Home > Economy, Fortuna > SHOP LOCAL: Fortuna in 1937

SHOP LOCAL: Fortuna in 1937

If you think the message to “shop local” was invented by hippies in Arcata in response to outside corporate chain stores, think again.  This 1937 film from Fortuna touts the importance of supporting local business.

From the description on YouTube:

This 22-minute film was discovered during a remodel of the Fortuna Theater in Fortuna, California. It was commissioned by the merchants of Fortuna and filmed by the The Alexander Film Company, one of the biggest film advertising businesses at the time, and produced by the Blache’ Screen Service in San Francisco as part of their “Buy at Home” series which promoted local small town commerce.

The film shows everyday life in 1937 downtown Fortuna, including school scenes and the local fire department. Look for the big salmon hanging above a downtown intersection!

At the end of the movies are several short clips of the Scotia and Robinson Ferry Bridge dedication and several scenes from a rodeo (called the Horsemen’s Fiesta) taking place at Redwood Acres in Eureka.


  1. Anonymous
    May 15, 2012 at 8:29 am

    The future is mail-order (web-ordering). If only Humboldt could compete, but alas we have narrow roads leading out, no rail, and not much of a port to speak of.

  2. May 15, 2012 at 9:58 am

    “The future is mail-order (web-ordering). If only Humboldt could compete, but alas we have narrow roads leading out, no rail, and not much of a port to speak of.”

    All things that people are trying to change…wouldn’t some actual JOBS be nice around here?

  3. Anonymous
    May 15, 2012 at 11:23 am

    Mark, last time I checked, Humboldt was home to multiple litigious groups that very much want to keep roads heading out-of-the-county narrow and slow, keep rail from being restored, and keep a port from being developed. Here’s a tip. When environmental groups make economic arguments against development, their real motivation isn’t to advise us on their vast expert knowledge of economic development issues, but to instead slow economic growth, and thus slow population growth, and thus slow environmental degradation on the North Coast.

  4. Anonymous
    May 15, 2012 at 11:51 am

    “Humboldt was home to multiple litigious groups that very much want to keep roads heading out-of-the-county narrow and slow ”

    That is a complete lie. A perfect example of “spin”. What the public doesn’t want to do is waste money on unecessary construction that is also against the better interests of the public in the proven long run. Keep roads narrow and slow? They are and have been narrow and slow. Who is deciding that more cars should cram through these areas?

    And cut with the litigious groups crap. Developers, pavement pushers and politicos are in noteable lawsuits right this very second to grant themselves “the right” to conduct business at less overhead while still upping the public’s cost. Mills in Humboldt shut down while our clearcut local logs are shipped to china??? Leaving out the fact that you also don’t even address the environment at all.

    When they talk about “economics”, the people you are cheerleading are refering to their own. Follow the money, it really is that easy sometimes. If everybody’s in it for the money on all “sides”, you can still take a look at who’s making money while the rest of the county goes broke.

  5. What Now
    May 15, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    The most rabidly litigious organization in Humboldt are the assholes at “Sunshine for Humboldt” and other fronts for developers and speculators.

  6. Anonymous
    May 15, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    Don’t forget the assholes at EPIC and Baykeeepers too. Fair’s fair.

  7. Not A Native
    May 15, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    The difference is that EPIC and Baykeeper were founded under the idea that business as usual wasn’t being good stewards of the land, and environmental laws weren’t being enforced administratively. So bringing lawsuits and endorsing candidates are reasonable ways to cause change.

    But HumCPR and Sunshine were founded under the principle that the status quo is just peachy and any problems were being caused strictly by those who wanted changes in enforcing laws. They want to roll back environmental law that they see as overregulation. So their lobbying for legislative relief and endorsing candidates is reasonable. But filing lawsuits isn’t.

    However they’ve lost administrative support for their laissez-faire policy they’re sore losers who’ve resorting to scorched earth tactics, using financial power to bring frivolous and costly lawsuits for the purpose of intimidating administrators.

  8. Anonymous
    May 15, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    I find it humorous when people say hippies started the movement to support local business. Many of us remember when the downtown merchants and other local businesses were criticized for being too rich and too high priced. The more liberal types wanted lower prices and to boycott the local stores. They wanted malls. They got them.

  9. Anonymous
    May 15, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    So true NAN and 3:41. Ironies abound in this discussion.

  10. Anonymous
    May 15, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    “That is a complete lie.”

    Huh? You don’t read the newspaper, do you? Like is said, when environmentalists are arguing economic policy, you know something is up.

  11. Anonymous
    May 15, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    “Like is said, when environmentalists are arguing economic policy, you know something is up.”

    And how is that? “environmentalists” like who? Your neighbors? The person who rang up your groceries? Me? You? Obviously you are not an “environmentalist” then! The economic policy of whose design, you say? Obviously not “environmentalists”. Yes, I read the newspaper. Are you on drugs?

  12. Jack Sherman
    May 15, 2012 at 9:02 pm

    All those right-wingers with their “born here” credibility DO NOT want you to see their ancestor’s values clearly defined in this film. How sad for them to have to hide their rabid defense of an imperial economy that rests on the backs of children elsewhere…

    Don’t expect to see it on local TV. EVER.

    What a gem Heraldo is.

  13. SmokeMonster
    May 15, 2012 at 11:23 pm

    What are the “actual JOBS” we should be looking forward to Mark?

    Please elaborate with multiple examples to back up your statement.

    I see plenty of jobs available in Humboldt for those that want to put forth the effort.

  14. Sunny
    May 16, 2012 at 6:45 am

    This film is worth playing just for the soundtrack alone (after the non-Fortuna-specific message at the beginning).

  15. walt
    May 16, 2012 at 7:07 am

    Y’all are down on litigants. . .but don’t lawsuits create jobs for lawyers? And those pay way better than McDonalds.

  16. anoni-truth-seeker
    May 16, 2012 at 7:47 am

    3:41 says, “The more liberal types wanted lower prices and to boycott the local stores. They wanted malls. They got them.”

    You can’t make a statement like that without some evidence. Unless of course you want to include the word “radical” in front of liberal. Then you can apparently say whatever you want.

    By the way, the moon is made out of cubic zirconia and is owned by the residents of a small town in Poland. Just another “fact” to consider.

  17. unanonymous
    May 16, 2012 at 10:05 am

    actually, we know what the moon is made of because we have samples and have been there. I guess we can apply your lack of credibility to the remainder of your comment.

  18. Anonymous
    May 16, 2012 at 10:27 am

    “And those pay way better than McDonalds.”

    Do you really want to discuss what McDonald’s lawyers are working on these days? When there is crime being commited, there is a process to absolve it that involves lawyers. Otherwise, these large corporations with their permanent staff of wealthy inhouse lawyers have their way without contest. Your lawyer speak is like doctor speak.

  19. Anonymous
    May 16, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    Why no footage of logging and mill operation? That was pretty big in Fortuna in the 30s.

  20. skippy
    May 16, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    Nice film from the archives. Those were good days when the world wasn’t being rocked by the Depression and WW II. Most everyone you see is gone now, but some of the sights and places endure.

    Compare this to a typical week in Humboldt today.

    Sherman, set the Wayback machine to Fortuna, 1937.

  21. anoni-truth-seeker
    May 16, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    10:05 claims that “we” have been to the moon. So you’ve fallen for that one too?

  22. Anonymous
    May 16, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    Anoni at 7:47. Some of us are actually old enough to remember what was going on here in the 70s and 80s. Even the 60s and before. I was actually here, experiencing what it was like. My family had a business. My friends had businesses downtown and around the area. Most of them are gone. It still amazes me that there were types who thought the business people were trying to cheat them with prices. I don’t see most of those businesses around, and the owners and their families are not “rolling in dough”. They were mostly just trying to make a living. So, my proof? It happened in every community in this country.

  23. yesterdays
    May 16, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    Anonymous at 2:28, Yes, it happened in every community in this country. Local small businesses got pushed out by global big businesses. Interesting how much those local places of business contributed to the tax base. I wonder how much the big box businesses contribute now. I suppose yesterday always looks better, but I can’t help compare the diverse individual stores run by families and town people to today’s bland mega stores and malls.

    Small town America is an idea and image that today’s “conservatives” like to appropriate as their own. Look deeper and see how they’ve helped destroy it.

  24. stoney creek
    May 16, 2012 at 9:56 pm

    At the 18:30 mark in the film is the Fortuna City Reservoir. It is currently being torn down. After almost 80 years this landmark is being torn down to make way for an ugly replacement – a concrete structure that has no soul or heart and will degrade the neighborhood I live in. As with all modern structures, no one allows for beauty or keeping the feel of the original, all of that goes by the wayside so that an economical structure can take its place. On top of that, the neighborhood must endure a stressful, heart wrenching makeover that will result in a trashy nothingness that will reduce property values…

    No one has the vision or the will to make a public edifice beautiful or inspiring anymore…

  25. High Finance
    May 17, 2012 at 7:34 am

    People tend to look at the “good old days” through rose colored glasses.

    I also was here in the 60’s, 70’s & 80’s. I remember the downtown stores closing at 5.30pm. Saturday hours were 10am to 4pm and Sundays they were closed. Prices were higher, sometimes much higher, than stores in Santa Rosa & the Bay Area. Selection was limited.

    I remember how many of us would make the annual trip down there to buy kids clothes every August just before school started.

  26. Anonymous
    May 18, 2012 at 9:26 pm

    Stores were open until 8 or 9 on Friday nights. My father went downtown 6 or 7 days a week and worked 12-14 hour days much of the time.

    I disagree that HIS type of conservative values helped destroy small town America. Today’s far right conservative is more wasteful and more extreme compared to those traditional and non greedy types who ran small businesses in yesteryear. He would never have risked his store’s reputation or tainted his ideals by making excess profit supersede making paying customers satisfied with their purchase.

  27. Jack Sherman
    May 19, 2012 at 12:18 am

    Economy’s like New Zealand protected their small businesses and they remain very much like those in this promotional video. Yes, prices are high…but with universal health care, free university, free housing, job training and job placement, there’s actual incentive and motivation to excel.

    They are among the few industrial economies not to be implementing severe austerity programs, avoiding devastating economic collapse.

  28. High Finance
    May 19, 2012 at 7:23 am

    Unemployment rate in New Zealand is 6.7% and currently suffering through record budget deficits.

    Of course their deficit is not as bad as ours. But then they don’t have our Democrats in charge over there either.

  29. granny90
    May 19, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    I remember the thirties and the depression–emphasis to
    BUY AMERICA was inspirational.And there was always the five and dime,

  30. Anonymous
    May 19, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    New Zealand has a 39% tax rate for incomes over $75,000, a corporate tax rate of 30%, a national sales tax of 15% and only 1% of its GDP is for defense spending compared to the US at 5.2%. That might be a reason their deficit is lower, or it COULD be because they don’t have Republicans looting their treasury and writing tax laws to further enrich their campaign donors.

  31. Jack Sherman
    May 20, 2012 at 11:22 pm

    For nearly a generation after WWII the highest individual tax bracket in the U.S. was 90%…a period of great prosperity in America.

    New Zealand still invests in its human resources because they never forgot that the rich depend upon it.

  32. Anonymous
    May 21, 2012 at 6:13 am

    90% of my hard earned cash (and I am in the highest bracket) would be unfair. Save it for those who make millions, not those of us who employ people in a small business and work 80 hour or more a week. What is the incentive to work hard and do well, with such a bracket? The brackets need to be modified, in that case.

  33. High Finance
    May 21, 2012 at 7:18 am

    6.13pm is a perfect example of what I have been saying for years.

    Everybody is “greedy” and want the government to tax that guy over there more ?

    The street begger thinks PJ makes too much. PJ thinks her clients make too much. Her clients think the millionaires make too much, the millionaires think the multi millionaires are the culprits and those people think the billionaires should be taxed more.

  34. High Finance
    May 21, 2012 at 7:19 am

    That is 6.13am and not 6.13pm.

  35. Dan
    May 21, 2012 at 7:39 am

    morning or night, am or pm,
    greed is greed.

  36. Mitch
    May 21, 2012 at 7:58 am

    Nobody is seriously proposing a 90% tax rate.

    There’s a lot of room between 35% and 90%, and there’s also a lot of room for fair shading between a $400,000 income, a $4,000,000 income, and a $40,000,000 income.

    As a nation, we are going to have to come to terms with the simple fact that if someone cannot be happy with several million dollars a year, while their neighbors are struggling, there will be NO difference in their happiness if they get to keep 2/3 of their next million or only 1/3 of it.

    Such people are at least as mentally ill as the unwashed guy wandering in the streets and shouting randomly. Sure, they can buy good press and false friends, but they are emotionally screwed up, and we need to begin to recognize that.

    Think about it for just a moment.

    If your next choice were between buying a third private jet and saving the lives of a thousand children you don’t know, which would you do? Sure, we’re all selfish to one degree or another, but just because there’s a grey area doesn’t mean everywhere is grey.

    Any mentally healthy person would choose as you would in the example I gave, and yet our society applauds the broken people who choose otherwise.

  37. Anonymous
    May 21, 2012 at 8:10 am

    Applauding those who set a bad example by choosing the equivalent of the third jet is a sick part of our society. Why are we so interested in our sport figures, celebrities, and super wealthy? Why do we let them get away with doing things we do not accept in our own circle?

  38. Mitch
    May 21, 2012 at 8:15 am

    Propaganda, 8:10. We are swimming in it at all times. The media is owned by crazy people.

    Even on the internet, places like The Huffington Post think the most important event of the past month is the Facebook IPO, not the collapse of European economic unity, or the suffering of the Greek people, or the human rights situation in China, or the attack on the Syrian people by their dictator, or even the American race for the presidency.

    We are treated to hour-by-hour updates of the imaginary price of the company.

  39. Anonymous
    May 21, 2012 at 8:57 am

    That’s because the Huffington Post was sold to AOL, Mitch.

  40. Anonymous
    May 21, 2012 at 9:05 am

    Huffington was never anything to begin with…polar politics, irrelevant soap opera fluff fed to them by the gubmunt itself. All conveniently tied into TV spots dominating their portions of “market share”. If it’s true AOL owns the post, it could only be worse than it already was.

  41. Mitch
    May 21, 2012 at 9:12 am

    Well, since the Herald was sold to Media News Group, it’s been downhill here, too. We each have to take on five personas a day, min.

  42. May 21, 2012 at 9:26 am

    I demand better bennies for my third anonymous persona.

  43. Anonymous
    May 21, 2012 at 9:27 am

    “We each have to take on five personas a day, min.”

    Instead of donuts and coffee you get prozac and whiskey.

  44. Mitch
    May 21, 2012 at 9:29 am

    Yeah, High Finance is worth additional benefits. He’s one of the best fictional characters I’ve encountered. Give yourself a raise, H.

  45. High Finance
    May 21, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    If we were all paid by the number of puedo names we use Mitch, you and Heraldo would be part of the 1%.

  46. Fact Checker
    May 21, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    Hi Fi 12:16 Pot-Kettle-Black

  47. High Finance
    May 21, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    Bull Factless.

  48. Anonymous
    May 21, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    I think you have it backwards, Mitch. Our culture has unfortunately changed so that the majority of the population worth targeting in advertising are more interested in celebrity and gossip, popular culture. For that reason, the media (who like to make a profit and compete well) cover what the people want. The media is not crazy; our culture is crazy! Those very important topics you mentioned are not what people tune in to read and watch. Dreary, the dumbing down of our nation, our culture.

  49. Mitch
    May 21, 2012 at 3:32 pm


    I agree that the media is going to feed people what they want, and I agree that’s generally explosions, guns, tits, and ass. And the octomom.

    But what explains the coverage of Facebook’s IPO? Yes, lots of people type to one another via Facebook, but does that mean they care what its share price is going to be?

    Could anyone be more boring than Zuckerberg, or Zuckerman, or whatshisname? I mean, even Donald Trump is funny, if only for his toupe. Reading about Bill Gates or, now, Zuck…, is like watching paint dry.

    It’s bizarre that people in the media thought the world was going to get all excited about so-and-so being worth thus-and-such billion dollars. I can only conclude that people in the media are, for the most part, as deluded as the people who think living on 2.3 billion dollars will be better than living on 1.8 billion dollars. Maybe more so — they seem to salivate just thinking about the “b” in billions, and they confuse the wealthy with celebrities, or try to turn one into the other.

  50. Anonymous
    May 21, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    I dunno, MItch. I know a few people who wanted to buy stock in Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg is an interesting character. Young, stays out of the limelight, dresses like a kid, lives in an unassuming house. He’s unusual, besides the fact that he created Facebook. What he did have he achieved fame warrants a second look. Bill Gates? Not interesting (like paint drying) because he too, does nothing interesting, like the stuff your parents told you not to do. Cheating on your significant other, getting drunk and disorderly. Damn, Lindsey Lohan is more interesting. Oh, and those guys seem to give a lot to charity. Bor—-ing! I kinda like them.

  51. Anonymous
    May 21, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    “What he did AFTER he achieved fame” is what I meant.

  52. Anonymous
    May 22, 2012 at 2:11 am

    There is no zuckerberg, just as there was no tom, nor is there a craig. Ronald Reagan was always an actor, never a politician. Same goes for Arnold Schwarzenegger. There is no talking bengalese tiger wearing a bandana around his neck, and should such a thing ever exist, it would have nothing whatsoever to do with processed grain mulch slathered in refined sweeteners and chemical preservatives.

  53. Jack Sherman
    May 22, 2012 at 11:50 am

    The last time anything came close to the power of advertizing to appeal to children over the heads of their parents was the Nazi Youth movement.

    The costs to humanity from a product-centered culture will far exceed the state-centered culture of Nazi Germany.

    Left unchecked, the number of humans that survive the mass-extinctions, climate change, and toxicity of an over-harvested planet will be outside our control.

  54. Thirdeye
    May 22, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    Sneer at Bill Gates all you want, we would have a much better business culture in this country if he and Warren Buffett became the role models for billionaires.

    The Facebook IPO is significant mainly because it flopped. That’s good news. The pump and dump “investment” game is running out of suckers.

  55. Mitch
    May 22, 2012 at 4:01 pm


    I’m glad Mr. Gates married well. She seems like a smart cookie, and I think she’s the brains behind the Gates Foundation, which is wonderful.

    Bill Gates basically figured out to charge for things others were giving away for free. Thanks to our odd culture, the narrow-mindedness of businessmen and bureaucrats, and especially to the enormous strength of network effects, that made him a billionaire and delayed the evolution of software for decades. More power to him, but I wouldn’t have chosen him as a role model, and I think history will note him positively more for the Foundation than for Microsoft. The Gates Foundation is wonderful, and it’s probably a good thing, in the end, that Bill Gates was able to concentrate so much money and divert it to productive use.

    Jobs, for all his flaws, comes much closer to what I’d want to emulate, or at least read about. But I really admire Richard Stallman and Linus Torvalds for their accomplishments.

    Warren Buffett? Seems like a decent guy. I agree that Buffett would be a good role model for other billionaires.

  56. High Finance
    May 22, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    But Buffett lies to the masses.

    That isn’t admirable in my world.

  57. Anonymous
    May 22, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    Jobs was smart, very smart, and a super businessman, in addition to his techie talents. As a person, I can’t admire. He had a personality type I do not wish to be around. Wasn’t that nice to his parents, unable to empathize with those struggling around him, or those with inferior tech skills. A star in the world of tech and business, but quite inferior in the humanities. Like most people, not able to do it all. Not his fault, mind you. Just not someone I want to admire for anything more than his unusual accomplishments.

  58. Jack Sherman
    May 22, 2012 at 11:24 pm

    “Nobody is seriously proposing a 90% tax rate.”

    Stick to what you know for sure, you’re beginning to write like Highly Mistaken.

    This rate was considered patriotic for decades after WWII on annual incomes over $400,000, or about $5 million today.

    If Americans were told how many subsidies U.S. businesses receive, while their community schools, infrastructure and services decay, many more like me would like to return to a patriotic past.

  59. Mitch
    May 23, 2012 at 7:09 am

    Thanks for the correction, “Jack.”

    Nobody serious is seriously proposing a 90% tax rate.

    I suppose if someone were not interested in what’s actually possible today or in the foreseeable future, but only wants to lead an imaginary bandwagon, they’d have no problem proposing a 90% tax rate.

  60. Anonymous
    May 23, 2012 at 7:45 am

    At least 90% of my income disappears every month. Food, rent, car, etc. Same goes for just about everybody I know. People in “higher tax brackets” easily forget what life is like @ the $10/hour and below range.

  61. Jack Sherman
    May 23, 2012 at 11:54 am

    “Nobody serious is seriously proposing a 90% tax rate.”

    And how “foreseeable” was the Rasmussen poll showing that 40% of respondents 18-25 years old would prefer socialism over capitalism?

    How “foreseeable” was the 2010 U.S. Census data, (reported in the new book, “The Rich and the Rest of Us”), showing that half this nation, over 150 million people, are currently at risk of entering poverty?

    I wish I had a dollar every time some idiot predicted something “unforeseeable” in U.S. history.

    “Imaginary bandwagon”? A 90% tax rate already built this nation’s infrastructure and funded services that helped build this nation’s middle class!

    Why crap on known-solutions?

    For inspiration, I recommend heading downtown to ANY planning meeting, GP hearing, or public workshop to witness our own little development community successfully lobbying to protect their right to begin the 3rd housing bubble since the 1980’s!

    After the collapse of the world economy…who would have thought it possible?

    “Unforeseeable” my ass.

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