Livery, Feed and Sale Stable, Fortuna

August 7, 2020



Per the caption on 

T. Greig owned the Fortuna Feed and Livery Stable. It was conveniently located next to the Star Hotel , occupying the block on the north side of Main Street between 10th and 11th Streets. This building is no longer.

You can see a photo of the Star Hotel HERE with the Stable to the left– though it looks like this photo was taken before the hotel was built, with a house to the right and not the hotel…

Please do click to enlarge the photo– and you’ll notice a lot of dogs posing for this one…




Fortuna’s Star Hotel

August 6, 2020


This building was at the corner of 11th and Main Streets in Fortuna. Please do click on the photo- there is some lovely detail….

We have this information thanks to Hans Koster per 

This two-story building was built in 1876 by W.J. McKenna, and was named after Andrew and Jacob Starrar of Mad River.  McKinney was impressed with the brothers because they kept a herd of elk in a fenced area in town, which was probably the town’s source of meat at that time.There’s a connection here to the Lost Dutchman’s Mine, looks like Andrew may even have owned most of the town at one time and sold part of it to Henry Rohner, we’re researching it, will post more info when we have it.

Main floor from left to right: Candy store, North Drugstore, Star Hotel lobby (the rooms were upstairs), Newell & McIntyre General Store. The Star Hotel was a popular destination in Fortuna from the 1880’s to the 1950’s and was known for its fine dining and friendly service. A journey from Eureka to Fortuna around the turn of the century was not just a little jaunt down the road. A trip would take hours and many times people from surrounding towns would spend the night not wanting to make the trip twice in one day. It was also used as a meeting and resting spot for those coming into town for the day. The hotel went out of business in the mid-1950’s.

From the Redwood Empire Association Booklet, early 1940s: “A popular hotel located in the center of Fortuna on the Redwood Highway. Steam heated and with all conveniences. A good coffee shop in connection catering to tourists and vacationists. Excellent steelhead fishing in the Eel River, nearby. Rates: $1.00 to $1.50 without bath; $1.75 to $2.50 with bath. Open all year.

2020 Update:  The building was still being used by businesses until it was destroyed in a fire in 2015. 

Fortuna Train Depot, early days (2020 Update w/ Loleta’s Depot Too)

June 17, 2020

As always, please click on the photos to enlarge to see great details…



2020 Update: Folks seemed to enjoy the Eureka Depot post- and this depot in Fortuna STILL STANDS (though it was moved and is at the park and a museum now- which will open again someday….). 

It contains all kinds of fun historic displays, as well as some historic documents for those researching genealogy or other specific topics.  It is located in Rohner Park (going south, you take first Fortuna exit and keep driving about 3 ish miles.  The park entrance is on the left).

According to, as a depot, in 1893, it originally stood at the foot of 7th Street where the station master’s home still stands (maybe the white house below on the left…?). After being abandoned by the Northwestern Pacific Railroad in 1965, the City of Fortuna purchased the depot and moved it to Rohner Park as a Bicentennial project.



And I thought I would throw this one from Loleta in, just for fun…                                                                                                                      



Fortuna’s Love of Cars Continues …

July 26, 2014
Source: County of Humboldt Collection

Source: County of Humboldt Collection

Shoot, this may be one of my favorite photos–there are so many fantastic details.

PLEASE click to enlarge and you’ll notice the Fortuna Theater, playing When a Man’s a Man, on the left  and that the town loved cars long before this weekend’s Auto Xpo.

Check out the billboards on the left. Looks like they also had two fueling stations, tire shop AND a garage/repair shop.  And is that a Chevy Dealership on the left?

Check out the AutoExpo down in Fortuna this weekend and you may see some of these very same cars cruising Main Street.

Fortuna Bicycle Works and a Boat Builder

March 6, 2013

I can’t decide if it is scary or kind of cool that I am writing about local history that I remember.

In 1976 my parents decided to get out of the smog and traffic of Los Angeles and moved to Humboldt County. They took over Fortuna Bicycle Works, which was in the little mini-mall on the corner of Main Street and Stillman Way in Fortuna. The building is still there (and apparently hasn’t been painted in a very long time) but this sign on the side of this building is all that’s left of the business (I can’t remember if the boat builder was there when we had the bike shop but I think he might have been).   There was also a scratch bakery in the same mall but I can’t remember the name.


Fortuna Auto Park (and) The Story of the Fortunate Little Unfortunate

April 26, 2011

Fortuna Auto Park (


This photo came from the Sunny Fortuna website , which was put together by Hans Koster and contains many, MANY wonderful historic photos (Warning, the site is truly addictive if you enjoy old photos) .

Some may remember Hans as the source of the story of the  Fortunate Little Unfortunate.

Fortuna, c 1888

November 16, 2010

Fortuna, c. 1888 (Mudgett)

Because the Mudgetts and Leggs are neighbors in the census, I’m pretty sure this reflects the same neighborhood.
I didn’t want to crop any of the info, so you’ll likely need to click repeatedly to enlarge the doc.

1880 Census, Springville (Fortuna)

Mystery of the fortunate little unfortunate

March 4, 2010

Manon House that still stands on Rohnerville Rc.

The following (including the photo) comes to us thanks to Hans Koster, builder/maintainer of and historical researcher extraordinaire. 

It is a wonderful story and  a nice break from settlement period stuff.  Thanks, Hans !!!

Note the bay window in the first image, it plays a part in this story.

This house is located next to Strongs (Manon) Creek on the northwest corner of Rohnerville Road and North Loop in Fortuna. The stagecoach horses (along with the teamster and anyone who couldn’t afford to stay at the Star Hotel) would bed down in the barn after being fed a superb meal by Mrs. Manon. The next morning, after a hearty breakfast from the gracious hostess, the stage would pick up the rest of the passengers in Fortuna and continue on its way. J. T. Manon and his wife ran a thriving business. But that has little to do with this story…

Originally from the website, poor spelling and all

“The Daily Humboldt Times” Eureka, California
Saturday, February 6, 1897

 A WAIF of the STORM
A Fortuna Family Find a Foundling Friday
Fortuna & Rohnerville are all agog over the unexpected arrival of a little stranger at the home of Mr. & Mrs. J. T. Manon who reside on the county road between those two towns about a mile from Fortuna. The stranger is one of the cutest little baby girls ever seen, & the men & women folks who have seen it go into ecstasies over it.
Just where the little waif came from or who are its parents are, mysteries, which so far no one has been able to fathom. It was found yesterday morning on the front step of the house, & the manner of its arrival is suggested by fresh tracks made by a buggy being turned around in front of the house, but the time is a question. The wet condition of the wrappings would seem to show that it had been left at the house very early in the morning. Its presence, however, was not known until nearly 10 o’clock in the morning when it announced itself.

Read the rest of this entry »

Blackface in Fortuna

January 6, 2010

The source of this photo isn’t indicated, but it is on the sunnyfortuna website (thanks, Hans!)  and was likely taken locally.   Click the photo and you’ll see a larger pic-I cropped this one so we could see more detail. 

Native Americans weren’t the only folks facing prejudice in the 1800s, and though California had declared itself a “free” state, African Americans (those that weren’t bound as slaves and made their way here, that is) still faced plenty of racism .

Per Wikipedia:

The minstrel show, or minstrelsy, was an American entertainment consisting of comic skits, variety acts, dancing, and music, performed by white people in blackface or, especially after the Civil War, black people in blackface.

Minstrel shows lampooned black people in mostly disparaging ways: as ignorant, lazy, buffoonish, superstitious, joyous, and musical. The minstrel show began with brief burlesques and comic entr’actes in the early 1830s and emerged as a full-fledged form in the next decade. By the turn of the century, the minstrel show enjoyed but a shadow of its former popularity, having been replaced for the most part by vaudeville. It survived as professional entertainment until about 1910; amateur performances continued until the 1960s in high schools, fraternities, and local theaters. As blacks began to score legal and social victories against racism and to successfully assert political power, minstrelsy lost popularity.

Read the rest of this entry »

Fortuna Train Depot, early days

December 11, 2009

Fortuna Train Depot

This is a great example of repurposing an old structure.
This old train depot is now the Depot Museum in Fortuna.   It contains all kinds of fun historic displays, as well as some historic documents for those researching genealogy or other specific topics.
The building was moved from it’s original location at the foot of 8th Street to Rohner Park (take first Fortuna exit and keep driving about 3 ish miles.  The park entrance is on the left). 
A google search found me this photo, which has even more great period details. 

Fortuna train depot, c. 1914