Boyes Hot Springs, El Verano, Fetters Hot Springs, History, Photographs, Resorts, Uncategorized

Railroads in Sonoma Valley

rrmap

The history of railroads in Sonoma Valley is complicated and confusing. It started in the 1860s and included at least 15 different companies, but by 1889 there we just two: the Santa Rosa and North Pacific, and the Northern Railway. The SR and NP became the Northwestern Pacific in 1907, and Southern Pacific subsumed the Northern in 1898. The NWP tracks were on the east side of Sonoma Creek, with a depot in Boyes Hot Springs, and SP on the west, stopping at El Verano. The old rights-of-way can be glimpsed in some places. Sierra Drive in Boyes is one location. See https://springsmuseum.org/2018/03/29/sierra-drive-meincke-road/

A precursor to the NWP, the Sonoma Valley Railroad, existed until 1889. In this schedule we see that it visited a stop called Pioneer Grove. This was the name used before Boyes Springs was used.

svrailroadschedule1886 copy

The railroads served the populace of San Francisco, primarily, who wished to spend warm summer days at the resorts. They came in their thousands by rail. But as early as 1920, the railroads were challenged by bus lines and automobiles. (The “auto-camp,” precursor to the motel, originated in the 1920s.) The Index Tribune reported in 1921 that executives of the NWP were considering new, modern electric cars on the Santa Rosa-San Rafael line to counter the competition from buses. To no avail. In 1930, the Glen Ellen depot was eliminated.

glenellendeleted1930

The editorial comment in the IT was prophetic. Rail service was gone by 1942.

Following is a collection of images of depots in Sonoma Valley, with some maps, which are courtesy of the Northwestern Pacific Railroad Historical Society.

 

NWP depots:

acdepotweb

Agua Caliente, year unknown

AguaCalienteDepotold

A later Agua Caliente depot? Similar to Boyes Depot of 1923

img091.jpg

bhsdepotwithtruck

The name was changed to Boyes Hot Spring at least by 1908, but Model T production started in 1909, so perhaps all of the signs were not changed at one time.

boyesdepotmarieelsie

Marie and Elsie stand in front of a depot called “Boyes Springs,” in 1921. apparently the word “Hot” in the name came and went. This station was destroyed in the fire of 1923.

railroadmap.jpg

1916 map showing the old hotel and the canal that ran down Pine Street.

fettersdepotmovieweb

Still from the 1923 Harold Binney movie “Account of the no-account Count.” The film shows the train arriving at Fetters Springs.

boyesdepotangle-web

Boyes Hot Springs depot in 1942, the year service ended. The Woodleaf Store can be seen behind the depot.

 

veranoDepotKern Letter027.jpg

The Verano depot, across the creek from El Verano.

VeranoDepot2.1

Verano depot circa 1905

VeranoRRMapcrop.jpg

trainatglemellen

Glen Ellen, year unknown.

Southern Pacific depots:

eldrigestation1898

Eldridge depot 1898

EVDepotandPO.jpg

El Verano, circa 1890s

i0024492a

El Verano depot shortly after construction, 1880s

Images courtesy of the Sonoma Valley Historical Society and the Northwestern Pacific Railroad Historical Society.

 

Standard
Boyes Hot Springs, El Verano, History, Photographs, Resorts, Springs Historic Photo Database

New to the Springs Historic Photo Database

bhsbathhousehorseandtank

Probably around 1910

bhsmancigar1912

His name is Gus. Post marked Boyes Hot Springs, but is this the Plaza? 1912

boyeshoteltent

The “Old Hotel.” Before 1923

evvillapano

El Verano Villa. Near Verano Ave. and the creek.

gableshotelcottages

Gables Hotel. Exact location unknown.

smi1937

Sonoma Mission Inn, 1937, ten years after it was completed.

sonomagrovenook1912

Sonoma Grove, on the Highway between Sonoma and Boyes.

Standard
Boyes Hot Springs, El Verano, Fetters Hot Springs, Photographs, Springs Historic Photo Database

New to the Springs Historic Photo Database: From the Ron Price Collection

BellvueHotelPorch

The porch at the Bellvue Hotel, El Verano, before 1911.

BoyesHotelPromenade

Promenade at the Boyes springs Hotel, 1920.

BoyestheaterRonPrice

Boyes Resort Theater, 1921.

FettersCampGrounds

Camp Grounds at Fetters Resort

HotelBHSRonPrice

Hotel at Boyes Springs, 1920s

LittleSwissGroup

Little Switzerland, El Verano, 1954

ParenteBros.threeimages

Parente Resort, El Verano, before 1920

SMIwithMountains

Sonoma Mission Inn, Boyes Hot Springs, 1938

St.FrancisVillaEV

St. Francis Villa boarding House, El Verano, 1915

Standard
Boyes Hot Springs, History

The Woodleaf Store/Big Three

Woodleaf Park is the name of one of the many subdivisions platted in the Springs around 1910. WoodleafParkweb copy

In August of 1921, the Index Tribune helpfully stated “The attention of our readers is called to the ad of the Woodleaf Grocery Store at Boyes Springs. This store in the Cabanot block is conducted by Mrs. Lovett and is giving excellent service to residents in and about the Springs.” (Notice a 1921 use of the term “the Springs.”) The Cabanot Block was at the corner of the State Highway and Boyes Blvd.

In September of 1923, most of Boyes Springs was destroyed by fire.

fireheadlineBut, by early 1924, rebuilding had begun. Mr. Cabanot hired builder M. Y. Hansen to construct the new Woodleaf Store, on the site of the old structure.

In March of 1924, “It is reported (by the IT) that B. Cabanot, pioneer property owner and resort keeper of Boyes Springs, has sold out to E. Peters of San Francisco. Mr. Cabanot was one the first to show his faith in Boyes Springs real estate. He recently bought and improved a business block near the N. W. P. station which is now tenanted by store keepers.” It is assumed that this refers to Cabanot selling his resort, which was also near the railroad station.

Marion Greene was a community leader. In 1939 she was president of the Sonoma County Retail Grocer’s Association. She operated the Woodleaf Store from 1921 to 1949.

Big Threecorner

1930s. Lumber yard to the left. See Facebook comments below.

Woodleaf-old6x3

Year unknown, probably 1930s

Woodleaf1940sGreyhoundSign

1940s. Greyhound sign above windows at right. See Facebook comments.

Greene sold the store (not the building, which she did not own) to George Riccomi, a member of the Cabanot family, in 1951, and he installed a modern soda fountain and a horse-shoe counter in a “brilliant formica yellow design,” and chartreuse (!) leather upholstery, according the Index Tribune.

Charturse

Chartreuse

ZanS9Woodleaf

Early 1950s. Alexamder Stark photo.

WoodleafAd1952

bigthreeinterior80s copy

The Big Three Fountain, with its horse-shoe counter, in the 1980s

The interior was remodeled by architect Hugh Duffy and became the Big Three Market in 1959. The sign was modified to read “Big Three” at the top. Later, perhaps in the 1970s, the bottom portion was removed entirely. (Duffy was also the architect of the Plaza Center building and the Boyes Food Center.)BigThreeangleSign

bigthree80s

In 1980, the Sonoma Mission Inn Corporation, under Edward Safdie, bought the building and continued operation of the store and soda fountain. A later iteration of the Inn converted the store into a café. In 2016, the Fairmount Corporation closed the café permanently. Future plans for the site are unknown.

A recent posting on Facebook of a photograph of the Big Three elicited over 60 comments. Below are some samples.

I used to catch the Greyhound bus there in the mid 60s.

The Greyhound bus stopped there. You bought your ticket inside. Rose and I rode the Greyhound to San Francisco for a day. Met Burt and Walker. Our Mom’s didn’t know. Fun!

It was the Woodleaf and then the Big 3, my mother waitressed there when I was a kid. I would hang out readiing comics and wait for her to get off work, occasionally…great shakes, too!

Not many remember the lumber yard in the background. Diamond Lumber.

I remember those big swinging doors . … I think they got to be to dangerous. They blocked them off later and put the magazine rack in front of them.

I remember buying my first comic book there for $0.10. Around 1967. 
And riding a pony ride they had out front.

I lived on Highland & Monterey area.

We had a ritual when I lived on 4th and Thompson, Frank’s trading post, swim at the Bath House, a quick Matinee at the Boyes Theatre, Big 3 for a new Comic and finally BHS Food Center during the warm months. Great time to live there.

I can still smell it and see the broken tiles in the sloped entrance

There were 3 owners- hence the name.

The fountain was where the men around met for coffee and to lie to each other in the morning.

I remember Polidori’s 5 & Dime across the street on the corner, maybe before the post office was there? I think he was the postmaster for awhile. Ate at Big 3 many times, mom shopped there often, we would buy $.05 donuts there, caught the bus there many times, and played in the abandoned lumber yard next door (across from Gallo’s) often

Toad stool was still there so had to be in the late 60’s or early 70’s

Toad stool. 
We locals were known as “toads”

Creaky wood floors

Lyle Tuttle’s tattoo shop was next to the bus station. Sketchy area.

 

All images are from the author’s collection or courtesy of the Sonoma Valley Historical Society.

 

 

 

Standard