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The Victorian Seaport



The Native American tribe, the Wiyot people, have lived in the Humboldt Bay region for thousands of years. Although little gold was actually found, the California Gold Rush brought white settlers to Humboldt Bay, who gave the city the name “Eureka” from the Greek word meaning “I have found it.” By 1853, white settlers outnumbered the Wiyot people, and Fort Humboldt, now a state historic park, was established to quell growing hostilities between Native Americans and goldseekers. The conflict was not resolved peacefully, and in 1860 the majority of the Wiyot tribe was tragically murdered in what became known as the “Wiyot Massacre.”

The gold rush was soon replaced by the lumber boom, and the city's waterfront developed into a bustling commercial district. Many of the ornate Victorian buildings that sprang up during this era of settler prosperity still exist. The entirety of Eureka's walkable Old Town is included on the U.S. Register of Historic Places. More than 150 buildings from the Victorian-era remain, many featuring original, authentic materials, such as native redwood lumber.

Logging continued in the redwoods from the 1800s through to the 1970s. Commercial fishing also gained a stronghold in the 1900s. The pristine Humboldt Bay is filled with abundant wildlife, and at certain times of the year, you can buy fresh crabs, oysters, and more from the fishermen who dock at Woodley Island Marina, a short drive over the Samoa Bridge. While there, check out the iconic fisherman statue, dedicated to the memory of mariners lost at sea, and watch fishermen bring in their hauls of salmon, tuna, and crab.

In the 1960s, the back-to-the-land movement brought cannabis cultivation to the region. The once illegal industry fed a cash economy, reinforced the region's fiercely independent spirit, and supported a creative arts culture that remains rich and vibrant today. The same ethos that drives the robust landscape of artisanal businesses, local eateries, and commitment to preserving the pristine bays, beaches, and redwoods is present in the developing cannabis landscape in the city. Eureka is uniquely “business-friendly,” supporting cannabis manufacturers, distributors, and dispensaries through progressive actions and policies.

Art and culture have played a primary role in revitalizing the downtown district in recent years. Artistic curiosity and engagement are woven into Eureka's fabric; outdoor murals and sculptures are found throughout the city. Eureka is one of only 14 official Cultural Arts Districts in California.

In October 2019, Eureka made international headlines when it returned Tuluwat Island, a sacred island in Humboldt Bay, to the Wiyot tribe. The event marked the first time a local government had taken such action anywhere in the country and was a long-awaited and deeply significant moment of healing for the entire community.

The Redwood Sky Walk at Sequoia Park Zoo opened in June 2021, designed to add yet another offering to the eclectic mix of visitor attractions. It provides a new way to experience the amazing trees and diverse ecology that draw so many visitors to the community, and provides an important new avenue to educate the public about the region's unique environment and ecosystem.

MORE INFO:, 707-798-6411. Instagram: @VisitEureka, Facebook: @VisitEurekaCA.

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