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As It Was: Meet Mary Adams Peacock: Dressmaker, Muleskinner and Hotelier

Mary Adams was born at Waldo, Ore., in 1861.  When she grew up, she moved to Grants Pass to start a dressmaking business while working as a housekeeper to make ends meet.

Six years later, Adams changed direction and decided to run a string of pack mules and contract to carry mail from Crescent City to Grants Pass. She became an exceptional muleskinner and kept the job for more than a decade, while also documenting botanical species along the route.

In 1890, Adams homesteaded 22-acres in Gasquet, Calif., where she built a stage stop and hotel, calling it Adams Station.  Her reputation for quality roast beef and chicken dinners followed by delicious fruit pies earned the establishment national recognition with a “Duncan Hines Seal of Approval.” 

At age 47, Adams married Peter Peacock.  Together, the couple continued to provide generous hospitality, becoming affectionately referred to as “Aunt Mary” and “Uncle Pete.”

Today, the Mary Adams Memorial Bridge spans the Smith River near Gasquet, and a nearby interpretive sign answers the question, “Who was Mary Peacock Adams?”  Now you know.

Sources: Del Norte Record, 16 Apr. 1898. http://www.triplicate.com/csp/mediapool/sites/Triplicate/News/story.csp?cid=4349381&sid=923&fid=151 Accessed 4 Jan. 2018; "Historical Women of Del Norte County." Ibid, 30 Apr. 2007. Accessed 4 Jan. 2018; "Historical Women of Del Norte County-Updated." Ibid, 16 Feb. 2016; “Who Was Mary Adams Peacock?” Smith River National Recreation Area Interpretive Panel - Redwood Highway 199 - Mary Adams Peacock Memorial Bridge, Gasquet, Calif.; Nicole, Jankowski. "Duncan Hines - The Original Road Warrior Who Shaped Restaurant History" NPR, 26 Mar. 2017, https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2017/03/26/520866833/duncan-hines-the-original-road-warrior-who-shaped-restaurant-history. Accessed 5 Jan. 2018.

Laurel earned a Bachelor’s degree in Geography from Humboldt State. Her research efforts as a volunteer for the Curry Historical Society produced numerous newsletter articles and exhibits and earned her a reputation as a seasoned local history buff. Laurel is the author of "Renderings from the Gold Beach Pioneer Cemetery", a 50-page booklet containing a walking tour and snippets about the lives and times of folks buried there. She is also a contributing writer to Oregon Coast Magazine.