Blue Ox Millworks
1 X Street. Eureka, CA 95501
Blue Ox Millworks on the north side of Eureka introduces locals and visitors to the wonderful world of Old World wood craftsmanship, something near and dear to Blue Ox founder, Eric Hollenbeck's heart. Located in a previously condemned North Mountain Logging Company building (1904) next to Humboldt Bay, the place was kind of a mess when Hollenbeck and several young partners took it over in the 1970s.
The expansive complex is filled with vintage machinery Hollenbeck has acquired over the decades to preserve the lost art of woodworking. Serving as a commercial wood shop for custom orders, a school for youth who seek a valuable trade, and a tourist attraction for the public to explore, the rambling facility goes by the name, Blue Ox Millworks, Historic Park and School of Traditional Arts.
The public is invited to take self-guided or guided tours and can even book hands-on experiences in group packages. We recommend that you visit more than once, taking a self-guided tour but also filling in the blanks with the guided tour for a few dollars more (it requires advanced arrangements.)
There's plenty to explore as you enter the main building and begin your journey watching human-powered antique scroll and shaping tools and machinery in action.
Named after oxen seen on the property, Blue Ox Millworks is also home to a variety of animals and Hollenbeck's beloved dogs who have free reign and really own the place. They're described as friendly, but in our experience the dogs were not that interested in visitors and remained constantly on watch or by the side of Hollenbeck. He, and his wife, Viviana, usually can be seen roaming around in charge of things, working on countless custom orders, and offering great smiles and friendly welcomes to the curious public.
Hollenbeck's customers are an A-list of clients ranging from the
Sacramento Governor's Mansion
refurbishment to the White House in
Washington, D.C. He has
authentically repaired and replaced wood
adornments with craftsman style quality
products made the old-fashioned way for
clients around the globe. The Eureka native, a forest veteran from the age of
15, grew up in one of the world's most unique wooded areas. Tourists from around
the globe come to see the world's tallest trees at nearby parks & forests.
Hollenbeck's respect for nature earned him a reputation for having one of the cleanest environmental records in Northern California
and contracts to do salvage logging for the state park service.
In addition to his clientele, the entrepreneur created a school for youth interested in hands on learning. Students accepted into the program have a unique experience that combines traditional classroom learning with time at Blue Ox Millworks.
One of the greatest treasures in Eureka offers tourists the perfect companion to exploring redwood country. Many of the immaculately-maintained homes around Eureka are built of redwood and contain intricate Victorian detailing. The national and state parks, the houses and buildings, and Blue Ox Millworks offer visitors a chance to see something special, first-hand.
Also don't miss the oldest zoo in California, Sequoia Park Zoo in Eureka. -