Historian

Susie Van Kirk devoted much of her professional career to the protection of not only the Redwoods but also to protect the human history the forests enshroud. Working both to to preserve the natural history through her environmentalist goals and to protect historic sites through her evaluations for the eligibility of sites for the National Register of Historic Places.

Arthur and Irene Davison.

One such property was the Davison Ranch. While the geography is famous for its lumber, the 100 acre plot of land was originally cleared by Arthur Davison in 1890 to start a dairy farm, which was a more viable method of living at the time. The farm ran over fifty years discontinuing in 1948.

During an evaluation for National Register eligibility a site’s age, integrity, and significance must be established. With several buildings over a hundred years old the land establishes its age, but because of the poor and refurbished states of most buildings, only the bungalow was deemed historically relevant. Because the area has experienced much of the industrialization caused by euro-american settlers in the 1850s, the land itself remained important and is currently protected by the national government as part of the Redwood National Park.

These evaluations are difficult to accumulate as much of the research is unconsolidated. Susie would scour newspapers and devote hours to personal interviews to build each document. However, the quality of her work played critical roles in the preservation of all the resources the Redwoods offer. It was only with enormous patience and passion that Susie was able to dedicated herself to protecting the basic needs of the Redwoods.