Is There A Redwood Curtain? Was there ever?

I have a pretty good memory and I ‘ve lived a lotta years . One thing I DON’T remember until recent years is people making believe there is such a thing as the “Redwood Curtain”.

When I was growing up, we felt pretty darn connected to the Bay Area. We went to San Francisco to shop for school clothes. In high school, we slept with our transistor radios (remember?)  under our pillows so we could listen to Les Crane on KGO. Yes, we knew it was a more exciting world down there but we didn’t confuse a long and winding road with a “Curtain” of any kind. The City was just a few queasy hours away (I was one of those kids who got carsick, usually right around Grundy’s, until I started high school.)  And of course, we had the train, another easy mode of travel.

Tell me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t  the “Redwood Curtain” invented by the same folks who brought us the “Redwood Summer” for better or worse, and stuck around afterward? “Redwood Curtain” invokes the allure of inaccessibility, much as does the annoying habit of referring to Humboldt County as part of the Lost Coast. We’re not lost, folks, never have been, unlike the truly inaccessible coast down in the Mattole.

“Redwood Curtain’ has come to have many different meanings.  The other day I heard someone use “Redwood Curtain” as a shorthand way of saying their office in Eureka didn’t come under the scrutiny that their Bay Area offices did. The folks who are trying to stop the CalTrans improvements at Richardson Grove have gone so far as to designate THAT little stretch of road as “the Redwood Curtain” whlch, if widened, will allow a plague of development and disruption which will surely result in Eureka becoming another Santa Rosa.

What about you? Does the Redwood Curtain exist? Does it affect your business in the form of transportation hassles or some other way? As a consumer, has the internet made you more or less likely to shop out of town? Are you in the “Woodman, Spare that Tree” camp or do you want them to fix the damn road? Let’s hear from YOU! And thanks for visiting.

UPDATE: While I was writing this the Historical Society presented Ray Hillman at the library on the topic “Links to the Bay Area” and I asked him where the term “Redwood Curtain” had originated. By the end of the day I had heard from Arlene Hartin, Ray Raphael, Bill Kier and Jerry Rhode, the cream of local historians. With these folks on the case, there will surely be an answer. Mr. Kier had an interesting theory that the term derived from the “Iron Curtain” which was in the news daily during the ‘Fifties.  Watch this space.




While meandering the backroads of South Carolina- which I’m sure we all do occasionally- one cannot help noticing the most notable structure in Bowman, the “Official South Carolina UFO Welcome Center”.  I tell you, these folks are ON it. Ready, definitely ready for visitors.

UFO Welcome Center, Bowman SC, pop. 890

Are we as ready as they are? Our two welcome centers (the one in Arcata and the one at the Chamber building) are well-stocked and the tiny staff is helpful,  but in Eureka especially the traffic roars past without stopping, even though the number of inquiries to the Chamber has being rising steadily. Remember the kerfluffle a few years ago when a waitress at the late, great Seafood Grotto  told an inquiring visitor that there was “nothing to do” in Humboldt? I think that same waitress served me. Right around that time I took a visitor to lunch who inquired about the oyster stew.  The server wrinkled her nose. “Eewwww! I don’t eat those, “she said.

For awhile there we had remedial classes at CR in the care and treatment of visitors but I haven’t heard about those lately. Do we still have them? Do we still need them? Are you and your staff ready to deal with visitor inquiries? Do any of you do your own training? Tell us about it and tell us if you have unmet needs in this area.

The structure in Bowman was built by a fellow who works in a lawnmower factory in nearby Orangeburg ( yes, they still MANUFACTURE things in South Carolina) and is conveniently located right behind the gas station, handy for fueling up for the return trip.

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