County formally celebrates 150th anniversary

March 13, 2007 11:00 pm

By Hilary Corrigan

Triplicate staff writer

Del Norte County celebrated its formation 150 years ago as a political entity by recognizing past and present politicians on Tuesday.

"I served four very frustrating years between 1984 and 1988," joked former board supervisor Rick Bennett at the Flynn Center event.

Added Jack Reese of his years on the board, "I can't say it was a pleasure the whole time," drawing laughs from the audience.

About 70 people turned out for the historical marker that recognized county auditors, tax collectors, treasurers, district attorneys and sheriffs.

The event also highlighted local history. Photos and articles posted on the center's walls recount early roads, tribes, laws, settlers and industries.

In a taped presentation, Yurok member Fawn Morris, a Klamath native now living in Crescent City, recalled aspects of the tribe's cultural history. Those include the wooden plank houses built without nails, the tightly woven baskets that could hold water, the natural meals of salmon and acorn soup, the fables that taught respect for nature.

"I feel sorry for those who are not Indian, because I feel I got the best out of both worlds," Morris said.

The presentation recounted the harbor exploration and gold mining rush that brought white settlers to the region, along with the timber production and fishing industry that fueled the local economy through the 1900s.

It also noted the 1964 tsunami that wiped out area bridges, roads, businesses, houses and facilities.

And it highlighted the easter lily fields that made Smith River famous after World War II blocked imports of the plants from Japan.

Area council, school board and district members lined up to praise Del Norte.

"We are one lucky group of people to live where we live," said board Supervisor Martha McClure, who grew up in the county.

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