Located just two miles
south of the village of Mendocino, Little River sits on a bluff
overlooking one of the most popular beaches on the North Coast. On
any weekend during the season, wet-suited divers can be seen
splashing into the smooth waters of this protected cove in search
of abalone, the most prized mollusk of the Pacific. The Little
River offers beautiful beaches and shoreline, fresh water fishing,
canoeing and kayaking. Its setting is a photographers dream and an
outdoor enthusiasts paradise. Next door to Mendocino Village,
Little River offers picturesque Bed and Breakfast Inns amid
Redwood Forest and ocean views.
Trappers, selling elk meat
at ten cents a pound, set up the first business at Little River in
1854. Ten years later a small lumber mill was established near the
mouth of the river. Because of its protected port, Little River
quickly grew into a bustling town with a mill, two chutes, a
shipyard, and a railroad.
The Van Dammes, a Flemish
couple settled here in the 1860's. Mr. Vam Damme worked at the
mill, and one of their sons, Charles, later moved down to the San
Francisco Bay Area to work as an operator on the San
Rafael/Richmond Ferry. Charles fondly remembered the beach at
Little River as a favorite picnic spot of his youth, and he
eventually returned to purchase forty acres in Little River. Upon
his death, he deeded the land to the State for public use, and
this deed became the foundation for Van Damme State Park.
Little River has a public
airstrip featuring a mile-long runway paved with stone quarried
from a nearby site. Built during World War II, Little River
Airport attracts many enthusiasts who fly in for a vacation
North Coast Directory ....