The town of Scotia has a rich history as one of America’s longest surviving company towns. These towns, once common throughout the country, were entirely owned, and operated by the company that built them.
In the 1880s, The Pacific Lumber Company started logging operations in Humboldt County near where the present town of Scotia is located. The first employee bunkhouse was built in Scotia in 1884, and in 1887, Mill A (where today’s Scotia Industrial Park is located) was completed and 150 men were working.
At this time Scotia was also a community of about 100 houses.
Shortly after the turn of the 20th century, the Mowatoc Hotel was built (where the Scotia Inn now stands), complete with 135 rooms. And then in 1910 the second sawmill in Scotia, Mill B began operations, becoming the world’s largest redwood sawmill.
The Scotia Volunteer Fire Department and the First National Bank of Scotia were also both established in 1910. The first school in Scotia was built in 1914.
As the company expanded, so did the town. Two historic buildings still standing today on Main Street were built in 1920: the Winema Theater and the First National Bank of Scotia building (which now houses the Scotia Museum). The 1920s included the construction of the Scotia Hospital on B Street, (which today houses the Scotia Bluffs Community Health Center), and the current Scotia Inn building. With the growth and expansion, Scotia had a population of 1,000 in 1929, making it the second largest town in Humboldt County at that time.
In 1950 the Scotia Shopping Center was built, replacing the “company store” Pacific Lumber Mercantile. That shopping center was destroyed by an earthquake-caused fire in 1992 and the current shopping center was built and dedicated in 1994. The 1950s is also when the Scotia Hospital, which had been the only southern Humboldt County medical facility of its kind, was closed after a modern facility was built in nearby Fortuna.
In 1986, The Pacific Lumber Company began construction of a new 25-megawatt cogeneration power plant, which when completed supplied power to its sawmills, businesses, and all residences in Scotia. Today the power plant is operated by Humboldt Redwood Company and all power is sold to PG&E.
It was in 2003 that the Humboldt County Planning Commission approved the rezoning of Scotia’s 225 acres: 213 acres as residential and 12 acres as commercial. (When did the subdivision proposal begin and culminate)
Under a reorganization plan approved in 2008, The Pacific Lumber Company ceased to exist and Humboldt Redwood Company took control of the sawmill and timberlands. The Town of Scotia Company LLC became owner/manager of the residential and commercial real estate.
Today, the road is literally paved for private home ownership in Scotia, with all the homes in Phase 1 sold, and Phase 2 homes now on the market. The transition from company-owned town to private community will continue over the next four to five years, as all 270 homes in Scotia will be sold in phases covering specific sections of town.