Welcome to the the first in a series of Throwback Thursdays, in which we look at what Humboldt used to look like in a particular year.

You don’t actually have to dig too deep to find local history anymore, thanks to the easily-searched HSU Library Humboldt Room’s collection. Poke around in there sometime. Between that and a few local blogs, it’s pretty easy to fall into a sinkhole of Humboldt history.  

So the great 1906 San Francisco earthquake rattled some Humboldt cupboards, too. 

Ellin Beltz posted this slideshow of Ferndale in the ‘06 aftermath. Some real doozies in there. Here’s 353 Main Street, what is now the Palace Saloon. 

Go deep for a more shambled Ferndale. H/t to redditor /u/thedurka for putting this in the Humboldt subreddit. 


Over at the wonderful West Of The Redwoods historical blog, Laura Cooksey posted some photos of damage in Petrolia from the same 1906 quake. 

Go Deep for more Petrolia ‘06 quake damage.


Up in Eureka, this photograph from the Swandlund collection (via the Humboldt Room) shows damage to the Humboldt County courthouse. 

Go Deep

Anti-Chinese tensions were running high in 1906, and had been since at least the 1870s. This examination of transcontinental rail expansion has a subsection on Humboldt county’s expulsions(s) of Chinese laborers, and posted the newspaper below. [Eureka didn’t repeal its anti-Chinese ordinances until 1956.]

On September 30 [1906], the Humboldt Daily Standard headline reads, “The Chinese must go.” The article reads, in part: ” After being free from the foot of a celestial for twenty odd years, and for so long a time being known far and wide as a place absolutely free from coolie labor, Humboldt county saw the return of Chinese within her borders yesterday noon with the arrival of the steamer Roanoke, when the Starbuck-Tallant Company, of Port Kenyon, imported twenty-seven Chinese to work in its cannery on Eel river. The Chinese were kept aboard the steamer until shortly before 4 o’clock when a Santa Fe engine backed a box car on the sidetrack alongside the warehouse and the pigtails, bag and baggage, were dumped in, the door shut, and the engine returned with the forbidden fruit, to the train, hooked onto the passenger coaches and pulled out for the valley.

On October 4, the Humboldt Country Sheriff takes the newly-recruited Chinese to Gunther’s Island and four days later, they were placed on The Roanoak, bound for Astoria. (See photo below.) The Japanese were allowed to stay until the end of the fishing season.

Via the Humboldt Room’s collection:

Woodsmen who came to Eureka to oppose the employment of Chinese in Salmon Canneries.


Go deep here by scrolling way way down, and ponder Dr. Gayle Olson-Raymer’s question: “In no other California community were the Chinese expelled. So, why did it happen in Humboldt County?