Alex Service, curator of the Fortuna Depot Museum, has sorted through historical photographs from the museum’s collection, along with photos of the Fortuna Volunteer Fire Department and local residents to tell the story of the community’s history. Her new book, Fortuna and the Eel River Valley, was co-authored with historian and educator Susan O’Hara and has just been published by Arcadia Publishing. Service will be at Eureka Books on Saturday, August 6 from 6-9 pm to sign copies of the new book.
“This history of Fortuna and the Eel River Valley really reflects all of the larger forces at work in Humboldt County over the years,” said Eureka Books owner Scott Brown. “From logging and milling, to our local apple growers and dairies, to the expansion brought on by the railroad in 1914, this book fills a critical gap in our appreciation of our history.” The book also covers Fernbridge, the company town of Scotia, and Newburg, a long-vanished mill town.
Fortuna and the Eel River Valley represents an important contribution to the growing collection of Arcadia titles on local history. In addition to histories of several towns in Humboldt County, the company has also published books on the history of Humboldt State University and the Sequoia Park Zoo. “These photographs are hard to come by,” said Brown, “and as anyone who has ever tried to organize family photos knows, it’s not easy to get the right dates, names, and places for each photo. It’s a tremendous amount of effort, and we’re lucky to have so many local historians working on these books.”