Commercial Tenants of the Humboldt Masonic Temple

J.F. Hink and Son First Retail Tenant

When the Humboldt Masonic Temple was built during the years 1921-23, a major part of the financing was dependent upon finding a tenant to lease the 30,000 square feet of retail space in the building at the southeast corner of Fifth and G streets.

Frederick W.M. Georgeson, who was heading up the lodge's effort to build, lined up what was then Eureka's main store, J.F. Hink & Son Company, a corporation, as the tenant.

The Hink store had been started in Eureka in 1872 by Aaron Crocker of San Francisco and Adolph Crocker of New York, and it was known as Crocker Brothers. The store became an original tenant in the Carson Block at the northeast corner of Third and F streets in 1892, and was still located there in 1921.

The family of Woodland, California merchant John F. Hink purchased the store in 1903, and it was renamed J.F. Hink & Son Company. Son John Herman Hink came to Eureka to manage it, and he was joined by his brother, Lester W. Hink.

Lester W. Hink was the first husband of Carlotta Vance of Eureka, daughter of John M. Vance, who had named the town of Carlotta after her. Lester and Carlotta Hink were divorced and she married a man named Packer, but in 1921 she was one of those who sold the site for the new Hink's store to Humboldt Lodge.

John F. Hink himself moved from Woodland to Berkeley in 1904 and established the department store of J.F. Hink & Son in that city. Lester W. Hink moved to Berkeley to assist his father and was president of the Berkeley store until 1976. He died in 1977 and the store was sold by the Hink family in 1978. It closed during the 1980s.

Hink's Eureka store was no longer owned by the family when a ten-year lease was signed for the three levels in the Masonic Temple. John Herman Hink, a member of Humboldt Lodge, moved to San Leandro to manage his family store there.

In Eureka, Hink's was a corporation with Harry B. Daly, president and manager, and C.M. Kressman, vice president and assistant manager. The Hink corporation leased the new Eureka store for ten years, from November 1, 1922, to October 31, 1932, at a monthly rent of $1,250 or $15,000 a year. J.F. Hink & Son had the largest store between central California and Portland and they sold top quality goods. H.B. Daly was prominent in the community and an early leader of the Rotary Club of Eureka.

Unfortunately the Great Depression affected the lumber industry years before the Wall Street crash, and after struggling several years, and occasionally having to seek rent reductions from the Masons, Hink's went out of business when their lease expired on October 31, 1932. Harry B. Daly then operated a dress shop in Eureka.

For several years the Masonic Temple had no retail tenant, although the building was still being paid for. That situation improved when J.C. Penny Company moved in on June 1, 1935.

The late county supervisor Samuel S. Mitchell, amember of Humboldt Lodge, reported that his brother, S. Carson Mitchell, also a member of Humboldt Lodge and himself a Sonoma County Supervisor, had a fraternity brother in charge of Penney's real estate, and he and others were able to get a lease.

Penney's moved from the 300 block of F Street, where they had first opened in 1923. They remained in th Humboldt Masonic Temple until February 28, 1951, when they moved to occupy their own store at Fifth and E streets.

Eureka was prosperous in the post war years, and Federal Stores, a junior department store, then located at Sixth and F streets, and owned by Speigel, Inc., moved into the space left empty after Penney's move. The store name was changed to Speigel's, but then the Chicago firm decided to close all retail stores, and they volunteered to surender their lease.

MacMahons Furniture moved into the building on July 1, 1959, and remained there 32 years. They left when they bought the business and the building of White House Furniture.

For the first time in fifty-six years, the Humboldt Masonic Temple was without a tenant. During this period it was used for short-term rentals as headquarters for political parties during election years, and as a Santa Claus store during Christmas.

Eventually radio station KGOE-FM and Vern's Furniture rented the retail space.

The retail tenants and their customers have been largely responsible for the existence today of the large Humboldt Masonic Temple, for without them Eureka would never have had such an impressive meeting place for conventions, dances and hundreds of public gatherings, in addition to the lodge meetings.