The holiday celebration continues at the Fortuna Depot Museum, with a number of seasonal displays including one called Christmas in Humboldt 100 years ago. Visitors can gaze upon Christmas postcards mailed in December 1913 and see excerpts from local newspapers reporting on holiday events and the hot gift items of the year back in the day -- including handkerchiefs, scarf pins, dolls (priced from $2 to $7 at Oluf Moller's store in Loleta), ties, cut glass, and big ticket items such as the Victor Victrola.
”We'll be keeping the Christmas exhibits up through at least Jan. 5, and some of them may remain up longer,” said Alex Service, Depot Museum curator. “Each of the four rooms of the museum building, as well as the Northwestern Pacific Railroad caboose outside the museum, has its own Christmas tree.”
Two of the trees are decorated entirely with train ornaments, one represents a mid-20th century tree to accompany a loaned Lionel train set from 1947, and one is decorated as a Christmas tree of 1913.
Another exhibit at the Depot Museum is called Get Ready for the Railroad, which captures the joyous mood in Humboldt County as the long-awaited railroad connecting the San Francisco and Humboldt Bay areas was nearing completion. This exhibit includes photographs, newspaper clippings, Northwestern Pacific documents, and a “prosperity souvenir” commemorative pennant sold during the 1914 railroad celebration.
Complimenting that exhibit is a broader look at life in 1914 called “1914: the Year of the Golden Spike.” It offers a glimpse into local politics, fashion, popular culture such as movies (or photoplays as they were known at the time), novels, sheet music, and the beginning of World War I.
This exhibit features a Fortuna High School Megaphone yearbook, the 1914 Fortuna Civic Club cookbook, and a petition to have Ordinance No. 91 placed on the ballot of April 12, 1914, city election. This ordinance was an attempt to legalize the sale of alcohol within the city of Fortuna, which had been banned by voters in the 1912 election.
The Depot Museum is closed today (Dec. 26) but will be open Friday. Normal winter hours are Thursday to Sunday, 12 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Admission to the museum is free.