Fern Cottage, Ferndale

Historic Site · Hidden Gem · Tourist Spot
Fern Cottage is the historic home of Joseph and Zipporah Russ early pioneers of the Eel River Valley and Ferndale located in Humboldt County. Please call ahead to check tour times due to private events. Admission is $10 - children under 8 are free. Reservations needed for groups of 8 or more. Call for monthly tour days.

Board of Directors

Brenna Tara Russ President

Brenna is the daughter of James and Katie Russ of Ferndale, granddaughter of Herb and Terry Russ and great granddaughter of Joseph Russ II. After graduating from Ferndale High she attended Dominican University in San Rafael and obtained a degree and a teaching credential in 2002. Brenna teaches at Fortuna Middle School in Fortuna. In 2011 Brenna became the first female member of the Ferndale Rotary Club, and the Club’s first woman to be President in 2015. Brenna enjoys traveling and volunteering at numerous community events. Her partner is Leonard Lund.

Virginia Dwight Treasurer

Virginia Dwight is the granddaughter of Edythe Russ Connick and Harry DeHaven Connick. She is the daughter of Harris and Mary Connick. With her husband Phil and their children Lawrence and Mariette and granddaughter Josie they are longtime owners and agricultural producers on two of the original Russ ranches, Mazeppa and Whatcheer. Virginia has served on various non-profit boards and committees within Humboldt County.

Kristyn Foxworth Secretary

Kristyn recently returned to Ferndale after years of living in several locations along the California coast.. Currently Kristyn is a Real Estate agent serving this community. She holds a degree in Psychology with a minor in Criminology. Kristyn is a culinary graduate from WCI. Kristyn also holds five certifications in the wellness field. Mother of two beautiful grown daughters Jessica and Kaitlin.

Jack Russ McBride

Jack has been serving on the Fern cottage board of directors for nearly ten years now. He is the grandson of Viola Russ McBride and is fifth generation of the Russ family. He is an Electrician by trade but spends any of his spare time working on either the Viola McBride Education Trust or his father Andy McBride’s family trust where he manages the timber and numerous properties around the area. He is married to his beautiful wife Lisa for 27 years now and together they have three kids, Andrew, Mathew and Kendall all residing here in Humboldt co.

Bill Becker -

Married: Jenny Fisk-Becker

Children: Meghan and Bradford

Son-In Law: Kyle Lamanuzzi

Grandchildren: Fallon, Arkana, William

Partner in Gerald R. Becker Insurance Agency

College: Chico State

Past and Present Boards: Ferndale School District, Ferndale Fire

District, Ferndale Community Center, Ferndale Cemetery, Humboldt County

Insurance Agency.

Bill Morrill

Bill Morrill is a 5th generation descendant of Joseph and Zipporah Russ. His great grandmother was Margaret Russ Coombe making him part of the Coombe branch of the Russ family. Bill has a music and theater background and has spent many years in the Humboldt area media market. He won three national Telly Awards for television production in the historical education category. His involvement with the Fern Cottage board is a continuation of his love for history and his family heritage.

Joe Russ Past President/Director Emeritus

Joe is a lifelong Humboldt County resident. He was born Joseph Russ IV to Joe III and Annettta Russ, went to Capetown Elementary School, Ferndale High School, and graduated from UC Berkeley in 1958. He has been a rancher and timber owner his entire life, and currently has operations in Humboldt, Modoc and Shasta County. Joe was chosen as Livestock Man of the Year by the California State Chamber in 1987, and has served in Board positions for numerous state and local organizations — California State Chamber, California State Fair Board, State Board of Forestry, and Humboldt Planning Commission. He’s also been an officer in local organizations such as Humboldt County Cattlemens’, Woolgrowers, Farm Bureau, Bank of Loleta, and others. He was a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1968 and 1972 and was Regional Chairman Reagan for Governor. He has been married to Karen for 53 years, and they have three children: Renee Jackson, Lane Russ, Kathy Christiansen and 8 grandchildren.
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Fern Cottage reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
11 reviews
  • Well-preserved and beautiful old home in a beautiful countryside. Lovely drive from the town of Ferndale. Nice tours although the price of $10 seemed a little high. Beautiful grounds and...  more »
  • The person assigned as tour guide was unable to work the day we went, so all tours were cancelled. However, we were allowed to walk the grounds. The green house sure brought back memories. It...  more »
  • I attended a family wedding at Fern Cottage and it was a wonderful occasion in a beautiful location. I've toured the home previously. It is full of history and artifacts that would be of interest to anybody that loves North coast history.
  • An amazing opportunity to see history up close. Family owned and maintained since 1800's with all the original furniture, clothing, toys and more. Beautiful location and well worth the visit.

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