Samoa California is a uniquely well preserved lumber mill company town. Samoa is on the barrier island that encloses Arcata Bay and is just across the water from Eureka. The first saw mill was built at Samoa in 1893. Several facilities producing millwork, paper and plywood followed. Houses for the workers and a company store/civic building were built from the turn of the century to the 1920s. The lumber mill complex extended for more than a mile south of Samoa by the mid 1900s. The town and mill have always been owned by a single owner but the property has changed hands a number of times. Production at the lumber mills wound down in the 1980s and 90s. The property was then sold to a developer in 2001. Almost all of the industrial buildings surrounding the residential section of Samoa have been demolished as of 2015. 94 company houses are still occupied, leased by the developer, and remain in more or less exactly the same condition as they were when the lumber mills were operating. The property developer (Samoa Pacific Group) has plans to build hundreds of new homes on the surrounding land but will keep the historic core more or less intact. At the present time, the town of Samoa is surrounded by a wasteland of lumber mill foundations. A popular restaurant (the Samoa Cookhouse) operates out of the former company dining hall/administrative building. The Humboldt Bay Maritime Museum operates in an adjacent building. Samoa is a fascinating town. It is probably the best preserved company town in California and one of the best preserved in the nation. There isn't a whole lot to do or see in the town, which has 258 residents, but it is close to Pacific beaches and the lumber mill villages of Fairhaven and Manila. Scotia California is a nearby, similar, but larger and more recently altered lumber mill company town.
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