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Humboldt County Historical Society Program

When: Sun., Nov. 19, 4 & 6 p.m. 2017
Price: Free
The Humboldt County Historical Society and the Miniplex at Richards’ Goat Tavern and Tea Room in Arcata present “Strange Wonders on the Whaling Wharf,” on November 19 at 4:00 and 6:00 p.m. Richards’ Goat is located at Samoa Boulevard and I Street in Arcata, with parking on I Street. Historical Society archivist James Garrison will present archival film footage of the Eureka Whaling Station at Fields Landing, and of whaling crews on the high seas in pursuit of whales. These films were made in the 1940s and the original reel-to-reel films will be shown on a vintage projector. The films have also been digitized for preservation, and this screening is a fundraiser to help the Historical Society to digitize other valuable historical films in their collections. James Garrison will provide a live narration and a history of the Eureka Whaling Station at Fields Landing. The station opened in 1940, and the ship “Gleaner” brought in the first whales on June 13 and 14. Strange as it sounds today, from the start the station was promoted as a tourist attraction. Sightseers paid a small admission fee to watch a whale being butchered. Local newspapers announced when a whale was on deck, and people arrived dressed up to have their photographs taken with the dead whales. Photos show visitors standing or sitting upon the whales, or, as seen in the image above, standing in a Finback Whale’s mouth. Note the girl’s hand in the baleen plates in the whale’s upper jaw. Grooves, like pleats, extend along the lower jaw, allowing the throat to expand when the Finback is feeding. Also visible is the asymmetrical coloring of the Finback’s head. On the left side, the lips and head are dark, and on the right side white. Whether such details were shared with the visitors, or whether the whales were presented and seen as mere spectacles, we can only hazard a guess. Join James Garrison for a screening of 1940s whaling films out of Fields Landing, accompanied by the story of the Eureka whaling station, the men who built it and worked there, and the kinds and characteristics of the whales who met their fates there. Note that the Miniplex is accessed within Richards’ Goat Tavern and Tearoom. A full bar, juices, and teas, and a small menu of hot food items are available at Richards’ Goat for dining before the film. Also, beverages, popcorn, brownies and cookies are available to take into the mini theater. For more information please contact the Humboldt County Historical Society at 445-4342, or visit



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