Driving Tours | Fishing | Hiking | Parks | Museums
Fort Humboldt State Historic Park
Just minutes from the Bayshore mall, Fort Humboldt State Park is an oasis tucked within Eureka’s city limits. Pack a picnic lunch and prepare for a calm afternoon meandering through historic logging displays and short walking tour.
Perched on a grassy hill overlooking Humboldt Bay, Fort Humboldt was originally established in 1853 to provide protection for both Native Americans and the rush of gold miners of the region. Fort Humboldt also served as a supply depot for other posts in Northern California.
Fort Humboldt’s most famous resident was Ulysses S. Grant, who served there for less than a year in 1854 as a 4th Infantry captain.
At its peak, Fort Humboldt had 26 buildings, including a hospital and surgeon’s quarters and a stockade.
After the Civil War ended, the need for the fort diminished and it was closed in 1866 and abandoned in the 1870s.
Today the park is a peaceful retreat for those who take the time to wander around the grounds. There are picnic tables, a walking tour and logging museum.
On the walking tour you will find a towering flagpole, representing first permanent feature at Fort Humboldt. Made from a local Redwood tree, the original flagpole was placed in a central position overlooking Humboldt Bay. In the 1950s, historians placed the current flagpole what was thought to be the original location. After further investigation, research proved that the original site was only 20 inches away from its current site.
Reconstructed as an example of the Surgeon’s Quarters, this was the first building constructed at Fort Humboldt. Originally intended to be the Commander’s House, it was given to Lt. Underwood and his wife, who had recently given birth in a tent below the bluff in the town of Bucksport. Later it became the post’s permanent surgeon’s home.
The hospital is the only original building remaining at Fort Humboldt. The hospital was built on this site in 1863 and had four wards, each with a fireplace. The hospital served as a Marconi wireless station, a museum, State Park District office and currently houses exhibits of the North Coast Native American artifacts and Fort military and archeological pieces.
This garden represents what a typical regional frontier army post garden may have looked like. Soldiers were expected to care for these plots to help supplement their food supplies. Gardens consisted of a blend of medicinal herbs, flowers and vegetables.
Scattered throughout the park are open air logging displays depicting methods and equipment used in the 19th and mid 20th century. The display includes the innovative Dolbeer Steam Donkey, the Bear Harbor Lumber Company’s Gypsy Locomotive #1 and the Elk River Mill and Lumber Company’s #1 “Falk” locomotive.
If you are visiting on a third Saturday from May through September, don’t miss the “Steam Up” of historic logging equipment.
The park is open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. year round. Reconstructed hospital building open summer 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., other months by arrangements. Logging exhibits open year round 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Location: One block off Highway 101 via Highland Avenue, near Bayshore Mall.