Fort Dick

Only in America and small town America at that does a young man have a chance to grow up in a town named Fort Dick that is not a military instillation. To be entirely truthful there never was a military installation at Fort Dick. Fort Dick is an unincorporated community in Del Norte County located approximately ten miles north of Crescent City.


Fort Dick has a post office and the zip code for Fort Dick is 95538. There are several hundred post office boxes in the tiny post office which is attached to the Fort Dick Market. Everyone using a Fort Dick address and zip code gets their mail at the post office because there is no home delivery in Fort Dick. If you want home delivery of your mail you use your street address and list the town as Crescent City and use 95531 as the zip code. I lived in Fort Dick when I lived at my father’s home on Lower Lake Road. We had our mail delivered to the house and used a Crescent City address. Our phone number was a Smith River phone number and that made calling Crescent City long distance.


The most prominent thing in Fort Dick these days is the Pelican Bay State Prison. The prison of course was annexed into Crescent City even though it is eight miles outside the city limits. Fort Dick has a post office, a market that serves as a central focal point of the community. The Fort Dick Bible Church is located smack in the middle of town. The elementary school is just a quarter mile down the street from the market. The prison is about a half mile the other direction from the market. The fire station is a quarter mile or so away on the cross road that leads over to highway 101. There is a rather large grange hall in Fort Dick that probably is under utilized. There were two bars in town and eventually Tomasini’s slowly went away as the old man passed away. Tomasini’s was the last bar to close for prohibition and the first to reopen after prohibition. I am not sure how old Andrew Tomasini lived to be but he had the oldest liquor license in California. I believe he started up in 1933 as soon as prohibition was lifted and ran the bar until I was old enough to drink more than 50 years later. The other bar was affectionately known as the Stump a moniker it carried for many years. The Stump is now a restaurant and bar under a new name and new owner.

In one of the biggest jokes ever perpetrated on a community the sign at the corner where the Fort Dick Market is located and most would consider the center of town is labeled Morehead Road. The road is really named Moorehead Road after a prominent local family, but for as long as I can remember the sign at the end of the road where it meets Lake Earl Drive reads Morehead. You grow in Fort Dick you are going to hear your share of penis jokes. Visitors are intrigued and snicker about Fort Dick, but they just down right bust a gut when they see Morehead Road.

The story behind the fort is a sketchy one at best but if you spend a little time on the internet you will come to believe that a wooden home was seriously fortified by a private citizen to provide shelter against local tribes. The Fort was called Fort Dick to honor the man that built it. By the time the military made it to this part of California during the civil war the official military outpost was placed approximately three miles away at Camp Lincoln.


On Lake Earl Drive there has always been a sign that says Fort Dick and list a population and elevation just like every other city or town in California. The population has been 350 or 500 in my time and has swelled with the arrival of the prison and these days nearly 1000 people call Fort Dick home.


The biggest claim to fame for Fort Dick is probably the fact that Star Wars and ET were both filmed there. The Fort Dick Market has an Ewok egg inside to commemorate that time in the history of Fort Dick. I remember the film crew from ET using the gymnasium/cafeteria of the local elementary school every night to feed the crew right after the kids were done with basketball practice.


Fort Dick also claims ownership of Pacific Shores one of the largest failed ocean front subdivisions in all of California. The miles and miles of abandoned paved roads of Pacific Shores provided a place for thousands of us to learn to drive. The main road leading to Pacific Shores Kellogg Road is maintained as access to Kellogg Beach and literally leads right to the sand and beach. Kellogg Road has served as the Crescent City drag strip for the last forty years. I myself have made hundreds of side by side passes down this two lane blacktop.


At this point of my life when I look back and wax nostalgic about my past I should probably tell more stories about Fort Dick and less about Crescent City. Fort Dick just has so much character. Kenny Eller who I grew up with and the son of Clyde Eller who has owned Fort Dick Market for the last thirty plus years has started a facebook page about Fort Dick and I will steal his pictures and post his link.

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2225442566&ref=mf

I have fond memories of Fort Dick and who knows one day I may even call it home.

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28 Responses to “Fort Dick”

  1. Kenny Says:

    Been there, seen the beach, drovew the roads. very nice article. Love the area been going there for 4 decades.

    The Animal

  2. Kenny Eller Says:

    Vick,

    Great posting here and I love the stories. I’ll post this to the FDM&D FB page. Way to keep the faith and stay true to the hood! Hope all is going great with you.

    Kenny

  3. Nick Tomasini Says:

    Great posting. Andrew Tomasini was my great grandfather. His son still lives across the street from where the bar use to be. I have the original license from 1933 hanging in my living room.

  4. Sara floyd(reynolds) Says:

    This is just awesome, I grew up in fort dick, had a p.o. Box as well. Parents r still there, 1 kid graduated from redwood, 2 R still there. Road my horse up and down more head with my friends, will always be soo close to my heart. And sooo proud to be from fort dick.

  5. Andrea Says:

    Great job Victor

  6. Susan Presba-Morris Says:

    I worked at Redwood Elementary School for 30 years, in ” beautiful downtown Ft. Dick” as we refer to it. A school built on property donated by the Tryon family whose relative worked at the school for 25 years. This school is a family offering the best to its kindergarten through eighth grade students. Parents from all over the county hope to have their students attend this wonderful school. Thank you for the article about our little corner. of Del Norte. County.

    • peter Says:

      hi susan, do you remember the film E.T. being filmed near the school? i am looking for a filming location from e.t.

  7. brandy Kraft Says:

    Loved the article. All my family is from crescent city. I sure love it there.

  8. Janice Reese Says:

    Nice article Victor! When I moved their in 1956 the population was 50. Wish I’d taken a picture of the population sign. Those fortunate enough to have a telephone had a party line, rotary dial of course.
    A wonderful place to grow up.

  9. Jason Stover Says:

    Dang I never knew that… And you have to be kidding me. AndrewTomasini died? He wasn’t that old unless if that was Rick Tomasini’s Dad

  10. DeVonna Nascimento Says:

    I remember the film crew’s trailers being parked outside the cafeteria /gymnasium when I was a kid, going to Redwood school. Wasn’t the Raiders of the Lost Ark filmed there, as well? Also, The Final Terror, a B-rated horror movie, in which Darryl Hannah starred before she became well-known.

    • peter Says:

      hi devonna, do yoy remember where the where filming? i am looking for the “communicator “site from E.T.
      any help or info is appreciated!

  11. Sheri Murphy Says:

    I grew up there….about 2 miles up King’s Valley Rd….I still go back every year, it’s home.

  12. Tia Silvey Says:

    Awe! Thank you for sharing! I also grew up in Fort Dick 🙂 and i notice as I have gotten older and moved away I just tell people about crescent city. I suppose I take growing up there for granted a bit… I’m sure I could get a few laughs if I told them about the little “suburb” I called home 🙂

  13. ken davis Says:

    I know fort sick we’ll. I was a co for 10 years and drove from Brookings .I moved in 06 and move to north central Arkansas we are in the area of towns smaller than yours.we have one big store food old fred

  14. suzzann macleod Says:

    i moved out of my moms house when i was 15 ist house i ever rented was the fort dick original post office which was right across the street from where it is now when sheryl sanders mom kickkked her out one time sheryl became my ist roomate the oil stove smoked real bad but it had a bathtub that looked out into a baby redwood “garden” we both worked at the cc convelescent hospital graveyard shift then had to go straight to high school i kept falling asleep in civics class..so i finally transferred to sunset high school the dump trucks would park right by our “p.o. house & rattle the windows something terrible but hey 75.00/mo. not bad! & yep, pacific shores was our standard family driving practice area for me my brother & even a couple of our cousins when they visited in the summer.. & don’t EVEN get me started about tomasinis!! my dad put in some long shifts there…& when he hadn’t showed by the time our dinner was getting cold..she’d drive me down there (from fred haight dr.) and make me go in there to fetch him.”goodtimes”…ha!.. after my dad died i moved into his house briefly o elk valley xrds and i would ride my motorcycle down to tomasinis he and i and toma’s would trade stories about my dad his fishing “prowess” & his smoked salmon and dll pickle reciepes…once they had me invite my bro and my mom to join them in their back room for some “skate” spaghetti and wine we all had a blast! is tomas” still around?

  15. suzzann macleod Says:

    i moved out of my moms house when i was 15 ist house i ever rented was the fort dick original post office which was right across the street from where it is now when sheryl sanders mom kickkked her out one time sheryl became my ist roomate the oil stove smoked real bad but it had a bathtub that looked out into a baby “garden” we both worked at the cc convelescent hospital graveyard shift then had to go straight to high school i kept falling asleep in civics class..so i finally transferred to sunset high school the dump trucks would park right by our “p.o. house & rattle the windows something terrible but hey 75.00/mo. not bad! & yep, pacific shores was our standard family driving practice area for me my brother & even a couple of our cousins when they visited in the summer.. & don’t EVEN get me started about tomasinis!! my dad put in some long shifts there…& when he hadn’t showed by the time our dinner was getting cold..she’d drive me down there (from fred haight dr.) and make me go in there to fetch him.”goodtimes”…ha!.. after my dad died i moved into his house briefly o elk valley xrds and i would ride my motorcycle down to tomasinis he and i and toma’s would trade stories about my dad his fishing “prowess” & his smoked salmon and dll pickle reciepes…once they had me invite my bro and my mom to join them in their back room for some “skate” spaghetti and wine we all had a blast! is tomas” still around?

  16. Annie Storr/Bowen Says:

    Iv lived here my whole life n I love it the Morehead n fort dick jokes r soo true tho lmbo

  17. M. Shipley Says:

    Loved all of trips to Crescent City & Fort Dick. We always hated to leave after visits with our families the Sanders & Richardson.. The Shipley families from Barstow,CA

  18. Peter Says:

    Hey,cool info 🙂 anyone from fort dick who knows what scenes are filmed in fort dick,and were? From e.t i mean 🙂

  19. Dorothy Sexton Says:

    I live in Brookings and tried to find Kellogg Beach once when we first moved here, after reading this it’s time to try again. I loved your stories about Fort Dick and will be looking forward to going back. Thank you.

  20. Christopher Amsden Says:

    I want to know more about who ‘Dick’ is – first or last name? Born / Died when? Did he do anything other than erect the fort?

  21. Anna Perdew Smith Says:

    I grew up in Crescent City but we went to Fort Dick a lot. Took my youngest son there a few years ago an was so upset that they had cut down all the beautiful redwoods that used to be along the highway. My son had me take his picture in front of the prison! Better then having to go visit him there. Lol . We moved to CC in 1944 just in time for me to start school. My sister, two brothers an I all went to Pine Grove elementary a one room school house. It was so fun to have the big boys in school push me on the swing, I went so high. I wish I had never left! I now live in Wyoming an miss everything about Del Norte County!

  22. Bob Says:

    Lived in Ft. Dick in the ’60s. My dad built the roads at Pacific Shores. The county assumed control of those roads in the late ’60s. I imagine most of the people I knew there are long gone by now. The Beasleys ran the market. Interesting place to grow up.

  23. angi bradshaw Says:

    My grandparents also used to drink in the old Tomasini,sand my Dad ,Cal Bradshaw partially grew up hanging out in that bar while his parents drank This was in the mid 30,s Their also was a military fort of some sort right behind that bar. It was still standing when I was a kid in the mid 60,s nice page. Very interesting!

  24. David Says:

    its a rock not an egg

  25. angi bradshaw Says:

    My grandparents used to frequent the old Tomasina,s, my father who was born in 34 remembers his mom and dad going on and on with the owner and more older folks about that liquor license being the first one bought after prohibition was over in the whole state of California. At this time that all the bragging was going on was in about 1940 and my dad Cal Bradshaw, was 7 years old at the time and that’s where he spent many a evenings as a young boy, because both his mom and dad would be inside and propped up to the bar having a good old time

  26. peter Says:

    if anyone has ANY info on the filming locations of E.T. especially the communicator site please contact me! facebook.com/peterdemooij1975?fref=ts

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