Upcoming OLLI Class

October 26, 2020

Humboldt’s Historic Photographs and the Stories They Tell

In the midst of these challenging times, this class is strictly fun.

Coming up Wednesday….

Delve into the history of well-known and familiar Humboldt County sites and events. Discover the fascinating local history of these places, and see how structures and landscapes have evolved over time.

Wed., Oct. 28 • 2-4 p.m.

Online

$20 • Class #: 43949

REGISTER NOW


“New” 101 Bridge North of Eureka (repost)

August 29, 2020

This photo was taken in 1956. I’m thinking maybe we just had the structure on the left w/ 2 way traffic and they built the new one to divide the highway…? There’s got to be folks around who remember…

Bridge Construction, North of Eureka, CA

County of Humboldt Collection, Hwy 101, North of Eureka

 


“Not a children’s disease…”

August 10, 2020

 

 

Excerpt from the Lost Coast Outpost Story re: the Spanish Flu

 

Early in the epidemic, medical experts believed that Spanish Influenza was “not a children’s disease” and in mid-October, the  local (Humboldt County) boards of Health and Education followed the State Board of Health’s advice to keep schools open, reasoning that students were less likely to become infected at school than “running free on the streets” as long as teachers sent all ill children home immediately. Up until then, there had been no local flu-related fatalities and many doctors still minimized the dangers.

At this time, Eureka School Superintendent Albee also warned that closed schools meant lost revenue that would need to be made up through taxes later, pointing out that every child absent cost the city 40 cents a day.

Just days later, Eureka reported 187 high school pupils absent and 216 out in the grammar schools. At that time, Eureka’s officials went beyond State Board of Health’s recommendation to close only adult gathering spots and ordered schools shut as well.  Other communities soon followed, and it was the right call. By the end of October and into November, the paper was regularly announcing the influenza-related deaths of children like 14-year-old Anna McLaren from Eureka, four-year-old Vesta Dudal from Arcata, “little four-year-old Irene Pitera” of Rio Dell  and more.

These fatalities likely prompted officials to keep regular and Sunday schools closed in early November, even as case counts diminished and business districts reopened. The institutions would have struggled to open anyway, the newspaper pointed out, because so many teachers were ill with the flu.

As November progressed and communities continued to ease restrictions, local schools eventually followed suit, though notices of ill students and absences continued. On December 12, the country’s Surgeon General recommended that communities close schools “at the first sign of the reappearance of the epidemic,” noting that the disease apparently now tended to recur more frequently among school children and on December 13, when 60 of Arcata High’s 170 students were absent, the city’s Health Officer ordered the city’s high school, grammar school and schools in Blue Lake, which shared the district, closed until at least January 6.  When the students returned on January 8, the city council ordered that all students wear gauze masks, expanding an initial city-wide order that only adults do so.

Cases counts and student attendance continued to fluctuate over the next few months and schools extended hours and sometimes hired extra teachers to make up for lost time.  Over the next few years schools closed periodically to protect local children. In February of 1920, Blue Lake closed schools “owing to the influenza scare” and in March of 1922, Ferndale schools were closed “indefinitely” because of the flu.


New Bench at Myrtle Grove Cemetery Pays Homage to Eureka’s ‘First White Family’ and the Native Woman They Enslaved

August 10, 2020
Lynette Mullen / @ 7 a.m. / History

Reprinted from the Lost Coast Outpost 


eureka.HuestisBench.

Photos: Ryan Burns.

 

Former Humboldt County resident Suzanne Sevier McBride recently commissioned a new bench for the Myrtle Grove Cemetery to provide seating for cemetery volunteers, to recognize her pioneer ancestors Aristides (A.J.) and Annis Huestis and to honor Silva, a Native American woman who was legally indentured to A.J. Huestis in 1861 and represents an important reminder of Humboldt’s painful past.

McBride learned about Silva in 1998 after she received a box of discarded family photos from the Eureka Police Department. In the collection, McBride found two identical photos of a Native American woman and through diligent research eventually identified her as Silva, a young woman legally bound to the Huestis family in 1861 under the 1850 “Act for the Government and Protection of Indians.”

The law allowed for the legal indenture of Native Americans under a variety of circumstances, and allowed “masters” to secure “… care, custody, control, and earnings” of a Native child until he or she obtained the age of majority — 18 years old for males and 15 for females. Under the original law, Native children could be indentured only if the justice of the peace was convinced that no compulsory means was used to obtain the child, but in 1860 the law was expanded to allow for the indenture of prisoners of war. It also extended the terms of indenture. In 1860, boys under 14 could be indentured until they were 25 and girls until they were 21. Children over 14 could be indentured until they were 30 and 25 respectively.

During the “Indian wars” of Northern California, many men and women were indentured under this law, but the majority were children, likely because they were easier to control and less likely to escape their masters. Boys and girls as young as four or five were tasked with childcare and household chores and children as young as seven or eight were put to work in the fields. Demand for these young servants grew and Humboldt County became infamous in the trafficking of Indian children. Traffickers would raid Native villages, often killing the adult inhabitants, and then gather up and sell the children for $50 to $250 each. By August of 1857, the Humboldt Times newspaper was reporting regularly on the practice, asserting that a many Indian parents had been “shot down in cold blood” and the inhuman practice of kidnapping was “going on with the steadiness of a regular system.”

Huestis, serving as a Humboldt County Judge in the 1860s, signed the orders on many local indentures, and also had 14-year-old Silva bound to him on March 5, 1861. According to the original indenture record, Indians on their way to the Klamath Reservation had offered to sell the orphaned Silva to Huestis for $20. Huestis refused to pay for the girl but did offer to let her stay. According to Silva’s obituary, she ran away within days but was captured and returned to Huestis. At that time, when given a choice between staying with the family and being sent to the Klamath reservation, where Native inhabitants faced abuse and starvation, Silva chose to remain.

And there she stayed, even after the Thirteenth Amendment was passed in December of 1865, making slavery and indentured servitude — except for those duly convicted of a crime — illegal. After the death of Judge Huestis, Mrs. Huestis and Silva moved in with Huestis’s daughter, Mrs. Nathaniel Bullock and it was in their home that Silva died of tuberculosis in 1893.

Eureka.HuestisBench.Detail

“I really wanted to honor her,” Suzanne McBride explained recently when asked why she included Silva’s photo on the memorial bench. “She was in a home of educators so they would have taught her to read and write (this is true according to the 1870 Federal Census) but she was with the family the rest of her life. She never married or had a chance to have a family of her own. She could have left, but I’m not sure how. If she could have found a place….”

McBride prefers to believe that Silva was treated like a member of the family, and the Silva’s studio portrait supports the possibility, though Silva’s obituary described her as a “faithful servant and companion.” The obituary also describes her as kind, honest and “of good impulses.” Silva, it added, died a Christian.

“I just wanted to do something to help us remember what the indigenous people went through,” McBride explained. “I just wanted to acknowledge her and her people somehow…”   While the bench features photos of Huestis, his wife and Silva, Suzanne did not include photos of the Huestis children because “they didn’t count in this regard.” McBride wanted the focus on Silva.

For more information on this history of kidnapping and indenture in Northern California, see “Masters, Apprentices, and Kidnappers: Indian Servitude and Slave Trafficking in Humboldt County, California, 1860–1863,” by Michael F. Magliari.

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Lynette Mullen writes about Humboldt County history at Lynette’s NorCal History Blog. On Tuesday, Aug. 11, she will teach an online course for OLLI entitled “Enslaved in Humboldt: The Story of Caroline Wright.” Click the link for details.


THE 1918 PANDEMIC: Schools, Churches, Masks and Quack Cures at the Height of the Deadly Flu Outbreak

July 26, 2020


Horlicks.InfluenzaMaltedMilk.HTS19181220.2.35.1-Humb. Times.1918

According to this ad in the Humboldt Times, Horlick’s Malted Milk Mix was the ideal food for the flu-stricken … and for their recuperation.

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PREVIOUSLY:

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In the fall of 1918, as World War I was winding down, Humboldt County joined the rest of the country in the battle against the Spanish Flu, rallying medical personnel, isolating and treating cases in temporary hospitals and reporting the status of those afflicted — including names, health status and home address (perhaps so friends would stay away?). Throughout October, officials also began to encourage and then to mandate the use of “anti-influenza” masks, and on October 25 the county defense board closed non-essential businesses, including ice cream parlors and card rooms, mandated extended hours for drug stores, and required that hotels and restaurants “keep patrons and customers separated.” Saloons (apparently considered “essential”) were ordered to close from 4 p.m. to 8 a.m. weekdays and all day on Sunday and officials asked households to order goods over the telephone and have them delivered whenever possible.

During the closures, organizations like the city library took the opportunity to “scrub” their facilities and conduct other cleaning otherwise “inconvenient to accomplish,” and at least one local newspaper took a light approach to the new mandates. An October 22 editorial acknowledged the efficacy of anti-flu masks, but described their use as “disconcerting,” as shoppers could no longer tell if “Ladies Who Wait On the Public” were smiling with them, at them, or not at all. Despite the discomfort, the writer insisted that masks were becoming popular and would be the “proper thing for street wear” before the end of the week.

Schools

Early in the epidemic, medical experts believed that Spanish Influenza was “not a children’s disease” and in mid-October the local boards of Health and Education followed the State Board of Health’s advice to keep schools open, reasoning that students were less likely to become infected there than “running free on the streets,” as long as teachers sent all ill children home immediately. Up until then, there had been no local flu-related fatalities and many doctors still minimized the dangers.

At this time, Eureka School Superintendent Albee also warned that closed schools meant lost revenue that would need to be made up through taxes later, pointing out that every child absent cost the city 40 cents a day.

Just days later, Eureka reported 187 high school pupils absent and 216 out in the grammar schools. At that time, Eureka’s officials went beyond State Board of Health’s recommendation to close only adult gathering spots and ordered schools shut as well. Other communities soon followed, and it was the right call. By the end of October and into November, the paper was regularly announcing the influenza-related deaths of children like 14-year-old Anna McLaren from Eureka, four-year-old Vesta Dudal from Arcata, “little four-year-old Irene Pitera” of Rio Dell and more.

These fatalities likely prompted officials to keep regular and Sunday schools closed in early November, even as case counts diminished and business districts reopened. The institutions would have struggled to open anyway, the newspaper pointed out, because so many teachers were ill with the flu.

As November progressed and communities continued to ease restrictions, local schools eventually followed suit, though notices of ill students and absences continued. On December 12, the country’s Surgeon General recommended that communities close schools “at the first sign of the reappearance of the epidemic,” noting that the disease apparently now tended to recur more frequently among school children and on December 13, when 60 of Arcata High’s 170 students were absent, the city’s Health Officer ordered the city’s high school, grammar school and schools in Blue Lake, which shared the district, closed until at least January 6. When the students returned on January 8, the city council ordered that all students wear gauze masks, expanding an initial city-wide order that only adults do so.

Cases counts and student attendance continued to fluctuate over the next few months and schools extended hours and sometimes hired extra teachers to make up for lost time and over the next few years schools closed periodically to protect local children. In February of 1920, Blue Like closed schools “owing to the influenza scare” and in March of 1922, Ferndale schools were closed “indefinitely” because of the flu.

Church

As Spanish Influenza swept through the community, officials imposed strict measures against crowds and by mid-October, churches were asked to shut their doors. Even though congregations in Washington, D.C. were continuing to meet outdoors, local faith leaders were asked not to do the same.

In response, the local Ministerial Union encouraged families of all faiths to gather and pray together for the “needs of the world, the nation and the community.” They also suggested asked that this be done during the regular hour of church service to create “more united prayer, even though not in one place, certainly of one accord, and of one spirit.” The ministers asked their members to pray for the end of the flu, so that the epidemic might soon be over.

When congregants were allowed to gather toward the end of November, they wore masks. Over the next few years, the flu resurfaced periodically and in February of 1920, the Presbyterian Church in Blue Lake canceled services because of the flu. Instead, families were encouraged to focus on religious activity and supplies were delivered to the church’s Sunday school students so they could continue their studies.

Jail/Law Enforcement/ Legal Response

As the virus spread locally in the fall of 1918 and officials called for enforcement, local police officers found themselves at the forefront — and vulnerable. Many fell ill with the virus and by October 20, even Eureka’s chief of police was confined to his home with the flu. The County sheriff was called to “act as the family nurse” when his wife and children fell ill, Eureka’s city attorney suffered a “temporary breakdown” while attending patients and a local Judge and eight members of his family were stricken with the virus.

While frustrated by citizens who ignored the orders, Eureka officials were pleased with the revenue generated from fines imposed against violators. Within a span of one November weekend, 68 arrests of unmasked Eurekans celebrating the end of the war “enriched” the city’s coffers by $280.

In January, a resurgence of the illness again made masks mandatory and made it unlawful any two people to gather in public (inside or outside) without a mask. Violators could be fined up to $20 and sentenced to the county jail for “not less than five days nor more than 10,” but after prisoner Lewis A. Simon died of flu following his transfer from the Eureka jail to the county facility, the sheriff declared that the county facility closed to jail transfers for “fear of further infection.”

Election

As election day approached in early November of 1918, the president of the State Board of Health announced that voting, even done in small election booths, was safe as long as masks were worn, but some residents remained unconvinced. That year, Blocksburg recorded the “smallest vote ever case in any important election, despite a bright and sunny election day and no recorded illness in the community.” The town of Orleans, on the other hand, recorded a “very full” turnout, with men working out of the area even coming home to cast their vote for constable. Unfortunately, the final election results were delayed when the county clerk fell ill with the flu.

Tribal response

On November 7, 1918, the community of Requa, within the Yurok tribal territory, set up a rigid quarantine “against Humboldt travelers” to prevent infection in that community. Anyone wanting to cross the Klamath River from the Humboldt side without a mask would be turned away and even those wearing a mask would not be allowed to stop in town. Requa’s business owners took the rule seriously, with it said that the proprietor of the Klamath Inn refused to receive anyone from the Humboldt side of the river and one night turned away a couple who had crossed the river in a small boat, compelling them to return to the Humboldt side and “make camp for the night.”

According to Matina Kilkenny in her story MISSING FACES: The impact of the Spanish influenza pandemic of 1918–1919 in Humboldt County, of the eleven Native Americans whose deaths are on record at the County Courthouse, five were from Table Bluff, two from Hoopa, one from Miranda, one from Orleans, one from Requa, and one was a laborer at Korbel. The actual death toll was likely much higher.

Recuperation.Humbt Times1918

… or would you be better off with Scott’s Emulsion?

Medical cures

At its onset, there was no cure for the flu, but newspapers carried many advertisements for products claiming to prevent and cure the disease. The “Famous Hyomei Inhaling Outfit” was heavily promoted in an article format that advised people to stay healthy, prevent infection and kill germs before they spread by using the system, which consisted of hyomei oil and a small inhaler, promising to deliver air “charged with an antiseptic, germ killing balsam that will absolutely destroy the germs of Influenza” (later analysis has shown “Hyomei” to contain eucalyptus oilalcohol and other ingredients).

S. Siljian, located in the First National Bank Building in downtown Eureka, offered a Light Bath that would “rid the body of poisons” and prevent “debility and disease.” According to the ad, also formatted like an article, radiant energy & heat from the light penetrated body tissue, treating the “grippe” (flu), nervousness, bronchial or lung trouble, indigestion, kidney and liver disorders. With treatment, the patient could also anticipate immediate relief from skin blemishes, headache, backaches, constipation and depression.

Medical professionals, on the other hand, offered more staid advice, which included avoiding public transportation, avoiding people that cough and sneeze (as well as covering one’s own coughs and sneezes); washing hands before meals, avoiding common cups and towels, crowds and sick people, and taking other steps to stay healthy. Those that fell ill were advised to go to bed and get treatment, eat nourishing foods, and take “medicine to open the bowels freely.” They were also instructed to stay home until a doctor gave the green light to go out again.

In December, the Navy Public Health Hospital released information on “experiments” focused on better understanding how the flu was spread. One hundred volunteers had “serum” (influenza germs) placed in their nostrils and throats and ingested the germs with food, but none appeared to get ill with the virus. Instead, the report said, the volunteers demonstrated “increased appetites and more vigorous health” as the only noticeable results of the experiment.

Unfortunately, as the epidemic raged on, experience showed that an attack of influenza offered no immunity to a second battle with the illness, but advertisements included quotes from “experts” like the Chief Medical Adviser at Swift Laboratory in Atlanta, who promised that S.S.S. (it is unclear what this stood for) restored “strength and vitality” after a bout of the flu, purifying the blood, “removing all disease germs” and building up the “entire system.”

Whiskey, on the other hand, was a recognized treatment but the federal prohibition against alcohol started on January 17, 1920, made it difficult for physicians to access. On Feb. 7, 1920, after a conference with State Prohibition Enforcement, it was announced that physicians could legally possess whiskey and “carry it on their persons and in their automobiles.” The federal government also established a dispensary in the city of Oakland (and likely elsewhere) so that physicians could obtain the liquor at $1.50 a gallon, which was much less than the standard $4 to $25 a quart.

Conclusion

While there would always be some resistance to masks and other measures designed to stop the spread of the flu, over time community sentiment shifted. After a story ran in the Humboldt Times about Alderpoint residents’ refusal to wear masks, the newspaper received an indignant reply emphatically stating that every man woman and child in Alderpoint wore a mask. “Alderpoint Is not lacking in its patriotism nor its cooperation with the officials in any way,” the letter concluded, and it was signed by over 25 residents.

According to Matina Kilkenny, on November 1, 1918 the Ferndale Enterprise declared in bold letters above the masthead: “Wear a gauze mask and thus show your true Humboldt spirit. The mask is not a sign of fear — it is a badge of honor that you are helping your city and county stamp out an epidemic. So wear one today.”

Over the next few years, communities also proved themselves ready to re-establish isolation hospitals, close schools and invoke other strategies at the first sign of a major infection. Over time, prevalence of the deadly Spanish flu diminished, but grief and memories of the people who lost their lives around the world and in Humboldt County remained much longer.

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That America will never experience another influenza epidemic that will take a toll as heavy as 1918-1919 epidemic, was the opinion of many physicians gathered today for the meeting of the American Congress of Internal Medicine. The fight against the disease was not won alone by medical science, it was said, but through cooperation of the public.

— Blue Lake Advocate, 28 February 1920

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Lynette Mullen writes about Humboldt County history at Lynette’s NorCal History Blog.

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Epidemic like the Spanish Flu: Never Again (Prediction Feb 1920)

July 19, 2020

SpanishFlu.NeverAgain.BlueLakeAdv.Feb28.1920


The Pink Lady (in Black and White and Pink)

June 11, 2020

Eureka.PinkLady.M.2nd.HSU.2003013611

Source HSU Special Collection 2003.01.3611

The photo caption says the house on the right is the early Carson home…

HERE are some great photos of what the old girl looks like now

And here are another 101 more pics  and other details (because the Pink Lady is currently on the market…). The real estate link offers some gorgeous interior shots – please take a look if you’re a old house voyeur like me…

Jill Macdonald  M Street, Eureka


Carson Block – Then and Stucco and Now

May 24, 2020

(Repost)

Notes from 2020:   This is another of my favorite posts highlighting a true architectural treasure in Old Town, Eureka (with some added 2020 notes)…. 

Here is a story the Lost Coast Outpost did about the restoration work.

And here is a little blurb from the Arcata Economic Development Corporation (AEDC) that gives a little history on the building and the financing that made the restoration possible

And this story by Kathy Dillon for the Eureka Heritage Society’s Architectural Legacy newsletter gives the most detailed information about the building’s history and restoration. This also includes some great photos of the building’s original Ingomar theater.

Please click on the photos below to enlarge and see details.

1892.12.23_Daily Humboldt Times (Humboldt County Library)

1892.12.23: Daily Humboldt Times (Humboldt County Library)

1904- Souvenir Photo-Carson Block Ext (Humboldt County Library)

1904- Souvenir Photo (Humboldt County Library)

Carson Block Building (Humboldt County Historical Society)

Humboldt County Historical Society

Carson Block Building (Humboldt County HIstorical Society)

Humboldt County Historical Society

NCIDC Collection

NCIDC Collection

NCIDC Collection

NCIDC Collection

North Coast Journal, January 2016

North Coast Journal, January 2016

The building is quiet now, but that will change….


Poultry Farm in Eureka

May 4, 2020

How’s this for random…?

Behind the Carson Mansion, where the Humboldt County Library now sits, there used to be a poultry farm. Who knew?

It looks like the poultry yard was a busy place, as the enterprise also offered a kitchen and dining room- for the employees, I imagine, but don’t know for sure…  It is kinda cool that the parcel dimensions have stayed the same as the original poultry farm

It also looks like the mansion, store house and wood house (now a guest house) have survived the years,  but a dwelling where the pool now sits bit the dust.

 

Carson Mansion and Library

Thanks, Google.

Eureka.Sanborn.1889_008_PAGE 8.M-S.2nd-3rd

Sanborn Fire Insurance Map, 1889


The windows are dark in the Ricks Building

May 2, 2020

So, umm, yes, it has been 3 long years since I’ve posted on this blog (it took forever to remember how to log-in) but my interest in local history and Humboldt’s beautiful historic architecture has never waned.  Nor has my interest in the local community—local prosperity.

I went into the now-closed Old Town Coffee and Chocolates (OTC, 211 F Street, Eureka) the other day to pick up some crafts the owners had been generous enough to let me sell there –  and had to be let in through locked doors by one of the owners- who I’ll call G. She had to let me in because there was no staff on site.

The café was dark and oh-so-quiet.  I told G that OTC had been one of my “satellite” offices, as I work from home,  but did not share that I had also enjoyed many Thursday night Open Mics there too. Evenings where you could hear angelic voices singing beautiful love songs, or a man with no home sharing Viking ballads or the most brutal poems. It was a gift, that space. Those nights. For both the performers and the audience.

And now… Damn. There are no words. Old Town Coffee’s Henderson Center shop is still open and I hope it stays that way. But I can only hope.

Until then, a distraction…

Enjoy this post of the Rick’s Building- where Old Town Coffee and Chocolates and many other businesses recently thrived. And still may, someday.

If not, as the map from 1889 clearly shows,  things will change. And change again…

 

Ricks Building- F Street, Old Town, Eureka

 

1889 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map (Source: HSU Special Collection)