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7 Pieces Of History Near Willits, CA

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Willits, California, is a small town located in Mendocino County. While it may not be well-known for its historical significance, there are several notable events that have occurred in the surrounding area. Here are seven historical events that have taken place near Willits:

1. Construction of the Redwood Highway (1920s): The Redwood Highway was built in the 1920s to provide access to the northern coast of California. The highway passes through Willits and is still in use today.

2. Willits Railroad Strike (1922): In 1922, the workers of the Northwestern Pacific Railroad went on strike to protest low wages and poor working conditions. The strike lasted for several months and ended after the railroad company agreed to some of the workers' demands.

3. The Mendocino County Jail Riot (1970): In 1970, a group of inmates at the Mendocino County Jail in Ukiah, about 25 miles south of Willits, staged a riot. The inmates took several guards hostage and caused extensive damage to the jail. The riot was eventually put down by law enforcement.

4. The Mendocino Complex Fire (2018): The Mendocino Complex Fire was a massive wildfire that burned through Mendocino and Lake Counties in 2018. It was the largest blaze in California's history at the time, and it destroyed several homes and businesses in the Willits area.

5. John Deere Days (1960s): John Deere Days was an annual event held in Willits during the 1960s. It was a celebration of agriculture and the farm equipment industry, and it featured displays of tractors and other equipment.

6. The Willits Earthquake (1995): In 1995, a 6.1 magnitude earthquake struck the area near Willits. The quake caused significant damage to the town and surrounding areas, including several landslides and road closures.

7. The Skunk Train (1920s-present): The Skunk Train is a tourist attraction that runs through the scenic redwood forests of Mendocino County. It was first established in the 1920s to transport logs to the coast, but today it operates as a heritage railway offering scenic tours.

In conclusion, Willits and its surrounding area have a rich history that includes significant events such as the construction of the Redwood Highway, labor strikes, riots, wildfires, earthquakes, agricultural celebrations, and a unique heritage railway. These events have left an indelible mark on the community and continue to shape its history to this day.
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