Cottoneva Creek starts at an elevation of about 1,300 feet (400 m) in the Coast Range and flows generally south-southwest for 7 miles (11 km) to Rockport Bay, a property owned by the Mendocino Redwood Company just south of Sinkyone Wilderness State Park, about 11 miles (18 km) southwest of Leggett and 7 miles (11 km) north-northwest of Westport, California. Several lumber mills were built along Cottoneva Creek in the late 1800s, and the historical mill town of Rockport is situated about 0.75 miles (1.2 km) upstream from the beach and served the timber industry that logged the redwood forests in Northern California at the southern end of the Lost Coast region. The name ‘Cottoneva’ or ‘Cotineva’ is derived from the Pomo Native American word meaning ‘low gap’.
In October 1876, the schooner David and Edward arrived at the beach with mill machinery and William R. Miller on board who constructed the first sawmill at Rockport, then called Cottoneva. The mill boasted a double circular saw, edger, and planer, with the mill having a capacity of 20,000 board feet (6,100 m) of lumber per day. An unusual aspect of the site was a wire suspension bridge 270 feet (80 m) long, built in 1877 to connect the mainland to a small island in the ocean. Ships bound for San Francisco and other ports would call at this island, sometimes called Pelican Island or Rockport Rocks, to pick up the milled lumber, which would be brought across the suspension bridge by train.
Miller sold the operation in 1886 to the Cottoneva Lumber Company, which lost the mill to fire in 1900. Around 1907, the New York and Pennsylvania Lumber Company acquired Cottoneva and built a new mill that was destroyed by fire in 1912. Between 1924 and 1926, the Finkbine-Guild Lumber Company from Jackson, Mississippi modernized the town and built a new electric sawmill and a logging railroad. They abandoned operations in 1927 and, facing financial ruin, their assets were acquired by the Great Southern Lumber Company to form the Southern Redwood Company. After a decade of bankruptcy, the mill reopened in 1938 as the Rockport Redwood Company. The railroad was dismantled in 1939 and the rough cut lumber was trucked to Fort Bragg, California. In 1957, Rockport was a town of about 500 people with a company store, a community town hall, a company doctor, and employee housing. Georgia-Pacific Corporation purchased the Rockport site in 1967, and in 1972 all assets were transferred to the Louisiana-Pacific Corporation. In 1998, the Mendocino Redwood Company acquired Rockport from Louisiana-Pacific. Read more here and here. Explore more of Cottoneva Creek and Rockport Bay here: