Fort Humboldt State Historic Park, located at the south end of Eureka, is a must-see for history buffs. Situated on a bluff overlooking Humboldt Bay, Fort Humboldt was established in 1853 when the Gold Rush resulted in hostilities between Native Americans and gold seekers. At its operational peak, the fort had 14 buildings. A young Ulysses S. Grant was a captain here for five months after the Mexican-American War. Later, it became the headquarters for the Humboldt Military District, which included Fort Bragg and Wright in Mendocino County, Fort Ter-Wer in Klamath and Camp Lincoln near Crescent City.
The fort was auctioned to farmers in 1870 and soon fell into decay. In 1955, Fort Humboldt State Historic Park was established and repairs began on the fort. So far, only the hospital and surgeon’s quarters have been restored. They are used as museums with exhibits showing the history of the area and how the fort operated. A historic garden has been planted with herbs and vegetables that were available in the 1850s. You can also see 19th and mid-20th century logging equipment, such as “Lucy,” a Dolbeer-type steam donkey, and two locomotives. Guided tours can be arranged. The park is open from 8 am until 5pm daily, and there is no entrance fee.