2nd street is one of the busiest streets in Eureka. A large section around the city center has kept a whole set of Victorian houses and is part of Eureka Historic District.
The first photo shows some of the most significant of these houses, with the ground level a shop and the first level apparently inhabited.
The one level house in the middle is the J. Lowenthal building, a Eureka historical landmark. On the right, another historical landmark, built in Italianate architecture and one of the longest operating bordellos in the city.
The second photo is a general view of 2nd street with in the background, in the axis of the street, the famous Carson Mansion.
This classic Queen Anne/Eastlake Victorian House stands in front of the Carson Mansion, at the intersection of M Street and 2nd Street It was built in 1889 as the wedding gift from William Carson to his son Milton. The house is known locally as "the Pink Lady".
Photo 1 is a general view of the house.
Photo 2 shows a detail of the entrance.
The Carson House is the jewel of the Eureka Historic District. Two famous architects from San Francisco, Samuel and Joseph Newsom built it for William Carson. One hundred highly skilled workers built it in two years. It uses extensively precious exotic woods, onyx, stained glass and plaster works,
It is considered as “one of the most written about, and photographed Victorian houses in California, and perhaps in the United States” . The Carson family owned it until the 50’s.
Photos 1 and 2 give a general view of the mansion.
Photo 3 shows it from the side. It is now home to the Ingomar private club
Photo 4 shows some detail of this extraordinary architecture that influenced further building in Eureka.
William Carson was a wealthy citizen of Eureka that built his wealth in the lumber industry.
We had been given by our Californian frends the address of the Old town fresh Crab cookery but unfortunately, it was closed. However, we were glad to find a nearby sea-food restaurant (sorry, neither photos nor address) where we had delicious crab, an excellent clam chowder and tasty oysters cooked in a smooth sauce. Whatever the address, Eureka is a place to get excellent fresh sea-food (see previous tip!).
Industrial fishing in the Ocean, out of Humboldt Bay is the other main business of Eureka harbor. The Eureka fleet fishes mostly crab and salmon but shrimps, shellfish and fish of various species make a significant amount.
Given its situation in Humboldt bay, one of the few excellent shelters of North California, Eureka developed primarily as a harbor to load logs from the redwoods forests that would be shipped to San Francisco and further. The wealth of Eureka and of its citizens was built on the wood trade.
More than 10,000 Victorian homes line the streets of Eureka and "The Pink Lady" is a beautiful example. The landmark home was built and given as a wedding gift from the city founder and lumber baron, Mr Carson to his son.
Oldtown Eureka is an area that is being revitalized from its industrial logging and fishing days to a modern cultural and tourist center for the North Coast. The area features just a few attractions such as the Carson Mansion and the waterfront. The downtown area has a few businesses sparsely scattered around, but the few that we tried were very good (such as Chapala Mexican and the Lost Coast Brewery). The downtown area has about 10 hotels and inns, maybe 10 restaurants, a few clubs and theaters, and a handful of local shops. I wouldn't consider Eureka a destination in itself, but it is a convenient place to stop over for a quick night where you can find everything you need for a pleasant stay.
Humboldt Redwoods State Park includes 17,000 acres of virgin redwood forest along the Pacific coast. Established in 1921, Humboldt's total size has grown to 53,000 acres, making it California's third largest state park (after Anza-Borrego Desert State Park's 600,000 acres and Henry W. Coe State Park's 87,000 acres). We only did a 20 mile portion of the 32-mile Avenue of the Giants Auto Tour, but the park has much more including camping, boating, fishing, and 100 miles of hiking trails.
This is another excellent place to enjoy the giant redwood trees. If you're lucky, you'll get to see some of the Roosevelt elk that inhabit this vast forest. Just keep a safe distance--stay behind the fence, please.
Some hiking trails take you all the way to the beach. It's a good hike there and back, only for reasonably fit hikers. Check the website for further information on the trails.
Here's a fun, family-oriented place to see some of the odder redwoods, and way people use them. There are short hiking trails, redwood carvings, and the cable cars of the Skytrail, which offers a fine scenic overlook.
You'll recognize the entrance from the huge statues of Paul Bunyan and his faithful ox Blue. There's ample parking.
The Madaket is the last of seven ferry boats that used to serve this town. Built in 1910, she was originally named the Nellie C. Renamed the Madaket in 1934, she spend decades hauling passengers around Humboldt Bay. In 1972, the Samoa Bridge was completed, rendering the old boat obsolete.
Since then, she has been used to provide public tours of Humboldt Bay, from Eureka's harbor. Now part of the Humboldt Bay Maritime Museum, she is a registered state historic site. This is the oldest passenger vessel in continuous service in the United States. She also has onboard the smallest licensed bar in California.
The 75-minute narrated Humboldt Bay tour is an excellent way to "get acquainted" with Eureka, and take in an overview of the town.
This house was built by William Carson, a lumberman, in 1885. It now belongs to the Ignomar Club, a private club that is chartered to preserve the home. Not open to the public, but a favorite subject for photographers. At night, it takes on a truly eerie, almost sinister, appearance, like the Norman Bates house in Psycho.
The North Coast Repertory Theater in Eureka has a delightful season selection of shows (six per year). Ranging from musicals to Shakespeare to contemporary and classic comedies and drama, there's something for everyone.
Redwood Curtain Theater is an amazing group of professional level actors, directors, designers and technicians that offer the best in contemporary theater in northern California. That's right - bay area theaters don't have anything on these folks! They offer six plays per year. If you're in town while one is in production, be sure to see it - you'll be glad you did!