Fort Bragg Until the 20th Century


The North Coast of Mendocino County was inhabited by Native Americans of the Pomo tribe for approximately 10,000 years. The Pomo people were hunter‐gatherers with a close relationship to the land and the sea. Seasonal Native American villages were located along the coast with permanent villages located north of Ten Mile River.

Fort Bragg Military Outpost (1857-1861)

In 1855, an exploration party from the Bureau of Indian Affairs visited the area in search of a site on which to establish a reservation and, the following year, the Mendocino Indian Reservation was established. It spanned an area from the south side of the Noyo River to north of the Ten Mile River, and east to Little Valley and Glen Blair. In 1857, the Fort Bragg military post was established on the Mendocino Indian Reservation approximately 1.5 miles north of the Noyo River, its purpose was to maintain order on the reservation. Also in 1857, a lumber mill was established on the Noyo River starting what would become the major industry of the region. The military post was short‐lived, and records show that November 23, 1861 was the last date on which army units occupied the fort. In 1865, after 300 Native Americans were marched forcibly from the Mendocino Indian Reservation to a reservation in Round Valley, Fort Bragg as a military post was abandoned.

City of Fort Bragg

On August 5, 1889, Fort Bragg was incorporated as a city. C.R. Johnson, president of the Fort Bragg Redwood Company, was the first mayor. His company laid out the town much as it exists today; with a uniform street grid and mid-block alleys. In 1893, the Union Lumber Company was created by absorbing some of the smaller lumber companies in the area.