Humbolt….It’s Not the Spelling; It’s Where You Draw the Line

Humbolt County Line by Talia Rose

Humbolt County Line by Talia Rose, County Line Wild

A new sign on Hwy 271 heading north from Mendocino County indicates that drivers are about to enter the crazy, colorful county of Humbolt. We know most people follow the conventional placement of a “d” between the “l” and the “t” but, this signmaker chose to follow his or her own road to spelling the name of our county.

Now…if they’d just replaced the “o” with a marijuana leaf….


Also, if you don’t follow County Line Wild on Facebook, you are missing out on her spectacular wildlife photos–like these:

Screenshot of part of County Line Wild’s photo section on Facebook.



  • I saw that the other day, cracked me up, but I was following a drunken fool in a white jeep so I tempered my enjoyment with anger.

  • What was wrong with the old sign?

    Did the installer see that it was misspelled?

    • Important point, suddenly apparent:

      Cars have brakes, trees can break.

      Pay attention everybody, a big distinction.

      As for how you spell Humboldt, well, it sometimes seems like, to the many partly-literate folks (a polite description) who inhabit this area, it may not appear to be important, and to me, it is surprising that anyone actually noticed this particular sign, posted as it was on a rather dangerous looking bridge.

      Have a good day everyone, hope the lights are on and the flooding is not too severe, and I hope you have good brakes and that your trees don’t break.

  • Alot of newbies don’t know Humboldt is spelled with a D at least there’s some humor with the world moving here….

  • And there are people who think it is spelled “Arcada”.

  • So…the dude it was named after, should just crawl up out of the ground, and scratch the d out of his headstone???

    • “…the dude it was named after…”

      Anyone interested in that dude ought to take a look at this recent book, ‘The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World’:

      “”The Invention of Nature” reveals the extraordinary life of the visionary German naturalist Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) and how he created the way we understand nature today.
      Though almost forgotten today, his name lingers everywhere from the Humboldt Current to the Humboldt penguin.

      Humboldt was an intrepid explorer and the most famous scientist of his age. His restless life was packed with adventure and discovery, whether climbing the highest volcanoes in the world, paddling down the Orinoco or racing through anthrax–infested Siberia.

      Perceiving nature as an interconnected global force, Humboldt discovered similarities between climate zones across the world and predicted human-induced climate change.

      He turned scientific observation into poetic narrative, and his writings inspired naturalists and poets such as Darwin, Wordsworth and Goethe but also politicians such as Jefferson. Wulf also argues that it was Humboldt’s influence that led John Muir to his ideas of preservation and that shaped Thoreau’s ‘Walden’.

      Wulf traces Humboldt’s influences through the great minds he inspired in revolution, evolution, ecology, conservation, art and literature. In ‘The Invention of Nature’, Wulf brings this lost hero to science and the forgotten father of environmentalism back to life.”

      • Thank you for this. Humboldt was an extraordinary person, just like this county. Let’s not dumb us down!

        • You’re welcome. Indeed he was an extraordinary person. This New Yorker article synthesizes a lot of the info from Wulf’s wonderful book:

          “He’d also become convinced of the sophistication of South America’s pre-Columbian cultures and of the evils of slavery, which he felt obligated to publicize.

          “It is for the traveler who has been an eyewitness of the degradation of human nature, to make the complaints of the unfortunate reach the ear of those by whom they can be relieved,” he wrote. On his way back to Europe, Humboldt stopped in Washington, D.C., where he met with President Thomas Jefferson. Humboldt sometimes referred to himself as “half American,” and was initially a big admirer of the American experiment. But, as the decades wore on, he grew disenchanted. In the eighteen-fifties, he told the Times’ correspondent in Germany, “I don’t like the present position of your politics. The influence of slavery is increasing, I fear. So, too, is the mistaken view of Negro inferiority.”…

          (Humboldt never married, and it’s often speculated that he was gay, though how many—if any—of his intense relationships were sexual is unknown.)…

          …he decided to deliver a series of lectures on the theme of, well, everything. He expatiated on meteorology, geology, plant geography, and ocean currents, as well as on fossils, magnetism, astronomy, human migration, and poetry. The lectures, originally given at the University of Berlin, proved so popular that Humboldt delivered them all over again, in a concert hall. There was such a crush to get into the hall that, on the days when he spoke, traffic in the neighborhood practically ground to a halt….

          Long before the advent of chainsaws, (Wulf) notes, he was warning about the dangers of deforestation. And, already in the early nineteenth century, he recognized a connection between forest health and hydrology; when trees were cut down, he observed, evaporation from the soil increased, and the area dried out. “As Humboldt described how humankind was changing the climate, he unwittingly became the father of the environmental movement,” Wulf writes. In her view, he “invented the web of life, the concept of nature as we know it today.”

  • not too bad…it could be “humdolt”…

  • Waidt, waidt……..really?! That sign was actually boldted to a post and installedt, or is this photoshopdt?! I’m apalledt.

  • I cant stop looking at that photo, it looks like “EEL” was misspelled on the white sign below and they had to correct it as well. Really beautiful photo, all jokes aside.

    • The “EEL” portion of that sign was altered many years ago and used to read ZAK. What you see is the county repair to an old sign.

  • There was a road sign in Alderpoint with directions to “Garbervile”.

  • “Job Opening,” Caltrans, no English, reading or writing skills necessary.

    • Aw, c’mon. My family’s worked at Caltrans for nearly 100 years (Since before they were called Caltrans). Let’s not turn a common mistake into a reason to trash on a whole agency. And secondly, the guy who is installing the sign certainly isn’t spellchecking it. I know I wouldn’t be. I think it’s fairly safe to lay the blame on the sign maker. But more importantly, I hope for us all to have the ability to see that something’s a mistake without needing to make lay blame on thickly.

      • This looks like a prank. The sign was repainted. Both. My guess is that someone has been changing the letters on the bottom sign and then decided todo the top sign latter.

        • No. A Caltrans representative said the sign maker misspelled it.

          • Ah yes. But a Caltrans supervisor had to order its replacement/repair, receive the order. Next the said person had to order a crew to install it. Supsequently the crew had to receive the sign and transport it to the location and install the sign. After this time, the crew leader should have veiwed the installation to insure the work has been completed.
            I agree that mistakes are made but to put this all on a sign maker is not in good form.

            It is funny knowing that all these hands involved missed it.

            And just because your family worked there, you come to their aid. I thought you were an unbiased reporter for the people.

            • Reporters have no opinions…..?

              Just think about that for a minute. Do you really think reporters don’t have opinions? When you think about it that’s obviously silly.

              What would you rather have someone pretending not to have an opinion or someone very honest about their biases? I would prefer the latter so that’s what I do. Mostly, I present a story as neutrally as I can and then I’m upfront about what I think so you can decide if my writing is biased.

              But in this fun little post, I don’t think serious journalism is called for. We’re just sitting together virtually and chuckling about how mistakes get made. You may think the sign is an example of a massive number of wild mistakes made by this agency and I may think it’s amazing how few mistakes are made given the numerous signs that Caltrans puts up and down our roads but…it isn’t really important one way or another in this post in my opinion.

              The sign made me smile and there are not enough chances to smile in the world so I shared the photo hoping to make others smile, too.

              • I smiled too at the situation and with your lenency on a Department that you approve of.

                I understand that people and even reporter’s have opinions, but in my experience the best of both of the above mentioned groups do their duties without.

                Which I am failing at currently and I am sure you will highlight that along with any other shortcomings you see fit.

                Sorry to bother.

                • Ack, I reread my post from early this morning and realized that the tone came across as harsh rather than lighthearted which is how I was feeling. I apologize.

                • It’s a misspelled sign. Kym’s a human being, first and foremost.

                  You misspelled leniency, by the way, not that I care at all. It’s a bit funny, though, given your out-of-place indignation and smarm. Otherwise, it – along with the many grammatical errors in both of your responses here – wouldn’t be remarkable.

      • Same misspelling on an ‘official’ sign in July, 2016, in Milwaukee County, WI:

        “Oops! A sign recently created to identify Humboldt Park on Milwaukee’s south side was missing a “D.” The sign was erected at the corner of Oklahoma and Howell Avenues — and it got people talking.

        “We just put it in without even noticing — and then sure enough, people started calling. And yeah, we had to take it out right away,” said Ryan Simerson, a Milwaukee County Parks employee.

        Simerson said upon delivery, his co-workers with the Milwaukee County Parks Department had the misspelled sign installed Tuesday, July 26th and uninstalled Wednesday morning.”

  • Leggett is now just Leg, saw the sign just the other day

  • My Humboldt tattoo is missing the “d” as well…thats what I get for having it done in Butt county…I mean Butte, lol.

  • This is a reoccurring issue with some of our sign suppliers, and unfortunately the installer did not catch it.

    We have a correctly spelled sign in our stock and will replace it soon.


    It needs to come down!!

  • Save a buck! At least leave it up for a couple of days. So it can get some bullet holes and shotgun blasts in it. Then it will look like every other sign around here. Those sign replacement guys are busy enough!

  • When we arrived in Arcata in 1974, the Caltrans signs on both 101 and 299 were for “Guintoli” Lane. The old timers pronounced it “Jin-toe-lee”. We thought it was an odd local pronunciation quirk until, months later, the signs were changed to “Giuntoli” as they are today.

  • I hear King’s Peak is somewhere over there in Humbolt County.

    • Now…King’s Peak and Kings Peak and King Peak are genuine controversies. No one, however, is arguing that Humbolt is the correct spelling.

      • We could always debate the spelling of “Sproul” Creek road. In my neighborhood it’s Dutyville versus Doodyville after the Doody family who lived up the road.

  • It’s priceless!!we all know where we come from and know the correct spelling.nobody’s perfekt!!

  • Doodyville yes

    King Peak yes

  • Someone should correct it on the sign with White Out. LOL

  • Is that on the detour off 101? I thought it was cool because I never went that way before and noticed the sign, because county line signs are cool and all.

  • Humbolt Fog Cheese:

    Misspelled by a store in Indiana. Award-winning Humboldt Fog Cheese is made in Arcata.

  • When did the county line change? Isn’t it supposed to be further north?

  • The southbound sign on Redwood Drive says “Redwood Rural Health Center”.. It is, in fact “Redwoods”.. A small thing but after years on the Health Center board, I find it a bit annoying..

  • I say leave it up. It’s unique, it serves it’s purpose, and it gives us something to talk and laugh about. Well at least those of us who are lucky enough to have a sense of humor. For all you uptights, just be glad it wasn’t spelled Bumboldt, Skumboldt, or Dumboldt!

  • Should say Dumbolt.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *