The contrast between then and now, the past and present, is startling. Sitting in the Carson Mansion, overlooking the Humboldt Bay and watching the boats bobbing in the marina, it is easy to picture what life must have been like in the heyday—1884-85—when William Carson built what has become one of the area’s most conspicuous landmarks. Now known as the Ingomar Club, the mansion is only open to members—one of whom was my host.
The conversation started with a comment about the region’s past professions: logging and fishing. “What is the leading industry today?” “Pot, I’m told.”
The answer was easy to believe.
Earlier in the day, I’d toured Arcata, California—home to Humboldt State University (HSU)—which has rightfully earned the moniker of one of the nation’s top “party schools”. Arcata also has an abundance of Victorian homes that I viewed by following a walking-tour map. Some were well maintained, but many were in disrepair with peeling paint and overgrown yards. On the self-guided tour, I passed empty storefronts and thrift shops. I saw dozens of VW buses surrounding an open garage with an aged hippie working on the one inside. A dog sniffed at my feet and then moved on, disinterested.
From one street to the next, the air was punctuated with the pungent aroma of pot. Nearing the plaza, I saw a guy holding a sign: “Out of booze and food. Every little bit helps.” A shop window featured handmade bamboo sunglasses.
Read more at EPA Abuse. By Marita Noon.
Photo Credit: Tilak Bisht (Creative Commons)