Humboldt County Historical Society

Humboldt Historian

Winter 2011

Cover Winter 11.jpg

Volume 59, No. 1

10 - THE HUMBOLDT HARBOR LIGHTHOUSE - by David Jonathan Clark

The first beacon on Humboldt Bay, and the most successful keeper of the flame.

22 - HUMBOLDT COUNTY HEROES OF WORLD WAR I - by Jeremiah Scott, Jr.
Humboldt “Grizzlies” served with distinction.

24 - MULES AND DONKEYS - THE PRESENCE OF THE PAST - by Jerry Rohde

Which one had the more coveted role in Humboldt history?

26 - ARCATA UNION HIGH SCHOOL CLASS OF ’47 COMMENCES - by Carl Jensen

Bursting onto the scene of adulthood with an independent flair.

32 - EMBARKING ON A BOLD ADVENTURE - by Gayle Buchanan Karshner

Gayle’s early life in her own words.

34 - “FLETCHER THE RETCHER” - YOU DIDN’T HEAR IT FROM ME - by Louella Parsnips

36 - FOG - by Bob Wunner

Water vapor condensed to fine particles at the earth’s surface leads to states of mental confusion.


The feature story in this issue of the Humboldt Historian, written by David Jonathan Clark, presents a milestone in the written annals of Humboldt history as the first comprehensive account of the Humboldt Harbor Lighthouse—the first, and only, light established at the harbor entrance. Clark not only sets the record straight on such significant questions as the date the light was constructed, and why such a treacherous harbor entrance had to wait so long for a beacon, but for the first time he fills in the story of the light’s long-est and most reliable keeper, a widowed mother of six, Sarah Johnson. The absorbing tale begins on page 10.

Another lighthouse stands guard at the end of this issue: the Punta Gorda light plays its part in Bob Wunner’s personal and historical account of “Fog.”

In between these stalwart sentries, readers are invited to meet Humboldt members of the California Grizzlies during World War I, attend commencement parties with the Arcata Union High School Class of ’47, revel in the merits of mules with Jerry Rohde, and visit the scenes of her youth with the late Gayle Karshner.

Oh, and I understand it would behoove us to welcome most cordially a new writer to these pages, Louella Parsnips. Her gossip column, “You Didn’t Hear It From Me,” begins on page 34.

Warm wishes go forth to all for a cozy, happy holiday season from all of us at the Humboldt County Historical Society.
— From the Editor