Elk wasn’t always Elk. It was once called Greenwood. Duffy was once Alpine. Why the name changes? In California all towns having a post office had to have a unique name. There were two Greenwoods and Alpines hence the name changes.
When Alpine was a thriving community it was the end of the CWR (Skunk Train) route. It had a population of about 1,200 and was bigger than Fort Bragg at the time. The town included a tavern, a school and a post office. A fire in 1919 destroyed the buildings and the town was never rebuilt.
Stagecoaches came to Alpine from Willits via a ridge route and passengers alighted from Comptche (12 miles away) and Port Bragg.