Likely now occupies what was originally an Achumawi (Pit River) village known as Hamawe or Hammawi. The town was initially known as South Fork, named after the South Fork of the Pit River, and was renamed at the insistence of the United States Post Office, which insisted at that time that Post Offices could only have one-word names. Residents were unable to agree what to name their town until a local rancher observed that they would most likely never agree upon a name, at which point someone nominated the name, "Likely", and the name was voted in. The South Fork post office operated from 1878 to 1882. The Likely post office opened in 1886.
One of the last of the American Indian Wars was fought at Infernal Caverns, a short distance from Likely.
A 1913 book described Likely as having a population of 75, and situated along the main automobile route from Madeline to Bayley.
The Likely Peat Moss Company, Radel Inc. operated in Likely until 1987 when the non-renewing supply of high quality hypnum peat moss in nearby Jess Valley was depleted. The peat moss was strip-mined from the floor of Jess Valley and trucked 13 miles to Likely on the winding canyon road paralleling South Fork Pit River between Likely and Ivy, California. The peat moss was processed and packaged and then shipped by both truck and by Southern Pacific Railroad until rail services to Likely were discontinued. The company, Radel, was dissolved in 1987 upon the owner's retirement.
Read more about this topic: Likely, California
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