Wednesday, August 12, 2015

101 North: Eureka, Humboldt Bay Naval Sea/Air Museum


Humboldt Bay Naval Sea/Air Museum  Commercial Street Dock, Waterfront Dr., just a few miles from Old Town waterfront, (707) 442-9333.  F & Sun 9am-3pm, & any other time the flag is up and the coffee pot is on.  By donation. 
last operational WWII Landing Craft at Humboldt Bay Naval Sea/Air Museum in Eureka, California

boarding the WWII Landing Craft at Humboldt Bay Naval Sea/Air Museum in Eureka, California

welcome mat at Humboldt Bay Naval Sea/Air Museum in Eureka, California

Out on this area’s scenic waterfront, past some rusted train cars that are covered in an attractive way with graffiti, a World War II Landing Craft is now moored to the pier and operates as a floating museum.  Though 1,098 were built during World War II--this one being #1091--only two remain.  This 158-foot-long vessel is the last operational LCI (#713 is in Portland, Oregon, and has no engines).  Used in Okinawa in the last invasion of the Pacific War, she looks similar to when she was in combat more than 50 years ago.  The craft served again in the Korean War as an epidemic control vessel, but was in actuality a spy ship.  In 1960 she became a processing ship for an Alaska fish company, and then was purchased by Dr. Ralph Davis in Everett, Washington, and sailed here in 1989 to be used for albacore fishing.  In 2006, when fuel became too expensive, Dr. Davis donated the ship to the museum.  "Ten Ninety-One" (civilian name) was built in 1944 in the De Bois Shipyards in Bay City, Michigan.  In the war she sailed in flotillas of LCIs, each carrying 200 soldiers and their gear that they delivered to enemy beaches via a ramp.  The LCIs were built in small shipyards because bigger ones were occupied constructing Liberty ships.  You can get an impromptu tour of the craft and see the galley, berths, and heads.  Museum volunteers continue to work on restoring #1091 to her original state.  An additional viewing bonus is the 36-foot Flemish life boat that bobs adjacent.  These boats were designed so anyone can operate them.  Only three are left and this museum has them all.
36-foot Flemish life boat at Humboldt Bay Naval Sea/Air Museum in Eureka, California

Fun fund-raisers are scheduled periodically, including pancake breakfasts, events on military holidays, and a Haunted Ship at Halloween.  Drop by to hear the rest of the story and chew the fat with some old salts.
volunteers in front of gun tower on WWII Landing Craft at Humboldt Bay Naval Sea/Air Museum in Eureka, California


More World War II stories:  Dad’s Story; Rosie the Riveter Stories; Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park.

More things to do in Eureka.

Here are some travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular getaways.

images ©2015 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

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