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Crannell: An Exhibit from the Collections of HSU Library Humboldt Room, 11/15/11-2/6/12

“How can HSU Library Special Collections help you envision and understand a ‘Place’ in Humboldt County over time?”

This exhibit begins to answer that question by using the example of Crannell, including its company, the Little River Redwood Company, and neighboring town, Trinidad. We chose this example because our partner in at least one of the collections featured here, the Trinidad Museum Society, is just opening an exhibit on Crannell in its historical photograph room. See both exhibits!

This exhibit is based on Collections and Collaboration.

In addition to the items cataloged for the Humboldt County Collection and Archives, which are listed in the HSU Library Catalog and shelved in the Humboldt Room, other collections exist. Major collections have their own web pages as well as a record in the Library Catalog and/or a Finding Aid.

Finding aids provide detailed information about a collection to answer these questions and more: Who created the collection? And why? How did the collection come to the Library? What actually is in this collection? Where can I use this collection? Is the collection online? Is the finding aid online?


Balke Collection (available by appointment; use finding aid)
Crannell, Little River Redwood Company; 1906-1963; 2 cubic feet

Boyle Photograph Collection (1,795 images online)
Trinidad, Crannell, logging, 1900-1960s; 2 boxes

Northwestern California Forest Communities (available on the web)
Themed collection with representative examples from several collections

Warren Photograph Collection (available by appointment; use finding aid)
Little River Redwood Company, Crannell; 1880s-1954; 74 images online

The exhibit was designed by Joan Berman, Special Collections Librarian (and Board member of the Trinidad Museum Society) and installed by Stephanie Mitten and Petra Wilkinson, interns in the HSU Museum and Gallery Practices Certificate program, fall 2011.


  • The Trinidad Museum Society began publishing a Newsletter in August 1985. The first issue described a presentation about the history of Crannell being given by Katie Boyle. The current issue hails a new historical photograph exhibit on the people and history of Crannell. Issues of the Newsletter have discussed people and places represented in the collections of the HSU Library Humboldt Room. See if you can find other copies of the Newsletter in this exhibit! (Humboldt Room: F869.T7 N48,1985:Aug.-to date)
  • Katie Boyle taught school in Crannell in the late 1940s. Later as a teacher in Trinidad Katie photographed and documented local historical photo collections covering the area's history. Her husband Bill worked for Hammond Lumber Company in Crannell, later Georgia Pacific, and took many photos documenting logging operations and practices as they existed in the 1960s and 1970s. Their extensive collection of photographic negatives came to HSU in 1999, after copy prints were made by the Trinidad Museum at Katie’s direction.

    The images are grouped into sub series by the source, or collector, of the original photographs, carefully described by Katie, e.g.,

    Sub series: 6601BA1-6604BA5 William C. Balke Collection (1999.03.0001-1999.03.0056)
    The collector was born in Little River Valley and lived much of his life there. He attended the 1 room schools of the Valley. One was the Ocean and one near Bulwinkle. He and his wife live about a mile above the Valley in Dows Prairie. W.C. Balke worked for the logging companies and had a ranch. He is a descendant of Conrad Bulwinkle who homesteaded the Valley. John Bullwinkle (not related) sold his ranch in the upper valley to a logging company and the town of Bulwinkle (Crannell) began.

    collaborative grant application between HSU Library and Trinidad Museum Society enabled online access. Digitization was provided by Northern Micrographics to the specifications of the California Local History Digital Resources Project (LHDRP), a multi-year program supported by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered in California by the State Librarian…

  • The Warren Photograph Collection, donated by Walter J. Warren in 1994, provides a visual history of the lumber company town of Crannell (known as Bulwinkle prior to 1922) and the Little River Redwood Company (LRRC). The collection consists of approximately 500 photographs, samples of promotional materials produced by and/or used by LRRC in the 1920s, and three presentation albums. Note more connections with Trinidad Museum:Sub series: Thriving years of Little River Redwood Company, Bulwinkle becomes Crannell, folder 39 [1999.06.0189-1999.06.0201] The Little River Redwood Co Crannell Calif., January 1930 [promotional photographs, probably by Dold & Dold, per Trinidad Museum Newsletter Summer 2004]

    Many of the Dold & Dold photographs are also included in the Katie Boyle Photograph Collection where they are more fully identified; some of these are also published in Redwood Lumber Industry by Lynwood Carranco.

    Further, from the collection Finding Aid, more interconnections:

    Series: Presentation albums

    LRRC album, Freeman Art Company, 1924. This includes two four-part panorama views of Crannell, one looking north, the other south, and a four-part panorama of Fairhaven, site of a LRRC operation. Two other nearly identical copies of this album are located at the Clarke Historical Museum and the Humboldt County Historical Society; the latter one is described in Humboldt Historian, Winter 2003.

    A second album can be dated to approximately 1930. Although the 20 photographs are not listed or labeled, many can be identified as corresponding to a series of 18 postcards located at the Trinidad Museum which are reproduced and described in the Summer 2004 issue of their Newsletter as coming from Katie Boyle. Others are duplicates of photographs from the Library’s Partain Photograph Collection of lumbering photographs from the Hammond Lumber Company files.

    The collection webpage includes maps of the town from 1925 and 1954 and an aerial photograph from 1953; these come from other HSU Humboldt Room collections.

  • Seventy five photos from the Warren Collection, plus the two Crannell maps and the 1921-22 Belcher Atlas, were among the materials we selected to be digitized as part of a grant project through the California State Library in 2005-06, resulting in the Northwestern California Forest Communities webpage. These images are available through the California Digital Library/Online Archive of California and its image search interface Calisphere.
  • Noteworthy items in the Balke Collection are the minutes books of the Crannell Woman's Club (1920-1928) and the Affidavits of [voter] Registration (1912, 1914,1922, 1926, 1944, and 1946) for Little River and Crannell. The business side of this “salvage” collection is represented by Ledger Book No 1 Little River Redwood Company, 1906-09, and various posters and cancelled checks. We chose to highlight Craigie Sharp,Crannell storekeeper, in the ledger book, as we also hold a collection of his letters, donated by his grandson Tom Sharp, photograph curator at Trinidad Museum.