The Wharf Master's House, and Eastlake cottage, is surely the most elaborately decorated residence in Point Arena. The house is one of Point Arena's most important buildings. It makes a strong contribution to the historic district and is individually significant as well.
The house was constructed for the Wharf Master, whose work was central to the economic well being of Point Arena from the 1860's to the 1920'S. Because of it's location on a rise above the cove, the Wharf Master could be at home and still literally oversee activities at the port. The house was probably built in the mid-1870's. Reputedly, it was prefabricated in San Francisco and shipped to Point Arena as a kit. Certainly nothing else in town matches it for ornamentation. Turned posts, scroll brackets, elaborate window moldings, decorative barge boards, and a dentil course all make an appearance. These Eastlake elements typified fancy house built during the era in the larger and less remote California cities, but were unusual in Point Arena where residents were generally contented with functionality. Finally, this house, overlooking the ocean and surrounded by gnarled trees and shrubs, gives an excellent idea of what was considered "picturesque" in the middle of the nineteenth century.
Our part of the California coast is widely recognized as including some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. It can be a moody place and it can dazzle you with the power and beauty of nature's many wonders. The seasons are different - visit often and see the many faces of nature that are found here on our byways.
Point Arena was an important place thousands of years ago when the Pomo people led an idyllic life amidst the plenty of the virgin forests, the clear streams and the nearby ocean. In the early decades of the nineteenth century Europeans discovered the area first as trappers looking for furs and exploring for a direct sailing route from the Pacific to the Atlantic Oceans, and later as settlers claiming the small valleys and meadows for cattle ranches and dairy farms. One of the original Mexican land grants was made to Senor Rafael Garcia in 1844 and the nearby Garcia River still bears his name.
Senor Garcia established a cattle ranch along the river in 1845. Gold was discovered in the Sierras a few years later and San Francisco became the focus of attention around the world as the Gold Rush started. There was no gold in Point Arena but the rapid growth of San Francisco created a strong demand for lumber. Point Arena had enormous redwood forests that stretched from the hills to the ocean. Eventually fourteen saw mills were established in the immediate area and Point Arena became a thriving lumber town.
Coastal shipping became an important adjunct to the growing communities along the Northern California coast and to the burgeoning timber industry. Small schooners plied the treacherous waters fitting into small coves and bays that the seamen said were holes so small that only a dog could get into and turn around in them. As a result the small craft were called "dog hole schooners". Point Arena Harbor became known as one of the better ports of call for these intrepid sailors. In 1870 the federal government decided to invest in the area. A lighthouse was built on Point Arena and a Wharf Master was named to watch over the small but important port.
The century old Wharf Master's House is the centerpiece of our Inn. It is important enough to the history of the area that it is the oldest bit of history that is being made available for guests to use in this part of California.
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