Long inhabited by the Coast Miwok and Southern Pomo tribes, the land now known as Occidental was established amidst the din of timber mills in 1876, this small, attractive and peaceful village evolved out of a colorful and restless ingenuity.
In 1876, the North Pacific Coast Railroad Company extended its tracks to the Bodega Bay region. Occidental's depot, initially known as Howards Station, was established as a wood-framed, gable-roofed structure with vertical wood siding. Commencing operations to Occidental in the same year, the railroad played a pivotal role in transporting various goods from surrounding lumber mills—ranging from cord-wood and tanbark to wine, charcoal, produce (potatoes, hay, rice, apples, and peaches), and dairy products (butter) to San Francisco. The North Pacific Coast Railroad (eventually changing ownership before becoming Northwestern Pacific Railroad) significantly contributed to the growth of Occidental, fostering economic activities related to businesses, tourism, and transportation. However, with the rise of automobiles and trucking companies, railroad services faced stiff competition. In 1930, the railroad was discontinued, and the tracks were removed, marking the end of an era. The Occidental Depot, standing witness to decades of railroad history, was demolished around 1937.
Stay tuned for more local history to come!