Alpine aka Duffy – a town that was at the 18.1 mile mark from Fort Bragg on the Skunk Route

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.

Stagecoach at Duffy Depot

Stagecoah loading at Duffy - a town that existed along the CWR/Skunk Train route

Stagecoach loading at Duffy


Howard Creek – the news of November 6th, 1912

We don’t know a whole lot about the mill at Howard Creek – here’s what’s in our website:

“It appears that the mill at Howard Creek was owned from 1903 to 1906 by Howard Creek Lumber Co., from 1906 to 1913 it was leased to Star Lumber Co., Duffy Brothers operated it from 1914 to Nov 1915. Sexton Lumber Co. operated the mill from November 1915 to sometime in 1920 when it closed. Ira Thompson started it again (date unknown) and it burned in 1924.”

A few weeks ago a snippet appeared in the Fort Bragg Advocate about the mill at Howard Creek which implies that the info we have in the website is wrong. Here’s what appeared in the November 6th, 1912 Fort Bragg Advocate:

“Duffy’s Mill at Howard Creek shut down Saturday for the winter. We understand that the mill will be given a thorough overhauling and considerable new machinery will be installed. The mill was started up last summer by the Westshore Lumber Company and up to the present time, when it was necessary to shut down on account of the winter rains, has given first-class service.”

Were there two mills? Can anyone tell us the real story?

We don’t have a picture of the mill or mills just a picture of the loco that operated on the short line at Howard Creek.

Shay at Howard Creek

Places which are now only names – Alpine, Christine, Duffey, Iveson and Salmon Creek

When I was “down south” yet again last week doing tests in anticipation of my BMT (Bone marrow Transplant) I was reviewing the “Towns” section of the website. I was “upset” that the info we have on places which have all but disappeared is really “thin”. I started searching the ‘net to see if there was info that I could use in the website to “fill out” what little we know of some of these long gone communities. I found precious little so I figured I had little to lose from asking if anyone “out there” has “dope” on any of these places that they would be willing to share. Below is a list of “towns” I am interested in.

Alpine – or Alpine Junction was located on the Californai Western Railroad (Skunk Line) (CWR) 12 miles north of Comptche. It was a thriving community bigger that Fort Bragg in its heyday.

Christine – was a settlement located on a stage coach line 6.5 miles northwest of Philo at the end of the Albion Lumber Company Railroad. A post office operated at Christine from 1874 to 1912, with a closure during part of 1910. The original white settlers were a set of Swiss families, one of which had a daughter with the name Christine, after whom the town was named.

Duffey – was located 2.25 miles east of Gracy. It was connected by a branch line to the CWR and had a mill. A post office operated at Duffey from 1904 to 1912.

Gracy – A post office operated at Gracy from 1896 to 1908, moving in 1899, 1902, and 1905. It was located on the CWR 16 miles east of Fort Bragg.

Iverson (also spelled Iversen) was located 5 miles (8 km) south of Point Arena. A post office operated at Iverson from 1890 to 1910. The name honored Charles Iverson.

Salmon Creek was located near the site of present-day Whitesbro. There was a mill there.