Old Town Eureka


Old Town Eureka has the delightful appeal of an European town or Victorian seaport. Founded in 1850, the town is Humboldt County's major seaport. The timber, dairy and shipping enterprises support the individuals who call the area home. Today, you can stroll down the clamoring downtown streets, past wonderfully restored structures of varied architectural types. With the setting of a beautiful boardwalk and marina situated on the waterfront, Old Town Eureka has preserved both its history and soul.

For those keen on Victorian architecture, Eureka boasts many gems. The best of these is the Carson Mansion, a lumber baron's castle built of redwood, and proclaimed as the most photographed Victorian mansion in the nation.

There are likewise four museums, the Woodley Island Marina and horse drawn carriage rides. At the opportune time of year you'll see celebrations, parades and farmers markets. The town features dozens of fine eateries and cafés. Whether you like the atmosphere of an casual bistro or the elegant ambiance of French cooking, Old Town Eureka has a perfect restaurant for you. When you have a craving for doing a little shopping, you'll discover various art galleries, boutiques and bead shops, and in addition fantastic book shops offering uncommon, no longer in pring, collectible and used books. Look for the handout posting every store by type published by Eureka Main Street. It likewise incorporates a self-guided walking tour

Carson Mansion

One of the most photographed and written about Victorian mansions in California, and perhaps in the United States, the William Carson Mansion epitomizes the array of possibilities for eclectic design expression that created a peculiarly American architectural style.

Derived from many sources, but unique enough to not represent any one predominate style, this much discussed and debated property still stands today in virtually the same condition as when first built. The designers, Samuel and Joseph Newsom, were well respected San Francisco architects who heartily embraced the concept of the "picturesque", a quality that continues to fascinate all who see the Carson Mansion's intricately composed interiors and exteriors.

Located at 143 M Street, the extensive grounds provide a substantial pedestal for this sculptured edifice. Eye-seeking and shadow-producing surfaces showcase the use of wood as a building material. This three-dimensional "pattern-book" required more than two years to build using over a hundred men.

Its influence on the design of subsequent buildings in Eureka is immediately apparent even today. In addition to the abundant use of redwood, Mr. Carson imported 97,000 feet of primavera or "white mahogany" from Central America, along with other woods and onyx from the Philippines, East India, and Mexico. The elaborate interiors include stained glass, plasterwork, and carved ornaments in exotic woods.

The Carson Mansion was owned by the descendents of William Carson until 1950, when it was sold to the Ingomar Club.

Carson Mansion
Carson Mansion
Carson Mansion
Carson Mansion
Carson Mansion
Carson Mansion

Carson House

The Carson House - This hone also known as the "Pink Lady" is a classic Queen Anne/Eastlake Victorian residence designed by the prestigious  Newsom brothers architectural firm of San Francisco. it was completed in 1889 for William Carson, a pioneer lumber baron of Northern California, who had it built as a wedding gift for his son, Hilton Carson.

The property left the Carson's ownership in the 1940s, was used as a boarding house and subsequently fell into serious disrepair. Robet A. Madsen, a local real estate broker and former councilman and mayor of Eureka, purchased it in 1960. He established it to its former glory, meriting the city of Eureka's first beautification award for his effort. His wife, Josephine L. Madsen and the Madsen family have maintained it's historic elegance.

While the Carson house was being rehabilited in 1963-1964, a decision was made on it's exterior color to contrast with the dark color of the Carson mansion now known as the Ingomar Club. The Carson house was painted to bright pink and white. Before long

Carson House
Carson Mansion
Carson House
Carson House

Eureka Theater

The Eureka Theater is an Art Modern–style cinema built in 1939. The movie theater was first proposed in 1937 as a portion of a larger development that would have included a five-story, 162-room hotel, which was soon scaled back to the theater with flanking commercial spaces.

Built by theater magnate George M. Mann, the theater was designed by noted San Francisco designer William B. David, who had once worked in the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Art Department in the mid-1930s.

The Eureka Theater was thought of as an ultra-modern movie theater when built in 1939 and was an expression of optimism and confidence in Eureka and Humboldt County, as they recovered from the Depression. The Eureka Theater stopped showing regularly scheduled movies August 1, 1996.The theater is currently being restored, and is available for rent as a performance or event venue. The Eureka Theater features a symmetrical stucco facade built of cubic forms rising to a 50-foot (15 m) tall vertical pylon sign bearing the letters EUREKA over the theater's marquee. At ground level the lobby entrance is centered between storefronts. The lobby is overhung by a projecting canopy with a rolled edge. A V-shaped attraction board rests on the marquee and appears to support the pylon. The complex pylon mounts in receding block forms as it rises. Although it appears to be a monolith, it is actually supported by a frame structure with a stucco appliqué. The second floor features subsidiary blocks with smaller windows and accent lines, housing the owner's apartment.

The outer lobby is a shallow semicircle with a mosaic tile floor extending to the sidewalk. The walls have a maroon subway tile wainscot, with chrome tile accent stripes. A large light fixture with chrome accents is centered over the octagonal ticket booth. The booth has tile that matches the outer lobby wainscot. A blue glass pane above the ticket window is designed to be illuminated when the box office is open for business. The lobby is flanked by storefront spaces, whose transom windows are accented by a horizontal grillage. The other elevations are comparatively plain, with large concrete surfaces.

The inner foyer is narrow, less than 6 feet (1.8 m) wide, with a number of Art Modern details. The entrance doors retain their original custom hardware of brass and Bakelite. The ceiling is extensively detailed.

The foyer leads to the grand lobby, which is approximately oval, accented by a stepped curving ceiling detail and a central light fixture with multicolored glass. Columns flanking the entrance feature glazed panels that match the light fixture, and which can themselves be illuminated.

The Eureka Theater was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on January 7, 2010.

Eureka Theatre
Eureka Theatre
Eureka Theatre
Eureka Theatre

Lost Coast Brewery

The Lost Coast Brewery - In 1986, two young women, Wendy Pound and Barbara Groom thought "What could be better than making your own beer?" Well, making your own beer and selling it! They got their hops in a row and walked away from their 9 to 5 jobs as a marriage & family counselor and a pharmacist to pursue their beer brewing dreams!

After much brewing and planning, including plenty of visits to pubs in England and Wales, Wendy & Barbara opened the Lost Coast Brewery & Cafe in Eureka, California. The 100-year-old building, a restored wood frame structure built in 1892, was purchased from its original owners -- The Fraternal Order of the Knights of Pythias. Don't worry, you don't need a secret handshake to get in, just a thirst for great beer and great food. Lost Coast is brewing eight beers, including six seasonal beers all influenced by Groom's and Pound's research of English microbrews.

  1. Downtown Brown was the first beer distributed by Lost Coast Brewery. It's a lightly hopped dark malt ale, without the brawny taste of a more robust beer. From 1997 through 2000, Downtown Brown was voted the number one beer in the Time Standard Reader’s Choice Awards as well as first place at the 2000 West Coast Beer Fest. In 2002, Downtown Brown received a gold medal at the LA County Fair and another gold in 2003 at the California State Fair.
  2. Great White is an unfiltered, refreshing ale. Its base is malted barley and unmalted wheat with citrus and Humboldt county herbs. In 2002 and 2003, Lost Coast’s Great White Ale was a silver medalist at the California State Fair.
  3. Alleycat Amber is a burgundy-orange ale with a sweet aroma, a caramel flavor, and slight bitterness. At the 1997 California Brewer’s Fest, the AlleyCat Amber won both a gold medal and Best in Show. At the California State Fair in 1999 and 2002, AlleyCat was the Bronze Medal beer.
  4. 8-Ball Stout is a robust ale where malts are roasted like coffee beans to give the beer its color and flavor. This stout was a two-time gold medalist at the LA County Fair in 2004 and 2005. It also won silver medals at the California State Fair in 2002 and 2003.
  5. Indica India Pale Ale is a combination of hops, herbs, and citrus flavors. The flavor is immense and creamy, with an alcoholic kick. Indica India Pale Ale was recognized as one of the World’s "Must Taste Beers" in the 2003 "All About Beer Magazine".
  6. Lost Coast Pale Ale is an American-style pale ale with a fusion of hop and malt flavor. Lost Coast Brewery blended a combination of Munich, Chinook and Cascade hops into this ale. The Lost Coast Pale Ale scored a 90 on the 1999 Beer Lovers Buying Guide and was a silver medalist at the 2002 California State Fair.
  7. Raspberry Brown is Lost Coast Brewery’s Downtown Brown with an infusion of raspberry and chocolate malt flavor. In 2003, the Raspberry Brown was voted best in California by the United States Beer Tasting Championships.
  8. Tangerine Wheat is a wheat beer flavored with a dash of lemon. According to the LA Times, it is a “charming outdoor sipper as the weather warms, and it has real potential as a food beer”

Samoa Cookhouse

Samoa Cookhouse - For the experience of friends and family sitting down for a casual dinner, talking over the day’s events and catching up on life, head to the Samoa Cookhouse, which has been serving “family-style” breakfast, lunch and dinner since 1894. This dining experience is unique. For instance, there are no menus. Delicious meals are prepared every day by the skillful chefs, and when you sit down in the old styledining rooms, you can have what they made for the day.

The food comes piping hot to the table in large bowls and platters for your family to share and pass around. A waiter will come by later to see if anyone would like seconds. Some would call this “family style,” but at the Cookhouse they refer to it as “lumber camp style.” This is because the Samoa Cookhouse was founded for mill and dockworkers in the 1890s, and it is the last logging camp-type cookhouse in the western United States.

When you’re done with your meal, visit the on-site museum. It is full of relics, photos, historic logging and lumber camp cookhouse artifacts. The Samoa Cookhouse is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner year-round. Find this treasure by taking the Samoa Bridge off Hwy 101 and turning left onto Samoa Boulevard. Take your first left.

Samoa Cookhouse
Samoa Cookhouse

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Old Town Eureka Reviewed by Gene Wright on . Rating: 5