Before Cannabis became the main industry in Humboldt County there were others.
Gold Mining In California, gold mining was marketed as the go-to get rich quick method. When gold was discovered in the Trinity mountains, advertisements in San Francisco implored down on their luck miners to head north and try their hands at panning the Trinity River. Migration increased and established towns like Trinidad as boom towns due to their proximity to trails leading to the Trinity mines. Eureka and Union (later Arcata) also served as supply points for mining operations happening in the mountains. Mining also pulled workers from local industries like logging, jarring the local economy. Miners came from across the country and around the world, and many of these miners, including the likes of William Carson, ended up staying in the area to establish many of the other early industries in the area. Gold mining busted relatively quickly in Humboldt County as Redwood started becoming a dominant part of the economy in the mid 1850’s. Logging Early settlers to the area did log the area immediately adjacent to Humboldt Bay in order to build their homes, however, early logging efforts focused on smaller trees, as tools brought from the East were built to handle smaller trees. Tanoak was popular in many areas, with the bark being used to tan livestock hides. Advancements came quickly though, with innovations, management expertise and luck under the guidance of John Dolbeer, William Carson, and other enterprising men who constructed mills around Humboldt Bay. New inventions and technologies invented in Humboldt County like the double band saw, Steam Donkey, Bull Donkey allowed logging companies to speed up all parts of logging and milling, allowing more trees to be processed at lower costs. With the addition of railroads locally and railroads later connecting Humboldt County to markets in San Francisco, the markets boomed with redwood. Fishing Salmon fishing was incredibly lucrative and began commercially occurring in 1853 on the Eel River (known as the “Weeott River” at the time). In the first commercial fishing year, 250,000 pounds of fish were taken from the rivers for export across the country and around the world. Regulation on the industry to protect the fish was nonexistent, and light regulations placed served only to protect the fishing rights of those who lived on the rivers. Like the other early industries, this one was subject to booming and busting based on environmental conditions, market prices, and later, fish population. After these industries ran their course cannabis found its place in Humboldt County and the Emerald Triangle. Keep reading our posts to learn more about how it evolved.