National Register of Historic Places in Humboldt County
George McFarlan came to Humboldt Bay in 1850 with the first band of white settlers. Like most other early settlers, he traveled east to the Trinity area gold mines but returned within the year to settle in Eureka and play a key role in developing Humboldt county's major industry, lumbering.
He was a member of the first party to cut timber on the bay in 1850. He was one of the pioneers who, prior to 1858, built a railroad to transport timber from logging camps to the mills. Prior to that point, rivers, creeks and sloughs were used to transport logs to the mills. The advent of the locomotive made it economically possible to log inland areas for the first time, vastly widening the potential scope of the industry.
The house is reputed to be the oldest house in Eureka. It has been documented back to 1854 in a town where the first white settlers arrived only in 1850.
The house is too simple to fit easily into the grand architectural styles of the 19th century. Nevertheless, it does represent a distinct type: the mid-century, vernacular New England seacoast home.
George McFarlan and many other Eureka pioneers came from Nova Scotia and brought this east coast vernacular style with them. Early photographs show that the style dominated the city.
Very few remain. None are so well formed, so physically unchanged, or in such congenial neighborhoods as the McFarlan House. It is both the oldest and the best example of the few structures of its kind remaining.
The house lies not more than 250 feet from the Carson Mansion, probably the most photographed wooden Victorian in the world. McFarlan and his house are appropriate symbols of the earliest years of the north coast logging industry just as William Carson and his mansion are symbols of its later, more opulent flowering, prior to the turn of the century.
Excerpted from the NRHP Nomination.