Millworks 1 X Street. Eureka, CA 95501 (800)248-4259
Blue Ox Millworks, Eureka,
California―It was just another rainy day when my flight arrived at the
Eureka-Arcata Airport one Saturday morning on a weekend getaway from Los
Angeles. I had left sunny L.A. for this rain-soaked, redwood coast and
quickly discovered as I hopped in my rental car that even with rain, driving
was easier and there was lots to see and do in a region that has over 40
inches of rain each year.
The rain actually offered a glimpse into the
lifestyle of people living in Humboldt County.. It explained why the
landscapes are bit less manicured though the Victorians are treated with
My first stop at the Blue Ox Millworks
on the north side of the city was an excellent choice and lucky break for
someone who just happened to choose an exit off Highway 101 because of it
felt right (see more
photos). A quick glimpse of a map downloaded off the Internet
showed that this was an attraction the Humboldt County Convention and
Visitors Bureau recommended. But the rain was pouring down and I wasn't
accustomed to getting wet so I sat in my car and watched others climb the
steps and enter the building of a sizeable complex. After realizing the rain
would not let up, I ventured out into the wet with my little black umbrella.
What awaited me through the door were some incredible people who shared
their passion for the lost art of woodworking experienced through the use of
antique scroll and shaping tools and machinery that's powered by humans.
An annual event held the weekend after Thanksgiving each year,
Craftsman's Days, offers one of your best opportunities to watch the
workings of this authentic millworks.
Named after oxen (and there are
several on the property), Blue Ox Millworks is a museum the public can visit
and tour for a small fee, but it also features a working factory where
custom wood designs are created for antique houses and treasures that range
from the Sacramento Governor's Mansion refurbishment to buildings
throughout the region, the US and world. From the United States White House
in Washington, D.C. to Japan, owner Eric Hollenbeck has authentically
repaired and replaced wood adornments with craftsman style quality products
made the old-fashioned way.
In addition to his clientele, the
entrepreneur created a school for youth interested in hands on learning.
Students accepted into the program have a unique experience that includes
making their own yearbook with an antique press. For the public,
classroom opportunities include workshops covering woodworking, ceramics and
many other handy skills.
For those just passing through, a
stroll through this informative museum is one of the greatest treasures
you'll discover in Eureka. After you leave the Blue Ox Millworks, you'll
drive around the city and notice that nearly every building in the downtown
area includes intricate woodwork, often reminiscent of the Victorian era.
What a perfect way to begin your journey through redwood country where solid
buildings made of redwood continue to shine through the love and handiwork
of local artists such as Hollenbeck!
Eureka is very easy to drive around. Streets in the
main shopping and hotel region along Redwood Highway (101) are in a grid
pattern designated as letters of the alphabet one direction and numbers
An official California Welcome Center
with maps, information, free guides and staff is located at
1635 Heindon Road, Arcata, CA 95521. Call: 707 822-3619.