Ghost Town of Helena (Just West of Weaverville)

July 19, 2011

Helena, July 2011

Darn, I just figured I’d come home and find a whole handy history online that I could post along with these photos. No luck.

Helena is a “ghost” or deserted mining town about 15 miles west of Weaverville.

It is only 1/4 mile off Hwy 299 and so worth the drive.

The building above is the first I saw to the right of the road, though it was the last I explored.

Door was open…

Though why I found this appealing and wanted to venture further, I can’t explain…

Read the rest of this entry »

Why suffer the handicap of looking old? (1912)

June 27, 2011

Miniature donkey

June 24, 2011

Miniature donkey in Blue Lake

This has nothing to do with history–that I’m aware of.

I was just attempting to clear old photos from our camera and ran across this one.   We brought this guy and another into our field last spring to keep the grass down and they did a find job.

And were adorable….

Arcata Union Newspaper; various dates: 1895-1905

June 23, 2011

Visitor “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 great info…

Per Skippy:

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.” Read more about electricity in Arcata here

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.”

See a similar parade on the plaza here

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.”

Mulberg adopted Charles, Lucy’s son.  Read more about Charles here

“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.”

See cool bikes here

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)


Church of the Antichrist, 1751

January 31, 2011


The Seventh Day Babtists may have claimed heroes like Pardon Davis, but apparently not everyone was convinced that this particular faith offered the road to salvation –though they did offer this gem,

“If the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into a ditch” 

But I digress…

It appears the church had defectors…

Oct. 22, 1751, we, the subscribers, have been to discourse with Joseph Tanner and his wife, relating to their conduct in not attending the meetings, according to their profession, and also other evil reports which we had heard of their ill conduct. The answer that Joseph Tanner gave us was, that he was joined to the church by the Spirit of God, and after that, the Lord took him away from the church again, and showed him that the church was the church of antichrist; and he declared that he bore a testimony by the Holy Ghost against them, and desired no farther admonition from them ; he also declared that he was re-baptized and joined to another church… [emphasis is all mine]

I wish we knew if Tanner and his wife made it to heaven in spite of their defection…

Wagon pulling a Model T

November 5, 2010

Wagon pulling a Model T, c 1915 (in Southern Humboldt, I think)

I wish I could thank the person who took this picture.  It says a lot, don’t you think?

Incentive to quit the filthy weed, Arcata 1863

January 29, 2010

I went though some old newspaper archives recently and am obviously having fun with what I found.

Apparently “progressive” Arcata has a long history with filthy weeds…

Humboldt Times, 28 March 1863

Arcata Anti-Tobacconist–Our sister city, across the Bay, has taken another progressive step, in the organization of a league whoe one idea is to discourage the use of the filthy weed.

Some ten inveterate victims of this habit always fallacious and at present extremely extravagant have pledged themselves to abstain from the use of tobacco in any form during the year 1863, under penalty of a fine of ten dollars, which in case of forfeiture is to be applied to the school fund of the town.

We consider this a good arrangement; for if they really succeed…   it certainly will be to his advantage, while if his resolve melts away like the smoke of his discarded meerchaum*, the ten dollars remains as a tangible benefit to the school fund, which will gain what he loses.

*meerchaum: a claylike mineral used to make tobacco pipes

Why doesn’t the Times Standard still print stuff like this???

January 28, 2010


Humboldt Times, 21 Feb 1863

G.W.H.—We received your communication and are at a loss to know what to do with it, or what to say about it.  Don’t know who you are, don’t know who “J.K.” is, nor where the communication was written, or what it refers to.  Don’t know who “J.E.” is, don’t know who stuck the pitchfork in Mr. S nor whose wife “J.E.” fell in love with.  In short we know nothing of the circumstances or parties, and decline your communication with the advice that when you write again for a newspaper, let the editor have your name.  We do not care to do your fighting.

Eavesdropping for, umm, history’s sake

January 5, 2010

I think historians are, by nature, a nosey lot.  Most of the people historians study are dead, which makes our research less invasive than regular snooping, but it is still snooping.  We love to find letters, journals… anything that allows us to get inside someone’s head and gives us a fuller picture of their experience.

And I think good students of history have to be nosey.  The “what” of history can be interesting, but at a certain point, we need the “why” to really understand history’s many lessons–and people give us that.

The website is a voyeur’s, eh hem, I mean historian’s, dream–simply postings of conversations overheard by folks who were entertained and felt compelled to share.  

Many of the postings aren’t pretty.  People can be scary, sweet, stupid, very crude,  and quite often, pretty darn funny.  It also provides a fascinating glimpse into us and offers a preview of what historians will learn about this era, if they’re lucky.

Warning:  many postings are NOT suitable for minors or those who are easily offended.  Everyone else, enjoy…

please note that there are links to “overheard in the office”, etc. at the bottom of the “overheard” page which are also worth a read.

Pretty girl on a bicycle

January 4, 2010


Well, after a short illness and long vacation, I am ready to get back to sharing local (and not so local) history with interested folks.

Hello to you all–I hope you enjoyed a wonderful holiday.

I thought I’d start the year off with something fun, thanks to Hans Koster, and the website  (from the May 1896 Eel River Advance)