In 1852, Seth and Stephen Shaw traveled through the Eel River to a small creek within the redwood forest in the northern end of the Lost Coast and south of Eureka. There the brothers established two land claims and built a cabin. Stephen eventually sold his claim and Seth built the Shaw House, which is presently the Shaw House Bed and Breakfast. After building a home, Seth called the new town Fern Dale, California, later referred to as Ferndale.
The town had a series of Victorian style homes called “Butterfat Palaces”, similar to the ones in San Francisco, built in the downtown area.
The prosperity of the dairy farmers in Ferndale financed the construction of the various Victorian homes. Presently, Ferndale is referred to as “the Victorian Village”.