Call Us: 1 (707) 267-4142

Getting hooked on King Salmon

By Diane Batley Dalsaso
Located on the shore of Humboldt Bay, King Salmon, California offers prospective buyers the opportunity to own waterfront property.

Gisela and Johnny Kinder in King Salmon in 1950

In January 1948, Gisela Kinder and her late husband Johnny Kinder took advantage of that opportunity.

The Kinders met in Germany while Johnny was stationed in the Army there during World War II. In 1947, they left Germany and came to the United States, where they lived with Johnny’s brother at his trailer park and marina on the Colorado River in Arizona.

“This doctor came (to a trailer park and marina in Arizona owned by Johnny’s brother) from (Humboldt County) and said there are so many fish and no boats to take out,” Gisela said. “You can’t go fishing. Some of the local people have little skiffs. A 16-foot boat at that time was a big boat. He said somebody needs to go up there and do something. Well, we just came from Germany and we didn’t have any roots yet, so we came and looked and stayed.”

Gisela and Johnny began their life in King Salmon by pitching a tent on three acres of beach property they had purchased from Eureka Shipbuilder’s Inc. They soon opened Johnny’s Marina & RV Park in what was then known as King Salmon Resort. The Kinders built the bath house as their first permanent structure in 1948. To this day, it is the oldest building in King Salmon. Two years later they built their home.

King Salmon in 1950

Eureka Shipbuilder’s Inc. owned the land and had begun dredging boat channels in King Salmon Resort in February 1948, so that people could moor their boats at the foot of their lots, a Humboldt Times article from May 22, 1949 stated.

King Salmon Resort started in 1948 as a bare sand spit. Two years later, more than $225,000 has been spent on land and improvements, including 15 permanent homes. The canals and boat landing access to the bay and bar had King Salmon Resort being touted as a fishing haven for salmon fishermen from all over the United States, information from  under a Humboldt Times August 1950 photograph of King Salmon Resort stated.

The area is also known for its history. In April 1850, “the Laura Virginia party, headed by Major E.H. Howard and Captain H.H. Buhne, laid out the first settlement which was known as Humboldt City, located directly opposite Humboldt Bar, near what is now known as Buhne Point. … Humboldt City was not to live, however, completely disappearing within a few years as Uniontown, Eureka, Bucksport and other communities became more suitable to the purpose of the pioneers,” according to Information from an article titled, Humboldt: County Development Traced Through 90 Years of Progress by Dwight O’Dell.

The 1949 Humboldt Times article also states that “there is no more familiar landmark on Humboldt Bay than Buhne’s point – that place where Captain Buhne landed in 1850, and started Humboldt City, the bay’s first community. Humboldt City has been a memory these many years, but the site of Captain Buhne’s first settlement was well chosen. And it is on that site that King Salmon Resort is located .”

The 1949 article continues, “Pioneer sports fishing boat operator at King Salmon Resort is John Kinder who bought channel frontage in January, 1948, and now has a landing dock, boats, and home. Kinder plans to lay out a trailer park this season, and will have a complete sportsmen’s resort with tackle to rent, as well as a launching ways.”

Johnny Kinder was also quoted in the article stating, “I drove stakes here in the mud when everything was still in the blueprint stage,” he recounts. “This year we plan to go places.”

King Salmon’s history and finny neighbors are reflected in its street names. Enter King Salmon on King Salmon Avenue and as you proceed you will come to Buhne Drive and cross Herring Street, Sole Street, Cod Street, Crab Street, Perch Street and Halibut Avenue.

At 87-years-old, Gisela has lived in King Salmon for the past 64 years.

The Kinder’s raised their three children in King Salmon and their daughter Judy Nelson and son-in-law Gary Nelson live in King Salmon and also work at the business, which is open seven days a week.

There are about 50 boat slips and 53 trailer spaces at Johnny’s Marina & RV Park, Gisela said. They have gas available on their dock and boat mooring and RV spaces are available.

According to some, the future of this charming coastal community can be found on Herring Street, where Dr. Ilan Kinori, a radiologist at St. Joseph Hospital, is building his vision of King Salmon by taking inspiration from Sausalito and other waterfront areas along the California coast. The first of Kinori’s two new homes, an architecturally-designed 1,900 square foot craftsman-style, single family home, is nearing completion at 64 Herring Street. After construction of this house is complete, another home in a similar architectural style and size will be constructed next door.

Kinori currently lives at 106 Sole Street, a tastefully remodeled waterfront cottage just listed for sale with Humboldt Bay Realty,, MLS 234819. The house highlights the charm and beauty of waterfront living in King Salmon.





Leave a Reply