Humboldt County's display was unique in that it had brought to the Exposition two great sections of a giant redwood tree. These sections were made into rooms, one of which housed the display of redwood. Here were hung the beautiful paintings picturing the famous forests of Humboldt. The ceiling of the room, which was twenty feet in diameter, was made of polished, hand-carved redwood. In the center was suspended a crystal candelabra which reflected its light upon the highly polished surface of the wood furnishings.
Paintings were framed in redwood burl.... Every article made of burl was highly polished and is most artistic. In the center of the room stood one of the most noteworthy and costly tables in the Exposition. This is made of a single slab of redwood burl, is seven feet in diameter, without a flaw...
If you've been following along with our blog, you may remember from a past post that Humboldt County had its very own day during the nearly year long Panama Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco in 1915. This day brought 500 Humboldt County residents to the Exposition in celebration of the rising star that Humboldt County was on the northern coast of California. Besides being a mysterious, heavily forested and beautiful area, it was turning out to be prolific in a number of natural resource oriented industries such as mining, logging, and fishing, along with agricultural and livestock based industries, with a number of dairy farms, cattle ranches, and apple orchards. With the completion of the Northwestern Pacific Railroad in 1914, access to Humboldt County had become easier than ever and, with the creation and renovation of what would eventually become the Redwood Highway and US 101, access would only become quicker and easier, promoting tourism.
Besides having a day dedicated to Humboldt County, the County even had its own exhibit, pictured on the far right in the photo above. This photo was taken during the exhibit's dedication day. A description from California's Magazine, dated 1916 describes the incredible exhibit space:
Artists featured in this exhibit space included Emma Freeman and Cora Wright, two locally famous artists. A post about the contents of the exhibit was made for the blog a few months back that you can see here.
Photos of this day were found earlier this year in the museum's collections, however, wasn't until recently that we found this ribbon in the archives, which you can see below. Some of the people in the group photo above are wearing ribbons like the one below.
On the right, you can see more of the detail on the ribbons central image. The ribbon includes a number of things that Humboldt County was known for in 1915: its dairy cows, orchards, farmland, streams and rivers teeming with fish and of course, its redwoods. We have a large collection of ribbons like these that were very popular in the early 1900s. Many different groups had them, including the Fraternal Organizations that are currently on display in the Clarke Museum's main hall.
While going through some files in the museum office, a 1985 newsletter article detailing some of the early experiences of working in the museum was found. You can read the article below, which details one of the wildest 'first day of work' stories ever.
Never a dull day at the Clarke Museum!
Over the last few months, we've had an intern here at the Clarke Museum. Below is part of her recollection of the project she worked on: scanning part of our post card collection.
At the Clarke Historical Museum, we have many projects that we work on quietly behind the scenes. One of the largest long-term projects has been improving the museum’s database, including photographing and digitizing the 150,000 items we have within the Clarke collection. As an intern, I recently assisted with one little piece of this larger digitization process by scanning around 250 historical postcards from the collection. My work each day included scanning each postcard, front and back, and creating high-resolution files ready for cataloging and future use. Though the process of scanning can sometimes be slow, the project overall was like an ongoing treasure hunt, full of discovery and rich with stories of our local history!
Each month, Museum Director Ben Brown takes to the airwaves for KINS 106.3 's Community Comment. This month, Ben tells the story of local baseball teams in Humboldt County, which dates all the way back to 1874 in Rohnerville. Below is a short retelling of Humboldt County's star-studded baseball past.
Spring is in the air, which means it’s baseball season again and Humboldt County has a long history with the sport! The following is an excerpt from Jack Nash.
It is believed that the first team in Humboldt County began in 1874 and was called the Baseball Club of Rohnerville. There was very little competition at the time, the first written account was a game between them and the Ferndale Baseball Club where Rohnerville cruised to an easy victory by the score of 60-29. The high run count was not unusual for that era.
In 1878, the Blue Stocking Baseball Club was organized. They had solid financial backing and a five year lease on a piece of land opposite Pleasure Park, between F and G streets in Eureka. They lost their first game to the Mutuals by the score of 28 to 24.
One of the most famous early players was Sam Dungan. Locally born and connected to Dungan’s Ferry on the Eel River, he left Humboldt in 1888 and played in the major leagues in the 1890s for the Chicago White Sox, Detroit Tigers, and others. In 1895 the Humboldt Baseball League had four teams, the Mantells of Eureka, Sperrys of Arcata, the Port Kenyon Crowns, and the Rohnerville Acmes. While the name of the top local league changed many times over the years, there remained many independent teams that were mostly connected with lumber camps and mills. Early on small communities complained that it was unfair that the larger towns, such as Eureka, Arcata, Blue Lake, and Ferndale were hiring players and paying them salaries!
Any story about local baseball history has to include Joe Oeschger, a pitcher who played 12 professional seasons from 1914 to 1925. Joe was born in Chicago in 1892 and moved to Ferndale with his family in 1900, playing for Ferndale High and St. Mary’s College before heading to the pros. Joe became famous on May 1, 1920 when his Boston Braves battled the Brooklyn Dodgers in a 26 innings contest that ended up a 1-1 tie, the game was called due to darkness. Amazingly, Oeschger pitched the entire 26 inning game, which is still a Major League record for the most innings pitched in a single game.
The Humboldt Crabs was founded in 1945 by Lou “Mr. Baseball” Bonomini, and is the oldest continuously-operated summer collegiate, wood-bat, baseball team in the country. At least 60 players have gone on to play baseball at the Major League level.
You can listen to Ben's Community Comment on KINS website here!
What is your story with Humboldt County Baseball? Share it in the comments!
This year marks the 53rd year of the Rotary Rhododendron Parade here in Eureka. Its history traces all the way back to Stanwood S. Schmidt, renown reproductive urologist and botanist who started the festival and parade in 1985 to celebrate one of the Pacific Northwest's favorite flowers. It's been going strong ever since with local bands, performance groups, and businesses marching in the parade and building floats, which travel along a rhododendron-bedecked parade route. In past years, the parade has also featured flyovers by F-15 fighter jets and the US Coast Guard. Eureka isn't alone in it's celebration of the flowering shrub; Port Townsend, WA and Florence, OR also have yearly Rhododendron parades with accompanying festivals.
The Rhododendron Festival, which follows the parade, includes a large show of impressive rhododendrons and azaleas from rhododendron enthusiasts competing for grand prizes and titles During the festival, rhododendron experts are on hand to answer questions on rhododendron care, and booths to purchase rhododendrons from. You can learn more about the festival from the American Rhododendron Society Eureka Chapter website here.
Of course, parades and festivals wouldn't be complete without ribbons and buttons commemorating participant's accomplishments. Below are a few examples from the Museum's collections.
You can check out the Rhododendron Parade official website here for participant lists, the biography of this year's Grand Marshall, and more!
What are some of your favorite memories from the Rhododendron Parade and Festival? Share them in the comments!
Information for this blog post from:
Thank you to the following individuals and groups who participated in our Living History Day on April 21!
The Clarke Historical Museum depends on the work of volunteers in order to put on events like this one. Please consider donating some of your time to the cause by signing up to be a volunteer here. Or, sign up to sponsor future Living History Days here!
One of the most notable collections housed at the Clarke Museum is the Hailstone Collection in Nealis Hall, which you can read more about here. While the majority of the Hailstone Collection consists of baskets, there are also a variety of photographs covering events, regalia, family lineages, and basketry. Albert Hailstone brought by some more photographs to donate to the collection, which have been in the process of being formally added to the collection. Here's a sneak peek at some of the photos that have been donated.
When it comes to processing new donations, it can take a bit of time to complete. The process begins with the donor filling out paperwork and including pertinent information about the item, such as what it is, why it is relevant to local history, its age, or other important information. After the donation is accepted by the museum, in this case a collection of photographs, each item gets a catalog entry and number on our database, photos are scanned, each photo is put in a protective sleeve and put away in the archives. It is a team effort and oftentimes interested volunteers and interns help along with the process. (Interested in helping out? You can send in a digital volunteer application here or stop by the museum to pick one up!)
When the items are officially processed into the collection, they can be accessed by researchers and used in exhibits. Sometimes, they can also appear on our website as well, as part of digital exhibits. A few of the photos from this most recent donation are currently on display in a set of two cases explaining the creation and use of ceremonial dresses (photos above). You can learn more about this exhibit and see a few more of the Hailstone photos featured in it at the Nealis Mini Exhibit Blog here.
Thanks to Compass Community Credit Union, The Clarke Museum is offering a FREE admission week from April 15 to April 22!
We'll see you at the Clarke!
Logging has historically been known as one of the most dangerous trades to be part of, due to the sometimes unpredictable type of work. Falling branches, broken tools, and operator error were hazards of the trade that could (and did) gravely injure or kill workers. The development and use of the Hard Hat helped to protect workers from many of the dangers of working as a logger. Above, you can see a picture of two workers in a tractor, both wearing aluminum hard hats similar to the one in the museum collection.
The Hard Hats, symbolic of an industry integral to Humboldt County, also appear in the protests surrounding the expansion of Redwood National Park in 1978, pictured below. This protest was part of a larger event which consisted of a a group of redwood loggers driving their loaded logging trucks from Humboldt County to Washington DC to protest at the Capitol. This journey was documented in the film "Enough is Enough", which can be viewed online for free here.
Today, these hard hats still have their presence among people linked to the logging community of the mid 20th century, as the helmets appear as part of Humboldt State's Logging Sports contingent that appear and participate in the HSU Football games by dressing as Lumberjacks and revving chainsaws.
Keep an eye out for this hard hat in our upcoming exhibit The Redwoods Provide(d): The Story of Redwood National and State Parks, opening July 7, 2018
Information for this article was found:
Bullard's Hard Hats
In celebration of the Eureka Theater's Martini Matinee series of locally filmed movies, this week's post covers a few of the movies that were filmed in Humboldt County.
Humboldt's movie history stretches back before the 1983 filming of "Return of the Jedi" however. "Valley of the Giants", produced in 1919, was filmed in many different locations around Humboldt County, including Eureka and Arcata, with some scenes including local lumber towns. Scroll down to see many of the movie stills from various films that used beautiful Humboldt County as a backdrop.
Valley of the Giants (1919): Arcata, Korbel, Carson Mansion, Scotia
The Big Trees (1952): Orick and Humboldt Redwoods State Park
Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (1983): Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park and Jedidiah Smith Redwoods State Park
Outbreak (1995): Ferndale
Want more locally filmed movies? Check out the Eureka Theater Website for their full schedule of "Martini Matinees" featuring films made in Humboldt County!
Photos are from the Clarke Museum Collection. Information on local films was found in Humboldt-Del Norte Film Commissions "Map of the Movies", which can be picked up at many local hotels, visitor centers, and tourist destinations, including the Clarke Museum.