Humboldt County Historical Society

Humboldt Historian

Winter 2007: Volume 55, No. 4

Mysterious Music
Deborah Meador
A recent donation to the Historical Society contains twenty-one newly discovered original compositions, left behind by one of Humboldt’s early music men.

Ferndale’s Shaw House: Building a Home; Building A Community
Ann Roberts
A man of singular talents on the frontier builds a singular home.

Centerville
Jerry Rohde
A tiny metropolis on a wind-swept beach bears witness to one of the most harrowing maritime disasters in North Coast history.

The Alexander Parker Phillips Family
Naida Olsen Gipson
Frontier life could make demands on every family member. As a child, Laura Phillips longed for a crisp, unblemished apple.

The New El Dorado: From Two Peoples, One Place
Shirley South Shoup, as told to Pat Dunham
This excerpt looks at the first years of Euro-American settlement through the eyes of the individuals who lit out for Humboldt during the boom years.

The Launch of the Hilo, christened by Miss A.L. Vance. “The Pacific Ocean was the original Highway 101,” writes Ray Raphael in the newly released Two Peoples, One Place, now available at the Barnum House Bookstore. An excerpt from the book is featured here on page 33. Because of the rugged overland terrain, for many years the ocean offered the only link between Humboldt and the wider world. Ocean voyages were fraught with dangers and uncertain-ties. “Shipwrecks, all too common, reached deep into the psyches of local residents,” notes Raphael. This was certainly the case with the terrifying wreck of the Northerner off Centerville beach in 1860, a tale told in this issue by Jerry Rohde (see “Centerville” on page 38). The Hilo was built at Bendixsen’s, the largest of five shipyards on Humboldt Bay in the 1880s. The launch of a ship was celebrated by the community with wholeheartedness. “Everybody in Humboldt depended in a very fundamental way on the soundness and integrity of these vessels which connected them with the rest of the world,” writes Raphael. “And everybody knew, and mourned, when one of these vessels failed. Nobody could help but ponder the uncertainties of life as long as the ocean held sway.” Launched at noon on July 7, 1892, the barkentine Hilo was the second largest vessel ever built on Humboldt Bay. Only two years later she crashed on a Hawaiian reef “that opened her seams from stem to sternpost,” reports the Daily Humboldt Times of April 16, 1894.
— On The Cover