The Hot Springs near Point Arena on the Garcia River

Everyday I learn something new about the Mendocino Coast. This blog started out with a pic I found on Lynn Catlett’s “You know you’re from Mendocino if …..” Facebook page:

Bath House at the Garcia River Hot Springs

if you click on the pic you’ll see the handwriting clearly. Where were or where are  the Hot Springs and if they were on the Garcia river how come they were near Point Arena? I didn’t know the answer so I started checking maps. This one shows Hot Springs reasonably well:

Hot Springs Map

In the top left corner is Point Arena and in the bottom right corner is Gualala. Route 1 is the orange line that runs from top left to bottom right. The red line shows how you get to the Hot Springs from one of the minor (black) roads.

One more old photo that I found when I was searching for a decent map:

The Hot Springs

So, if you are near Point Arena and want a hot dip ………….


Wendling Woods now called Navarro

Until 1914, Navarro on Route 128 in Mendocino County was called Wendling (Woods) – Navarro was the name of what is now Navarro-by-the-Sea. Wendling/Navarro, is located eleven miles up river from the sea along Highway 128. Ok, so now you know where Wendling was located. If you check our website you’ll that there is precious little in there on Wendling (Woods). I did  write two blogs about Wendling a while ago  and another about its history – here.

This map shows where Wendling Woods aka Navarro is:

Topo Map of Navarro showing Route 128 running through it

Now for the new stuff – this pic. The road through Wendling (aka Navarro) was also where the railroad tracks ran – see below

Hendy State Park

As may be seen from the pages in this blog there is a lot I do not know about the locale in which I live. So, when a visitor to our club’s (G scale) – layout which tells the story of logging along the Mendocino Coast – asks me what I know about the history of Hendy Woods (State Park) and I say, “Not very much. ” I think it behoves me as the club’s historian to get my act together and go looking.

First things first – where is it? Here’s a topo map to give you a heads up [Click on the map to enlarge it]:

Topo map showing the location of Hendy Woods State Park

Topo map showing the location of Hendy Woods State Park

Hendy Woods State Park is a state park of California, located in the Anderson Valley of Mendocino County. It is named after Joshua Hendy, who owned the land and stipulated that it be protected; it passed through several owners after Hendy died without being logged, before becoming part of the California State Park system in 1958. It is the only large park within the Anderson Valley. It is about 20 miles from the coast, and because of the distance, it is noticeably warmer than California’s coast redwood forests. The park can be reached via the Philo–Greenwood Road, just off California State Route 128.

The park covers 816 acres of land and contains two groves of old-growth coast redwood: Big Hendy (80 acres) and Little Hendy (20 acres). Some of the trees are over 300 feet tall and may be nearly 1,000 years old. Other trees in the woods include madrone, Douglas fir, and California laurel. The park also contains 3.3 miles of property along the banks of the Navarro River and provides the only public access to the river within the Anderson Valley.

The Pomo people lived in what is now Hendy Woods for thousands of years, supporting themselves as hunter-gatherers. The first western settlers in the region were Russian fur traders who claimed the Pomo lands and forced the Pomo people into servitude; today, the remaining Pomo people are greatly reduced in number.

Joshua Hendy, after whom Hendy Woods was named, was an English-born blacksmith who moved from Texas to California in the California Gold Rush and built a large sawmill on the Navarro River. When Hendy died in 1891, he willed the property to his nephews with a stipulation that the coast redwood groves in it be protected. However, his nephew Samuel Hendy eventually ran out of money and sold the property to the Pacific Coast Lumber Company. It was sold again in turn to the Albion Lumber Company, in 1930 to the Southern Pacific Land Company, and in 1948 to the Masonite Corporation, together with the land stretching from what is now the park to the coast. 

Through these changes of ownership, Hendy Woods remained unlogged and was a popular location for family picnics. In 1938, Al Strowbridge visited the Anderson Valley Unity Club (a local women’s service organization) and spoke to them about the redwood forests of California; from that time forward the Unity Club worked to save the remaining groves of redwoods, and in 1958 the California State Park system bought approximately 600 acres of land with two miles of river frontage from Masonite for US$350,000. From 1979 to 1988, several additional purchases brought the park up to its present size of 816 acres. 

Redwood In Hendy Woods

Redwood In Hendy Woods

Have I been there? Yes, but before we moved here in 2000. I remember going because of the Redwoods. Alas, I cannot find the photos I know that I took.


Logging at DeHaven on the Mendocino Coast

Unless you are a native to the Mendocino Coast you have probably never heard of Dehaven. DeHaven is located on California State Route 1 near the Pacific coast 1.5 miles north of Westport. The name honors John J. De Haven, congressman and Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court.

Here is a map of DeHaven’s location:

Map showing the location of DeHaven on the Mendocino Coast

Map showing the location of DeHaven on the Mendocino Coast

There was no shipping point at DeHaven. Why? All those “x” in the sea are known rocks. This map shows its proximity to Westport which was where the DeHaven’s mills lumber was shipped from :

Map showing DeHaven and Westport on the Mendocino Coast

Map showing DeHaven and Westport on the Mendocino Coast

The website is quite informative about Dehaven – see here. There is also a blog showing a picture of DeHaven’s one and only loco in a very sad state – see here. This pic is the first I have ubcovered of the town itself:

DeHaven store and a residence

DeHaven store and a residence

An enquiry about Fruto

I recently received this enquiry from a gentleman named Bob Maloney:

” I am seeking information and photographs for the line that in the late 1800s, intended to go to Mendocino County, ran from Willows to Fruto where there was a turntable for return. Logs, livestock, ore, ag products, general freight and passengers were transported. There is some history under “Fruto, CA, USA” on the internet. The line from Fruto to Mendocino County which never materialized (I think due to lack of funding). The tracks came up in about 1950.

I live in Fruto and am working (Module 1) on an N Scale duplication of Fruto 1888-1920 (plus or minus) but to scale as near as I can determine that. I need information on the location, size and facilities for loading cattle (corrals, scale, water tower, etc.), the location of the ore loading ramp (shown on the Fruto internet site), and the means by which logs were loaded onto rail cars. Any details about the roundtable and engine house west of it is unknown to me too. …………Willows actually had and has a “Y” but my Willows Loop will not be to scale and will only be a multiple track operation to reverse trains, sort cars, park and run trains, and just run them around in anticipation of returning to Fruto for the scale operation – i.e., someplace to go from Fruto.

So far my biggest lack of information in Fruto is how the logs were loaded as I have had stacks of logs described to me as seen by youngsters (at that time, older folks now) adjacent to the long north siding south of Cherry Street on the west end of that siding, but with no knowledge of how they were loaded. The corrals have been described to me as at the east end of that same siding. One inconsistency is the pile of logs that was seen north of the 3 east-west tracks (main plus siding on north and south sides) but I’m told when “a log pile caught fire it burned down the station” though the station was on the south side of the 3 east-west tracks. Maybe the fire went across all 3 tracks or maybe there were logs stacked elsewhere than as has been described to me on the north side. More history being sought.”

Until I received this e-mail I had never heard of Fruto. As is my wont I searched for a map of its location and I found a beauty [Click to see the detail]:

Fruto Topo Map

Fruto Topo Map

Next thing was to talk to our VP Lonnie Dickson who worked for SP (Southern Pacific) and late UP (Union Pacific) for many years and ask if he knew of Fruto. He more than knew it – he had been an engineer on the route depicted in the above map.  Whilst Lonnie remembered many details of the route he had no answers for Bob about log loading. After discussion we agreed that the process was probably not dissimilar to that used here on the Mendocino Coast. So here’s my effort at answering Bob’s question:

Before there came to be hayrick booms (cranes) powered by steam donkeys to lift logs onto the railroad flat cars the logs were rolled onto the flat cars. The photo below shows how:



Using Hayrick Booms was the next innovation in the woods:

Hayrick boom in operation

Hayrick boom in operation

Hayrick boom in operation #2

Hayrick boom in operation #2

Hope the above helps Bob.


Fish Rock – a small place on the Mendocino Coast

Fish Rock (formerly, Fishrock and Conways Landing) is an unincorporated community in Mendocino County, California. It is located 4 miles northwest of Gualala. The Conways Landing post office opened in 1870, changed its name to Fish Rock in 1871, closed in 1873, re-opened in 1885, moved in 1908, and closed for good in 1910.

All the above I got from Wiki. The bottom line is it was never very big. Google did give me a link to a really neat map:

Map showing location of Fish Rock on the Mendocino Coast

Map showing location of Fish Rock on the Mendocino Coast

So, the likelihood of finding a pic of Fish Rock is pretty small. Well, one has turned up:

Fish Rock

Fish Rock

Alas I have NO info of when it was taken.



Here Comes Big Boy!!!!!!! The world’s largest steam locomotive is crossing America

The world’s largest steam engine is making its way across the country, attracting crowds in cities and small towns wherever it goes. The steam engine’s name is Big Boy, and he is a very big boy.The occasion for Big Boy’s restoration was the 150th anniversary of the completion of the 1,900-mile Transcontinental Railroad in Promontory Summit, Utah. Big Boy steamed into Ogden, Utah, for the festivities in May, and then continued his journey. You can track his progress on this interactive map.

Big Boy is 132 feet long and weighs more than a million pounds. That is a lot of feet and pounds!  ALCO produced 25 Big Boy engines starting in the early 1940s, but only eight are still in existence, and only one—the Big Boy, No. 4014—is in operation. Union Pacific acquired the retired engine from a museum in 2013 and spent the past several years restoring it. The engine had previously had been out of commission for six decades, which makes his journey this summer a very big deal to “railfans.”

Big Boy - UP's restored 4-8-8-4

Big Boy – UP’s restored 4-8-8-4

Big Boy is a tremendous hit wherever he goes. In West Chicago, Illinois, Union Pacific estimated that 45,000 people came to see the behemoth; town officials had initially planned for fewer than 10,000. Suburban Chicago’s Daily Herald reported that some small communities along Big Boy’s path have seen their populations triple as he rolls through town. “Thousands turned out to view the engine, whether it was children on their way to Sunday school or travelers from across the continent and around the globe,”

Twenty-five Big Boys were built exclusively for Union Pacific Railroad, the first of which was delivered in 1941. The locomotives were 132 feet long and weighed 1.2 million pounds. Because of their great length, the frames of the Big Boys were “hinged,” or articulated, to allow them to negotiate curves. They had a 4-8-8-4 wheel arrangement, which meant they had four wheels on the leading set of “pilot” wheels which guided the engine, eight drivers, another set of eight drivers, and four wheels following which supported the rear of the locomotive. The massive engines normally operated between Ogden, Utah, and Cheyenne, Wyo.

There are seven Big Boys on public display in various cities around the country. They can be found in St. Louis, Missouri; Dallas, Texas; Omaha, Nebraska; Denver, Colorado; Scranton, Pennsylvania; Green Bay, Wisconsin; and Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Big Boy No. 4014 was delivered to Union Pacific in December 1941. The locomotive was retired in December 1961, having traveled 1,031,205 miles in its 20 years in service.  Union Pacific reacquired No. 4014 from the RailGiants Museum in Pomona, California, in 2013, and relocated it back to Cheyenne to begin a multi-year restoration process.

I decided to post this after I spoke with a couple today who got up at 2.00 am and drove 9 hours to visit with Big Boy! Can’t see my wife getting up at 2.00 am to see a steam loco. But, you never can tell.

To finish this off I’m adding my latest favorite train song:

Punta Gorda Lighthouse

Club member Jim Williams asked if I could copy a photo of a painting for him. The painting had been bought for a $1 at a local thrift store by an elderly lady friend of Jim’s. The lady wanted to give the copies to friends. The painting photo was of the ruined lighthouse keepers houses belonging to the Punta Gorda lighthouse.

On the back was the story of the painting photo which I scanned and OCRd for Jim:

“After eight shipwrecks occurred between 1899 and 1907 on the rugged and rocky coast south of Eureka, the U.S. Lighthouse Service approved funding to build a light station at Punta Gorda, an 800 foot high cape located 16 miles south of Cape Mendocino. Because the land along the coast there rose steeply from the beach, finding a site for a light station was a challenge. A 22 acre site, a mile south of Windy Point was chosen. The light station consisted of a 27 foot tall lighthouse with a 4th order flashing Fresnel lens, a fog signal building, a blacksmith shop, an oil house and three houses which were similar to the houses being built at Point Cabrillo in 1908. Building material had to be landed on the beach north of the site, then hauled by horses and wagons around Windy Point at low tide.

From 1912 until 1951, the Punta Gorda lighthouse warned ships away from the dangerous offshore rocks. Because winter brought torrential rains, 70 miles per hour winds, and extremely high tides and surf, provisions for the keepers had to be brought in by horse and wagon before November. During the winter, fresh provisions and mail from Petrolia, 11 miles away, had to be brought in on horseback. After World War II, the Coast Guard assumed control of the station and built a road along the edge bluff as far south as Windy Point. When the Mattole River and Ten Mile Creek flooded, the keepers still had to bring in mail and fresh groceries from Petrolia on horseback around Windy Point at low tide.

By 1951, large vessels were using shipping lanes far out to sea and the Coast Guard decided that serving fishermen and occasional yachts was not worth the high cost of maintaining the station. Early in 1951, the Punta Gorda Light Station was closed, the lens was removed, and a light to warn ships away from the rocks was provided by a whistle buoy.

The 22 acre light station was later incorporated into the King Range National Conservation Area which was formally established by Congress in 1970. In 1976, the Punta Gorda lighthouse was officially listed in the National Register of Historic Places. On a clear day, Punta Gorda can be seen from the Mendocino Coast. Look north for the farthest western point of land which is 65 miles north of Point Cabrillo. The mountain to the east of Punta Gorda is King’s Peak.”

Now, Punta Gorda is a bit north of our Club’s main interest, The Mendocino Coast. Finding a map which shows its location was a chore.

Hikers Map showing the location of Punta Gorda

Hikers Map showing the location of Punta Gorda

As you can see it truly is in the middle of nowhere. This map shows Fortuna as being the nearest town of any size.

Map showing Punta Gorda and nearest town Fortuna

Map showing Punta Gorda and nearest town Fortuna

So what did the Lighthose and Lighthouse keepers houses look like:

Punta Gorda lighthouse keepers houses with the Lighthouse in the distance

Punta Gorda lighthouse keepers houses with the Lighthouse in the distance

A close up of the lighthouse:

The Punta Gorda Lighthouse

The Punta Gorda Lighthouse

In 1951 all aids-to-navigation were discontinued, the buildings boarded up and personnel transferred. The property was transferred to the Bureau of Land Management. In the late 1960s “hippies” moved into the quarters and improved them. Local authorities evicted these people and the Bureau of Land Management burned all the buildings except the Lighthouse and oil house. Punta Gorda was and is a very difficult station to reach. Most of the years it was in operation access was via horse, and during good weather horse-drawn wagon. After the United States Coast Guard assumed command a rough road was constructed (that usually washed out) and a jeep was used for transportation. One Coast Guard career horse, named Old Bill, served the Punta Gorda Light Station as a saddle horse, pack horse, and buggy horse for thirty years until the station closed in 1951.

The lighthouse was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. The Fresnel lens and the flag staff pole were removed many years ago to the Humboldt Bay Maritime Museum located near Eureka, California.

The Punta Gorda Light was known as the “Alcatraz of Lighthouses” because of its remote location and difficult access.

Having learned all that here’s what started it all:

Print of the abandoned Lighthose keepers houses at Punta Gorda

Print of the abandoned Lighthose keepers houses at Punta Gorda