Friday, November 16, 2012

Fort Humboldt State Historic Park in Northern California

Fort Humboldt State Historic Park Entrance Sign
Fort Humboldt State Historic Park Entrance Sign

Visited 11 Nov 2012 - Fort Humboldt (1853-1866) was one of the U.S. Army forts built during the California Gold Rush to protect both the native peoples and the settlers and miners. Fort Humboldt was built on the coast of northern California at Humboldt Bay in present day Eureka. The old fort is now the site of the Fort Humboldt State Historic Park.
Fort Humboldt Rebuilt Hospital Building
Fort Humboldt Rebuilt Hospital Building
Replica Surgeon's Quarters
Replica Surgeon's Quarters

The park houses the rebuilt post hospital, the only original building remaining, and a replica reconstruction of the surgeons quarters. The hospital building is now a museum and the surgeon's quarters is filled out with period furnishings. A path with interpretive signage winds around the post parade ground pointing out the significant features and recounting some of the significant stories associated with the post.



Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant


The most significant person posted to the fort was Ulysses S. Grant, 4th U.S. Infantry, destined to become the leader of the Union Armies during the U.S. Civil War and the 18th President of the United States. Grant was a mere captain when posted to Fort Humboldt in 1854 and he was so bored that he resigned his commission and returned east after only six months. He did not rejoin the Army until the beginning of the Civil War.


Williamette Steam Donkey Engine
Williamette Steam Donkey Engine

The park also contains a logging museum complete with huge log sections, locomotives and steam donkeys covering the 1850s to today. This is also a self guided tour opportunity and it has signage to explain the displays.




Fort Humboldt Visitor Center
Fort Humboldt Visitor Center



The only problem with the park is that all the buildings are closed, not even the visitor center is open to the public. California budget problems have reduced the staffing at the park so that none of the public buildings were open. You can still walk around and view things from the outside but that really limits the experience. I guess the only reason that you can still even walk around the post is because the Park Service district headquarters is still located there.

Fort Humboldt SHP Plan from the Park Brochure
Fort Humboldt SHP Plan from the Park Brochure

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