Every state in the union has special places, events, historic sites, scenic views (well, most states), and “must-see-and-do things” to thrill our visiting family and guests. California has hundreds of these things and the majority of Californians haven’t seen ½ of them. Very Big State.
I love to explore the Northern California coast-line where hidden treasures can be found each time I visit. A few years ago I discovered “Cream City” and all the Butterfat Palaces. If you mention those slang terms you might not get out of Ferndale alive. They don’t like the slang remarks about their homes or their city. This week I’m visiting the incredible antique shops found here.
For whatever reason, when vegetables and other crops didn’t do so well during the cool fogged-in summers, the Danish immigrants tried dairy farming. That worked. This land had been cleared of giant ferns, (duh…Ferndale) and it left a huge plain along the mouth of the Eel river with the giant coastal redwoods overlooking the dairies. By 1880 there were 81 dairies occupying this land. They were very successful. Consolidation happened and a creative Dane named Aage Jensen invented a dry-milk manufacturing process to use the tons of non-fat milk solids which had been treated as a waste product. Look Mom..cheese! His company also found that by wrapping the butter in paper, it wouldn’t turn white like it normally did. They started shipping over 75,000 pounds of milk per day and built a huge operation in San Francisco called Golden State Creamery. They were awarded contracts to supply the military during World War I.
In 1880 the successful farmers started building homes and formed the community of Ferndale. Main Street (pictured below) has beautifully maintained Victorian buildings.
There are around 1350 folks still living in Ferndale and dozens live in magnificent Victorian homes. Here are just a few pictures:
One of Ferndale’s residents is Chef and Food Network Star, Guy Fieri. It also makes sense that a famous chef would live in a Butterfat Palace in Cream City. WELCOME TO FERNDALE!