Fort Dick (formerly, Newburg) is a small community in rural Del Norte County, California. Fort Dick is about 5 miles north of Crescent City, California and about 15 miles south of the California–Oregon state line. It is located on the U.S. Route 101 corridor on the Redwood Coast. The ZIP Code is 95538.
While there are other recognized small towns in the area, Crescent City, California is the only incorporated city in all of Del Norte County. Crescent City became incorporated in 1854.
"Fort Dick is a community or populated place (Class Code U6) in Del Norte County at latitude 41.868 and longitude -124.149. The elevation is 52 feet. Fort Dick appears on the Crescent City U.S. Geological Survey Map. Del Norte County is in the Pacific time zone (GMT -8)."
A post office was set up at Fort Dick in 1917.
"Fort Dick [Del Norte Co.] Fort Dick Landing is first mention in the Civil War records. The "fort" was a log house, built by the citizens for defense against the Indians, and was probably named for a settler. In 1888 the four brothers Bertsch moved their shake and shingle mill to the place and called it Newberg. With the establishment of the post office in 1896, the old name was revived"
Fort Dick did not acquire its name as the result of being a military outpost, although, evidence proves it was a candidate for being one. However, it appears to have failed in favor of Camp Lincoln.
The name Fort Dick was established prior to July 2, 1862. This can be proven by reading the letters transcribed in the book The War of the Rebellion. George M Hanson, Superintendent of Indian Affairs, wrote on that date to Brigadier General George Wright, the Union Commander of the Department of the Pacific. He uses the name Fort Dick in his letter. This proves it predates 1862.
It is possible, but still conjecture, that it was established sometime between 1854 and 1862. There were definitely settlers in Crescent City prior to its incorporation. One source states there was a mill built in Crescent City in 1853. However, if it were established between 1854 and 1862 it would be consistent with the passage mentioned earlier in the book California Place Names.
An old photograph of the Fort Dick, CA marker sign on U.S. Route 101 claims Fort Dick had a population of 978 persons. Depending on which source you trust, the residents of Fort Dick people in this small group of Californians are living between 5 to 8 miles north of Crescent City on the 101 corridor approximately 15 miles south of California's border with Oregon.
The population of Fort Dick is contestable considering that Pelican Bay State Prison is within the geographic boundaries of the Fort Dick Fire Protection District. However, the Wikipedia website for Crescent City, CA also makes mention of the inmates housed at the facility. It is unclear what California locale that thes inmates are counted under; if any.
"While providing its own fire department, the California Department of Corrections (CDC) Pelican Bay State Penitentiary is located within the Fort Dick Fire Protection District boundaries."
This does raise the question regarding the population numbers of Fort Dick. The wiki article for the prison indicates it contains over 3000 residents, and is only 11 miles south of the Oregon border. Does this mean they live in Fort Dick, or another "city" called Pelican Bay? As the residents are the most violent criminals in the entire California Department of Corrections, we can be certain these 3000+ inmates are not roaming the streets and stores of any normal part of the city. An expert on prison populations would have to be tasked to clarify this question.
The heavily forested coast territory surrounding Fort Dick has been the ancestral homeland of the Tolowa Nation and Yurok (tribe) Yurok Tribe of Native American peoples. Fort Dick is but one small portion of their ancestral homeland. Both tribes lived for many centuries undisturbed by outside influence. Numerous other registered and unregistered tribes of indigenous peoples resided in the region.
Numerous historical records that exist state that the party travelling with Jedediah Smith entered the immediate area, if not the actual area, where the city of Fort Dick sits today. In the book "Redwood National Park" ((Quote 05), Jedidiah Smith's party skirted the eastern edge of Lake Earl between June 14 to 16, 1828. During this time, not only did they explore the area, but they made clear contact, including trading and engaging in commerce with the Tolowa Tolowa Indians on the 15th. It clearly details how Jedidiah Smith's party "skirted" the eastern shore of Lake Earl. While no one can say for certain if his party crossed the exact land that the original wooden fort that would eventually become fort dick, it is clear they were in the immeidate area and were probably no less than a mile from the exact location. Since his party was there in 1828, that predates the events that led the settler or farmer who owned the land called "Russell's Prarie" (later Fort Dick) by about 25 to 30 years. All historical documents indicate that whoever built the fortified wooden structure (fort), although private, was the namesake of the place. "Fort Dick" stuck throughout history to honor the man who built it. Several books state that the purpose of the "Fort" was to protect themselves from the raids by local Indian tribes.
The following two paragraphs are a direct quote from the book REDWOOD NATIONAL PARK (Quote 06) (III. THE HINTERLAND IS PENETRATED, item 5). Athough written by Edwin C. Bearss, it was published September 1, 1969 by the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service. The full Book can be found here:
"On June 14 the company pushed up the beach until they struck a "low neck of land running into the sea where there was plenty of clover and grass for our horses" and camped. The trappers, during the day's march, had been compelled to take to the sea for several hundred yards at a time, "the swells some times would be as high as the horses backs." The company remained on the south bank of Elk Creek on the 15th, while several hunters went out. One of them killed a buck elk, "weighing 695 lbs., neat weight." A number of Tolowa came in, bringing fish, clams, strawberries, and camas roots, which were purchased. 
The company rode out early on the 16th. Striking to the north northwest, they crossed a neck of land skirting the ocean. Considerable difficulty was encountered in getting the horses across Elk Creek, and they were compelled "to make a pen on the bank to force them across." The Mountain Men on the 16th camped on the wooded flats south of Lake Earl. Skirting the eastern margin of Lake Earl, the trappers camped three nights in Section 27, between the lake and Kings Valley."
The camp site of June 14-15 was on Elk Creek, one-fourth mile west of the junction of U.S. 101 and the Elk Valley road.(Quote 07)
Exactly one month later, while eating breakfast the morning of July 14, 1828, Jedidiah's party was brutally attacked by at least 100 Native American Indians. Everyone in the party except for Jediah and two companions died in the ambush. They barely escaped with their lives and headed directly to Fort Vancouver.
The coastal waters near Crescent City and north are notoriously trecherous. Over the years, there have been many ships that sunk in the ocean close to Fort Dick and Crescent City.
It is of historical significance and coincidence that Brigadier General George Wright was among who perished during the wreck of the Brother Jonathan steamer in 1865. A west point graduate, Brigadier General Wright was eventually appointed to take command of the Pacific Coast. History proves he was the Union Commander of the Department of the Pacific. At the time of his death, he was travelling north to take command of the newly created Department of the Columbia.
He perished just off the shores of the very coastline that he was sent to defend. In an odd twist of fate, he was the General that originally was tasked to make the decision about a site for troops to defend the settlers at Crescent City. Fort Dick, a mere 10 miles from the site of his death, was the original site requested by the Superintendent of the Burea of Indian Afairs. However, he received a letter from a field officer and sent troops to Camp Lincoln rather than Fort Dick. The primary reason was the possibility of flooding.
Only 16 of 215 persons on board survived. Tragically, the ship was equipped with enough life boats, they just could not deploy them fast enough. Most of the dead are buried in Brother Jonathan Cemetery 08) 10 miles south of Fort Dick. General Wright is buried in Sacramento, California. This ship was also carrying a considerable amount of Gold. It has been the subject of numerous rescue efforts. The trecherous waters hamper the efforts tremendously. Estimates are that 4/5ths of the treasure has not been recovered.
A civil war era letter indicates the existence of several north / south oriented roads heading to Crescent City. However, there is specific mention of "Fort Dicks Road". The Union Quartermaster Swasey writing the letter suggested it as the preferred path to travel north. Apparently, other roads existed at the time but were fraught with peril during times when the rivers were high. Fort Dick Road was clearly the most impressive choice when taking year round passage into consideration.
In the book "War of the Rebellion", Volume L, part 2, on Page 12 reflects a letter written back to Colonel Francis Lippert of the following "truth" regarding Fort Dick Road:
"The road called Fort Dick road is the best. Wagons are able to travel upon it at all seasons of the year. Smith River is a large, rapid stream, fordable now ...." Swasey goes on to describe how the river becomes deadly to animals during certain seasons.
The earliest recorded mention of the city of Fort Dick is from July 2, 1862. There are three or four transcribed and published letters that refer to Fort Dick by one of the several names that it was known by in 1862. In the book, they call the location "Fort Dick", "Fort Dick Landing" "Russel's Prarie" and something along the lines of "that russell place". The come from a book called "The War of the Rebellion".
Office Indian Affairs, Northern Dist. California, San Francisco, July 2, 1862. Brig. Gen. George Wright: Sir: I am just in receipt of information from the Smith River Valley that the troops sent thither have crossed the river and are about settling camp almost in the midst of the Indians, or at least about half way between the two largest tribes, or say half mile from one tribe and a mile from the others. I hope you will order the troops on the south side of the river to be stationed at or near a place called Fort Dick, where U. S. laud and good water can be found in abundance. This will be two-thirds of the distance from Crescent City to the reservation, and serve as protection both to the whites and Indians, who will thereby be kept entirely separate. 1 have the honor to be, &c., GEO. M. HANSON, Superintendent Indian Affairs, <&c.
Headquarters District Of Humboldt, Fort Humboldt, July 9, 1862. Col. F. J. Lippitt, Second Infty. Cal. Vols., Comdg. Humboldt Military District: SIR: Pursuant to your letter of instructions, of date 28th ultimo, I proceeded to Camp Lincoln, on the Smith River Reservation, and now have the honor of' reporting the following information, the result of niy investigations: The trail leaving the town of Union at the head of Humboldt Bay leads off in a northerly direction through a low, swampy country about four miles to Mad River; thence crossing Mad River by a good ford it rises into a higher country and passes at times through the dense woods, and then through fern prairies for about eight miles, where, after an abrupt descent, it reaches the ocean beach where the trail is excellent for about two miles, when it crosses a stream called Little River, and then it leads up and down through deep ravines and over promontories for about six miles and until it reaches the town of Trinidad. Whole distance from Union to Trinidad eighteen miles. Trail generally good and easily found. The farms and settlements between the two places are generally deserted. From Trinidad the trail winds along the hills, which butt abruptly against the Pacific in steep rocks, crossing several deep ravines, generally thickly timbered, for about six miles, when it descends to the ocean beach to the southern extremity of a lake called Big Lagoon; thence it passes between the ocean and lagoon about four miles to the beach; thence along the beach for about seven miles to the mouth of the Redwood River, over which we were ferried in canoes by the aid of the Indians, swimming the animals, and thence it passes along the beach about thirteen miles, passing Lower Gold Bluff to Upper or Northern Gold Bluff. The whole of the beach trail is deep, generally gravelly, and very fatiguing to the animals. Whole distance from Trinidad to Upper Gold Bluff thirty miles. From Upper Gold Bluff the trail runs along a deep, gravelly beach for about three miles; thence np and down steep, high mountains for about ten miles to the mouth of the Klamath River, which we crossed in cauoes by the aid of the Indians, swimming the animals. The crossing is very dangerous for animals, being some 700 or 800 yards wide, very rapid, with treacherous quicksands on its shores and islands. From thence the trail winds up mountains so high and steep that it is almost impossible for animals with nothing on them to climb them for about seven miles, when it leads into Redwoods, where for about nine miles it is so miry, steep, and high that progress becomes exceedingly slow and almost impossible; thence it descends abruptly two very high mountains to a fine hard beach trail for about seven miles to Crescent City. Whole distance from Upper Gold Bluff to Crescent City thirty-six miles. From Crescent City to the Smith River Reservation it is about fifteen miles. From the reservation to Camp Lincoln it is about two miles. Both the reservation and Camp Lincoln are on the northern side of Smith River. There are three roads from Crescent City to the camp and reservation. The road called Fort Dick road is the best. Wagons are able to travel upon it at all seasons of the year. Smith River is a large, rapid stream, fordable now in many places, but in the winter time exceedingly difficult to cross by any means, and there have been times in the past winter when it was impassable by ferry or any other mode in possession of the settlers. The cost of transportation from Crescent City to Camp Lincoln will be about $60 per ton. It is the almost universal and earnest desire of the people of Crescent City and vicinity that the military post be located on the south side of Smith River, between Crescent City and the reservation, and in view of that popular desire I took considerable trouble to ascertain the most eligible .site for a military post. I succeeded in finding a spot about eight miles from Crescent City on the road to the reservation, and about four miles from the reservation, called Fort Dick Landing, or Russell's Prairie, containing 160 acres, pretty well fenced, good house, store-house and outbuildings, good water, and plenty of timber for wood and building purposes; title U. S. patent; can be purchased for $1.000; never overflows. Cost of transportation from Crescent City, $2.50 per ton. Most of the hind is tine grazing. As to the points of inquiry contained in your letter of instructions, I would respectfully report: First. There is a trail, good and passable in the summer time, from Elk Camp to Redwood Camp, distance twelve miles. From Redwood Camp to Upper Gold Bluff by beach trail, sixteen miles. This trail crosses Redwood River and is impassable in the winter time during high water on the Redwood. There is another trail from Elk Camp, which crosses a branch of the Redwood but does not touch the main stream, that leads to the beach at a point called Muscle Point, distance about fourteen miles, making the distance from Elk Camp by the trail to Upper Gold Bluff twenty miles. This trail, by a little bridging and labor, can be made passable at all times of the year. Second. Fort Ter-Waw is utterly ineligible as a depot for supplies. It will cost from 3 to 5 cents per pound to transport supplies from Crescent City to Fort Ter-Waw, and then they would have to be transported right back again to Crescent City in order to reach the troops stationed at the Smith River Reservation, at a cost of from 5 to G cents per pound; whereas supplies could betaken direct from Crescent City to the troops if stationed on the northern side of Smith River at about 3 cents per pound; and if stationed on the southern side of Smith Kiver at about $2.50 per ton. Third. As to the most eligible site for the new post ordered to be established near Smith River, I have hereinbefore submitted my opinion. As to keeping the Indians on the reservation; as to guarding them from outrages from the whites; as to affording protection to Crescent City and the neighboring settlements, and as to economy in supplying said posts, I deem the point called Fort Dick Landing, or Russell's Prairie, the best that can be selected for a military post in that vicinity. I herewith respectfully submit with this report a sketch or map* of the trails and points touched upon in this report. I would also respectfully call your attention to the fact that the people universally, so far as I have been able to ascertain their sentiments, are bitterly opposed to removing the Indians from this part of the country to the Smith River Reservation. 1 deem it not improper to state, in conclusion, that to Second Lieut. W. L. Ustick's ready co-operation and business capacity I am in a great measure indebted for the promptness with which I have been able to complete the duty assigned to me. Very respectfully, your obedient servant, W. F. SWASEY, First Lieutenant and Regimental Quartermaster Second Infantry California Volunteers.
Camp Lincoln, Humboldt Military District, September 15,1862. Lieut. Col. R. C. Drum, Asst. Adjt. Gen., Hdqrs. Dept. of the Pacific, San Francisco, Cal.-: Sir : I have the honor to report that in accordance with instructions from district headquarters I assumed the command of the U. S. troops in Smith's Eiver Valley on llth instant, and on the following day removed the command (Captain Stuart's company (G), Second Infantry California Volunteers) six miles south of Smith's Kiver, equally distant from Crescent City, still to the south. The camp is upon dry, sloping ground, an opening in a redwood forest, and upon the main road between Crescent City and the Indian reservation, and where it is intersected by the Yreka and Jacksonville turnpike. Communication with the steam-ship landing will always be open over a good road, and we are sufficiently near Crescent City to afford that town protection from the powerful tribe of Klamaths, as well as from the reservation Indians. Good water, wood, and grazing in abundance. The point has the approval of Mr. Hanson, Indian agent. The name Camp Lincoln is retained and the post-office address not changed. Before selecting this site I examined the proposed Russell place and found it entirely unfit for a camp in consequence of its liability to overflow. During the past winter there was but a single knoll above water there, and that not one-half the area of the plaza of San Francisco. All of which is submitted for the consideration of the general commanding. Very respectfully, your obedient servant, JAMES F. CURTIS, Major Second Infantry California Volunteers, Commanding.
The Afformentioned "Russell Place" is in reference to "Russell's Prarie", an alternate name of Fort Dick.
If it were not for the mention of Fort Dick at least three or four times, the book would be completely irrelevant. But since its such an important part of the historical evidence proving Fort Dick existed in 1862, its important to describe the nature of the book.
In 1897, in Washington DC, the United States War Department published everything in their possession from both the Union and Confederate armys. It was a massive effort and would require an entire article just to describe it. For the purpose of Fort Dick, all you need to know about is one specific book. It is Series 1, Volume L, Correspondence, etc. These set of volumes were digitized by University of Virginia on Feb 5, 2008.
"The War of the Rebellion" A Compilation of the official records of the union and confederate armies" Published under the direction of the Honorable Daniel S. Lamont, Secretary of War, By Major George W. Davis, US Army, Mr Leslie J. Perry, Civilian Expert Mr Joseph W. Kirkley, Civilian Expert Board of publication By United States War Dept, Robert Nicholson Scott, George Breckenridge Davis, Leslie J. Perry, United States War Records Office, United States Record and Pension Office
Perhaps it is best noted that the area that is now known as Fort Dick, CA was once used by indigenous peoples of the region in the normal way they used any land. There were several tribes in the Humboldt region, but by the time Crescent City was founded, the white man was having battles with the Tolowa Nation, as well as others Native American Tribes. Many of these tribes were frequently in a state of conflict or minor battles with the individuals who came to settle the parcel of land that was setup that would eventually be called Crescent City, CA. The book states that 23 investors participated in purchasing the land.
Translated from oral stories, and military letters, there exists enough evidence to suggest that there was a location known as "Fort Dick" to the locals even predating the presence of Crescent City. To date, the source of the name remains elusive. The military did not name the wooden fort "Fort Dick" when they occupied it. They just continued to use the name that it already had. One internet footnote claimed the Wooden Fort was built by a White Settler and the fort was possibly named after him.
The name appears to predate the formal military encampment which did apparently occupy the Wooden Fort that was called Fort Dick long before they arrived.
Due to continual unrest between the white settlers and the Native Americans, the military was eventually called in, at the bequest of the Department of Indian Affairs in 1862 to establish a military presence on the site known as Fort Dick even in 1862.
The Tolowa Nation appears to have one of the stronger oral traditions of the skirmishes, raids, murders, and battles that occurred during that time frame. On page 37 and page 38 of a book titled "Understanding Tolowa histories" By James Collins
The origin of the name Fort Dick remains elusive to this day. The stories on the internet are seemingly inconclusive. Did a military fort ever exist there prior to the civil war? If so, why didn't the Union army know about its existence?
One internet site suggests a Settler built a thick wood cabin fort to protect himself from attacks from the nearby Native Americans and the locals branded the location Fort Dick after the Settler.
If that is true, then one could make a case that this settler, or group of settlers were acting as a local militia to defend nearby Crescent City. It is complete hearsay, but there does need to be a explanation for the name if it wasn't given by the Military.
They go on to claim that in 1888 4 brothers bought the property and changed the name to Neuberg. When the postal rolute decided to extend service to establish service to that era, they rebranded it back to its olname of Fort Dick.
What was found on the site when inspecting it in 1862 was a 160 acre parcel for sale for the price of 1000 dollars. It was already equipped with several buildings, sources of clean water, plenty of grazing land, and fencing. Sounds like home sweet
What can be proven is that it was already being referred to by the locals as Fort Dick in the early 1860s. This was prior to the orders given to secure a location for a military outpost to keep peace between the settlers in Crescent City and the Native Americans living on a nearby reservation.
It appears from historical Documents published by the US War Department in the 1890s that 30 years earlier the west was abuzz with Union troops. The University of Virginia, in 2008, published digitized copies of enormous amount of Civil War era information. The were inclusive of both Union and confederate letters, documents, plans,etc.
Under orders from high-ranking military further south, a series of letters was written that, as it was already being referred to it as "Fort Dick", "Fort Dick Landing" and even "Russel's Prarie" by the time it was suggested as a good site the site in the early 1860s. representative from the H recommended it as a site for a new military installation in the early 1860s.
Due to a scanning project conducted by the University of Virginia (the earliest mention of Fort Dick comes from a letter written by a quartermaster tasked with locating a strategic site to setup a military installation near Crescent City and Smith's Creek.
The letters written during the Civil War were compiled and published in the 1890s by the Secretary of War. By then, they were some 30 years stale.
While the civil war raged in the Eastern United States, there was a very active military presence of Union Soldiers building and summarily dismantling rough military outputs, camps, and forts that dotted Northern California. It is in this context that there was an order sent out to establish a military settlement to keep peace between the settlers at Crescent City and the Native American (Indian) Populations in a reservation quite near the city.
Ultimately, the military didn't listen to the suggestions, and selected a site at what is now known as Camp Lincoln. Camp Lincoln is 3 miles east of Fort Dick and roughly 10 miles north of Crescent City. The original buildings of Camp Lincoln were still standing during the 1950s and 1960s.
Fort Dick is a sparsely populated locale ; when compared to the county seat. However, it is a historically significant location. It has remained an unincorporated area since about the time that Crescent City was incorporated in 1854. The name of the city, as explained in other parts of this article predates at least three civil war era letters from 1862.
Fort Dick has very few autonomous governmental services and is largely under the rule of Del Norte County. The obvious exception being their autonomous fire department and the California Highway Patrol that governs the 101 corridor. The remainder of the unincorporated city would be subject to various county, state, and occasionally Federal agencies. Clarifications and corrections are greatly appreciated.
The exact year of the establishment of postal services to Fort Dick remains a mystery. Two different books are claiming either 1896 or 1917. More research will be required to determine if either of these books are correct.
When two books, quoting previous historical books provide conflicting dates, its difficult to decide the truth. In the book "Durham's Place Names of the California North Coast" (published 2001), David L. Durham claims the Post Office wasn't established until 1917. (Quote 09). The book "California Place Names" (published in 2004) by Erwin G. Gudde and William Bright dispute this date and states that postal service was established in 1896.(Quote 10) The ZIP codes appear to be dueling for the same location (95538 vs. 95531).
The ZIP code for Fort Dick, CA is mildly confusing. Fort Dick, CA currently exists in the US Postal System as merely a set of Post Office Boxes housed in a Crescent City, CA Post office located at 6666 Lake Earl Dr, Crescent City, CA 95531. Being the geographically closest facility, it is responsible for delivering mail to those who chose to retain the Historical city's name for their mailing address. If you own a home on the land in Fort Dick, you have two options for receiving mail:
An anonymous postal employee acknowledged that Fort Dick, CA was once much larger than it is today; citing photos that he had seen in historical books circa the 1920s.
Educational services in Fort Dick, CA are provided by the Del Norte County Unified School District in conjunction with the Del Norte County Office of Education. At 1008 square miles, with over 4000 students, this rural school district has a difficult task to educate such a large rural area. They accomplish this by utilizing an elaborate, and publicized, public school busing network. The many district buses service 11 schools: 8 elementary, one middle school, one high school, and one self-proclaimed "alternate" high school (possibly a "continuation" high school).
Fort Dick is the home to only 1 of the district's 8 elementary schools. One source states that the school is the only education facility in Fort Dick. "Redwood Elementary School" is classified as a "district" school, as opposed to a much smaller pool of "county schools".
Redwood Elementary is equipped to educate students from the 1st to 8th grades. The source stated a student population of 425 students, with a 21.8 to 1 student to teacher ratio.
As the city's only school, the city's residents must use education facilities in neighboring Crescent City, CA for anything higher than the Elementary School level. The website for Redwood Elementary School has the following "Principal's Message":
Redwood Elementary School, in partnership with parents and community, believes that all students can learn. We believe that the individual child is the heart of the school's existence and is central to all educational decisions and processes. We strive to create and foster a nurturing environment that promotes literacy, critical thinking, respect for self and others, a positive work ethic and healthful life-style. As a community of learners, we strive to meet these beliefs and prepare our students for the challenges of the future and our ever-changing society.
Transportation in Fort Dick is provided by many paved and unpaved roads, as well as a major thoroughfare via coastal highway 101. All access from the south would be controlled by the various private and commercial carriers that service nearby Crescent City. Fort Dick has no airfield of its own. For those who insist on reaching Fort Dick by air, they must use Del Norte County Airport and travel the remainder of the way by other means. Only one commercial airline services that airport. Therefore, if a resident of Fort Dick is looking for an economical flight, they must travel a great distance to other airports that have a larger selection of flights and carriers.
Long before the lure of Gold, the age of the "Mountain Man" and fur trapping int he west, the vast miles of forest surrounding the unincorporated city of Fort Dick were once freely roamed by many tribes of indigenous peoples. Their first contact with non indigenous peoples would have been either Spanish or Mexican explorers as late as the 1700s. Shortly thereafter, an explorer who was born in New York, named Jedediah Smith, had his eye set on exploring the west. It is believed on one of his trips to the west, roughly in the late 1820s, that Jedediah Smith would come across the harbor where Crescent City is built. Jedediah Smith and the mountain men like him would have been some of the first white men ever encountered by the Natives up to that point.
Several important events brought western peoples into the land of the indigenous peoples who inhabited the hundreds of square miles of forest surrounding Fort Dick. Discovery of gold in the Klamath River.
In 1855 the ship America wrecked and burned in the harbor south of Fort Dick in what would later be the harbor at Crescent City. That same year, congress appropriated $15,000 for the building of a lighthouse there. The lighthouse lit for the first time in 1856. Undoubtedly, this must have been a marvel or sign to the local Native Americans of the power of the settlers.
It wasn't long after the founding of Crescent City that the Settlers began to have clashes with the Indians. Many bloody battles occurred during a very lawless period in the west before the Beura of Indian Affairs and the Civil War Era Union Army actively participated in forcing the natives on to reservations that were infinitely smaller than the lands that they were used to using for survival of their people.
Two nations that are currently the closest are the Tolowa and the Yurok Nations. The federal government forced the large band of Yurok peoples onto a reservation they formed in 1855. The Yurok were moved around a few times for a variety of reasons.
After a flood in 1862, the Yurok were relocated to the Smith River Reservation. However, even the "Smith River Reservation" was closed by July 1867. At that point the American Government relocated several of the coastal tribes inland onto the newly established Hoopa Valley Reservation. Among them were the Tolowa, Yurok, Mad River, and Eel River Indians.
Presently the Tolowa are the only tribe that have their ceremonial headquarters in Fort Dick. However the Yurok, on their website, show a very vast region of land that included dozens of cities up and down that portion of the California coast.
P. O. Box 213
Fort Dick, CA 95538
"Fort Dick Landing" (stated in civil war letters) "Russel's Prarie" (stated in civil war letters) "Newberg" (c. 1888) "Frosty Flat" (provided verbally by local resident, citation needed) "Dick's Fort" (provided verbally by local resident, but variant of known name) "Richard's Ranch" (provided verbally by local resident, but variant of known name) "Dick's Ranch" (provided verbally by local resident, but variant of known name) "Crescent City" - streets in Fort Dick are declared to be Crescent City by the US Postal Service.