Mendocino County

albion river mouthLocated on Highway One north of Elk and just south of Mendocino Village, Albion sits at the mouth of the Albion River. The small hamlet of Albion is believed by some to have been the landing place of Sir Francis Drake.  For these true believers the name "Albion" is derived from Drake's having called all of California "New Albion".  A more likely explanation ties the name to William Anthony Richardson, another Englishman who, in the early ninteenth century, was given a Mexican land grant which centered on the Albion River.  He named his property the "Albion Rancho Desino".

Richardson built a saw mill and started sending lumber south to the growing city of San Francisco. The first mill was unique in that it was powered by tidal waters turning a water wheel. After it was destroyed by a storm, he rebuilt it as a steam powered mill and located it away from the ocean.  In the early nineteenth albion river mouthcentury shipping dominated the transprtation of the coastal area and a small port was built.  The remains of the pier can still be seen west of the new bridge.  At the turn of the century the railroad made it's way west along the Navarro River to the south and the Southern Pacific became the owners of the Richardson lumber mill.

Today, Albion is something of a minor tourist destination. A campground is located at the eastern edge of the very small harbor - a harbor that, in the age of sail would have been called a "dog hole." Above the river on the northern bluff is a delightful inn with a superb restaurant - Albion River Inn. The bridge that spans the Albion River was constructed in 1944 and is the last wooden bridge to be found on Highway One.