"Gold Rush pioneers Joseph and Zipporah Russ built Fern Cottage as their family home in 1866. Family members lived in it continuously for over a century. Today, it is on the National Register of Historic Places and is one of the few homes in California containing the original family furniture and furnishings." (from Fern Cottage website)
This description was enough to make this historic house museum tour junkie determined to visit this site on my recent trip to Humboldt County. The tour was even better than I had anticipated and turned out to be one of the highlights of my trip.
The tour was given by a descendant of the Russes, who accompanied the tour with information on the history of the family and of the house. The Russes had 13 children and added on to the house several times in order to accomodate their growing family. The story is one of triumph and tragedy in one of the most prominent families in Humboldt County during the Victoria era.
The house is quite large and has a number of unique items - including an indoor fire-heated washtub - that I have never seen in any other Victorian house museum that I have toured. The gardens are extensive, and visitors are welcome to stroll on them before or after the tour.
This is a tour not to be missed!
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