Whale Rock on Seaside Beach 10 miles north of Fort Bragg, CA

Although Fort Bragg is on the Pacific Coast there are few beaches and access to beaches. One popular beach access point is ten miles north of Fort Bragg. Seaside Beach is popular for the amount of sandy beach and also, ask our dogs, because dogs are allowed off leash. There is a large rock about two thirds of the way down the beach the locals call “whale rock.” Our dogs know it well – great sniffingtons!!!! When you approach the rock from the north the outline of the whale isn’t that apparent. When you walk from the south back to the parking area the whale is VERY apparent. I have a dozen of so photos of the rock but none as good as this one:

Whale Rock on Seaside Beach about 10 miles north of Fort Bragg CA

USS Shenandoah (ZR-1) – One of four airships commissioned by the US Navy – over Fort Bragg

This picture floated across my screen:

Shenandoah Airship over Fort Bragg

Wow, says I, a US Navy airship over Fort Bragg! Tell me more.

Per Wiki ….. “USS Shenandoah was the first of four United States Navy rigid airships. It was constructed during 1922–23 at Lakehurst Naval Air Station, and first flew in September 1923. It developed the U.S. Navy’s experience with rigid airships, and made the first crossing of North America by airship. On the 57th flight, Shenandoah was destroyed in a squall line over Ohio in September 1925.

Diagram of the Shenandoah

The photo says that the flight over Fort Bragg was on October 17th – but which year? More from Wiki …….

Shenandoah was originally designated FA-1, for “Fleet Airship Number One” but this was changed to ZR-1. The airship was 680 ft long and weighed 36 tons. It had a range of 5,000 miles, could reach speeds of 70 mph.  Shenandoah was the first rigid airship to use helium rather than hydrogen, Shenandoah had a significant edge in safety over previous airships. Helium was relatively scarce at the time, and the Shenandoah used much of the world’s reserves just to fill its 2,100,000 cubic feet of gas bags. Shenandoah was powered by 300 hp, eight-cylinder Packard gasoline engines. Six engines were originally installed, but in 1924 one engine (aft of the control car) was removed. The first frame of Shenandoah was erected by 24 June 1922; on 20 August 1923, the completed airship was floated free of the ground. Helium cost $55 per thousand cubic feet at the time, and was considered too expensive to simply vent to the atmosphere to compensate for the weight of fuel consumed by the gasoline engines. Neutral buoyancy was preserved by installing condensers to capture the water vapor in the engine exhaust.

Shenandoah first flew on 4 September 1923. It was christened on 10 October 1923 by Mrs. Edwin Denby, wife of the Secretary of the Navy, and commissioned on the same day with Commander Frank R. McCrary in command. Mrs. Denby named the airship after her home in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, and the word shenandoah was then believed to be a Native American word meaning “daughter of stars”.

Captain of the Shenandoah at the controls

In July 1924, the oiler Patoka put in at Norfolk Naval Shipyard for extensive modifications to become the Navy’s first airship tender. An experimental mooring mast 125 ft  above the water was constructed; additional accommodations both for the crew of Shenandoah and for the men who would handle and supply the airship were added; facilities for the helium, gasoline, and other supplies necessary for Shenandoah were built, as well as handling and stowage facilities for three seaplanes. Shenandoah engaged in a short series of mooring experiments with Patoka to determine the practicality of mobile fleet support of scouting airships. The first successful mooring was made on 8 August. During October 1924, Shenandoah flew from Lakehurst to California and on to Washington State to test newly erected mooring masts. This was the first flight of a rigid airship across North America.

USS Patoka

On 2 September 1925, Shenandoah departed Lakehurst on a promotional flight to the Midwest that would include flyovers of 40 cities and visits to state fairs. Testing of a new mooring mast at Dearborn, Michigan, was included in the schedule. While passing through an area of thunderstorms and turbulence over Ohio early in the morning of 3 September, during its 57th flight, the airship was caught in a violent updraft that carried it beyond the pressure limits of its gas bags. It was torn apart in the turbulence and crashed in several pieces near Caldwell, Ohio.

Based on the above it looks like the year was 1924. It will remain 1924 till I get told different!!!!!

Fort Bragg, Mendocino County, CA in 1857

Before lumber mills dotted the landscape, the land surrounding what would become the city of Fort Bragg was home to Native American Indians, most of whom belonged to the Pomo tribe. They were hunter-gatherers who lived along the northern coast of California. In 1855 a party from the Bureau of Indian Affairs visited the area looking for a site to establish an Indian reservation. In the spring of 1856, the Mendocino Indian Reservation was established at Noyo. It was 25,000 acres extending north from what is now Simpson Lane to Abalobadiah Creek, and east from the Pacific Ocean to Bald Hill.

In June 1857, First Lieutenant Horatio G. Gibson established a military post on the Mendocino Indian Reservation. He named the camp for his former commanding officer Captain Braxton Bragg, who later became a General in the Army of the Confederacy. Its purpose was to maintain order on the reservation. The fort was not long-lived. The post was abandoned in October 1864. The Mendocino Indian reservation was discontinued in March 1886 and the land opened for settlement several years later. The land of the reservation was offered for sale at $1.25 per acre to settlers. The last remaining building of the Fort Bragg military post was re-located to 430 North Franklin Street.

I have found a history of Fort Bragg that was published in the Fort Bragg Advocate in September 1964. The quality ain’t great but it is legible if you click on it to enlarge it:

Fort Bragg history Part I

Fort Bragg history Part I

Fort Bragg history Part II

Fort Bragg history Part II

As for pictures or drawings they are as scarce as hen’s teeth. Here’s what I have:

Fort Bragg 1857

Fort Bragg 1857

The building on the left in the picture above is now on Franklin Street.

Fort Bragg in 1888

Fort Bragg in 1888

Fort Bragg in 1890

Fort Bragg in 1890

If anyone has early photos of Fort Bragg I’d love to have copies of them.

 

 

 

The Haul Road in Fort Bragg (FB) – Once the site of the railroad tracks from the ULC Mill in FB to the 10 Mile river basin to the north

This movie seems to have been made by the Parks service. If you aren’t from here it shows the great bike trail and walking trail from the south end of FB to the north end of McKerricher State Park. If you are from around here it’s a gentle reminder that we do, indeed, live in a paradise.

Loading Lumber at Noyo Harbour in Fort Bragg

Whilst the Union Lumber Company (ULC) loaded lumber off of the 980 foot long pier in Soldier Bay off of Fort Bragg lumber was also loaded “under the wire” off of the cliff on the north side of the Noyo River. Here’s the pics I have collected showing loading in progress:

[Click on the photos to enlarge]

Loading by a sling

Loading by a sling

Rohilla loading under the sling

Rohilla loading under the sling

1909 Bark British Yeoman being loaded under the wire in Noyo Harbour

1909 Bark British Yeoman being loaded under the wire in Noyo Harbour

Watching the loading

Watching the loading

 

The Log Cabin Bar in Fort Bragg

I am the historian of the train club here in Fort Bragg so you would think that I know a bit about the town as it was. Now, I confess I gave up drinking more years ago than I can remember so I have no real interest in bars. I do know though that there were a lot of bars and a lot of brothels in Fort Bragg “for the boys” when they came in from the woods. One, the Golden West, still exists just as it was back then. Based on the pic below the Log Cabin Bar was pretty well known/famous. Alas, until I saw the photo I had never heard of it. So, can anybody help me out with more info/history?

Interior of the Log Cabin Bar in Fort Bragg, CA.

Interior of the Log Cabin Bar in Fort Bragg, CA.

Pudding Creek

When I come from my home to the club’s layout I pass over Pudding Creek. Nobody seems to know how it got its name. There seems to be no connection to any Pomo Native American name. The best guess is that the original name was, “Put it in” creek and that was corrupted to Pudding.

The first lumber mill to the north Fort Bragg was beside Pudding Creek – see picture below taken about 1897.

Mill beside Pudding Creek in 1897

Mill beside Pudding Creek in 1897

To service the mill Pudding Creek was dammed.  In the bottom right hand corner of the pic below you can see the dam. Behind this dam there used to be a huge log pond which held up to 20 million feet of timber as this picture shows.

Pudding Creek Log Pond

Pudding Creek Log Pond

After the mill was closed the dam was left. The only change waqs to add a fish jump as you can see below:

Pudding Creek dam before the pond became overgrown

Pudding Creek dam before the pond became overgrown

And today?

Puddding Creek dam after a rain storm

Puddding Creek dam after a rain storm