House where Arcata City Hall Now Stands

May 22, 2020

Humboldt State University Special Collections, Palmquist/Yale [1999.02.0117]

This photo reminds us that it is always good to enlarge and check out the detail. I must have looked at this at least three times before I noticed the kids in the tree.

Given the slope of the hill, it looks like the house was facing 7th.


HSU description says this house was the “Downing home where city hall now stands 7th &  F”. Susie Van Kirk also notes “Built by Rease Bros 1901”

Looks like Mr. Downing was a plumber and was renting the house- at least in 1930.

Arcata.Downing.Census.Residents house at city hall

And he and Myrtle were married by 1910- though I can’t read the address on the census…

Arcata.Downing.Census.Residents house at city hall.1910

I posted the complete census pages because, well, census records can be fun. Enjoy…

Eureka 1893-94 Business Directory

May 15, 2020

I saved this one for Friday- so you can explore it over the weekend….

Google has digitized this fun.

Eureka Business Directory 1893-4: A Complete Register of the Citizens of the City of Eureka, Humboldt County, California

You can look up your great-grandparents  or see that you could get “Humboldt Pure Lard” in 100 lb. Kegs.

Please note that you can customize your display, or how you view the book online, by clicking display options on the upper right hand corner of your screen.







Eureka’s E Street, 1920/1929 (and today)

May 9, 2020
Eureka.E Street.5th-3rd.2020

Thanks, Google


Looking down E Street, Eureka (Source: Antich/County of Humboldt)


I think I love the contrast in vehicles here as much as I do the buildings…

And there’s another streetcar track… 

Below are Sanborn maps from 1920- so a little earlier than the older photo, but not much….

You can see the church steeple on the left – and it looks like the house (structure) was still there in 1929, though Kelly moved in a sandwiche [sic] and chili shop- and the house may have been selling cigars. Interesting that there was an auto wrecking yard by 1920 (map)

As always (hopefully) please just click to enlarge the media…



More On Eureka’s Street Cars

May 8, 2020

I have to give a big shout out to Milton Phegley for the following photos. You may recognize Miltpn’s name from the wonderful work he and others have done to clean up and restore the Myrtle Ave Cemetery.

Notice the woman on the right watching the men working on the rail…

Keep clicking on the photos and map to enlarge.


Streetcar line on J Street (and more), Eureka, 1906

May 7, 2020

Yes, we had streetcars in Eureka…

But I hadn’t noticed them on a map and been able to trace their routes before. There are a lot of other fun details in this map as well. Please just keep clicking on it to enlarge and enjoy….


Richardson 1906

1850 Description of Humboldt

May 6, 2020

HSU Collection: 2003.01.0490

Eureka as painted by a soldier in 1854- Please click on the painting to enlarge.


Understanding Our Region Through Historic Landscape Narratives

October, 2013

When the first Euro-American ships arrived off Humboldt Bay in the spring of 1850, those onboard witnessed a spectacle that we can only dream about.

“I must now tell you that the land is so beautiful and the soil so rich that I was almost fascinated with the scene, and if I could have you and Ginney, Rachel and our family, with some of our valued friends, I could almost give up Erie. In addition to the good qualities of the land, the waters produce clams in abundance as well as fish; and geese, ducks, snipe, plover, etc. are about as numerous as wild pigeons at Erie in the spring. The wood is not less productive than the water and droves of elk and deer, with a goodly number of bears are always to be found….” (Lewis, 1966)

Captain Douglas Ottinger, on board the Laura Virginia, in Humboldt Bay, April 1850, to his “Good Wife,”


Note: Susie Van Kirk was an amazing and generous historian and a wonderful human being. She passed away in 2016 and I miss her still….

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