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.

 

 

 

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