The flat and fertile land of the Eel River flood plan attracted settlers from England, Ireland, Denmark, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, and Portugal. After discovering that crops did not thrive in the cool, foggy coastal climate most of the settlers began raising dairy cattle. Ferndale butter, considered the finest in the state, earned the town the title of “Cream City”. Customers were willing to pay premium prices for the butter leading to the rise of large Victorian houses with elaborate gingerbread trim. The houses are in remarkable condition. The town never grew beyond a square mile of residential area with a peak of 1,371 people so it’s retained a small town charm and a leisurely walk will take you past the most impressive buildings.
The Ferndale Museum has hundreds of donated items grouped together by their common purpose or nicely arranged to form period room settings. We had a personal tour by Lynn Lourenco, the museum director, but I don’t know if that’s standard procedure.
The museum is accessible. The basement level is accessed by a second exterior door on the left side of the building. The sidewalks and curb cuts are in fairly good condition.
The bridge that crosses the Eel River on the road to Ferndale is very narrow so the crossing is a little nerve wracking. RVs may be parked on the street. Museum 40.57817, -124.26341