What’s for sale in Eureka in 1881

January 9, 2021

I ran across this ad researching information for my recent post on Mathews Music Store (and more)– and thought it might be fun for folks to see what was up for sale in Eureka on August 11, 1881

Block image

Buy a City Lot for $150 or Chicken Ranch for $2,000

November 10, 2020

This is another fun one from the 1915 Humboldt County, California : the land of unrivaled undeveloped natural resources on the westernmost rim of the American continent

What baseball is really all about (repost)

August 15, 2020

Another of my favorites…

And this one…

The notes I have say “Arcata”.  I’m not sure of the year.

Wagon Crossing the Van Duzen (repost)

August 11, 2020

I drove south on Hwy 101 not long ago and remembered this wonderful photo…




From Sunnyfortuna.com:

Note the wagon and team crossing the bridge. The Redwood Highway is now called Highway 101 and crosses in almost this exact spot today, except it’s now four lanes and vehicles are travelling at 65 MPH. This was locally known as the Alton Bridge.

This county bridge, built in 1901 by the San Francisco Bridge Company, consisted of two steel Camelback truss spans with wooden trestle approaches, and carried a narrow, 16-foot roadway. By the early 1920s, the steel spans were badly corroded from the salt-laden coastal air, and the wooden deck and approach spans were rotted. It was replaced in 1924.



Carson & Dolbeer Lumber Mill, c. 1900-1930 (2020 update)

June 19, 2020

Carson Mansion & Mill, c. 1900 (Woods)


It is hard to imagine but this mill was located in the city of Eureka’s Halvorsen Park below the Carson Mansion in Eureka. You can see a bit of it to the left of the mansion in the photo above.

Carson & Dolbeer Mill (T.Woods)

Carson & Dolbeer Mill, c. 1930 (T.Woods)

This is what Wikipedia has to say about Carson’s mill…


In 1863, Carson and John Dolbeer formed the Dolbeer and Carson Lumber Company. Eighteen years later, in 1881, as the company advanced into areas more difficult to log, Dolbeer invented the Steam Donkey Engine which revolutionized log removal, especially in hard-to-reach areas. At about the same time, Carson was involved in the founding of the Eel River and Eureka Railroad with John Vance.[6] Before commencing the building of his mansion, Carson said, “If I build it poorly, they would say that I am a damned miser; if I build it expensively, they will say I’m a show off; guess I’ll just build it to suit myself.”[7] In 1884, on the eve of construction of the great home, the company was producing 15,000,000 board feet (35,000 m3) of lumber annually. The milling operations, combined with additional investments as far away as Southern California and at least partial ownerships in schooners used to move the lumber to booming markets on the west coast and all over the globe,[2] set the stage for the unlimited budget and access to resources the builders would have. Pacific Lumber Company purchased the company in 1950[8] and maintained milling operations at the original Humboldt Bay site, located bay-side below the house, well into the 1970s. 

Origin of Humboldt’s Place Names (along with the rest of California’s)

June 9, 2020

Of course this was another random, but entertaining,  find.

Click HERE to find the book:  California Place NamesThe Origin and Etymology of Current Geographical Names, written by Erwin Gustav Gudde.  You can use the search feature to find Humboldt-specific locations or just have fun with California.

This is one simple example of what you’ll find….


And then another, not so simple, not so fun…



The book also give us the maps below, which tell us, among other things,  that Trinidad Bay was named in 1775 and Humboldt Bay in 1850…


Map.PlaceNames.googlebook.names about 1800


Map.PlaceNames.googlebook.names applied Early American Period

More changes for Bracut (2020 update)

June 8, 2020

I rode my bike north from Eureka the other day and cut across the freeway right after the Bracut Industrial Park to catch the newish Arcata trail extension (part of the still-being-constructed Humboldt Bay Trail).  The ride reminded me of these old photos.

I just found the following on wikipedia and you’ll find some great (or painful when you think of the impact to marshland…) pics below…

Bracut (formerly, Brainard)[2] is an unincorporated community in Humboldt CountyCalifornia.[1] It is located on the Northwestern Pacific Railroad 3 miles (4.8 km) south of Arcata,[2] at an elevation of 16 feet (5 m).[1] The name originated as a contraction of the railway cut through Brainard hill in the Humboldt Bay salt marsh. Railway trestle work originally connected the hill south to Eureka and north to Arcata. Much of the hill was subsequently excavated to provide fill to replace the original trestle work; and the railway fill prism became a dike encouraging conversion of the inland salt marsh to pasture land.[3] The leveled hill is now the site of several large structures remaining from previous lumber operations, a District 1 CalTrans yard, and a KOA campground.

Brainards Point Cut for Railroad, c. 1900

“Brainards Cut”

Brainards Cut- HWY 101

Blacksmith, Harness Shop and More – 2nd & D, Eureka

June 5, 2020

I was looking for the Sawtell building/block mentioned in yesterday’s post  and got lucky with this great old photo of 2nd Street in Eureka.  I don’t see the Snow & Co’s Store but it was here…. Please do click on the photo because there is some wonderful detail  ….

I was wondering if W.L Mercer of the Harness Shop became Mercer of the construction company but nope, this history says that Mercer Fraser Company was founded by H.M. Mercer (likely the same family)


Source: Palmquist Collection, HSU 2003.01.2559

Please note the map below of the same block is upside-down compared to the building orientation – so you can easily read the descriptions.  I’m thinking it is likely the same harness shop.

There are other fun details on the map, including the female boarding houses…


Eureka.Sanborn.1889_002_PAGE 2.C-E.1st-3rd

Sanborn map, 1889


I thought maybe Harness Shop became the Fairwind building but looking at Google Street View, I don’t know if any of the original buildings survived…



Then again, when I look at the satellite, what now looks like one building on the corner of 2nd and D (home to Jim Dunn’s which has been closed for years –but signs says it opened in 1885, – and the Green Lily right next to it) looks like two- potentially the 2 on the end with a new false front….?


I just found this random video from the Historical Society about Jim Dunn’s Cosmopolitan Bar. Enjoy.

Will Make Old Telegraphers Hump Themselves…

June 3, 2020

Catchy title, isn’t it?  I couldn’t help but share.



Source: Omnia 

I found this when looking for old local photos online and could not begin to guess what the caption meant, but then a friend sent me this interpretation, which makes sense….

My guess is that he ( Little Brice) was a speed demon on the telegraph, and won a keying contest of some sort. Later they did it with manual typewriters.

And that would be in line with Meriam Websters 2nd definition of the verb

2to exert (oneself) vigorously

The California Wonder from Ferndale apparently went to on study electrical engineering at Stanford… 


A Shooting Gallery and a Marble Shop along Eureka’s Waterfront (1889)

May 29, 2020

I have to admit that while convenient for some, Eureka’s old town parking lots are starting to make me sad. I have looked at enough photos and maps to know that each of those lots used to be packed with interesting businesses and buildings. For example, this was Eureka’s waterfront between C and E Streets in 1889….

Eureka.Waterfront.C-E.Sanborn.1889_002_PAGE 2.C-E.1st-3rd

Sanborn Fire Insurance Map, 1889

It looks like Baird’s Opera Hall may still be there. Maybe… 




Google again

But nothing else survived….