Dip into Arcata’s history

Jessie Faulkner
Mad River Union

ARCATA - To fully know the City of Arcata, one must have at least a passing acquaintance with its history. The Arcata Historic Landmarks Commission can help as it reveals tales of the community’s past during the celebration of National Historic Preservation Month in May.

The events include narrated tours of the Arcata Plaza explaining the development of some of the town square’s more historic buildings as well as the recently restored Lindsey house and the Phillips House Museum, both on Seventh Street.

Historic Landmarks Commission chair Don Tuttle said the tours will not include an inside look at the Lindsey house, but the circa 1858 home – one of the oldest residences in Arcata – has links to an early day murder. The tours will be held Saturday, May 14 and Saturday, May 21 beginning at noon.

Both the Historic Landmarks Commission and the Historical Sites Society of Arcata will be staffing tables at the Farmers’ Market on those days and will have books for sale, Tuttle said.

In addition, Bill Rich will be speaking on the Wiyot history of the area on May 21.

Meanwhile, those wishing to get a glimpse of Arcata in the early days can visit the hallway adjacent to Willow, a clothing store on the south side of the Plaza, where several historic images are on display for public perusal.

At its April 20 meeting, the Arcata City Council designated May as National Historic Preservation Month in Arcata and encouraged the city’s residents to visit the Phillips House Museum at Seventh and Union streets, open Sundays from  2 to 4 p.m.

Here’s a head start on Arcata’s history that you can learn about:

• The Plaza Improvement Committee built an impressive bandstand in the center of the Plaza in 1901, and banned cattle from grazing on the Plaza thereafter. However, the bandstand was dismantled just five years later to make way for the statue of President William McKinley.

• The current home of Tri Counties Bank (formerly the Bank of America) at Eighth and G streets was once the site of Pioneer Stables built around 1875. The business catered to the public’s enchantment with bicycles in the 1890s including a wheel room and a ladies’ dressing room.

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