Follow Up – Druids of California

Here’s the Pt. Arena Druid’s Hall I started writing about on Tuesday. I mentioned that it’s the furthest north branch in California. But that wasn’t always the case!

A reader sent me this photo (left), explaining, “This steel sign was dug up inside Fort Bragg city limits by a friend about 25 years ago,” he wrote me and said a Druid temple in Fort Bragg met at Red Men’s Hall. That would have made Ft. Bragg the furthest north chapter.

But this is not the end of the discoveries regarding Druids of California. Near Elk, a tiny town between me and Fort Bragg, was a town called Cuffy’s Cove, now a ghost town. Near it is a graveyard marked Druids (perfect topic for October 1!)

I haven’t found an explanation for Cuffy’s Cove Druid Cemetery. Maybe they identified with a now-defunct branch of Druids in the once thriving town of Cuffy’s (also spelled Cuffey’s) Cove, which apparently reached its peak in the 1870s, with hotels, saloons, boarding houses, homes, stores and, of course, a wharf, built as a shipping point for the lumber industry. A larger wharf went in at Greenwood (now known as Elk) and Cuffey’s Cove became deserted.

Someone else came to the same conclusion: Keith Skinner, in his blog post on the subject, wrote, “In their 1914 History of Mendocino and Lake Counties, Aurelius Carpenter and Percy Millberry devote a section to ‘secret societies’ for each township in both counties. Under the entry for Point Arena, the authors write, “One, to a certain extent, may judge a country town by the number and character of its secret societies.” Most of the larger towns—-and Cuffey’s Cove would [have] qualified … in its heyday—-had several such organizations, including the Masons and Odd Fellows. … Perhaps, judging by the special attention shown the Druids in the cemetery, it was considered the most elite of the societies.”

Researching the Druid’s Hall in the town where I work is uncovering lots of intriguing, unseen histories of the area!


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