Tuesday August 2, 2022
Founded 1857 as a military garrison named for Captain Braxton Bragg (serving in the Mexican-American War, later in The Confederate Army during the Civil War. Native Americans originally occupied the land, most belonging to the Pomo Tribe.
The garrison was abandoned in 1864. The 25000 acre Mendocino Indian Reservation was created in 1855, and discontinued in 1866 and the land was opened for settlement three years later. By 1873, Fort Bragg had an established lumber port at Noyo. The Weller house is the oldest existing house in the city circa 1886.
We are staying at the Pomo RV Park and Campground just south of downtown Fort Bragg for a few days. We plan on visiting the local sights and just plain relaxing in the cool weather. It’s heavenly!
The Union Lumber Company was incorporated in 1891. Transporting logs by rail was difficult so a tunnel was built using experienced Chinese tunnel builders from San Francisco who settled in Fort Bragg and Mendocino seven miles to the south. 1906 earthquake resulted in a fire that threatened the saw mill and city. All brick buildings were damaged with only two not destroyed completely. Houses were knocked off of their foundations and a major fire ensued. After the quake most of downtown was reconstructed in 12 months. Ironically, the quake brought prosperity as the mills furnished lumber to rebuild San Francisco and the lumber ships returning to Fort Bragg used bricks as ballast which helped rebuild Fort Bragg. The rail line to Willits was completed in 1912 bringing tourists to town.
Fort Bragg (6983 souls) was not only a lumber town but a major commercial fishing port. Fish from the port was well know for quality, with distribution to major metropolitan markets.
The Union Lumber Company was purchased in 1969 by Boise Cascade and John Quincy and it became the Georgia Pacific Lumber Company in 1973. The mill was shut down in 2002 as a nonperforming asset. The mill site was sold in 2017 and is currently undergoing redevelopment, including removal of toxic waste.
Fort Bragg’s weather is mild, receiving an average of 40 inches of precipitation annually. Yet the wettest rain year was 1997-1998 with over 79 inches and the driest being 1976/1977 with less than 15 inches. Due to Pacific Ocean influence the sky is usually cloudy with fog on occasion, making for cool days.
Glass beach is a place known for its colorful glass pieces ground smooth by the action of the ocean. You may ask how did so much glass get on the beach to warrant the name? Ironically, the locals used that beach as a dump dropping trash, bottles, etc. into the ocean there. Most evidence of this questionable habit is gone except for the smoothly ground glass pieces. Also in town attracting tourists is the California Western Railroad, aka, the Skunk Train its nickname by old timers deriving from the fact that “You could smell it coming before you could see it”. Today the Skunk is a great tourist attraction, transporting gleeful passengers through beautiful forest as far as Willits. Also offered are pedal cars fashioned after side cars for the adventurous soul.
We are here for another day of adventure. Stay tuned!