Methodist Church Becomes a Saloon…

October 14, 2021
Source: HSU Special Collection

This building used to stand at the north east corner of 1st and E Streets in Eureka. According to W. Steenfott (quoted on the HSU Special Collections Site) , it was the former Methodist Episcopal Church, which was built in 1859 on 3rd Street. Steenfott said it was moved to 1st & E by P. Ryan (likely Pierce) in the 1860’s ( I can only imagine that process…). Ryan then used it as a theater before it became home to McNally’s and other saloons. It was apparently demolished in 1966. The Eureka Heritage Society offers a great story about the Ryan Family HERE.

According to Steenfott, in the 1850s, the building on right was Ryan’s home before he converted it to a store. It then became the Eureka Brewery before it was removed to build a rooming house addition for the Fox’s Den.

Sanborn Fire Insurance Map

And of course, now it is just another darn parking lot….


When the Eureka Woolen Mill was Brand New (1904)

October 13, 2021
Eureka Souvenir Book, 1904 (Please click to enlarge the photo)

I’ve posted about the Eureka Woolen Mill before – and included some history– but the montage above offers some great interior photos with employees from 1904. Please click to see the great details…

The mill was located on the corner of Broadway and 14th Street and you can still see remnants of the old building behind Walgreens…

(Update) I just noticed that the map shows the “tide flats” coming all the way to the back of the building…

Sanborn Fire Insurance Map

Eureka’s F Street, early 1900s

October 10, 2021
Source: HSU Special Collection

It can make me sad when I find a great old photo and see all the changes wrought over time. The postcard photo above is unfortunately no exception. Yeah…

I’ve actually posted about the building on the left before and shared an earlier photo showing mostly the 3rd street side. In the above photo, I am very happy to see the Palmtag Building (home to Many Hands Gallery) standing then and now and if you look carefully you can also see the Weaver Building (currently the Waterfront Cafe) at the end of the row of buildings on the postcard… Unfortunately that beauty in between with the turret (seems like it was located where the Old Town Gazebo is now?) is gone….

St. Joseph’s Institute for Young Ladies (Opened 1866)

October 6, 2021

Photo: St. Joseph’s Institute, 2 Aug 1878 (source: HSU Special Collection)

Per HSU: “On block between F and G and 7th and 8th on the current site of Eureka Inn, built by Methodists, opened 16 May 1866, used as a convent; note Sisters of Mercy nuns in yard”

Please click to enlarge the photo- and you will see a number of nuns and girls in the yard!

I also found this…

Tthe last mention I find of the institute details their July 1892 graduation…

Humboldt Times, 2 July 1892: The commencement exercises of St Joseph’s Institute of this city took place Thursday in the presence of a large assemblage of friends and relatives of the pupils. A lengthy and well selected program was presented, consisting of vocal and instrumental music, recitations, tobleaux, farces and a drama, and was very creditably rendered by the pupils. The valedictory was delivered by Miss Katie Cahill, the gold medalist.

I’m not sure when they closed.

Bold Holdup Near Scotia (1904)

October 4, 2021
Photo Source: County of Humboldt

Someone recently got in touch looking for old photos of Scotia and by coincidence I also just ran across the story below. I thought folks might enjoy both the old photo of the Scotia Inn above, and this story about Emerson’s Saloon ….

19 January 1904

The Humboldt Times

Heavily masked and armed to the teeth, three men held up the Emerson saloon and brothel near Scotia Sunday night, a few minutes after ten o’clock and left ten minutes later richer by between $2OO and $3OO than when they made their bold and daring entrance. Outside of a brief exchange of shots, the daring stand and deliver game was quietly played. Slipping away in the darkness no trace of the perpetrators of one of the boldest holdups in the criminal annals of this county -has yet been found.

The usual Sunday night crowd, composed of woodsmen and millmen from the P. L. Company’s big plant, gathered early at the Emerson resort to make a night of it with wine and women and cards. The evening was going along merrily enough, round after round of strikes followed in quick succession and by 10 o’clock it was a jovial assemblage. So absorbed was the crowd that the entrance of two men, with features obscured by bandana handkerchiefs, in which eyeholes had been cut, was not noticed until the piercing cry rang out, ‘hands up you ___ ____ ____ ; faces to the wall, we mean business.” So unexpectedly was the revelry disturbed that for a moment the gang of woodsmen and millmen imagined a joke was being perpetrated upon them. A repetition of the demand enforced by four six shooters persuaded the gathering that things were serious and one and all complied. Up went the hands of every man in the room as they ranged themselves in a group at the bar.

One of the masked men then approached the fear stricken crowd and while his companion kept them covered took highwayman’s toll. A confederate on the outside guarded the entrance, consequently there was nothing to fear in that vicinity. The search was progressing nicely enough when a woman in the brothel adjoining the saloon shouted to another, “we are being robbed.” “Come out herd and join the rest of the bunch,” commanded the masked men who were keeping the men under cover. “Not on your life,” shouted the woman in reply and bang went the door. A moment later Frank Wolford, a gambler, who was in the rooms with the women, suddenly opened the door and took a shot at the man making the collection. The shot was fired from an ordinary bull dog pistol and the bullet missed its intended victim several feet. Quick as a flash the companion of the man whom Wolford had taken a pot shot at fired several shots at him as he retreated through the door, but missed his man entirely.

The search then proceeded uninterrupted. As near as can be estimated, between $2OO and $3OO was secured. The bartender alone contributed $1O out of his jacket and about $47 out of the till, his wife added $2O more to the fund, another man was relieved of about $5O, another of $30, while between $15 and $2O was gathered up in small amounts from the less wealthy ones. The other women in the room contributed only a few dollars, most of their money being secreted in their stockings, and while the burglar searched for this, either his modesty or gallantry cost him a number of shekels, for his search was not extended enough to reveal the hidden coin. Every man in the room contributed all the money in his possession with the exception of Bert Leenters, but seventy five cents of his coin going into the sack. Leenters, when the command to throw up hands came, had a purse in his pocket containing $47.26. Unlike his companions, he did not believe he was being made the victim of a hoax. Up went one hand readily enough but the other found the vicinity of his pistol pocket where the purse was kept. Taking the leather receptacle out of his pocket he dropped it on the floor, at the same time scraping sawdust over it with his foot. When the collector came to him he secured only seventy-five cents carried in another pocket. After the men had left he readily recovered the purse and found its contents intact.

After relieving the men of their money the robbers, making no attempt to search the other part of the premises, where over $lOOO was stowed away for safe keeping, marshalled six of the men in line and marched them out doors. Commanding those remaining within to no noise and not to leave the premises for twenty minutes under pain of death, terrible and instantaneous, the men joined their confederate on the outside, forced the escort of six to accompany them quite a distance away from the scene of their crime. They then permitted them to return, cautioning them not to follow them further and to raise no outcry.

The robbers then disappeared into the darkness of the night. The escort returned to the saloon where all was excitement and many a wild scheme having as its object the apprehension of the men was being suggested. Finally all thought of an attempt to catch them was given up for the night.

Sheriff Brown’s office was notified at midnight, but owing to the lateness of the hour nothing was thought to be done. Yesterday a man was dispatched to the scene but no trace of the men found.

In the afternoon a report gained circulation that one of the robbers had been arrested upon the arrival of the afternoon train but he proved to be the wrong man. This proved to be a man named Carter who had been doing an acrobatic stunt at Scotia and whom some believed was mixed up in the robbery owing to his resemblance to one of the robbers. When taken from the train by Under Sheriff Ferrill he disclaimed all participation in the hold-up and stated inquiry in Loleta would show he had slept there Sunday night. Deputy Ferrill communicated with the Loleta Constable and found that this was true. Carter having proved an alibi, he was forced to release him.

Emerson’s saloon is located about a half mile from Scotia and is no admirable spot for the successful carrying out of such a crime as was committed Sunday night. The men involved in the affair, according to Leenters, who gave the story of the hold-up to a Times representative, are both of about the same size and quite large. One has a queer shambling gait and a voice which he believes he would recognize anywhere. The other man had no marked peculiarities. The confederate on the outside he did not see except in the darkness and consequently could not describe him. None of the men had been seen around the camp previous to Sunday night, but it is believed they were familiar with their ground and also with the fact that many of the men had just been paid off.

Constable Brown of Scotia and a deputy from the Sheriff’s office were busy on the chase yesterday, but up to a late hour last night nothing had been received here that could throw any  light on the culprits.

Pacific Gas Engine Works Still Standing…

September 22, 2021

This is the corner of 2nd and C Streets, Eureka and if you ever wondered what used to be there…

Humboldt State University Special Collection. Note this photo is cropped. You can find the complete photo HERE

And then I found this interesting (and a little bit scary) history about early power plants (including PG&E’s nuclear facility….). The report contains some cool old photos as well.

4th and E Streets, Eureka, c.1902 [updated]

February 6, 2021

This location looks a bit rough for those kids, but then again, maybe a lot of Eureka was a little bit rough back then… Interesting that most of their hats seem to match in pairs. Siblings, maybe?

This photo is inscribed with “4th & F Streets” and 1885. I did try to find reference in online newspaper archives to some of the attractions posted on the billboard but had no luck. I was also unable to read any of the business names…. [Please note that we now have an update on the date and location below the photo. Milt Phegley recognized the location as 4th & E, which was the previous location of Eureka’s Chinatown and after the Chinese Expulsion, a fish market and other businesses…] .

Either way, it is a fantastic old photo. As always, please click to enlarge. I’m guessing that lumber on the left was for extending the wooden sidewalk…

Source: HSU Special Collection

Update: Fortunately we have local historian, Milt Phegley, who after my original post, shared the following on Facebook:

I believe that the photo is misidentified in two respects. First, an enlargement of the posters on the side of the building shows coming entertainment “American Girl”, “Secret Service” and “Man of Mystery” being presented at the Ingomar. The Ingomar Theater in the Carson Block was not constructed until 1892 so the dating of the photo is incorrect. Those plays were performed in June 1902 at the Ingomar (confirmed by Humboldt Times newspaper articles). Second error is the location stated at Fourth and “F”. I believe that it should be Fourth and “E”. Below [per LM: on the Remember Eureka Facebook Post] is a picture previously posted of that location in what is said to be 1870 but is also incorrect as to date. [per LM: I have linked the referenced photo HERE].

The Eureka Fish Market was not established here until shortly after the Chinese expulsion in 1885 [per LM: CLICK HERE for a photo of the same area, which was part of Eureka’s Chinatown prior to the expulsion]. Also, the photo shows the expansion of the Ricks’ Stables to the east which did not occur until post-1892. Notice also the shape and lettering on the fish market sign which was subsequently relocated onto the building. And notice the juxtaposition of the two buildings at the corner.

The Fort at Martin’s Ferry, built 1853

February 4, 2021

This photo of the Fort at Martin’s Ferry was among the pictures Jack and Charmian London kept from their visit to Humboldt County . If you click on the photo to enlarge, you’ll see an inscription at the bottom stating that the fort was built in 1853.

Huntington Collection

A post about Martin’s Ferry on, however, states that the military “Camp at Martin’s Ferry” was established in March 1864 and occupied for only two weeks during the Army’s campaign against “hostile Indians”. In truth, unfortunately, the area was occupied by whites, militia and not, for much longer than that during a brutal campaign against the Native inhabitants in the 1850s and 1860s.

THIS SITE offers links to a number of essays, source documents and more about the ugliest time in our local history, California’s “Indian Wars”.

And HERE is The Legislature’s Majority and Minority Reports on the Mendocino War of (1860). The details offer a pretty good reflection of what was going on in Humboldt County as well.

This will likely be the last of the London’s photos posted (for a little while at least). We are fortunate they kept so many from their time in Humboldt

Hoopa Baskets, 1911

February 3, 2021

Before Jack and Chamian London headed down the Klamath in a wooden canoe, they went through Hoopa and took a number of photos, including one of this stunning basket collection. As always (hopefully) click on the photo to enlarge and see more detail. The artistry is beyond description…

Huntington Library Collection

It appears at least some basket makers sold their beautiful creations to local merchants. Perhaps the woman on the right made the baskets displayed on the center table in this photo of the Underwood General Store.

Source: HSU Special Collection
“Brizard’s Collection” (Source: HSU Special Collection)

The Londons on a Houseboat in Humboldt Bay, 1911

January 31, 2021

During writer Jack London and his wife Charmian’s VISIT and TOUR of Eureka in 1911, they were apparently invited to stay on former Eureka Mayor H.L. Ricks’ houseboat, the Harbor Rest, which was moored on Humboldt Bay. I had no idea there were ever houseboats on Humboldt Bay, especially over 100 years ago…

London Collection, Huntington Library

The Ricks family often used the boat for entertaining…