Architecture, Boyes Hot Springs, History, Place Names/Street Names, Trees, Uncategorized

The Boyes Hot Springs Plaza

On December 20, 1956, the Sonoma Index Tribune reported “Old timers in Boyes felt some remorse this Monday when the old stately palm tree in the Boyes Plaza was cut down to make way for a new building.” The new building was the second half of the Plaza Center building, which houses the post office today. The IT went on, “They (the old timers) could remember standing beneath that tree when the old train used to unload vacationers at the railroad station, located years ago, right near the tree.”

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The Boyes Hot Springs Plaza palm tree, 1943. courtesy Bruce Greiwe

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Aurthor’s collection

 

Yes, there was a Plaza in Boyes Springs. It existed as part of the land owned by the Northwestern Pacific Railroad. A railroad map from 1925 shows an elongated lozenge shaped feature, parallel to the tracks, bisected by pathways at right angles, and with a circular form at the center. The palm tree was there, according to an aerial photo from 1943.

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Plaza showing palm tree. The depot had been removed the previous year. Photo courtesy Bob Palmelee.

In 1949 the IT reported that the Boyes Springs Boosters Club voted to “ put a new lawn at the Boyes Hot Springs Plaza and pay for the electricity used in keeping the “Boyes Hot Springs Welcome” sign lighted each evening.

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Courtesy Jerry Biers

In 1941 plans for the celebration of the centennial of the Bear Flag revolt included an event at the BHS Plaza.

In 1949, the community celebrated its own “centennial.” How 1849 was chosed as a founding year is unclear. The hot springs had been commercialized by 1847 by Andrew Heoppner. Thaddeus Leavenworth arrived in 1849, but Boyes didn’t show up until 1882.

At any rate, the editorial page of the Index Tribune approved.

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The Plaza and palm looking north, 1930s.

The idea of a new Boyes Hot Springs Plaza has resurfaced in recent years. Several architects have produced conceptual plans. Below is the Ross, Drulis Cusenberry version.

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Boyes Hot Springs, History, Uncategorized

The 107th Anniversary of the Founding of the Boyes Hot Springs Post Office

In July of 1911, the Sonoma Index Tribune reported that “A.D. Graham of Graham’s Cash Store received the appointment as post master of Boyes Springs. Located at his store.” The exact date was July 8, 1911. The location of the store, now not know exactly, was near the train depot at Boyes Blvd. and the Sonoma Highway.

That building was lost, along with most of the town in the fire of 1923. After rapid rebuilding, the post office was located in the Woodleaf Store. It stayed there until 1951. The Woodleaf became the Big Three Diner, part of the Sonoma Mission Inn. The post office relocated to the Plaza Center building at Sonoma Hwy. and Boyes Blvd. when it was built in 1951, where it is today. Prior to 1951 this site was know as the Boyes Springs Plaza and was the scene of street parties and fiestas.

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A.D. Graham was the first postmaster. The name was changed to Boyes Hot Springs at some point. Courtesy California State Library

In 2011 we celebrated the centennial. To produce the joyous event, we had the help of the USPS and its employees, Sonoma County, the owner of the Plaza Center building, Kickstarter donors, the Springs Community Alliance, and many volunteers.

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Boyes Hot Springs, nature, Neighborhood Phenomena, Uncategorized

Calendula

Very early spring 2018, the little calendula are filling many of the open spaces in Sonoma Valley. Some folks think it’s a weed, others love it.

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Fifth Street West, Sonoma

 

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Central Ave. Boyes Hot Springs

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Central Ave. Boyes Hot Springs

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Photo by author

 

Is it a weed?

“Calendula (probably arvensis, but there is a larger flowered officianalis) is listed on Cal Flora as non-native to our area but not invasive. So it depends on your definition of a weed: any non-native, or the ones that most upset biodiversity? I don’t mind them; they’re pretty and have some medicinal uses. Since they tend to grow in disturbed and/or agricultural areas, no one knows for certain what grew there in the first place, so planting something else with the goal of restoration would involve some guesswork.” Hannah Aclufi via Facebook

According to Wikipedia:

A weed is a plant considered undesirable in a particular situation, “a plant in the wrong place”. 

Examples commonly are plants unwanted in human-controlled settings, such as farm fieldsgardenslawns, and parksTaxonomically, the term “weed” has no botanical significance, because a plant that is a weed in one context is not a weed when growing in a situation where it is in fact wanted, and where one species of plant is a valuable crop plant, another species in the same genus might be a serious weed, such as a wild bramble growing among cultivated loganberries. In the same way, volunteer crops (plants) are regarded as weeds in a subsequent crop.

Many plants that people widely regard as weeds also are intentionally grown in gardens and other cultivated settings, in which case they are sometimes called beneficial weeds.

These little plants tend to inhabit waste spaces, roadsides, and untended open fields. They will grow in gardens, but are easily removed and are not aggressively spreading, like oxalis or dandelions.

So there can be a differing of opinion.

The term weed also is applied to any plant that grows or reproduces aggressively, or is invasive outside its native habitat.[1] More broadly “weed” occasionally is applied pejoratively to species outside the plant kingdom, species that can survive in diverse environments and reproduce quickly; in this sense it has even been applied to humans.[2]

So, let’s not get up on our high horses when deciding what is a weed or what isn’t. Humans are a weed species, but there are some benefits to our existence!

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Fifth Street West, Sonoma

 

Calendula have medicinal uses as a remedy for skin problems as well as an anti-inflammatory.

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And, on a taxinomical note:

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From the Integrated Taxonomic Information System on-line database, http://www.itis.gov

 

“There is a lot of magic in the naming of things. It is my contention that the more we know about nature’s secrets, the more we can enjoy it. Simply being able to call the elements of nature by their proper names helps us to experience them and allows their beauty to unfold…” Obi Kaufmann, The California Field Atlas.

“I find the Latin names for the plants as beautiful as the plants themselves … “ Wyethia Angustifolia (Hannah Aclufi) https://viridiplantae.com/about/

 

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Boyes Hot Springs, History, mid-century, Place Names/Street Names, Uncategorized

Sierra Drive/Meincke Road

At the corner of Highway 12 and Sierra Drive stands the building housing Ross Drulis Cusenberry Architects. The building was built in 1966 for Sierra National Bank. It seems that the street, originally known as Meincke Road, was probably renamed for the bank. The street also has the distinction of being on the former Northwest Pacific Railroad right-of-way.

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Assessor’s Parcel Map showing Meincke Road/Seirra Drive

On July 15, 1942, a hearing by the Interstate Commerce Commision in Santa Rosa pitted the War Department and the Southern Pacific Company against the Sonoma Valley Chanber of Commerce, Sonoma State Hospital, and the Sonoma Vista Improvement Club in a debate about whether the rail line between Sonoma and Glen Ellen should be abandoned (passenger service had ended in 1935). The Feds claimed that the line was not needed for the war effort as almost all frieght was brought into the valley by truck, and the SP pointed out that the line had lost money for years. However, Dr. Fred Bultler of the State Home said that his institution had been designated the main hospital for the region should a coastal evacuation be necessary. The Home had been mandated to provide 500 beds on two hours notice and that the rail connection would be required to supply this additional population. The Home had 3200 “inmates”, as he called them, and 450 employees at the time.

Southern Pacific prevailed, however, and by January of 1943, the rails were gone, freeing the stretch between the Mission Inn and West Thomson Ave. to become a road.

The street was probably originally named for George Meincke, a school bus driver, chauffer for the Spreckles family, fire commissioner, and local property owner. However, two other Meinckes were prominent enough in the Springs, midcentury and before, to also be the namesake: Charles Meincke and H. Meincke.

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George Miencke with fellow Fire Commissioners at a fire station open house in 1954.

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Interestingly, the obituaries for George Meincke and Edith Waterman appeared next to each other in the January 30, 1969 edition of the IT. Both had streets named for them, or their family in Ms. Waterman’s case. The Waterman family goes back a little farther than Miencke’s. Her obit notes that “When she and her parents first started coming to this area many years ago, they were guests of Capt. H. E. Boyes…”

The Boyes Hot Springs Company was incorporated in 1902, with August Waterman as one of the directors.

 

Sierra Bank

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A very low key announcement of the proposed name change appeared in the IT in March of 1965.

Sierra Bank first opened in a storefront on Highway 12 in 1964. The address was 18006, now a liquor store (2018). It was front-page news in the Index Tribune. This was the first bank to open in Sonoma Valley outside of the town of Sonoma.

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The new bank building was also a major project for Boyes Hot Springs in 1965 when it was announced.

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Among the luminaries attending the groundbreaking were Bud Castner, and Tom Polidori, prominent Springs businessmen. (Notice the article at bottom left. In 1965 they were fund raising for a new swimming pool.)

 

 

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Boyes Hot Springs, nature, Neighborhood Phenomena, Trees, Uncategorized

The Oak Tree at Sierra Drive

Just south of the Sonoma Mission Inn, on the west side of Highway 12, Sierra Drive intersects.

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Aerial photo with streets courtesy of Arthur Dawson

Google Maps

At that corner stands one of our landmark oak trees. The tree is in front of the building that now houses Ross Drulis Cusenberry Architects. The building was built in 1966 for Sierra National Bank. It seems that the street, originally known as Meincke Road (more on that later), was renamed for the bank. The street also has the distinction of being on the former NWPRR right-of-way (the tracks were removed in 1942).

Our tree is a Valley Oak, Quercus lobata. According to the California Native Plant Society (http://calscape.org/), the Valley Oak ranges over the interior valleys of the State, and needs to be near a source of water (Lily Creek*, which flows down Arroyo Road, tunnels under the highway very near the tree.) It can grow to 100’ in height and live for as many as 500 years. The tree in question, which has three trunks, certainly could be 100 years old. We have a photograph of the tree (and building) from 1973, which shows it to be in pretty poor shape. In 2018 it appears to be much healthier.

*Thanks to Greg Larson for the creek name.

 

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1973 top. 2018 bottom. Top photo courtesy of the Sonoma Valley Historical Society.

The tree may appear in some other historic photos.

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Boyes Depot, 1930s, (approximately located in the parking lot behind the Plaza Center Building), looking north to Sonoma Mountain. The oak in the foreground is possibly the Sierra Drive tree.

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Photo by Zan Stark, 1950s. The location is opposite Arroyo Road on the Highway.

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Oaks are never more beautiful than in winter.

Next post: About Sierra Drive/Meincke Road.

 

 

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