Eureka, California

Eureka, California
City of Eureka
—  City  —
Aerial view: Eureka on Humboldt Bay
Motto: Eureka! (I have found it!)
Eureka shown within Humboldt County in the State of California
Coordinates: 40°48′07″N 124°09′49″W / 40.80194°N 124.16361°W / 40.80194; -124.16361Coordinates: 40°48′07″N 124°09′49″W / 40.80194°N 124.16361°W / 40.80194; -124.16361
Country  United States
State  California
County Humboldt
Founded May 13, 1850 (settlement)
Incorporated April 18, 1856 (town)
Re-incorporated February 19, 1874 (city)
 - Type Mayor-council
 - Mayor Frank Jager[1]
 - City manager David Tyson
 - Senate Patricia Wiggins (D)
 - Assembly Wesley Chesbro (D)
 - Total 14.454 sq mi (37.435 km2)
 - Land 9.384 sq mi (24.305 km2)
 - Water 5.070 sq mi (13.130 km2)  35.07%
Elevation 44 ft (13.4 m)
Population (2010)
 - Total 27,191
 - Density 1,881.2/sq mi (726.4/km2)
 - Demonym Eurekan
Time zone PST (UTC-8)
 - Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP codes 95501, 95502, 95503
Area code(s) 707
FIPS code 06-23042
GNIS feature ID 0277605
Reference #: 477

Eureka is the principal city and the county seat of Humboldt County, California, United States.[4] Its population was 27,191 at the 2010 census, up from 26,128 at the 2000 census.

Eureka is the largest American West Coast city north of San Francisco situated directly on the Pacific Coast. The port city serves as the center for government, health care, trade, and the arts for the far North Coast region of California. Its location adjacent to Humboldt Bay 270 miles (430 km) north of San Francisco (via U.S. Route 101) includes marinas and industrial docking facilities, making it the largest port between San Francisco and Coos Bay, a distance of about 500 miles. As the primary full-service city situated between the most extensive preserves of the world's tallest trees, the Coast Redwoods, and dozens of related parks, Eureka is the site of the headquarters for both the North Coast Redwoods District of the California State Parks System and the one million acre Six Rivers National Forest. The city, a major player in the historic west coast lumber trade, is the site of hundreds of significant Victorian homes, including the nationally recognized Carson Mansion, situated at the head of its Old Town Historic District. Eureka is also site of the Sequoia Park Zoo, California's oldest zoo.



Eureka's Pacific coastal location on Humboldt Bay adjacent to abundant Redwood forests provided a rich environment for the birth of this 19th century seaport town. Beginning more than 150 years ago, miners, loggers, and fishermen began making their mark in this pristine wilderness of the California North Coast. Before that time the area was already occupied by small groups of indigenous peoples.

Native Americans

The Wiyot people lived in the area now known as Eureka for thousands of years prior to European arrival. They are the farthest-southwest people whose language has Algonquian roots. Their traditional coastal homeland ranged from the lower Mad River through Humboldt Bay and south along the lower basin of the Eel River. The Wiyot are particularly known for their basketry and fishery management. An extensive collection of highly evolved basketry of the areas indigenous groups exists in the Clarke Historical Museum in Old Town Eureka.

Humboldt Bay

A Humboldt Bay (Woodley Island) view of Indian Island (both within the city limits) and the memorial to fisherman

European exploration of the coast of what would become northern California, beginning as early as 1579, repeatedly missed definitively locating Humboldt Bay for nearly three hundred years. This was due to a combination of geographic features, often aided by weather conditions, which concealed the narrow entrance from view. Despite a well-documented 1806 sighting by Russian explorers, the bay was not definitively known by Europeans until an 1849 overland exploration provided a reliable accounting of the exact location of what is the second largest bay in California.[5] The timing of this discovery would lead to the May 13, 1850 founding of the settlement of Eureka on its shore by the Union and Mendocino Exploring (development) companies.[6]

Gold rush era

Secondarily to the California Gold Rush in the Sierras, prospectors discovered gold in the nearby Trinity region (along the Trinity, Klamath, and Salmon Rivers). Because miners needed a convenient alternate to the tedious overland route from Sacramento, schooners and other vessels soon arrived on recently discovered Humboldt Bay. Though the ideal location on Humboldt Bay adjacent to naturally deeper shipping channels ultimately guaranteed Eureka's development as the primary city on the bay, Arcata's proximity to developing supply lines to inland gold mines ensured supremacy over Eureka through 1856.[7] "Eureka" is a Greek word meaning "I have found it!" This exuberant statement of successful (or hopeful) California Gold Rush miners is also the official Motto of the State of California.

Europeans in conflict with indigenous Native Americans

The first Europeans venturing into Humboldt Bay encountered the indigenous Wiyot. Records of early forays into the bay reported that the violence of the local indigenous people made it nearly impossible for landing parties to survey the area. After 1850, Europeans ultimately overwhelmed the Wiyot, whose maximum population before the Europeans was in the hundreds in the area of what would become the county's primary city. But in almost every case, settlers ultimately cut off access to ancestral sources of food in addition to the outright taking of the land despite efforts of some US Government and military officials to assist the native peoples or at least maintain peace. A tragic slaughter took place on Indian Island in the spring of 1860, committed by a group of locals, primarily Eureka businessmen.[8] The chronicle of the behavior of European settlers toward the indigenous cultures locally and throughout America is presented in detail in the Fort Humboldt State Historic Park museum, on the southern edge of the city.

Lumber and developing economy

The soon to be center of commerce opened its first post office in 1853[9] just as the town began to carve its grid pattern into the edge of a forest it would ultimately consume to feed the building of San Francisco and beyond. Many of the first immigrants who arrived as prospectors were also lumbermen, and the vast potential for industry on the bay was soon realized, especially as many hopeful miners realized the difficulty and infrequency of striking it rich in the mines. By 1854, after only four years since the founding, seven of nine mills processing timber into marketable lumber on Humboldt Bay were within Eureka. A year later 140 lumber schooners operated in Humboldt Bay, supplying lumber to other booming cities along the Pacific coast.[8] Rapid growth of the lumber industry, depletion of forests located in close proximity to Humboldt Bay and technological advances led to the development of dozens of local, narrow gauge railroads to move the giant trees to dozens of lumber mills on Humboldt Bay.

The Carson Mansion (1886) in Eureka's Old Town

A bustling commercial district and ornate Victorians rose in proximity to the waterfront, reflecting the great prosperity experienced during this era. Hundreds of these Victorian homes remain today, of which many are totally restored and a few have always remained in their original elegance and splendor. The representation of these homes in Eureka grouped with those in nearby Arcata and the Victorian village of Ferndale are of considerable importance to the overall development of Victorian architecture built in the nation. The magnificent Carson Mansion on 2nd and M Streets, is perhaps the most spectacular Victorian in the nation. The home was built between 1884-1886 by renowned 19th Century architects Newsom and Newsom for lumber baron William M. Carson. This project was designed to keep mill workers and expert craftsman busy during a slow period in the industry. Old Town Eureka, the original downtown center of this busy city in the 19th Century, has been restored and has become a lively arts center.[10] The Old Town area has been declared an Historic District by the National Register of Historic Places. This nexus of culture behind the redwood curtain still contains much of its Victorian architecture, which, if not maintained as homes, have been transformed into scores of unique lodgings, restaurants, and small shops featuring a burgeoning cottage industry of hand-made creations from glass ware to wood burning stoves and a large variety of art created locally.

Fishing, shipping, and boating

Illustrated Map of Eureka (1902)

Eureka's founding and livelihood was and remains linked to Humboldt Bay, the Pacific Ocean, and related industries, especially fishing. Salmon fisheries sprang up along the Eel River as early as 1851, and within seven years, 2,000 barrels of cured fish and 50,000 pounds of smoked salmon were processed and shipped out of Humboldt Bay annually, primarily from processing plants on Eureka's waterfront, which exist to this day. By 1858 the first of many ships built in Eureka was launched, beginning an industry that spanned scores of years. The bay is also the site of the west coast's largest Oyster farming operations, which began its commercial status in the nineteenth century. The Bay remains the home port to more than 200 fishing boats in two modern marinas which can berth at least 400 boats within the city limits of Eureka.[11]

Chinese expulsion

Rising immigration from China in the late 1800s sparked conflict between white settlers and immigrants, which ultimately led to the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. Economic downturns resulting in competition for jobs led some white people to commit violent actions against Chinese immigrants, especially on the Pacific coast. In February 1885, the racial tension in Eureka broke when Eureka City Councilman David Kendall was caught in the crossfire of two rival Chinese gangs and killed. This led to the convening of 600 Eurekans and resulted in the forcible permanent expulsion of all 480 Chinese residents of Eureka's Chinatown.[12] The expelled Chinese unsuccessfully attempted to sue for damages. In the U.S. Circuit Court case Wing Hing v. Eureka, the court noted that the Chinese owned no land and held that their other property was worthless. A citizen's committee then drafted an unofficial law decreeing:

1) That all Chinamen be expelled from the city and that none be allowed to return.
2) That a committee be appointed to act for one year, whose duty shall be to warn all Chinamen who may attempt to come to this place to live, and to use all reasonable means to prevent their remaining. If the warning is disregarded, to call mass meetings of citizens to whom the case will be referred for proper action.
3) That a notice be issued to all property owners through the daily papers, requesting them not to lease or rent property to Chinese.

Among those who guarded the city jail during the height of the Sinophobic tension was (then) future Governor of California James Gillett, himself a recent resident of the city.[13] The anti-Chinese ordinance was not repealed until 1959.[12][14]

Queen City of the Ultimate West

The Tudor Revival style Eureka Inn (1922)

In 1914 the first major, reliable land route was established between San Francisco and Eureka with the opening of the Northwestern Pacific Railroad, connecting Eureka through Willits, California to the northern shore of San Francisco Bay. With passenger rail service from San Francisco to the bustling Redwood Empire, Eureka's population of 7,300 swelled to 15,000 within ten years. By 1922 the Redwood Highway was completed, providing for the first reliable, direct overland route for automobiles from San Francisco. Eureka's transportation connection to the "outside" world had changed dramatically after more than half a century of uncomfortable stage rides (which could take weeks in winter) or treacherous steamship passage through the infamous Humboldt Bar and on the rarely pacified Pacific Ocean to San Francisco. The greatest symbol of this advance was the opening of the Eureka Inn (see photo, right), which coincided with the opening of the new road to "Frisco" (a favorite local nickname for San Francisco). The inn's history of providing quality accommodations and amenities for travelers in a style unsurpassed for its day and for decades to come is well documented. The hotel, recently reopened, is the third largest lodging property in the region. As a result of immense civic pride during this early 20th Century era of expansion, Eureka officially nicknamed itself "Queen City of the Ultimate West." The tourism industry, lodging to support it, and related marketing had been born.[15]

Post World War II

In Eureka, both the timber industry and commercial fishing declined after the Second World War.

The timber economy of Eureka is part of the Pacific Northwest timber economy which rises and falls with boom and bust economic times.[16]

The Columbus Day Storm of 1962 downed trees and flooded the domestic timber market. A log export trade began to remove this surplus material. After 1962, log trade with Japan and other Pacific Rim nations increased.[16] Despite many rumors to the contrary, little of this wood returned to U.S. markets.[16] In 1989, the U.S. changed log export laws permitting lower cost timber from public lands to be exported as raw logs overseas to help balance the federal budget.[17]

After 1990, the global log market declined and exports fell at the same time as Pacific Northwest log prices increased; leading buyers to seek less expensive logs from Canada and the southern United States.[16] However, debate continues between four stakeholders: timber owners, domestic processors, consumers and communities on the impact of log export on the local economy.[16][18]

During the span 1991 to 2001, timber harvest peaked in 1997.[19] The local timber market was also affected by the Pacific Lumber Company hostile takeover[20] and ultimate bankruptcy.[21]

Local fisheries expanded through the 1970s and early 1980s. During the 1970s Eureka fishermen, landed more than half of fish and shellfish produced and consumed in California.[22] In 2010 between 100 and 120 commercial fishing vessels listed Eureka as homeport.[22] The highest landings of all species were 36.9 million pounds in 1981 while the lowest were in 2001 with 9.4 million pounds. [22] Species composition changes during this time with groundfish going down and whiting and crab catches increasing.[22]

In 1991, the Woodley Island marina opened, providing docking facilities for much of Eureka's commercial and recreational fleet.[22]

After 1990 regulatory, economic and other events led to a contraction of the local commercial fleet.[22] Many species are considered to be overfished.[22] Recreational fishing has increased over time. Fifty percent of recreational fishermen using local boats are tourists from outside the area.[22]

Commercial Pacific oyster aquaculture in Humboldt Bay producted an average of 7.6 million pounds of oyster from 1956 to 1965.[22] In 2004, only 600,000 pounds were harvested.[22] Oysters and oyster seed continue to be exported from Humboldt Bay.[22] The value of the oysters and spawn is more than $6 million a year.[22]

Consolidation of buyers and landing facilities resulted in local vulnerability to unexpected events, leading the City to obtain grant funding for and complete the Fishermen's Terminal on the waterfront which will provide fish handling, marketing, and public spaces.[22]

2010 earthquakes

Earthquake map and chart. Click here for current "live" map for this region

At 16:27:38 (local time), January 9, 2010, a Richter magnitude 6.5 earthquake occurred about 33 miles (53 km) offshore of Eureka. The quake occurred within a subduction fault associated with the interaction of three tectonic plates (Pacific, North American, and Juan de Fuca). After 2 seconds, it became a "jumper" (or became violent, making objects fly) [23] i.e., imposing mostly vertical shocks from the ground, leading to broken windows in shops, overturned shelving in homes and stores, and loss of architectural detail on a number of historic buildings. As darkness fell over the region, local hospitals were seeing mostly minor related injuries and electrical power was out over a large area, including large parts of Eureka, Arcata, site of Humboldt State University, and other more remote communities, like Ferndale. Numerous natural gas leaks were a cause for some concern, but no fires resulted.[23] This was the largest recent earthquake since the April 25–26, 1992 event series of magnitudes 7.2, 6.5, and 6.7, over an 18 hour period, which severely damaged some buildings and roads.[24]

Another earthquake hit on February 4, 2010. The U.S. Geological Survey reported a magnitude 6.0 quake struck at 12:20 p.m. about 35 miles (56 km) northwest of the community of Petrolia and nearly 50 miles (80 km) west of Eureka. The shaking was felt within a 150-mile (240 km) radius, as far north as southern Oregon and as far south as Sonoma County, according to the USGS Web site.


Eureka is located at 40°47′24″N 124°9′46″W / 40.79°N 124.16278°W / 40.79; -124.16278 (40.790022, -124.162752).[25]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 14.5 square miles (38 km2), of which 9.4 square miles (24 km2) of it is land and 5.1 square miles (13 km2) or 35.07% of it is water.

Eureka is ideally, if remotely, situated within California's Redwood Empire region due to its proximity to exceptional natural resources. These include the spectacular coast of the Pacific Ocean, Humboldt Bay, and several rivers in addition to Redwood National and State Parks and Humboldt Redwoods State Park. The location of Eureka on U.S. 101 is 283 miles (455 km) north of San Francisco and 315 miles (507 km) north and west of Sacramento. Eureka is the closest city to the most central point of the United States' Pacific Coastline.

Eureka's port facilities - the Port of Humboldt Bay - is the largest protected deep-water port between San Francisco Bay and Puget Sound.

The city begins with its marina on one of three islands at a narrow point on the thirteen mile (19 km) long bay and increases in elevation slightly as it spreads north, south, and especially to the east. This city of mostly one and two story wooden structures (fewer than ten buildings over 5 stories) gently encroaches at least two miles (3 km) eastward into abundant, primarily Redwood and Douglas-fir second growth forests. The city has a traditional grid that generally radiates toward the points of the compass, though a correction to more accuracy in relation to the compass just east of the older downtown and residential area is noticeable.

In areas of post-1970 development, the previously completely removed forest, gulches, and ravines and their streams remain, adding considerable character to neighborhoods that because of recency in construction often lack the splendor (and occasional disrepair) of the earlier Victorian homes.

The transition between the official city limits and smaller unincorporated areas described in the demographic section is mostly not discernible. The most recently developed eastern areas include secluded developments on a golf course (as an example) among or in close proximity to extensive second growth forest. The city then gives way to hills and mountains of the rugged coast range, which quickly exceed 2,000 feet (610 m) in elevation.


Eureka's climate is cool-summer Mediterranean (Koppen climate classification Csb), bordering on the oceanic climate characterized by mild, rainy winters and cool, dry summers, with an average temperature of 55 °F (13 °C). The all-time highest and lowest temperatures recorded in Eureka are 87 °F (31 °C) on October 26, 1993, and 20 °F (−7 °C) on January 14, 1888, respectively. Temperatures rarely drop to freezing or below.

The area experiences coastal influence fog year round. Annual precipitation averages 38.1 inches (968 mm). Measurable precipitation falls on an average of 119 days each year. The wettest year was 1983 with 67.21 inches (1,707 mm) and the driest year was 1976 with 21.71 inches (551 mm). The greatest monthly precipitation was 23.21 inches (590 mm) in December 2002. The greatest 24-hour precipitation was 6.79 inches (172 mm) on December 27, 2002. Snowfall on the coast is very rare, averaging only 0.4 inches (1.0 cm), but the median is 0, indicating most years do not receive any measurable amount;[26] however, on February 4, 1989, 2.0 inches (51 mm) fell in Eureka and additional snow that month brought the monthly total to 3.5 inches (89 mm).

Climate data for Eureka, California
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 78
Average high °F (°C) 55.0
Average low °F (°C) 40.8
Record low °F (°C) 20
Precipitation inches (mm) 5.97
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 15.5 15.2 16.9 12.5 8.7 5.7 2.3 3.2 4.5 8.3 15.0 15.5 123.3
Sunshine hours 139.5 144.1 207.7 252.0 279.0 279.0 272.8 235.6 219.0 176.7 132.0 127.1 2,464.5
Source no. 1: WRCC (records and snowfall data) [27]
Source no. 2: NOAA (normals, 1971-2000),[26] HKO (sun) [28]


Historical populations
Census Pop.
1880 2,639
1890 4,858 84.1%
1900 7,327 50.8%
1910 11,845 61.7%
1920 12,923 9.1%
1930 15,752 21.9%
1940 17,055 8.3%
1950 23,058 35.2%
1960 28,137 22.0%
1970 24,337 −13.5%
1980 24,153 −0.8%
1990 27,025 11.9%
2000 26,128 −3.3%
2010 27,191 4.1%
A picturesque corner of Eureka's Old Town
The Eureka Theatre is on the National Register of Historic Places. Built in 1937. It is listed as a Streamline Moderne Theater.

The Greater Eureka area has a population of over 40,000 and minimally includes the neighborhoods of Bayview, Cutten, Myrtletown, Humboldt Hill, and Pine Hill. The Greater Eureka area makes up the largest urban area on the Pacific Coast between San Francisco and Portland.[30] Eureka is the principal city of the Eureka-Arcata-Fortuna Micropolitan Area.[31]

2010 Census data

The 2010 United States Census[32] reported that Eureka had a population of 27,191. The population density was 1,881.3 people per square mile (726.4/km²). The racial makeup of Eureka was 21,565 (79.3%) White, 514 (1.9%) African American, 1,011 (3.7%) Native American, 1,153 (4.2%) Asian, 176 (0.6%) Pacific Islander, 1,181 (4.3%) from other races, and 1,591 (5.9%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3,143 persons (11.6%).

The Census reported that 25,308 people (93.1% of the population) lived in households, 1,434 (5.3%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 449 (1.7%) were institutionalized.

There were 11,150 households, out of which 2,891 (25.9%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 3,554 (31.9%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 1,449 (13.0%) had a female householder with no husband present, 710 (6.4%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 1,161 (10.4%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 146 (1.3%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 3,971 households (35.6%) were made up of individuals and 1,183 (10.6%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.27. There were 5,713 families (51.2% of all households); the average family size was 2.93.

The population dispersal was 5,431 people (20.0%) under the age of 18, 3,102 people (11.4%) aged 18 to 24, 8,021 people (29.5%) aged 25 to 44, 7,422 people (27.3%) aged 45 to 64, and 3,215 people (11.8%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36.2 years. For every 100 females there were 106.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 105.7 males. There were 11,891 housing units at an average density of 822.7 per square mile (317.6/km²), of which 4,829 (43.3%) were owner-occupied, and 6,321 (56.7%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 2.0%; the rental vacancy rate was 3.7%. 11,251 people (41.4% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 14,057 people (51.7%) lived in rental housing units.

2000 Census data

As of the census[33] of 2010, there were 26,128 people. The population density was 2,764.5 people per square mile (1,067.5/km²). There were 11,637 housing units at an average density of 1,231.3 per square mile (475.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 88.5% White, 1.2% Black or African American, 4.2% Native American, 2.6% Asian, 0.3% Pacific Islander, 2.7% from other races, and 5.10% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 10.8% of the population.

There were 10,957 households out of which 25.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 34.8% were married couples living together, 14.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 46.3% were non-families. 35.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.26 and the average family size was 2.93. In the city the population dispersal was 22.4% under the age of 18, 11.6% from 18 to 24, 28.9% from 25 to 44, 23.5% from 45 to 64, and 13.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 98.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $25,849, and the median income for a family was $33,438. Males had a median income of $28,706 versus $22,038 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,174. About 15.8% of families and 23.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 29.6% of those under the age of 18 and 11.1% of those 65 and older.


The 1892 Carson Block building in Eureka

The economic base of the city was originally founded on timber and fishing and supplying gold mining efforts inland. Gold mining diminished quickly in the early years and activities of timber and fishing have also diminished, especially in the latter decades of the twentieth century. Today, the major industries are tourism, timber (in value), and healthcare and services (in number of jobs). Major employers today in Eureka include the following governmental entities: College of the Redwoods, The County of Humboldt, and the Humboldt County Office of Education. St. Joseph Hospital in Eureka is now the largest private employer in Eureka.[34]

The 2000 U.S. Census indicates that 3.7% of the employed civilian population 16 years and over (totaling 20,671) worked in agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting industries. This percentage may not be indicative of the actual number of people in these professions as many are self-employed, especially in the fishing industry. The 2000 U.S. Census reported that 24.9% of the community worked in education, health care, and social services. Another 18.4% were employed by the government, while self employed workers totaled 11.2% of all workers. The unemployment rate in 2000 was 5.5% compared to the national average of 5.7% (calculated by dividing the unemployed population by the labor force). For the population 16 years and older, 42.7% were not in the labor force, while 57.3% were employed.[35] According to the 2000 U.S. Census, in 1999 the median household income was $25,849 and the per capita income was $16,174. Inhabitants whose income was below poverty level in 1999 were 23.7% of the population. Of the 11,637 housing units in 2000, 94.2% of the housing units were occupied, while 5.8% were vacant. Of the occupied housing units, 46.5% were owner occupied and 53.5% were renter occupied.[36]


Eureka's Historic Old Town on 2nd Street slighltly west of the intersection with E Street


Local government

The City of Eureka has a Mayor-Council system of governance. Primary power lies with the five council members, divided up into five wards. The Mayor has the power to appoint, as well as ceremonial duties, though the job includes presiding over council meetings, meeting visiting dignitaries, and, perhaps, the most significant bully pulpit of the region.[37] Official city business is administered by the Office of the City Manager. The Eureka City Council regularly meets on the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of the month at 5:30 p.m. for closed session, and 6:30 p.m. for open session. All meetings are open to the public, with the exception of the published closed session portion. Time is allowed during every council meeting for the public to address the council. The meetings are held in the Council Chambers on the 2nd floor of Eureka City Hall at 531 "K" Street, Eureka.[38]

State and federal government

Eureka is located in the 2nd California State Senate District, represented by Democrat Noreen Evans, and in the 1st Assembly District, represented by Democrat Wes Chesbro. Federally, Eureka is located in California's 1st congressional district.



View of southernmost span of Route 255's "Samoa Bridge." Woodley Island Marina (on Humboldt Bay), Eureka, is visible in the foreground with northeasterly views of Fickle Hill (Coast Ranges) in the background.


  • U.S. Route 101 is the major north and south highway, which connects Eureka to the rest of the North Coast region. The highway connects to Oregon, located approximately 100 miles to the north, and San Francisco, over 250 miles to the south. The highway follows city streets through the city, with flow and cross-traffic controlled by traffic signals. Highway 101 enters Eureka from the south as Broadway. As it reaches the downtown area, it splits into a one-way couplet composed of 4th Street and 5th Street. On the northern side of the city, northbound and southbound rejoin at the Northeast side before this major becomes an expressway (to Arcata and points beyond) as double bridges cross the Eureka Slough (mouth of the Freshwater Creek).[39]
  • State Route 255 is an alternate route of U.S. 101 between Eureka and the nearby city of Arcata, running along the western shore of Humboldt Bay. It begins in the downtown area at U.S. 101 and proceeds up R Street towards the Samoa Bridge and the community of Samoa.[39]
  • State Route 299 (formerly U.S. Route 299) connects to U.S. Route 101 at the northern end of Arcata. Route 299 begins at that point and extends easterly to serve as the major traffic artery to the east for Eureka.[39]


Eureka's full service airport is the Arcata-Eureka Airport, located 15 miles (24 km) north in McKinleyville. Murray Field, a general aviation airport for private and charter air service, is located within the northern city limit of Eureka adjacent Humboldt Bay. Ten miles southeast of Eureka, Kneeland Airport, also a general aviation airport, at 2,737 ft (834.2 m) elevation, provides an option for pilots choosing to avoid the prevalent marine layer at airports closer to sea level.[40]


The Humboldt Bay Harbor Recreation & Conservation District manages the resources of Humboldt Bay and its environs, including the deep water port. The port is located directly west of the city and is serviced across the bay in the community of Samoa. In addition to two deep water channel docks for large ships, several modern small craft marinas are available for private use, with a total capacity of more than 400 boats.[41]


Public bus transportation services within Eureka are provided by the Eureka Transit Service. The Redwood Transit System provides bus transportation through Eureka and connects to major towns and places outside the city, including educational institutions. Dial-A-Ride service is available through an application process.

Amtrak provides Thruway Bus service to Eureka at its unstaffed bus stop. The bus service connects passengers from the northernmost coastal train station in Martinez, California and continues to southern Oregon.

Greyhound provides bus service to San Francisco from Eureka. Tickets not purchased online may also be purchased at the nearest full service station in Arcata, CA.(Note: Greyhound no longer operates from Eureka to San Francisco. One bus daily goes from San Francisco to Eureka but going back Southbound, one must depart from Arcata in the North or Rio Dell in the South).


Electricity and natural gas

Eureka residents are served by Pacific Gas and Electric Company. Some reserves of natural gas are located south of the city. These and other fuels help power the Humboldt Bay Power Plant (which includes the now defunct and partially dismantled Humboldt Bay Nuclear Power Plant). The co generation plant is scheduled to be replaced on site by new power units which will exceed the current production of 130 MW.[42]


The City of Eureka is the largest of the local water districts supplied by the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District. The entire region is one of the few places in California that has historically enjoyed a significant surplus of water despite climate change. The reduction in major forest products manufacturing in recent decades has left the area with a 45 MGD surplus of industrial water.[43]


Eureka is the regional center for healthcare. The city is served by St. Joseph Hospital, which is the largest in the region. The hospital is operated by the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Orange and it was the first hospital opened by the order in 1920. The facility is entering a second phase of major expansion in 2008. In addition there are rehabilitation hospitals, assisted living facilities, skilled nursing facilities, and surgery centers in Eureka. Most of the doctors for the many medical specialties available on the far North Coast are located in or near Eureka, which also has the only oncology program and dialysis clinic in the region.


Institutions of higher learning include the College of the Redwoods located on the south edge of the Greater Eureka Area and Humboldt State University, located just eight miles (13 km) north in Arcata. College of the Redwoods has recently developed a downtown satellite campus to augment offerings of the 270-acre (1.1 km2) campus located south of the city. Meanwhile, in 2005 Humboldt State University made public its plans to bring the campus to Eureka. The first of these plans has been realized with the spring 2007 opening of the HSU Humboldt Bay Aquatic Center, a $4.5 million aquatic facility on Humboldt Bay in Old Town Eureka. Other plans include a new HSU Bay and Estuarine Studies Center, to be placed on the bay. This new facility will be closer to the Coral Sea (now docked at Woodley Island, Eureka), HSU's floating classroom. The new facility would be considerably larger than other existing facilities in Trinidad, twenty miles (32 km) north.[44]

Eureka City Schools, the largest school district in the region, administers the public schools of the city. Eureka High School receives all students from city grammar schools as well as all those from nearby unincorporated communities. Specific Schools within the city limits include: Alice Birney Elementary, Grant Elementary, Lafayette Elementary, Washington Elementary, Winship and Zane Middle Schools, Eureka High School, Humboldt Bay High School, Zoe Barnum High School, the Eureka Adult School, and Winzler Children's Center.[45]

The Humboldt County Office of Education administers the Glen Paul Center in Eureka, which specializes in the educational needs of developmentally disabled children.


The North Coast's primary shopping facility is the Bayshore Mall, located just off of Highway 101 in Eureka. The mall features over 70 stores, anchored by Kohl's and Sears. Other major shopping areas and centers include Henderson Center, the Eureka Mall, and Downtown and Old Town Eureka.

Arts and culture

The Richard Sweasey Theater, completed in 1920 and recently refurbished to its mid 20th century condition, is a performing arts center-piece that is the permanent home of the Eureka Symphony. The structure is an excellent symbol of both the commitment to architectural preservation and the presence of art and theater groups and related opportunities throughout the city and region.

Eureka is one of California's historic landmarks. The California State Historical marker, #477, designating Eureka, is located in Old Town, one of the nation's best preserved original Victorian era commercial districts. The city was voted as the #1 best small art town in John Villani's book "The 100 Best Small Art Towns In America."[46] Eureka boasts the region's largest monthly cultural and arts event, "Arts' Alive!" On the first Saturday of each month more than 80 Eureka business and local galleries open their doors to the public. Often local cuisine and beverages accompany live performances by acclaimed regional bands and other types of performance art. The downtown Eureka area is also decorated with many murals for such a small geographic area.

Theater offerings include year round productions from several various theater groups including the North Coast Repertory Theater and the Eureka Theater. Various events occur throughout the year at the Redwood Acres Fairgrounds. Art organizations include the Humboldt State University First Street Gallery, Humboldt Arts Council and Morris Graves Museum of Art, Redwood Art Association, The Ink People and the Eureka Art and Culture Commission. As a major regional center, the city offers many lodgings, restaurants, and shopping areas, including dozens of specialty shops in its historic 19th Century Old Town commercial district and the only large mall in the region.

Annual cultural events

A participant team in the World Championship Kinetic Sculpture Race approaches the Old Town Eureka finish line for the first day of the internationally known event of people powered art. Note original brick masonry on 1870's commercial store fronts in the background.
  • Redwood Coast Jazz Festival - March
  • Perilous Plunge- March
  • Rhododendron Festival - April
  • Kinetic sculpture race - May
  • Redwood Acres Fair and Rodeo - June
  • Fourth of July Celebration - July
  • College of the Redwoods Wood Fair - July
  • Organic Planet Festival - August
  • Blues by the Bay - September
  • Chicken Wingfest - September
  • Excalibur Medieval Tournament & Market Faire - Last weekend in September
  • Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender (GLBT) Pride Parade and Celebration - September
  • Humboldt Bay Paddle Fest - September
  • Oysters and Ale - September
  • Craftsman's Days - November
  • Mushroom Fair - November
  • Christmas Truckers Parade - December

Museums and galleries

Museums include the Clarke Historical Museum, the Humboldt Bay Maritime Museum in nearby Samoa (which operates the Madaket, an historic excursion boat operating on the bay), the Morris Graves Museum of Art, HSU First Street Gallery, Discovery Museum for Children, and the Blue Ox Mill. A collection of logging equipment spanning 150 years and other cultural assets abound in and around museums at Fort Humboldt State Historic Park.


The William S. Clarke "cottage", completed in 1888, is an excellent example of a Victorian using many characteristics of Eastlake style architectural detail. The home is a National Historic Landmark.
Milton Carson Home (aka the "Pink Lady"), a Queen Anne style Victorian, completed in 1889, was a wedding gift to the eldest son of William Carson, owner of the stunning Carson Mansion located across the street.

Due to northern isolation and unfavorable economic conditions in the latter part of the twentieth century, much of the post-war redevelopment and urban renewal that other cities experienced did not occur in Eureka. As a result, Eureka is resplendent with hundreds of examples of 19th and early 20th century architecture and historic districts. David Gebhard, Professor of architectural history at University of California, Santa Barbara, has said that Eureka has the potential of becoming the West Coast Williamsburg. He stated Williamsburg, Virginia preserves an authentic colonial environment; Eureka preserves intact Victorian and early twentieth century architecture. The extensive array of intact Victorian era and later homes and public buildings include many ornate examples of Colonial Revival, Eastlake, Greek Revival, Italianate, Queen Anne, and Stick styles of Victorian architecture. All of these styles are present in the most famous and possibly most ornate of Victorian homes, the Carson Mansion (pictured above).

A remake of another Newsom and Newsom (builder architects of the Carson Mansion), is the Carter House Inn located only two blocks from the mansion. The surprise of this magnificent Queen Anne is that the original was lost in the fire after the Great 1906 Earthquake in San Francisco. Plans were found and the completed building stands today as a testament to local capacity to recreate Victorian past in such a way that no one notices that it is "new" until they are told. Local craftsman, including the owners of the Blue Ox Millworks in Eureka, have revived the old ways and secrets in building from the bygone era and are in demand in local refurbishment and other projects, including from the White House.

Approximately 16% of the city's structures are cataloged as important historical structures, with many of those attaining the status of state and national significance in terms of a particular structure's importance in relationship to the body of surviving examples of the architectural style attributed to its construction and related detail. 13 distinct districts have been identified which meet the criteria for the National Register of Historic Places. Among them are the 2nd Street District (10 buildings), 15th Street district (13 buildings) and the O Street district (43 buildings). Hillsdale Street, a popular and well-preserved district, contains 17 buildings of historic interest. In all, some 1,500 buildings have been recognized as qualifying for the National Register. The Eureka Heritage Society, a local architectural preservation group founded in 1973, has been instrumental in protecting and preserving many of Eureka’s fine Victorians.

Parks and recreation

Sequoia Park Zoo, situated on more than 67 acres (270,000 m2) of mature second-growth Redwood forest, includes Eureka's largest public playground and a duck pond in addition to meticulously kept gardens and examples of the area's many varieties of rhododendron bushes. The City of Eureka Recreation Department manages 13 playgrounds, including Cooper Gulch, which is 33 acres, and many ball fields as well as tennis courts and others, including basket ball and soccer. Other parks in or near Eureka include the Humboldt Botanical Garden and the Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge, and the Eureka Marsh, an accessible protected marsh between the Bayshore Mall and Humboldt Bay. There is a modern boardwalk along the city's waterfront and two large marinas capable of mooring over 400 small craft.[47]


Though Eureka has been the base for two major daily newspapers at different times in its 150 years, only the Times-Standard, owned by the Colorado-based Media News Group (founded by Dean Singleton), survives, printing nearly 20,000 papers a day.[48] This major daily contains original local news and syndicated content on state, national and international news. The Eureka Reporter, founded in 2003, became a daily in 2006. It began publishing only five days a week at the end of 2007 and permanently closed in November 2008. The Reporter's editorial section was absorbed into the Times-Standard editorial section as a weekly feature page for one year.

Media News Group also owns a weekly classified advertiser, the Tri-City Weekly. Recently, the North Coast Journal, a regional weekly moved from Arcata to Eureka" The North Coast Journal. and Humboldt State University's student newspaper,The Lumberjack, as well as the unique weekly The Arcata Eye. Eureka is also home to several alternative weekly publications, including the Emerald Coast Herald, a Christian publication produced by a consortium of local churches and "Savage Henry," a local monthly magazine.

Online readers can browse more than 170 Humboldt County & Eureka blogs, each with varying opinions, topics, and viewpoints from behind the Redwood Curtain.

Many of Humboldt County's commercial radio stations are based in Eureka: KFMI, KRED, KJNY and KATA. Lost Coast Communications, based in nearby Ferndale, run by CEO Patrick Cleary, owns and operates several stations broadcasting to Eureka: KSLG, KHUM, KXGO, and KWPT. Eureka also hosts KMUE, the local repeater for Redway-based community radio station KMUD. On August 26, 2006 the Blue Ox Millworks and School of the Traditional Arts launched KKDS-LP, a low power FM station focused on youth and community issues. On November 3, 2008, a low-power part 15 AM radio station went on the air. Old Glory Radio 1650 AM is based in the Myrtletown neighborhood of Eureka. The radio station airs the area's only daily live local call-in program in the morning. KHSU, the region's local public radio station, is broadcast from Humboldt State University in Arcata.

Only two of the county's TV stations, KIEM Ch. 3 (NBC) and KEET Ch. 13 (PBS) are fully based in Eureka while KVIQ Ch. 17 (CBS), KAEF Ch. 23 (ABC), KBVU Ch. 28 (Fox), and KEUV Ch. 31 (Univision) are located near Eureka but operated from elsewhere.

Notable natives and residents

Sister cities

See also

Inline citations

  1. ^
  2. ^ U.S. Census
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  4. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  5. ^ Google Books, Geographic Society of the Pacific, "The Discovery of Humboldt Bay, California", p. 4-15. Retrieved online December 4, 2007
  6. ^ The Humboldt Bay Region 1850-1875, p. 57
  7. ^ Eureka: An Architectural View, p. 9
  8. ^ a b The Humboldt Bay Region 1850-1875
  9. ^ Durham, David L. (1998). California's Geographic Names: A Gazetteer of Historic and Modern Names of the State. Quill Driver Books. p. 57. ISBN 9781884995149. 
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  13. ^ "Californians and the Military: James Norris Gillett". California State Military Museum. Retrieved 2007-08-07. 
  14. ^ Easthouse, K. (February 27, 2003). "The Chinese Expulsion". Retrieved November 26, 2006. 
  15. ^ Eureka:An Architectural View, p.71
  16. ^ a b c d e Daniels, Jean M. (February 2005). [ The Rise and Fall of the Pacific Northwest Log Export Market]. Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station General Technical Report, PNW-GTR-624, United States Department of Agriculture. pp. 88. 
  17. ^ Stein, Mark A. (15 January 1989). "Reagan Log Export Plan Irks Firms, Environmentalists". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 20 August 2011. 
  18. ^ Burns, Ryan (31 March 2011). "Shipping Jobs to China?". North Coast Journal. Retrieved 20 August 2011. 
  19. ^ "Humboldt Economic Index Timber Ground Truthing". Humboldt State University. Retrieved 20 August 2011. 
  20. ^ Cobb, David (12 June 2008). "Maxxam's sordid history with Pacific Lumber". Eureka Times-Standard (MediaNews Group - Northern California Network). Retrieved 20 August 2011. 
  21. ^ Driscoll, John (02 May 2008). "Deal struck by Palco, Mendocino Redwood". Eureka Times-Standard (MediaNews Group - Northern California Network). Retrieved 18 August 2011. 
  22. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Pomeroy, Caroline; Cynthia J. Thomson & Melissa M. Stevens (August 2010). [ California's North Coast Fishing Communities Historical Perspective and Recent Trends: Eureka Fishing Community Profile]. National Oceans and Atmospheres Administration California Sea Grant Program. pp. 79. 
  23. ^ a b Radio news report, KCBS (San Francisco Bay Area)
  24. ^ USGS Historic Earthquakes (Cape Mendocino)
  25. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  26. ^ a b "Climatography of the United States No. 20 (1971–2000)" (PDF). National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 2004. Retrieved 2010-05-17. 
  27. ^ "EUREKA WSO CITY, CALIFORNIA". WRCC. August 2011. 
  28. ^ "Climatological Normals of Eureka". Hong Kong Observatory. Retrieved 2010-05-17. 
  29. ^ "Historical Census Populations of Places, Towns, and Cities in California, 1850-2000". California Dept. of Finance. http:// Retrieved 2011-11-12. 
  31. ^ Retrieved July 3, 2007 from
  32. ^ All data are derived from the United States Census Bureau reports from the 2010 United States Census, and are accessible on-line here. The data on unmarried partnerships and same-sex married couples are from the Census report DEC_10_SF1_PCT15. All other housing and population data are from Census report DEC_10_DP_DPDP1. Both reports are viewable online or downloadable in a zip file containing a comma-delimited data file. The area data, from which densities are calculated, are available on-line here. Percentage totals may not add to 100% due to rounding. The Census Bureau defines families as a household containing one or more people related to the householder by birth, opposite-sex marriage, or adoption. People living in group quarters are tabulated by the Census Bureau as neither owners nor renters. For further details, see the text files accompanying the data files containing the Census reports mentioned above.
  33. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  34. ^ Eureka California Community Profile. Retrieved November 22, 2006 from
  35. ^ Table DP-3. Profile of Selected Economic Statistics: 2000. Geographic Area: Eureka CA. Retrieved on November 22, 2006 from
  36. ^ Table DP-1. Profile of Selected Demographic Statistics: 2000. Geographic Area: Eureka CA. Retrieved on November 22, 2006 from
  37. ^ City Asunder:The Face of Eureka. Retrieved November 22, 2006 from
  38. ^ City of Eureka: Mayor and City Council. Retrieved November 22, 2006 from
  39. ^ a b c "About District 1". California Department of Transportation. Retrieved 20 August 2011. 
  40. ^ "Humboldt County Public Works Department". Humboldt County Public Works Department. 
  41. ^ "Discover Humboldt Bay". Humboldt Bay: Harbor Recreation and Conservation District. Retrieved 20 August 2011. 
  42. ^ Post Carbon Institute, Post Carbon Cities: Helping local governments understand and respond to the challenges of peak oil and global warming. Url retrieved February 26, 2008.
  43. ^ Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District, Services Url retrieved February 26, 2008.
  44. ^ Northcoast Journal, Out with the Tide, URL retrieved October 16, 2007
  45. ^ Welcome to Eureka City Schools: The Educational Leader on the North Coast. Retrieved November 22, 2006 from
  46. ^ The 100 Best Small Art Towns in America, by John Villani; ISBN 1-56261-405-3
  47. ^ City of Eureka Parks and Playgrounds, Url Retrieved March 7, 2011
  48. ^ The Eureka Reporter

Other citations

Further reading

  • Two People One Place. Ray Rahpael and Freeman House. Published by the Humboldt County Historical Society. 2007

External links

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