorni Center on the waterfront. Thanks Eureka !

Just another reminder that even when things look bleak, better days do come….

Adorni Center Parking lot (yesterday).