Nicholas Tack

Nicholas Tack enjoyed the distinction of being the oldest Mason in the county. At the time of his death at 91, he was also the oldest man in Del Norte County.

Family history says that a member of the House of Teck in Germany killed an officer of the German Army during a dispute and had to flee the country. This incident happened sometime in the 1700s.

The young man was related to Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany and Queen Mary of England. This allowed them certain privileges and gave him a certain protection.

The young man and a brother fled to America where they settled in Pennsylvania and changed their name to Tack. Johanne C. Tack was born about 1773.

He married Maria Helfrich on May 14, 1796, at St. Michael’s Zion Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Johanne and Maria had seven children.

Their youngest child, Nicholas, was born on June 5, 1811 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where he was a merchant tailor.  In April 1832 he married Eleanor Megagrge and the two had 12 children, 11 of whom were born in Pennsylvania.

In 1855 Nicholas Tack, left Harrisburg and sailed around the Horn for California and arrived in Crescent City the same year. The following year, Eleanor came west to join her husband with eight of their children.

Their eldest son had married and remained in Pennsylvania. However Eleanor and the reaminder her children, ranging in ages from two to 19, sailed to Panama and crossed the Isthmus on mule back.

Eleanor brought with her a chest of drawers and the first sewing machine to come to Crescent City. Their son, Nicholas Jr. was later born in Crescent City.

Nicholas Sr. was one of the first innkeepers in Crescent City.  He was proprietor of the ‘No. 8 Hotel’ in Crescent City in 1856.

In 1857 he leased the ‘American Hotel’ and completely renovated it and added a bar. He opened the hotel  on July 1, 1857, and ran the hotel until 1859.

That same year, Nicholas Sr. was elected Del Norte County’s first sheriff.  He also served as a supervisor from 1860 to 1861, then was justice of the peace from 1863 to 1865.

In 1863 Nicholas Sr. opened the ‘Altaville Hotel’.  He ran the hotel until 1879 when it closed, due to the closing of the mines.

“A filthier, dirtier, nastier, noisier place I have not struck in the state,” wrote land surveyor William Brewer about Altaville, California in December 1863.

Located at Low Divide on the Pioneer Road — a major route into the cooper mines — Altaville was laid out in 1862 about 11 miles southeast of Brookings, Oregon, and 20 miles northeast of Crescent City.

Nicholas Sr. moved his family to Smith River in 1879 where he was involved in a number of business ventures.  Nicholas went into partnership with Theron Crook and ran the ‘Delta Saloon and Billiard Parlor’ in Smith River for a number of years.

Eleanor died March 7, 1897 and Nicholas Sr. died June 19, 1901.  Both are buried in the Masonic Cemetery in Crescent City.


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