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Mushroom hunting goes down here in the fall, but make sure you know what you’re picking.
The earliest known native residents the Kashaya Pomo people—occupied an area just north of Stewarts Point to just south of what is now the Russian River. From the coastline, their lands extended inland about 30 miles.
The Kashaya Pomo are expert artisans whose exquisite basketry graces museum collections all over the world. Historians estimate that at the time of the first Spanish contact, the Kashaya Pomo numbered about 1,500 people, occupying several large villages.
Summers were spent fishing along the coast; in late fall the Kashaya moved inland to hunt and to reoccupy their winter villages. Over the years, the Kashaya Pomo people have been able to preserve much of their traditional culture. Today many Kashaya descendants occupy a rancheria near Stewarts Point as well as other areas near Fort Ross.
On April 8, 1846, Ernest Rufus received a Mexican land grant for 17,500 acres along the coast. The area, called Rancho German, encompassed the land from about six miles north of Fort Ross to the Gualala River. The southern portion of the rancho included what is now Salt Point. Beginning in 1849, the land changed hands several times, becoming the site of several active sawmills from 1853 to 1859. Lumber was shipped on schooners to San Francisco. In 1870, the southern section of Rancho German was sold to Lewis Gerstle and Frederick Funcke to mill tanoak and other hardwoods. They built a hotel in 1872 and surveyed the westernmost section of their ranch for the plat of a town they named Louisville
After the sawmills ceased operations in 1876, the land was transitioned to grazing livestock as its primary use.