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Elk, Mendocino County, California facts for kids

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Beach in Elk
Beach in Elk
Elk is located in California
Location in California
Elk is located in the United States
Location in the United States
Country United States
State California
County Mendocino County
135 ft (41 m)
ZIP code
Area code 707
FIPS code 06-21992
GNIS feature ID 1655992

Elk (formerly Greenwood and Elk River) is an unincorporated community in Mendocino County, California. It is located 22 miles (35 km) south of Fort Bragg, at an elevation of 135 feet (41 m).

Elk has a population of 208. It is located on the coast at the crossroads of State Route 1 and Philo-Greenwood Road. Albion, Little River, and Mendocino lie to the north, and Manchester and Point Arena to the south. Inland are Navarro, Philo, and Boonville.


Elk was originally called "Greenwood" after early homesteaders, the Greenwood brothers, sons of mountain man Caleb Greenwood, one of the rescuers of the Donner Party. When the post office was opened, in 1887, there was already another Greenwood in California so it was called Elk Post Office. Eventually the name came to refer to the town. It is an outgrowth of an earlier town called Cuffy's Cove and the cemetery is located at that townsite 1 mile (2 km) north of Elk. When pioneer lumberman Lorenzo White was unable to reach a satisfactory deal with the owners of the lumber chutes at Cuffy's Cove to ship out his redwood product, he constructed a wharf out along a string of rocks in the center of what is now Elk. When he built a large steam sawmill and 3-foot (90-cm) gauge railroad, the new employment drained the town of Cuffy's Cove which was eventually abandoned. The sawmill was producing 80,000 board feet (200 m3) of lumber per day by 1890. The mill was sold to Goodyear Redwood Company in 1916. Elk River Company took over the sawmill when Goodyear went bankrupt in 1932. The local redwood lumber industry economy collapsed when the uninsured sawmill burned in 1936.

Another sawmill was built in about 1953 and one more in 1963. These operated until the late 1960s when the redwood and Douglas fir was mostly logged out. After some quiet times, the town has had a rebirth as a recreation destination. Many of the larger old houses are now Bed & Breakfast inns and the State has acquired the Greenwood Creek beach and the original mill site as a state park. The ZIP Code is 95432. The community is inside area code 707.

Elk Logging Railway locomotives

Number Builder Type Date Works number Notes
Baldwin Locomotive Works 4-4-0 1873 3495 originally North Pacific Coast Railroad #1; purchased 1876; scrapped 1903
1 Lima Locomotive Works Shay geared 9 May 1903 800 built for L.E.White Lumber Company
2 Lima Locomotive Works Shay geared 8 December 1904 957 built for L.E.White Lumber Company
4 Lima Locomotive Works Shay geared 27 October 1917 2942 built for Goodyear Redwood Company

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