Lashed and Bound by the Pacific- Humboldt Map 1865

June 7, 2020

cover image

Old maps have been popular posts according to my stats, so below you’ll find another fun one.

AJ Doolittle published the map below in 1865- which,  if you’ll notice the detail on the left, was accepted by the county supervisors on February 9. Interesting that William Carson, whose buildings have been the subject of past posts,  represented Eureka and Union (later Arcata)  townships.

According to this blog,  the map’s creator, Alonzo J. Doolittle, was born in Vermont in 1821 and came to California during the gold rush. Apparently AJ  was a road and bridge builder as well as a map maker.

Please click to enlarge the map- though you’ll need to be patient, as it is a VERY large file and moves slowly…   You can also try to access the map HERE if the link below is too slow…

There is a wonderful narrative about Humboldt on the right and when you look at the map, you’ll find that Ferndale was not yet and Arcata was still Union on the main map. Many property owners are listed, including Augustus Jacoby of Jacoby Storehouse fame and J (Joe) Russ, whose descendants still have ranches and timberland in Humboldt …

You can also see our many trails to the mines and elsewhere…


Source: HSU Special Collection


I pulled this fun little description of early Humboldt off the map. I love that they noted that we are twice the size of Rhode Island and about equal to Delaware- with a fraction of the population. I also love that we are “lashed and bound by the Pacific Ocean” and “destitute of the bleak winds of San Francisco”. Hmmm….


And here are some interesting ag stats…

Copy of Doolittle


Felon Mark on End of Right Thumb

May 25, 2020

See, this is what happens.  You start by researching a friend’s recently found saloon token and then discover that early voter registers recorded (visible) physical marks and scars….

I am guessing it was so voters could be identified definitively on polling day–and pre-photo identification, it makes sense…

The two pages below are from Humboldt’s 1892-1898 Voter Registration records, accessed through

I have never heard of a “felon mark”.  Notice a lot of men (and note that they were ONLY men), had “mashed” or missing digits.

Update from a commenter on Facebook–I’ll post her name once I get permission:

A felon is a fingertip abscess deep in the palm side of the finger. It usually is caused by bacterial infection, most often from growth of Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. A painful bump on the end of a finger that is sometimes mistaken for a felon is a herpes virus infection that forms a herpetic whitlow.


I couldn’t find anything about “felon marks” online. If anyone knows or runs across anything about them, please share in the comments below.

Carson Block – Then and Stucco and Now

May 24, 2020


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….

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.







Back to 2nd Street, Eureka…

May 14, 2020

I was distracted the other day by my discovery of an Armory Hall in Old Town Eureka on 2nd Street between C and D, but now back to the basics…


I’ve always loved that Fairwind sign on the side of the building, but apparently it isn’t that old….



It looks like the Armory was gone by 1920- but there were a LOT of saloons so still plenty of places for drinkin’. Whew… 

I have posted about this area before (and noted that the two hour parking limit goes way back)- but without benefit of the map or satellite below…



Eureka.C-D.2nd.Sanborn.1920_007_PAGE 2

Sanborn Map, 1920

It doesn’t look like  many of the original buildings are left, but there are a few…


Thanks Google


An Armory Hall in Old Town?

May 12, 2020

It is funny how sometimes I start out with one plan and then a simple something catches my attention. The other day I decided to explore 2nd Street –  between C-D Streets but when I pulled the Sanborn 1900 map I saw an Armory Hall- 2nd floor on the corner of 2nd & C Streets. Never heard of it… 

Eureka.C-D.2nd.Sanborn.1900_003_PAGE 2

It looks like the original entrance to the 2nd floor is still there…?


I also found this online


And this (notice you could get into the ball for 50 cents)…


Posted on Pinterest with credit to the Clark Museum


If anyone knows anything else about the Armory Hall, please feel free to share in the comments…





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…



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….

Remnants of Eureka’s Past…

May 3, 2020

So I’ve always liked to walk and luckily for me, Eureka offers no end of things to see for those who loves historic architecture.

Apparently Sam McManis from the Sacramento Bee concurs.

And Wikipedia said this:

Old Town Eureka (formally the Eureka Old Town Historic District) in Eureka, California, is listed on the United States National Register of Historic Places. This Historic district is a 350-acre (1.4 km2) area containing 154 buildings[2] mostly from the Victorian era. The core of the district runs the length of First, Second, and Third Streets, between “C” and “M” Streets and includes many types of architecture from the 1850s to the present. Though not officially within the district, the Carson Mansion, the undisputed Victorian jewel of the city and region, commands the highest elevation at the eastern edge of the district. Art venues, coffee shops, bed and breakfasts and inns, antique stores and shops, restaurants, museums and galleries, and public areas (complete with views of Humboldt Bay and its marinas) are among the highlights of this gem of the West Coast. Of particular note is the remarkable authenticity of the district simply because it did not suffer the ravages of extensive fires or redevelopment like many other historic commercial centers.


While I have more time on my hands and beautiful days to walk Eureka, I thought I would focus on specific blocks- and see what I find. Yesterday I noticed that behind the facades on 5th Street between A & B Streets, there seemed to be houses. Quite a few of them. Below is what I found when I dug online.

And… I do realize there are only a small number of folks will find this truly interesting, but for those that do, enjoy. And if you are out and about and find other architectural remnants, please do send your pics my way. Pretty please.


*     *     *

Let’s start with yesterday… (BTW, click on any photo/graphic to enlarge for detail). 

You can see the roof line of houses behind the commercial facades… 

5th Street, Between A & B

So I checked the Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps and sure enough…. (Dwg=dwelling; Gro=grocers; Store Rm= Store room- looks like part was one story, the back part 1 1/2 stories- which you’ll see soon…)

Sanborn Fire Insurance Map, 1889


Thanks, Google

Ok, the Google satellite view shows the warehouses, which were built by 1920- so here’s those…

Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, 1920

I love (love, LOVE) that there was a “2nd hand store” on the corner in 1920 (100 years ago !)  I am a big fan of 2nd hand stores…


And here is the alley (because the alley tells a story too….)

The alley between 4th and 5th Street, A-B Streets- Notice the 2 warehouses from the 1920 map…


Also from the alley- You’ll notice this footprint (recessed area) in the maps above ….


And this is the storeroom from the 1889 map (I think) with a little addition to tie it to the front building. Sure looks the same…


Sanborn Fire Insurance Map, 1889

Hope you enjoyed- and don’t forget to send me pics of any remnants you find: