You’re Invited to Explore Humboldt History at the Clarke Museum
This is a press release from the Clarke Museum:
Eureka – If you’ve walked the Headwaters Forest trails down by Elk River, you’ve doubtless come across the ghost town of Falk, once a bustling hub of Humboldt County logging. The public is invited to come learn more about the rise and fall of this iconic company town from Headwaters Forest Reserve Ranger Julie Clark at 1pm on December 15th as part of the museum’s Saturday Speaker Series.
Falk: Company Lumber Town of the American West is the title of Clark’s new book, which charts the life and death of Falk, beginning in the late nineteenth century and coming to an ignominious end less than a hundred years later. Here’s a brief synopsis:
Between 1884 and 1937, the company mill and lumber town of Falk thrived in what is now the Headwaters Forest Reserve. In the late 1800’s, Noah Falk and two other stakeholders became equal partners in the Elk River Mill and Lumber Company. Falk was able to take advantage of relatively inexpensive land, cheap labor, and new logging technologies like the band saw and the Dolbeer steam donkey. Roads in Humboldt County were few and far between in those days, so the workers were housed in the newly built eponymous town of Falk.
Over time, the town of Falk grew to house over 400 people from far and wide, but as the logging industry’s fortunes faltered and wars took their toll on the labor force, Falk became a ghost town. Eventually, the empty buildings became part of the soil that now supports the Headwaters Forest Reserve managed by the Bureau of Land Management.
“The town of Falk is still very much alive for me,” says Clark. “It’s not just that I walk its buried streets every day – I’ve given so many talks and presentations, and portrayed Falk residents in living history re-enactments that I do feel like it’s embedded in my life.”
Falk: Company Lumber Town of the American West includes photos from the Clarke Museum collections and a foreword by Jon Humboldt Gates, author of Falk’s Claim and a fourth-generation Humboldt County native. Julie Clark holds a Master of Arts in Social Science from Humboldt State University.