El Verano, History, Resorts

Crane’s Hotel/Our Resort/McNeilly’s


UPDATE! New to our Historic Photo Database, this image of Our Resort during the early years of Rose Pensar’s ownership. The horse and rider are on the present Willow Street, Second Avenue then (circa 1924). The auto and driver, Verano Avenue, which was called Arbor Avenue at the time. (Author’s collection)

First, the confusion.

There was a Crane’s Hotel, and a Crane’s Sanitarium. Cranes Hotel was at the corner of Willow and Verano Avenue, and existed as early as 1908, according to an advertisement in the Press Democrat. Crane’s Sanitarium was “between Boyes Hot Springs and El Verano,” according to an ad they placed in the Index Tribune in 1921, and “Near Verano Station, between Boyes Hot Springs and Sonoma City. Just off the highway,” according to a tourist guidebook from around 1920.

Crane’s Sanitarium was the precursor to Sonoma Valley Hospital (Please see http://www.svh.com/the-evolution-of-sonoma-valley-hospital/.) Crane’s Hotel became Our Resort, then McNeilly’s Tavern. The two establishments, the sanitarium and the resort, were not one and the same.cranesshotelcraneshoteltrees1912Post marked 1912.

An Index Tribune archive search does not turn up much for Crane’s Hotel. The span of years between the first and last mention of Crane’s Hotel is 1908-1916. It became Our Resort sometime after 1916. Rose Pensar is listed as owner in 1924 and mentioned in 1938 as being “of Our Resort.” There is a 1924 Oakland Tribune ad for Our Resort.pressdemo1908craneshotel oaklandtrib1916craneshotelourresortoaklandtrib1924ourresort2webourresort1web

Baseball was very important in Sonoma Valley for many years. In May of 1935, Our Resort hosted The Greyhounds team from San Francisco. In later years, the resort sponsored a softball team that won many local championships.ourresortchampions

Notice that the ad says “Just West of the New Bridge.” The new bridge on Verano Avenue opened on September 17, 1950. The map shows the location of the old bridge and, at the time, proposed new one. After the new bridge was completed, the county tried to sell the old steel trusses, but there were no takers.oldevbridgemapelveranobridge

McNeilly’s opened in February, 1981, with a “new 25 inch color TV,” according to the Index Tribune. The pool table was replaced by a Space Invaders game. The Tavern was still in business, and still sponsoring sports teams, into the 2000s.After it closed, the building was vacant and derelict, and seemed headed for demolition. But, early in 2017, new owners had a new foundation installed, and it appears the structure will be saved, if not “restored.” Tearing off the siding revealed the old “Our Resort” sign. Perhaps that can be preserved as a memorial to the history of the building and the days of the resorts.ourresort2017February 2017



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