After the main building burned in 2013, the Press Democrat reported, “The resort was built in 1908 at the El Verano rail station 20 years after the Santa Rosa-Carquinez Railroad opened the way for visitors from San Francisco and elsewhere,”. Actually, the location was the Verano rail station. The El Verano depot was across Sonoma Creek. Two competing railroads served the valley at that time. (See map), the Northwest Pacific and the Southern Pacific.
As there were two depots with the word Verano in their names, so there were two Pauls.; Paul Vannuchi founded the resort in 1908. Paul Marcuchi bought it in 1944.
As was common, Paul Vannuchi ran afoul of Prohibition laws. In 1920 he was accussed of conspiracy. At the time, he was also the propietor, with one J. Foppiano, of a roadhouse near San Bruno.
You have to love the headline.
In 2016 we sat down with Eve Marcucci and her daughter Yvonne Marcucci Thibault to record some of their memories. As we talked, we paged through one of the many scrapbooks Eve kept of the resort and Paul’s career.
Eve Marccuci in 1962
Your host, “Dad” Marcucci.
Paul’s father, Paul Sr. (“your host” according to the flyer) was also a musician; he played the mandolin. The Marcuccis emigrated from Lucca, Italy around 1900. One branch of the family went to Argentina. We see some photos of them in the scrap book. Paul left home in Ohio at the age of sixteen with a band he formed. They toured the country backing a female impersonator who was popular at the time. Drag shows were a staple of the vaudeville circuit in the 1920s and 1930s.
Paul in his vaudeville days.
Paul and female impersonators, 1920s
According to Eve and Yvonne, Paul’s Resort was place of laughter and good times, and the leader and instigator of the fun was Paul.
Paul and his pals, including Pete Mancuso, sang, played and performed skits in the dining room of the resort, where there was a stage.
Paul and Pete Mancuso, center, merged their businesses some time in the 1950s. The photo shows their “shotgun wedding.”
Paul played electric organ and the trumpet at the same time. Some times the revelries were broadcast on radio from that stage on station KVON. Yvonne recalls that, as a child, her parents would put her on a bar stool, so they always knew where she was.
Paul certainly was a man of many talents. According to Eve, “Dad built the pool. He became a licensed contractor to get work done on the resort faster.” He was also a well known music teacher who worked for the public schools and taught privately. During WW2 he served in the Navy as a musician, and wrote the patriotic songs “Remember Pearl Harbor” and “Win the War in 44.” His coauthor on the former was Aub Brandon of Santa Rosa. According to the Healdsburg Tribune, the song was written in one hour. It was released on December 18, 1941, just twelve days after the cataclysmic Japanese bombing raid.
On top of all that, he became the manager of a young singer from Marin County by the name of Clairette Clemintino. Paul’s daughter Yvonne remembers trips to Los Angeles with her dad and Clairette, for recording sessions and publicity events. The scrap books contain photos of Yvonne with the likes of Danny Thomas, Chubby Checker and Shelly Fabre. Clairette’s career is documented at the website www.girlgroups.com.
Clairette Clementino appearing with Gypsy Boots! “Hollywood talent scouts will be present.”
Paul died in 1981
In the 1980s the main building of the resort became a Moose Lodge.
In the 1984 Historic Property Survey Report, prepared by architect Dan Peterson for the Redevelopment Agency, the resort is listed as eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
As mentioned above, the main building burned in 2013, much to the dismay of the Marcucci family and a community that continues to have warm memories of the resort.
More images from Paul’s Resort:
Sonoma County Fair “Hillbilly Band” 1933
Paul used the stage name Paul Marc
Paul Marc and his Jail Birds. City unknown.
All photos courtesy of the Marcucci family.
Sonoma Index Tribune courtesy of the Sonoma Valley Historical Society.