Korbel, Humboldt County, California

Coordinates: 40°52′13″N 123°57′30″W / 40.87028°N 123.95833°W / 40.87028; -123.95833
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40°52′13″N 123°57′30″W / 40.87028°N 123.95833°W / 40.87028; -123.95833

Korbel is located in California
Location in California
Korbel is located in the United States
Korbel (the United States)
Coordinates: 40°52′13″N 123°57′30″W / 40.87028°N 123.95833°W / 40.87028; -123.95833
CountryUnited States
CountyHumboldt County
Elevation154 ft (47 m)

Korbel (formerly North Fork)[2] is an unincorporated community in Humboldt County, California.[1] It is located 1.5 miles (2.4 km) east-southeast of Blue Lake,[2] at an elevation of 154 feet (47 m).[1] The ZIP Code is 95550.[3]


In 1881, the Korbel brothers, Antone, Frank, and Joseph Korbel[4] of Sonoma County, California acquired the Arcata and Mad River Railroad. They extended the railroad up the North Fork Mad River, where they built the Humboldt Lumber Company sawmill in 1883 with a company town for worker housing. The sawmill was the first in Humboldt County to use a kiln for drying lumber.[5] The town was originally called North Fork, but was renamed Korbel in 1891 with the arrival of the post office.[2] The Korbel family sold their Mad River properties to the Northern Redwood Lumber Company in 1902. Rail passenger service ended in 1931. The sawmill closed in 1933, but was reopened in 1942. In 1956 Simpson Investment Company of Washington purchased the site.[5] Rail connection with the Northwestern Pacific Railroad was abandoned in 1985. Sawmill operations have continued into the 21st century, but few residential or commercial structures remain. Simpson operations in Korbel were spun off to sister company Green Diamond Resources.[6] The mill was sold to Trinity River Timber in 2016; Green Diamond continues to own timberland in the area.[7]

The Old Arrow Tree[edit]

Old Arrow Tree
Old Arrow Tree

The Old Arrow Tree, California Historical Marker Number 164, is located 0.8 miles East of Korbel. It commemorates the site of an Indian treaty between the Hupa and the Karuk. As people passed they left arrows or other offerings in the bark, sometimes shooting the arrows into the tree.[8]


  1. ^ a b c U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Korbel, Humboldt County, California
  2. ^ a b c Durham, David L. (1998). California's Geographic Names: A Gazetteer of Historic and Modern Names of the State. Clovis, Calif.: Word Dancer Press. p. 89. ISBN 1-884995-14-4.
  3. ^ USPS ZIP Code lookup tool Archived 2010-11-22 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Carranco, Lynwood (1982). Redwood Lumber Industry. Golden West Books. p. 216. ISBN 0-87095-084-3.
  5. ^ a b Carranco, Lynwood (1982). Redwood Lumber Industry. Golden West Books. pp. 200–203. ISBN 0-87095-084-3.
  6. ^ Chris Genna (June 25, 2006). "Simpson splits units but keeps focus". Puget Sound Business Journal. Retrieved August 31, 2009.
  7. ^ Korbel Mill Sold
  8. ^ "Humboldt County". California Historical Landmarks. California State Parks Office of Historic Preservation.