20th Century Fort Bragg
In 1901, the Union Lumber Company incorporated the National Steamship Company to carry lumber, passengers and supplies. The steamships provided Fort Bragg’s only link to manufactured comforts and staples like sugar and coffee. In 1905, the California Western Railroad was created, and a rail line was established from Fort Bragg to Willits where train connections could be made to San Francisco.
Disaster & Prosperity
The Great 1906 Earthquake resulted in a fire at the lumber mill that threatened the entire city. Brick buildings throughout the city were damaged, if not destroyed completely, and many frame homes were knocked off their piers. The fire burned the entire downtown area bordered by Franklin Street, Redwood Avenue, and McPherson Street. Within 12 months following the earthquake, all downtown reconstruction was completed. The earthquake brought prosperity to Fort Bragg as the mills furnished lumber for the rebuilding of San Francisco.
Early Economy & Tourism
By 1916, Fort Bragg had become a popular place to visit and settle. Commercial fishing also played an important role in the formation of the economic base of Fort Bragg. Noyo Harbor was once a major commercial fishing port well‐known for producing quality fish products that were distributed to major metropolitan markets. In recent years, the fishing industry has declined significantly, and the community’s economic base has transitioned from a "resource extraction" base (i.e., timber and fishing industries) to a more service‐oriented economy serving a regional coastal population of approximately 20,000 residents, as well as hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.