Fort Bragg To Point Cabrillo To Mendocino Back To Fort Bragg To Westport -- June 1, 2021
Today was a mix of activities. Up early and headed to Starbucks to use it’s WiFi. Then it was back to my campground to take a shower. The manager was good on his word — clean area and hot water. Three minutes for 50 cents. I went crazy and spent $2.00. Then it was off to do laundry. I’ve noticed how at laundromats I can count on overhearing a conversation about how Trump got screwed. ‘Merica.
My intent was to drive the 20 miles back to Mendocino, check it out and then turn northward. I got distracted by Point Cabrillo lighthouse which was well worth the deviation from my plan. Once I got to Mendocino there wasn’t all that much to look at. Several old time water tanks and more churches than I’ve seen in much larger towns. Drive through the state park there — it was pretty but am I having an hedonic experience with dramatic seascapes??
Turned northward and drove through Fort Bragg. Honky took from what of it I saw. No photos.
Soon after leaving Fort Bragg I was engulfed (enveloped?) in fog. It made the coastline quite dramatic (in a different way than the dramatic I cited a paragraph ago). Drove through the quirky little town of Westport; just north of town I came upon a first-come, first-serve stste campground. $33 for the night with ocean view. In spite of it being only 1:30 pm. I claimed my spot. Set my laundry out to dry — and then realized it won’t dry in the fog. (It’s drying in Hi Ho Silver).
I have spent the afternoon reminiscing about how fortunate I have been. Things didn’t always go the way I hoped but things always went. I have great kids, great friends, great sisters and brothers in law and great memories. And I’m driving around the USA visiting all the Paris’ sleeping in the back of my truck. Life’s good.
After this six-minute slideshow (featuring Delbert McClinton) I have included some information about the places I visited today.
NOTE: I am biased but I think there are some cool photos in this slideshow. While I was at the Point Cabrillo lighthouse a sailboat cruised by in the fog. I ended up watching it with a park ranger who said she thought the boat must be lost because they were going back and forth. She said she had not seen a sail boat there for four or five years -- the coast is just too rocky. I am excited that I got photos of the sail boat -- and I really like the ones where you can barely see the boat for the fog. It is not easy getting the right exposure in the fog -- the camera is thinking too much about the conflicting signals it is getting.
Point Cabrillo Light
Point Cabrillo Light is a lighthouse in northern California, United States, between Point Arena and Cape Mendocino, just south of the community of Caspar. It has been a federal aid to navigation since 1909. It is part of the California state park system as Point Cabrillo Light Station State Historic Park.
It should not be confused with the inactive Old Point Loma Lighthouse or the active New Point Loma Lighthouse in San Diego, both of which lie within the grounds of Cabrillo National Monument and are sometimes referred to as the Cabrillo lighthouse.
The Point Cabrillo Lighthouse complex is located about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) north of Mendocino, California, and includes the lighthouse itself together with several outbuildings. Most of the original structures remain, but the barn is missing: in 1986 it was destroyed in a fire department exercise. The remaining lighthouse station is "one of the most complete light stations in the United States".
Atop the lighthouse spins a third-order Fresnel lens with four panels containing 90 lead glass prisms and weighing 6800 pounds, constructed by Chance Brothers, an English company, and shipped to Point Cabrillo around Cape Horn. The light is only 32 feet (9.8 m) above the ground, but because of the height of the headlands it stands 81 feet (25 m) above sea level. It was originally lit by a kerosene lamp and turned by a clockwork mechanism but this was replaced by an electric light and motor in 1935. The present light uses a single 1000-watt electric filament. Depending on atmospheric conditions, the Fresnel lens creates a focused beam which can be seen to the horizon and beyond. The beam rotates once every 40 seconds, producing a flash every 10 seconds.
Point Cabrillo, the sandstone headland on which the Point Cabrillo Light lies, was named in 1870 by the United States Geological Survey after the Portuguese explorer João Rodrigues Cabrilho, although Cabrillo's voyage of exploration on behalf of Spain along the California coast did not reach as far north as the point. Because Spain controlled early California, the Spanish derivation of his name is the one used today. The opium-trading brig Frolic wrecked on a reef north of Point Cabrillo in 1850; the investigation of the wreck by agents of Henry Meiggsled to the discovery of the coast redwoodforests of the Mendocino area and the beginning of the timber trade that would drive the local economy for decades.
In 1873, Point Cabrillo was surveyed as a potential site for a lighthouse; however, no lighthouse was built at that time. By 1904, several shipwrecks later, the U.S. Lighthouse Service recommended that a lighthouse be placed at the point. The bill to fund its construction, Senate Bill 6648, passed in June 1906, and the government bought 30 acres of land on Point Cabrillo from rancher David Gordon for $3,195. The lighthouse was constructed by the Lindgren Company beginning in 1908, and began operation in 1909. Its first light keeper was Wilhelm Baumgartner, who held the position until 1923. In 1935, an air diaphone supertyfone sound signal was installed.
The United States Coast Guard took over the Lighthouse Service in 1939. The lighthouse building sustained major damage in 1960 after a storm caused waves that crested above the light and flooded the building with mud, but the lens remained undamaged. Later during the Cold War, the station was used to simulate a Soviet radar base in training exercises. The Coast Guard manned the station until 1973, when the lens was covered and a modern rotating beacon was mounted on a metal stand on the roof west of the lantern room.
In 1988 the California Coastal Conservancy began buying the land surrounding the light station, and in 1991 the station was added to the National Register of Historic Places. However, the California State Park System declined to take over the land at that time because of state budget shortfalls; instead, the station was managed for nine years by a non-profit organization, the North Coast Interpretive Association. Beginning in 1996, the NCIA organized a major restoration of the station to the state it would have been in the 1930s, after it was electrified, including a return to active duty of the main lens of the light. In 1999, the original third-order Fresnel lens was reinstalled after being upgraded to meet more modern standards. Before it could be used the light had to be as reliable as a Directional Code Beacon, which is commonly used at airports. The restored lighthouse was opened to the public in August 2001, and appeared in the Warner Bros. 2001 drama film The Majestic. In 2002, California State Parks purchased the light station for four million dollars. The NCIA then became the Point Cabrillo Light Keeper Association,which continues to run the station for the state park system. The light itself is recognized by the U.S. Coast Guard as an official Aid to Navigation, on current USCG navigation charts, and is operationally maintained by the USCG Auxiliary. The station won the Governor's Historic Preservation Award in 2007, and the Preservation Design Award of the California Preservation Foundation in the same year.
Mendocino (formerly, Big River, Meiggstown, and Mendocino City) is an unincorporated community in Mendocino County, California, United States. Mendocino is located 9.5 miles south of Fort Bragg, at an elevation of 154 feet. The population of the census-designated place (CDP) was 894 at the 2010 census, up from 824 at the 2000 census. The town's name comes from Cape Mendocino, named by early Spanish navigators in honor of Antonio de Mendoza, Viceroy of New Spain. In turn, the etymology of Mendoza is "cold mountain."
Prior to 1850, a Pomo settlement named Buldam was located near Mendocino on the north bank of the Big River. In 1850, the ship Frolic was wrecked a few miles north of Mendocino, at Point Cabrillo, and the investigation of the wreck by agents of Henry Meiggs sparked the development of the timber industry in the area. Mendocino itself was founded in 1852 as a logging community for what became the Mendocino Lumber Company, and was originally named Meiggsville after Meiggs. The first post office opened in 1858. Many of the town's early settlers were New Englanders, as was true with many older Northern California logging towns. Portuguese fishermen from the Azores also settled in the area, as did immigrants from Canton Province in China, who built the Taoist Temple of Kwan Tai in town.
Mendocino's economy declined after 1940, and it became a somewhat isolated village with a shrinking population. The revitalization of the town began in the late 1950s with the founding of the Mendocino Art Center by artist Bill Zacha.
Most of the town was added to the National Register of Historic Places listings in Mendocino County, California in 1971 as the Mendocino and Headlands Historic District. Mendocino Presbyterian Church on Main Street, dedicated on July 5, 1868, is one of the oldest continuously used Protestant churches in California, and is designated as California Historical Landmark #714. In addition, the Temple of Kwan Tai on Albion Street, California Historical Landmark #927, may be as old as 1854 and is one of the oldest Chinese houses of worship in California.
Since 1987, Mendocino has been the site of the Mendocino Music Festival, a classically based but musically diverse series of concerts that is held annually in a huge circus-type performance tent on the town's Main Street in the Mendocino Headlands State Park.
The Kelley House Museum has a cannon from the Frolic.
Many films and movies have been filmed in and around Mendocino and Mendocino County, including Dying Young, The Russians Are Coming; Overboard; The Dunwich Horror; The Karate Kid Part III; Dead & Buried; Forever Young; Same Time Next Year; Racing with the Moon; Pontiac Moon; and The Majestic. Mendocino was depicted as turn-of-the-20th-century Monterey in the James Dean classic East of Eden, and it served as a New England resort town in Summer of '42 (the latter film featuring numerous local Mendocino High School students as extras).
The singers Kate & Anna McGarrigle wrote and sang the 1976 song "Talk to Me of Mendocino" about someone returning to the happiness of the town after unhappy experiences in New York.
Perhaps, the TV series Murder, She Wrote has had the largest impact on the community. Murder, She Wrote was set in the fictional town of Cabot Cove, Maine. Nine episodes of the 264-episode program were filmed in Mendocino, while exterior shots throughout Mendocino were used in the remaining episodes. The program was broadcast for 12 seasons, from September 1984 until May 1996 on CBS, and won many awards. Many local residents looked forward to the yearly filming, as over a hundred and fifty were chosen to play background parts. A lucky few were cast for speaking roles. Poet, playwright and actor Lawrence Bullock cites being cast in a speaking role as a "Townsperson" in the episode "Indian Giver" as giving him eligibility to join the Screen Actors' Guild. Locals Linda Pack, James Henderson and others were also cast in speaking roles. The residence of the main character Jessica Fletcher was an actual home in Mendocino and is now a bed and breakfast under the name "Blair House."
While scenes for Murder, She Wrote were being filmed in Mendocino, residents say that it was common to see Angela Lansbury, who played Jessica Fletcher, stop to speak with a toddler, or for Tom Bosley to sign his autograph on a Glad Bag box presented by a shopper stepping out of the local grocery store. Murder, She Wrote also brought in more money to the town due to increased tourism — by some estimates, around $2,000,000. The local high school band appeared in one of the episodes and received enough money from the appearance to go on a band trip.
Fort Bragg, officially the City of Fort Bragg, is a city along the Pacific Coast of California along Shoreline Highway in Mendocino County. It is 24 mi west of Willits, at an elevation of 85 feet. Its population was 7,273 at the 2010 census.
Fort Bragg is a tourist destination because of its picturesque views of the Pacific Ocean. Among its notable points of interest are Glass Beach and the California Western Railroad (popularly known as the "Skunk Train").
A California Historical Landmark, Fort Bragg was founded in 1857 prior to the American Civil War as a military garrison rather than a fortification. It was named after army officer Braxton Bragg, who at the time had served the U.S. in the Mexican–American War (and would later serve in the Confederate Army during the Civil War). The city was later incorporated in 1889.
The area now known as Fort Bragg was home to Native Americans since before Western expansion, most of whom belong to the Pomo tribe. They historically were hunter gatherers who lived along the northern coast of California.
In 1855, an exploration party from the Bureau of Indian Affairs visited the area looking for a site on which to establish a reservation; in the spring of 1856, the Mendocino Indian Reservation was established at Noyo. It was 25,000 acres, and its boundary extended north from what is now Simpson Lane to Abalobadiah Creek and east from the Pacific Ocean to Bald Hill.
In the summer of 1857, 1st Lt. Horatio G. Gibson, then serving at the Presidio of San Francisco, established a military post on the reservation, approximately a mile and a half north of the Noyo River, and named it for his former commanding officer Capt. Braxton Bragg, who later became a General in the Army of the Confederacy.
In June 1862 Company D, 2nd California Infantry, were ordered to garrison the post and remained until 1864. In October of that year, the Fort Bragg garrison was loaded aboard the steamer Panama and completed the evacuation and abandonment of Mendocino County's first military post.
The Mendocino Indian Reservation was discontinued in March 1866, and the land was opened for settlement three years later.
The last remaining building of the Fort Bragg military post is located at 430 North Franklin Street. It may have been the Quartermaster's storehouse and commissary or surgeon's quarters or hospital.
The approximate boundaries of the fort extend from the south side of Laurel, east from the railroad depot to the alley behind Franklin, down the alley to a point 100 feet south of Redwood Avenue, west on Redwood to just beyond the Georgia-Pacific Corporation company offices, then north to connect with the Laurel Street border at the railroad station.
By 1867, the reservation and military outpost at Fort Bragg were abandoned. By 1869, small lumber mills were being built at the mouth of every creek. Ranches were settled. By 1873, Fort Bragg had an established lumber port at Noyo.
In 1869, after the fort was abandoned, and the land surveyed by the U.S. Geological Survey, the land of the reservation was returned to the public and offered for sale at $1.25 per acre to settlers. In 1885, C.R. Johnson who, with partners Calvin Stewart and James Hunter, had been operating a sawmill in Mill Creek on the Ten Mile River, moved their mill machinery to Fort Bragg to take advantage of the harbor for shipping.
The company incorporated in 1885 as the Fort Bragg Redwood Company. In 1891, after merging with the Noyo River Lumber Company, it was renamed the Union Lumber Company.
The Fort Bragg Railroad was founded to haul logs to the mill. The first rails were run up Pudding Creek and, in 1887, reached Glen Blair. A San Francisco streetcar was purchased to carry loggers and their families on Sunday excursions to the woods.
Fort Bragg was incorporated in 1889 with C. R. Johnson as its first mayor, and Calvin Stewart drafting its plat maps.
Built in Fort Bragg for Horace Weller in 1886, the Weller House is the oldest existing house in the city. Since 1999, this house, converted into a hotel, has welcomed tourists from around the world.
The Union Lumber Company was incorporated in 1891 by absorbing some of the smaller lumber companies in the area. Some of the new company lands were in the Noyo River watershed east of Fort Bragg making removal of logs difficult by rail, unless a tunnel was built. Johnson hired experienced Chinese tunnel builders from San Francisco. After completion of the tunnel, most of the Chinese settled in Fort Bragg and Mendocino. A six-walled Chinese town was built at Redwood and McPherson. Older residents say that eventually most of the Chinese children moved elsewhere.
In 1901, the Union Lumber Company incorporated the National Steamship Company to carry lumber, passengers and supplies. The only link to manufactured creature comforts and staples like sugar and coffee were delivered by steamship. In 1905, the California Western Railroad and Navigation Company was established and plans were pushed to get the rail line all the way to Willits, where train connections to the Northwestern Pacific would link to San Francisco.
The 1906 earthquake resulted in a fire that threatened the saw mill and the city. Within Fort Bragg itself, all brick buildings were damaged. Only two were not destroyed completely. Many frame houses were knocked off their piers. The fire downtown burned the entire block bordered by Franklin, Redwood and McPherson Streets, plus the west side of Franklin. The west Franklin block burned down to approximately one half a block beyond the intersection of Redwood and Franklin.
Within 12 months following the earthquake, most downtown reconstruction was completed. Coincidentally, the earthquake brought real prosperity to Fort Bragg as the mills furnished lumber to rebuild San Francisco, and the lumber ships returning from San Francisco were ballasted with bricks used for rebuilding Fort Bragg. With the new prosperity, the rail line to Willits was completed and in 1912 the first tourists came to Fort Bragg. By 1916 Fort Bragg had become a popular place to visit—and to settle.
Commercial fishing has also played an important role in the economic base of the community. Once a major commercial fishing port, Fort Bragg was well known for producing quality fish products that were distributed to major metropolitan markets.
In 1916, the Union Lumber Company built a railroad from the South Fork of Ten Mile River to Fort Bragg, where its operations were. By 1929, what lumber could not be sent by rail to the company mill at Fort Bragg was handled by the mill at Pudding Creek owned by the Glen Blair Redwood Company. The Union Lumber Company established its own post office on Churchman Creek to service its logging camps there in 1931, but it operated only until 1932. The railroad was removed in 1945 as rail transport was replaced by haulage by truck; it nowadays is a recreational corridor in MacKerricher State Park.
In 1969, the Union Lumber Company was purchased by Boise Cascade and John Quincy and it became Georgia Pacific Lumber Company in 1973. The mill was shut down in 2002 after being identified as a nonperforming asset. The 400-acre (1.6 km2) piece of property within the city limits takes up almost the entire coastline of Fort Bragg including Fort Bragg Landing.
As of July 2017, the mill site was sold and is undergoing redevelopment, including removal of toxic waste.
Calls to rename Fort Bragg
In 2015, members of the California Legislative Black Caucus petitioned Fort Bragg to change its name due to Braxton Bragg's links to the Confederacy. The mayor of Fort Bragg at that time, Lindy Peters, stated that there was not really much interest among the residents, and cited the costs that every company and institution in the area would have to pay to change all the addresses.
There were further calls to change the name in June 2020, following the murder of George Floyd. On June 22, the Fort Bragg City Council considered whether to put a proposition on the November ballot asking its residents if they would like a name change, but decided instead to form an ad hoc committee to explore options for the city's name. Among these alternative options is to simply rededicate the city to a different notable person named Bragg.
Westport (formerly Beall's Landing) is an unincorporated community in Mendocino County, California, United States. It is located on California State Route 1, near the Pacific Ocean, 13 miles north of Fort Bragg, and at an elevation of 125 feet.
The first post office at Westport opened in 1879. Originally called Beall's Landing in honor of Samuel Beall, its first white settler, the place was renamed in 1877 by James T. Rodgers, who built a timber loading facility for the name to contrast with his home town of Eastport, Maine.
Though small, the village of Westport has a strong community that contributes greatly to the betterment of the village. The Westport Village Society raised over $100,000 to build a staircase down to the town beach. The residents of Westport maintain a community garden from which organically grown produce is available year-round for consumption by Westport residents and visitors alike. Through annual Westport events like the Westport Whale Festival, the Mothers Day Rubber Ducky Race and the Westport Volunteer Fire Department BBQ, folks from town and throughout Mendocino County come together to build community and raise funds for various civic needs.
Westport and its vicinity have been the locale of several disappearances and homicides over the years, including:
Linda Lee Lovell and Stephen Locke Packard, disappeared in June 1974;
Christine and Craig Langford, disappeared in January 1981;
Harlan Sutherland, homicide victim, remains found in August 1987;
Clyde William Stanley, homicide victim, remains found in March 1988;
Donald James Cavanaugh and David Virgil Neily, disappeared in March 2005 and April 2006, respectively, from the same address;
Matthew Coleman, murdered in August 2011;
Abigail, Ciera, Devonte, Hannah, Jeremiah, and Markis Hart, all murdered by their adoptive mothers, Jen and Sarah Hart, on March 26, 2018, when their SUV intentionally drove over a cliff in a mass murder-suicide, two miles north of Westport. The family had been living in Washington State before the road trip which culminated in the fatal crash. Both perpetrators were known to have abused their six children before the crash.