Early Fortuna Businesses

Fortuna's Lady Postmaster

It was daring and exciting, and it was reported up and down the Eel River Valley -- that Fortuna had a lady postmaster. Not a postmistress, but a bona fide postmaster. (late 1880s, early 1890s, see also Fortuna's First Post Office.)

It was a rather new experience for Washington, DC, too, and this is indicated in the Eel River Advance, reporting the appointment:

"One feature in connection with the modus operandi of handling postal department affairs, which to say the least is amusing, crops out in the interesting data which Mrs. Bertie Hansen, P.M. at this place, has kindly furnished the Advance. Uncle Sam is always courteous and everywhere represented as being the embodiment of gallantry in his written r spoken intercourse with the gentler sex, but at least some of his subordinates at Washington have adopted a less courteous mode of procedure."

"For instance, the lady who presides at the Fortuna post office must sign her maiden name to all official correspondence reports and returns as B. (or Bertie) Hansen, P.M., Fortuna, Calif."

"When the Second Assistant Postmaster-General or any other dignitary of the department  addresses her, it is in this fashion: 'B. Hansen, Postmaster, Fortuna, Calif., Dear Sir:'"

Evidently Postmaster Bertie Hansen McNulty did a good job in her official capacity, for she held the office for a little better than two presidential terms -- nine years.

Next: Fortuna, the Friendly City


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The original name, Salmon Creek Flat, an area at the southern end of Humboldt Bay, was changed to the present name of Beatrice to honor Beatrice White, later known as Mrs. Beatrice or Bertie Hansen.

Bertie Hansen was not only the first lady postmaster for this part of the state, it was also Mrs. Hansen (McNulty) who established Fortuna's first money order business.