Humboldt County Historical Society

Humboldt Historian

Spring 2015

HH Spring 15.jpg

Volume 63, No. 1

10 - HISTORIC PROFILE OF THE McKAY TRACT: LOGGING, RANCHING, AND RAILROADS - by Jerry Rohde, MA

After many years and industries, calm descends on the Valley of the Giants.

20 - THE PUNTA GORDA LIGHT - HISTORY'S MYSTERIES - by Barry Evans

A springtime historical outing beckons.

22 - SEVERIN JACOBSON, OWNER OF THE OPERA SALOON IN ARCATA - by Vivian Ziegler

Swedish immigrants survive and thrive on the Humboldt frontier with a little help from their friends.

26 - CUDBEAR TO ZINGIBER - by Deborah Baskette

Secrets of the antique apothecary cabinets that serve as bookshelves in the HCHS Bookstore.

28 - HENRIETTA HEILBRONNER GALINGER - by Nan Abrams

New to Arcata, a Jewish widow starts a business and raises her family among new friends.

36 - CELEBRATING 125 YEARS IN EUREKA - by Jae Emenhiser

Presbyterians celebrate the Eureka church’s 125th anniversary.

39 - WEDDINGS HUMBOLDT STYLE - YOU DIDN'T HEAR IT FROM ME - by Louella Parsnips


Our issue begins with the very first years of white settlement on Humboldt Bay, when Ryan and Duff grounded a ship on the Eureka shoreline and used it to power a sawmill. Jerry Rohde’s history of the McKay Tract provides an egret’s-eye view of the very beginning of mechanized industry on the North Coast.

In the harsh reality that was the Humboldt frontier, instances of active community support were common, and to us today are heartening and sometimes surprising. When one of Severin Jacobson’s bartenders, fellow Swedish immigrant Koony Johnson, succumbed to alcoholism, Jacobson and others in the Swedish community arranged a long-term rehab for him: a place where he could live and work without temptation. See page 22 for the story of the Opera Saloon, its proprietor and its patrons, by Vivian Ziegler.

Jews from Western Europe, who had long faced racism in their home countries, could find a safe haven here, as seen in Nan Abrams’ story of the Heilbronner sisters, beginning on page 28. The sisters were not only successful in local businesses, but by all appearances were taken into the heart of the community and the society of the day.

Other offerings in our springtime issue of the Humboldt Historian will take us from the Punta Gorda light to an elopement by sea, with stops in Eureka at the Presbyterian Church and at the Barnum House Bookstore apothecary cabinets. Let us begin!
— From the Editor