Mar 15, 2017

Historical Humboldt History

As some of you know, I got a new job.  After moving to Humboldt four years ago I searched for a graphic designer or some kind of artisty job up here for over a year and finally ended up applying at a local hardware store.  It was definitely not where I wanted to be but I was very fortunate to end up at a place with a ton of great people and respect in the community.  I was very happy being a floor clerk helping customers with just about everything at Pierson's Building Center.  About 3 months ago an opportunity arose in the Advertising department at Pierson's and they offered me the job of Graphic Designer.  It's been an exciting change and I'm learning a bunch about advertising, printing, the store, and the community.

Besides putting together all of the ads, flyers, banners etc. there's the historical photos hanging throughout the store that my department is responsible for. These photos are a big draw for people coming into the store.   Last week I spent a few days looking for new photos to use in different online archives.  Each image will get a caption with a location and year and some sort of description as best as we can.  Many images are beautiful representations of turn-of-the-century life in Humboldt county and surrounding areas but most of them don't have a specific location or a year the pic was taken.  I've had to look for clues in the photos. Little bits of information that I can Google.  They lead to more clues and more little crumbs that I follow to eventually get a year or a town.   I've been having a blast going down these rabbit holes of history.  Here's a couple of fun examples of things I've come across.

I was trying to find out about a P.M. Canepa who I found a photo of taking as it turns out, a very early selfie in his shop in Ferndale. Note in the archive says  "The man in the photograph is the photographer himself, Peter M. Canepa, my great uncle." So I went digging and stumbled upon a website with a  Book of Deeds from Ferndale Ca. in the 1900's and started reading all about the interesting goings on in Ferndale at that point in time.

The first interesting bit was about moving a safe.

John Morris moved last Friday the big Jas Jacobsen safe from the White 
Front Store to the jewelry store of P.M. Canepa.  It was quite a chore,  
as the safe is very heavy. (April 12, 1904)

LOL...It was very heavy.

The next series of excerpts documents, very eloquently the goings on with the J. Loewenthal men's clothing store. There's an official announcement about its opening and who will be working there.  One in particular was an Archie Canepa. I couldn't tell if there was any relation to Peter but It's possible since it was and still is such a small town.


He is ably assisted 
by Archie Canepa, formerly of Sawtelle's store in Eureka. (October 12, 
1900)

J. Loewenthal's handsome new store was opened to the public last 
Saturday in Ferndale. (October 16, 1900)

M. Clink, the tailor, has accepted a position in Loewenthal's Ferndale 
store. (October 19, 1900)

Archie Canepa, employed in Loewenthal's Ferndale store, while scuffling 
with a friend the other day, had one of his ribs broken. (November 20, 
1900)

Archie Canepa, who has been employed in Loewenthal's Ferndale store 
since it was established here several months ago, has resigned his 
position and gone to Eureka to resume his old position in Sawtelle's 
Cash Store. (January 8, 1901)


So what this tells me is that Archie gets a job then a month later gets into a fight at work.  Probably has a ton of other attitude problems and "resigns his position" basically a nice way to say he got fired a couple months later.

Now take note of  the mention of  Mr. Clink the tailor above. There's more on him.

M. Clink, in charge of the tailoring department in Loewenthal's 
Ferndale Store, is reported quite ill at his home on Washington Street. 
(April 12, 1901)

M. Clink...tailoring department of Loewenthal's Ferndale store. (May 
21, 1901)

L. Hagen of Eureka is now employed as tailor in Loewenthal's Ferndale 
Store. (October 29, 1901)

Poor Mr. Clink.  I guess "..." means he died. and they hired Hagen to take his place.

This goes on and on about this one little clothing store.  Lowenthal sells the business, someone else takes over, people come and go. It's all business as usual for a few years then this.


Terrific Shock of Earthquake...The store of J. Loewenthal...was 
wrenched and shaken out of shape, the front now being separated from 
the wall by a distance, of about ten inches... (April 20, 1906)

All the way up the coast nearly 300 miles away the Great Quake of 1906 is tearing buildings apart.  Man I could keep reading that stupid Book of  Deeds all day.

One more fun one from my research.  I found an image of a boat being launched.  The only info I had was "Launching of the Klamath" but I needed a location and a date. 


After a lot of searching and Googling I found a page that listed shipwrecks on the California coast that mentioned the Klamath. It gave a wreck date and also mentioned that it was a Schooner, not the steam boat I kept finding stories about.  Once I looked up Klamath Schooner I found a page with all the info. Where and when it was built.  But the thing that stuck with me was this excerpt from the story of when it wrecked.


Poor Snookums. 

Anyway, so much history in such a small speck on the North Coast. It's there if you're looking for it.  We hope to have the new historical posters up in the next couple months so stop by and check them out if you get the chance.  I love my new job.







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