Humboldt County Historical Society

Humboldt Historian

Fall 2008: Volume 56, No. 3

Arcata: Laying Claim
Matina Kilkenny
Arcata's first years, the origins of the Plaza, and the town's establishment as a key trading post.

L. K. Wood & Kiwelattah
Suzanne Forsyth & Ann Roberts
What inspired L. K. Wood's strong desire to commemorate the Wiyot leader, Kiwelattah?

Anvick & Old Arcata
Lina Carro
Three generations of Anvicks have thrived at the corner of Anvick & Old Arcata Roads.

Eel River Idyll
Nell Dickson Brpwn
For over one hundred summers the Dickson family has gathered on the Eel River. The author shares the joyful-and transformative-summers of her youth in the 1930s.

Welcome to Old West End
James Pegolotti
The Pegolottis are our hosts for wine and sausage making, and many other triumphs, and perils, of daily life.

Arcata to Cedar Flat by Horse and Wagon
Robert A. Titlow
A family trip from Arcata to Cedar Flat in 1909 was a four-day adventure.

This photo of the Arcata Plaza, circa 1897, and the photo below, are by photographer A.W. Ericson, resident of Arcata from 1876 until his death in 1927. The festive scenes are appropriate to the day, for the current year marks Arcata’s 150th anniversary. Estabhshed as Uniontown in 1850, Arcata was formally incorporated as a city in 1858. One interesting structure seen in each photo is the former Arcata and Mad River Railroad depot on the southwest corner of the Plaza, where the post office is now. Passengers and freight were brought to the Plaza by rail from the wharf near the foot of I Street {see wharf photos on page 16). Service began in 1854. The cars were originally horsedrawn on pine rails. “I remember there was a white horse and a dapple gray; if one got tired, we used the other,” recalled Lulu Ogilwy, as quoted by Monica Hadley in one of the first HCHS Newsletters. Lulu’s husband, William, served as station superintendent from 1886 to 1930. The passenger depot, at the corner of 7th and H Streets, contained a waiting room for men and one for women. “The bell used to ring five minutes before departure and could be heard all over town,” remembered Lulu. Over the years the Plaza depot and warehouse became the Pickwick Stage Co., the Greyhound Bus Co., and McConnaha’s Motor Stages. The post office was built in 1950. Of course the Plaza has evolved since the days when volunteer soldiers mustered here and cows grazed—ruminants were banned permanently in 1901, when the bandstand was erected—but one thing hasn’t changed: the Plaza remains the centerpiece of the town’s civic life; it is still “the heart of Arcata.”
— On The Cover