In 1852, the Shaw brothers crossed the Eel River and proceeded up the Salt River tributary, in a canoe. In what is present day Ferndale they saw potential farming land and made their claim to the area. Now, the only way to get to Ferndale is to cross Fernbridge. In 1911, Fernbridge was the world’s longest concrete arch span ever built (and is one of only two still in use in the world).
The entire town of Ferndale is registered as a California Historic Landmark. By 1890, there were eleven creameries in Ferndale. Considered the finest butter in the state, Ferndale appropriately acquired the nickname “Cream City”. The well-preserved Victorian homes and storefronts (also known as “Butterfat Palaces”) were primarily constructed with creamery money. Walking around Ferndale feels like exploring a movie set, which is why fourteen movies have been filmed here and it has appeared on Huell Howser’s California’s Gold twice. Joe Dirt, The Majestic and Outbreak are just a few movies filmed right in Ferndale. It would have been amazing to see one of these movies at the Old Hart Theater, which was used for thirty years for silent films before switching to talking pictures.
Established in 1868, the Ferndale cemetery is located just two blocks from the historic main street. Their website boasts that this cemetery is, “one of the state’s most beautiful and historic burial sites, sweeping up a rhododendron-covered hillside to a crest overlooking the Eel River Valley and westward to the Pacific Ocean”. It is unlike any cemetery I have ever seen, and it is very well maintained. Its the kind of relaxing place you could stay for an eternity.