Old Town Eureka California Walking Tour
This short walking tour of Eureka's Old Town includes numerous historic buildings dating back to the Victorian era.
This building was constructed in 1882 to serve as Eureka's U.S. Post Office. Frederick Axe, who was the postmaster at this location, had the building constructed at his own expense. It replaced an older post office which was in a smaller storefront on Second Street. The upstairs floor served as a meeting hall for civic clubs and lodge meetings. The property was later purchased by a sign-maker and nationally-renowned magician, "Sign" Smith. Thereafter, it became known as the Sign Smith Building.
The Vance Hotel was built in 1872 in the Italianate style under the leadership of John Vance, a Eureka lumber magnate and entrepreneur. The Vance Hotel was the first hotel in the city to have electricity. It also advertised first class service and was regarded as the finest hotel in northern California outside San Francisco at the turn of the twentieth century. Today, the building is home to the organization "Eureka Main Street," as well as various retailers. The hotel is also part of the Eureka Old Town Historic District, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
August Palmtag, a Eureka businessman, commissioned this property in 1893. During the late nineteenth century, the commercial area that now comprises Eureka's Old Town was experiencing considerable prosperity and a construction boom. Architecturally, this property is a good example of the Queen Anne style in a commercial building. It contributes to the Eureka Old Town Historic District, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Built in 1883, this property was designed by James Simpson as a meeting hall for the International Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF) in Eureka. The International Order of Odd Fellows was originally founded as a fraternal organization during the 1600s in Europe. The concept reached America in the 1800s, and then spread across the country. Today, the IOOF admits both men and women for membership. The Odd Fellows Hall in Eureka was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. It also contributes to Eureka's Old Town Historic District, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1991.
The D.C. McDonald Building was built in 1904. It was owned and occupied by the McDonald Company until the 1960s, at which time a motorcycle dealership took over the property. Its Classical Revival style evokes the period of industrial growth and commercial activity in early twentieth-century Eureka. The property was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.
Constructed in 1879 by J. Lowenthal, this building previously served as a gallery space and has been home to Eureka Books since 1987. This local bookseller is one of the few remaining purveyors of rare and historic books in the region. In addition to the rare books, the store offers a wide range of new and used books and special events for book lovers. The facade offers one of the most unique architectural designs in Eureka's Old Town Historic District while the interior features ornamental plasterwork that is original to the building.
The Eagle House Hotel was built in 1886 by Finnish immigrants Henry and Elvira Tornroth. The historic Olympia home currently serves as an event venue and gathering space, as well as The Inn at 2nd & C. The exterior and interior of the home feature a variety of design elements from the Victorian Era and the building is part of Eureka's Old Town Historic District, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1991.
Established in 1960 by high school teacher Cecile Clarke, the Clarke Historical Museum in Eureka, California explores the history of Humboldt County, featuring exhibits on the Native American tribes of the Northwest, the gold rush period, the lumber industry, and ranching. Its collections include numerous artifacts such as textiles, tools, various household items and weapons. Its photographs and documents illustrate the history of European settlement from the 1850s onward. The Native American collection is extensive, containing women's ceremonial caps, flour and gambling trays, baskets, flint and obsidians points, a Yoruk canoe, and fishing gear. The museum is housed in the former Bank of Eureka building that was built in 1911. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Ritz Building was built by James Simpson in 1885. It was modified in 1913 so that it could house a Woolworth store. In 1946-7, the building was fully redesigned in the Streamline Moderne style by the architect Franklin T. Georgeson. The Ritz Building was designated as a Eureka Historic Landmark in 2010. A historical plaque was placed on the side of the building by Eureka Main Street and the Eureka Heritage Society.
The Carson Block Building was one of Eureka's first commercial properties. This 50,000 square foot property was constructed from redwood, brick, and cast iron, with terra cotta detailing. In 2016, a major restoration was completed, which further revitalized Eureka's Old Town Historic District. The Carson Block Building received a California Preservation Foundation Design award, as well as a Governor's Award.