Fortuna Depot Museum - Fortuna's Old Train Station
The Fortuna Depot Museum is located in Rohner Park near the center of town. The museum is housed in Fortuna’s historic train station, built around 1889. In 1974 the City of Fortuna purchased the old depot and moved it to a new home in Rohner Park. The Depot Museum is a great place to take your family to see displays and investigate Fortuna's past, as well as the history of the Eel River valley.
A favorite display with younger visitors is Caboose #11, built for the Northwestern Pacific Railroad in 1909. After its railroad days ended, the caboose spent thirty years as the shipping office for the Eel River Sawmills. In 2006 it was donated to the Depot Museum by the Noble family, in memory of Mary Snell Noble. Visitors can also try out the museum’s train whistle, and learn the meanings of different whistle signals (such as 2 long blasts, one short, and one long, meaning “Train is coming to the crossing”).
Featured displays include railroad and logging artifacts, a collection of local Native American basketry, a general store display, the Arden Taylor/Vernon Dahl fishing collection, a 4 ½ foot diameter copper Swiss cheese cauldron, and the Al Rogers collection of barbed wire, tools, locks, and 156 antique spark plugs. There are also 4-6 seasonally changing exhibits each year, as well as month-long temporary displays installed by members of Fortuna’s Relic Accumulators’ Club.
The Rohner Room, located in the Depot’s old ticket office, explores the history of the Rohner family. Henry Rohner emigrated from Switzerland as a teenager in the 1840s, and came to California with the Gold Rush. His general store became the first business in Rohnerville, and at one time he owned nearly all of the land which became the city of Fortuna. Henry Rohner’s widow created Rohner Park in 1907 when she sold twenty acres of the family’s land to the city of Fortuna for $1000, and then pledged $500 toward the creation of the park. Nearly a century later, the pioneers’ grandson Frank Rohner donated a collection of family artifacts to the Depot Museum, and funded museum building improvements in memory of his ancestors.
In the museum’s Reference Room visitors can research genealogy and local history. Reference Room resources include 35 Fortuna Union High School scrapbooks dating from the 1920s through the present, compiled by the FUHS librarians and students. There is also a complete collection of the FUHS Megaphone yearbook, from 1906 to the present.
Depot Museum Schedule
Winter Schedule: September to May, Thursday - Sunday
Summer Schedule: June to August, Seven days a week
Hours are 12:00 noon to 4:30 p.m. PST
Museum Phone 707-725-7645 email