Humboldt County Historical Society

Humboldt Historian

Fall 2013

HH- Fall-2013.jpg

Volume 61, No. 3

10 - HUMBOLDT STATE COLLEGE 1950 -1954 - by Gerald Beck

Dragged to college against his will, the author thrived at Humboldt State, where he went onto teach for twenty-five years.

16 - FOILED THEFT OF THE NORMAL SCHOOL - YOU DIDN’T HEAR IT FROM ME - by Louella Parsnips

As Humboldt State University celebrates its 100th anniversary, let us look back at its origins.

22 - SHE LEFT HER HEART IN SAN FRANCISCO - by Suzanne Forsyth

Remembering Claramae Turner, great American contralto, and former Eurekan.

27 - THE MYSTERY OF RAINBOW RANCH - by Karen Hendricks

In this compelling tale, honest citizens are run off their land.

30 - THE LA GRANGE MINE - HISTORY’S MYSTERIES - by Barry Evans

How seven tons of gold destroyed a mountain and ruined a river.

36 - MY GHOST - by Diane Pialorsi

The author seeks help in finding someone special to her, someone she knows thus far only as an apparition.

38 - PAULINE PEGOLOTTI - FROM THE ITALIAN ALPS TO
FERNDALE - by James Pegolotti

A young woman discovers her calling in the New World.


In honor of Humboldt State’s 100th anniversary, we begin this issue with HSU Professor emeritus Gerald Beck, HSC class of ‘54, as he recalls his baccalaureate years during a golden era when the college had everything to offer, yet was still small enough to be like a family. For Beck, a 4th generation Humboldter, as for countless other young Humboldt-bred men and women, the presence of Humboldt State enabled them, economically, to embrace the life-changing opportunities it offered. Of course, the college did not just appear, a magic gift from the state. It was through the efforts of the small Arcata community, which donated money, property, and land to get it going, and, to keep it going, opened their homes to student boarders and also padded the registration by signing up for classes themselves. It was not until 1920, when the community had proved it could make a success of the school, that the state chipped in significantly to help build Founders Hall.

But how, one might ask, did the college end up in Arcata? Eureka was the obvious choice, and Eureka herself took it for granted that she would get the school, and this was her mistake. The three-month battle between Eureka and Arcata for Humboldt State is exactly the kind of thing our gossip columnist, Louella Parsnips, loves to sink her teeth into. Her tell-all begins on page 16.

Also offered in this issue: a remembrance of opera star and former Eurekan Claramae Turner; a tale of mystery at Rainbow Ridge; the saga of the La Grange Mine; a ghost story; and the life of Pauline Pegolotti, who attended Humboldt State and became a teacher.
— From the Editor