In 1889 the Eel River and Eureka Railroad constructed a depot at the foot of 7th Street. It remained in service through 1965, and in 1974 the City of Fortuna purchased it and moved it to Rohner Park. The depot building opened as a museum on July 4, 1976 amid Bicentennial celebrations.
Featured displays include railroad and logging artifacts, a collection of local Native American basketry, a general store display, a fishing collection, a Rohhner family history exhibit in the old ticket office, and the Fortuna and Scotia Volunteer Fire Department exhibit. In the museum’s Reference Room visitors can research genealogy and local history. Reference Room resources include 35 Fortuna Union High School scrapbooks of newspaper clippings dating from the 1920s through the present, compiled by the FUHS librarians and students. There is also a complete collection of the high school’s Megaphone yearbook, from 1906 to the present.
A favorite display with younger visitors is Caboose #11, built for the Northwestern Pacific Railroad in 1909 and parked next to the museum building. After its railroad days ended, the caboose spent 30 years as the shipping office for the Eel River Sawmills. In 2006 it was donated to the Depot Museum. Visitors can also try out the museum’s train whistle, and learn the meanings of different whistle signals (such as 2 long blasts, one short, and one long, meaning “train is coming to a crossing”). Admission is free. Open June through August daily, noon to 4:30 p.m.; September through May, Thursday through Sunday, noon to 4:30 p.m.
3 Park St., Fortuna, in Rohner Park (google map)