Fort Humboldt (1853-1866) - Established 30 Jan 1853 during the California Gold Rush by Captain (Bvt Lt. Colonel) Robert C. Buchanan, 4th U.S. Infantry, and named after Humboldt Bay. Abandoned 14 Sep 1867.
California Gold Rush (1852-1858)
Established on a 35 foot high bluff overlooking Humholdt Bay at present day Eureka, Humboldt County, California to provide settlers and miners protection from hostile Indians. The post was also a supply depot for other posts in northern California including Fort Bragg and Fort Gaston.
Captain Ulysses S. Grant, 4th U.S. Infantry, was posted to Fort Humboldt early in 1854 after a two-year assignment at Fort Vancouver. The isolation and boredom of the post caused Grant to spend much of his leisure time in a local tavern or out riding alone. On 31 Jul 1854, he resigned from the army, returned east and took up farming.
In July 1854 Colonel Joseph K.F. Mansfield inspected Fort Humboldt and was very complimentary about the garrison. He said, "These troops have done a great deal of work and put up all their quarters ... great credit is due this command for its industry &c. A good bakery, hospital, store house and magazine have been built, and abundant quarters for officers."
U.S. Civil War (1861-1865)
At the beginning of the U.S. Civil War the officers and enlisted men at Fort Humboldt declared their loyalties and were recalled to the east coast. Like many posts in the west, Fort Humboldt was regarrisoned by California Volunteer troops and became the headquarters of the Humboldt Military District. The district included Fort Bragg, Fort Wright, Fort Gaston, Fort Ter-Waw, Fort Seward and several camps. At the end of the war, the federal troops returned and regarrisoned Fort Humboldt.
In 1866 the garrison was reduced to a single company of artillery. The post was maintained primarily to provide supplies to Fort Gaston. On 14 Sep 1867, it was reported that the last company had been withdrawn and the post abandoned. The military reservation was transferred to the Department of Interior 6 Apr 1870.
Fort Humboldt California State Historic Park. Only the hospital building remains out of the original fourteen buildings and it is now a historical museum. The Surgeon’s Quarters was reconstructed in the 1980s and in 2001 a historic garden was recreated next to the hospital.
The park is open for self-guided touring but the period buildings, the museums and the visitor center are currently closed due to state budget constraints.
Our May 2019 visit revealed no significant changes since our 2012 visit.
Visited: 4 May 2019, 11 Nov 2012