After finding Humboldt Bay from the sand dunes near Fairhaven on December 20, 1849, the Dr. Josiah Gregg exploring party reached the present site of Eureka. December 26, passing an open area near this point, to camp by an Indian village close to today's Fort Humboldt. At the junction of Eel and Van Duzen Rivers, a dispute separated the party. Dr. Gregg and three men tried to reach civilization via the coast, but were forced to turn inland. Near Clear Lake a weakened Dr. Gregg died. L.K. Wood, leading the dissenting members of the party, reached the Mark West Ranch in Sonoma, February 17, 1850. Word of the discovery of the bay became known and a dozen ships raced north from San Francisco to locate the lost harbor. The Laura Virginia Association finally entered Humboldt Bay in April 1850, benefiting from the Gregg Expedition's work and hardships.
Members of the party:
Dr. Josiah Gregg
David A. Buck
Mr. Van Duzen
Dedicated June 14, 1976 by the Eureka Bicentennial Commission.