Architecture, Boyes Hot Springs, History, mid-century, Now and Then

KRAMER’S INN

2021

The building now know as 18135 Highway 12, in Boyes Hot Springs, is one of the oldest commercial buildings in the community. The original business, Kramer’s Inn, goes back at least to 1918. That building was destroyed in the great fire of September 1923 and the current one dates from that year.

1938, 1950s, 1960s, 2021. Valley Hardware was in a building where the glass company (blue awnings, top photo) is now. It was right next to Gallo Bros. car dealership. This composite shows the building after it was sold to Esposito. Read on.

The sign says “Kramer’s Inn, Stage Depot.” Before or after the fire of 1923? The top of the façade looks like the later building, but we don’t know that he didn’t rebuild to duplicate the one that was destroyed. Anyway, what an interesting bunch of folks. All men but two. I particularly like the two guys in the center, one draping his arms over the other.What occasioned this group photo?

Probably 1920s. Notice the Greyhound sign top right.

Immediately after the fire there was great determination to rebuild. Kramer set up his temporary store right away.

“The ashes at Boyes Springs were hardly cold before many of the enterprising property owners and business people began to re-establish themselves and put up buildings. Kramer, the grocer is doing business in a tent and will rebuild at once.” Index Tribune September 1923. October 20, 1923: “The Kramer store is nearing completion and many other improvements are contemplated as soon as the new state highway grade is authoritatively established.” Yes, this is incredibly fast construction! Remember, no permits were required.

In 1924, Kramer improved the store with a stucco front. In 1930, he became Greyhound agent for the Springs.

Noble Kramer was born in 1878 in Ohio. He came to California with his wife Luisa and daughter Lucille sometime before 1920. He had some political ambitions. In 1942 he ran for judge but was not elected. He ran for judge and county clerk several times without success, and applied to become the postmaster of Boyes Hot springs in the year the job was awarded to Marion Greene, of the Woodleaf Market.

In 1938 Kramer sold to A. Desposito who renamed it the Boyes Springs Store.

Photograph by “Art Ray.”

Noble Kramer Died 1948.

In 1942 Mike and Rose Gitti took over and ran the store as Mike and Rose’s Market. They retired in 1959. At that point (in 1959)the IT says  “The store is now being remodeled and will be the new location of the Ammann’s Boutique women’s shop, which in the future will also carry a line of men’s clothing. The Gittis came to the Springs area in 1941 from San Rafael and Mike, who has been in the butcher trade since 1933, was employed at the Woodleaf Market until the couple opened their own store.” IT Jan 22, 1959

Zan Stark photo showing Mike and Roses’ Market across the street from the Sonoma Mission Inn and next door to Valley Hardware and Gallo’s. It’s difficult to see but the hardware store has a Sherwin Williams “Cover the Earth” sign.

After 1959 there is a blank in the record.

We pick up the trail again in 1973. In June of that year the building housed The Bookworm used bookstore.

In August of 1975 we find Pam’s Professional Grooming in residence.

July 1977 finds Crafty’s, a store selling dolls, dollhouses, and little bitty furniture.

February, 1978 Better Homes Realty takes over the space. They remain until December of 1979, when Bill Coombs, real estate agent, puts his franchise up for sale for $6,000.

Apparently that did’t work out because Coombs transitioned into the used record business using his former realty office. In March of 1981 he transferred that business to Jared Simpson who operated it as “Love Me Two Times” (obviously he was a Doors fan.)

The next mention in the IT is in 1991, when it was listed as a residence in a crime report.

It was again vacant of businesses, as far as we know, during the years-1990-2005.

In the 21st Century

Jim Valavanis opened his Tattoos parlor in July 2005. It closed in 2009.

Mas por Menos, an all-purpose business catering to Spanish speaking people took the space in 2009. They cashed checks, provided email, fax and Internet services, sold phone cards, provided “envois de dinero” and even sold airline tickets. Unfortunately they lasted only a year, but they did do some much needed maintenance to the facade.

In 2010 Lonesome Cowboy Ranch, purveyors of vintage Western wear and memorabilia set up shop and did well until 2020, when they closed.

Today we are lucky to have Heritage Furniture. They make the classic Adirondack chair using high-tech laser cutting and CAD design. We wish them success and a long tenure at 18135 Sonoma Highway.

Just because I’m a glutton for punishment, I include here the clip from the IT from 1959 where they use the term “THE SPRINGS.” It wasn’t invented last year people!

Photographs and Index Tribune courtesy of the Sonoma Valley Historical Society and author’s collection.

Standard
Architecture, Boyes Hot Springs, History, mid-century, Now and Then, Place Names/Street Names

The Once and Future Boyes Boulevard Bridge

It was a different experience in 1955

On February 17, 1955, the Index Tribune reported

“A $12,987 contract for rebuilding the Boyes boulevard bridge across Sonoma Creek, near the Bath House in Boyes Hot Springs, was awarded by the county supervisors last week…The contractor will use existing abutments and piers for the bridge and will use but relocate existing steel stringer and add a reinforced concrete deck and sidewalks.”

Thursday, March 3, 1955. Work was “in high gear” on the new Boyes Blvd. bridge.The caption notes that motorist will be forced to use “Verano Drive or Santa Rosa Avenue” to cross the creek. Verano Drive is now Verano Blvd. and Santa Rosa Avenue is West Agua Caliente Road.

Work went fast: On April 17th we learn,

“New Boyes Bridge May Open to Traffic This Weekend.”

“Possibility that the brand new bridge across Sonoma Creek at Boyes Boulevard, near the Bath House, will be open to traffic on Saturday was seen this week.

Painting of the new steel barriers and upper portion was completed on Tuesday with only the sand blasting and painting of the steel sections beneath the bridge remaining.

Normally, twenty-one days is allowed for the concrete to set after the deck has been poured. If this procedure were followed, the bridge would not open until next Monday. However, due to the excellent weather and the fact that the Boyes Hot Springs Bath House and facilities will be open for the season on Saturday, this weekend may possibly see the new bridge in use.

The Fred Fedenburg firm of Temple City has been the contractor for the $12,987 project, which was stared the last week of February.”

The work was fast because they did not replace the abutments, unlike the current project for which massive new concrete supports were poured. Still, the end of February to the end of April is rapid!

Fast forward to the year 2000. It was proposed to widen the bridge to three lanes, but neighbors worried about increased traffic.

That project never came to pass.

In December 2020 the County sent this notice informing us of a big step in the construction of the NEW new bridge.

We first learned of the current bridge project in July of 2019, when the Sonoma County Department of Transportation told the Index Tribune that the Boyes Blvd. bridge was “functionally obsolete.”

“The new replacement bridge will comply with current roadway, drainage and bridge standards…; it will not increase vehicular capacity but will provide shoulders for bicycles and a five-foot wide sidewalk for pedestrians” the IT reported.

Engineering work started in 2013. The funds were allocated in July of 2019.

“The entire project is expected to cost $5.13 million, almost 13 percent higher than originally estimated. Additional costs are said to stem from the temporary pedestrian bridge which will also provide a structure for water, gas and electric relocations, and the water systems improvements by the Valley of the Moon Water District (VOMWD).”

“Commencement of construction of the project has been delayed due to, among other things, a lengthy negotiation with a neighboring homeowners’ association in 2018,” said the summary report.

The “other things” causing delay now include a world-wide pandemic and a bad fire season in 2020. Currently the bridge is scheduled to open in July of this year (2021).

The Bridge, looking west, March of 2019
Looking east, 2008

The photos below span November 2019 through April, 2021.

Bonus slideshow of arty construction images! You’re welcome.

Standard
Architecture, Boyes Hot Springs, History, mid-century, People

Marion Greene

Update: please also see https://springsmuseum.org/2018/11/07/the-woodleaf-store-big-three/ for the post about the Woodleaf Store.

Film magnates, fatal accidents and paved (!) highways share space with the beginning of Marion Greene’s career as postmaster.  (Stay tuned for the story about the film magnates.) And, yes, they called it the “Springs” in 1923.

Marion Greene was a businesswomen of Boyes Hot Springs in the mid-twentieth century.  Many women were prominent in business around this time. Mary  Fazio of Mary’s Pizza Shack, Pine Wagner, the pharmacist,  and Jerry Casson were her contemporaries. Emma Fetters was a few years earlier, Juanita Musson a bit later. In 1947 she became a founding member of the Sonoma Valley business and Professional Women’s club. 75 women attend the first meeting.

In November of 1923, Marion Lovett Greene, proprietor of the Woodleaf Store, was appointed acting post master of the Boyes Hot Springs post office and was waiting to take the exam to qualify as the permanent post master.  There as quite a bit of competition for the job among local grocers, the Index Tribune noted. ”Postage stamp sales lead to pork-and-bean sales and love letter inquiries increase pickles sales, so naturally the store keepers want to serve Uncle Sam’s patrons, even if the salary of post master itself is not very remunerative.”  She did become the regular post master and stayed in the job until at least 1939.

Marion Greene in 1925, in her original Woodleaf Market.

Her Woodleaf store was in the Kellar building in 1932, we are told. The same year she move “across the street” to the Putnam building, which presumably was the building at the corner of Boyes Blvd and Sonoma highway,  where the Woodleaf Store stayed as it later became the Big Three. In 1938 Ms. Greene was appointed the Greyhound Bus agent for the Springs as well.

Woodleaf Store, 1930s.
The Woodleaf in 1956, after Ms. Green’s tenure.

The interior of the Woodleaf Store in 1956. This would be in the Big Three building on the corner of Hwy 12 and Boyes Blvd. Mrs. Greene was no longer owner, but she would have approved of the modern appointments.

Mrs. Greene served as president of the Sonoma County Grocers Association and the state association, and was active in the California Post Masters Association.

She was named Outstanding citizen of the year 1948  by the Sonoma Valley Chamber of Commerce. In 1949, as chair of the Travel and Recreation Committee, she spearheaded the effort to establish the Valley of the Moon Scenic Route along Highway 12. As part of her duties with the Chamber of Commerce, Ms. Greene appeared on Paul Marcucci’s radio show, broadcast from his resort.

Marion Greene, left, with Paul Marcucci, at Paul’s Resort, 1950s. Courtesy of Eve Marcucci. See https://springsmuseum.org/2018/12/28/pauls-resort/

Marion Greene built two houses in Boyes Hot Springs in  the 1940s. In 2019 Marion’s grand- daughter came to Boyes Hot Springs to sell the houses that her grandmother built and gave us a tour. The interiors were all Ms. Greene’s design, and quite charming, featuring custom cabinets and many built-ins.

One of the houses was cited in the 1994 Design Guidelines for the Redevelopment Project for showing “eclectic charm” .

An artifact found in the out-buildings attested to Ms. Greene’s involvement with local development and business.

In 1949 local boosters celebrated the “centennial” of Boyes Hot Springs. This is puzzling since Captain Boyes did not arrive until 1885, however, they were dating from the arrival of T.M. Leavenworth, who bought hundreds of acres in the Rancho Agua Caliente from Vallejo in 1849. See Leavenworth’s House.

The commemorative tie features the image of a mule because that was the mascot of Boyes Springs at the time. Mules live long lives, but it’s doubtful Peskie was still there in 1949.

Index Tribune courtesy of the Sonoma Valley Historical Society. Photographs by author and from author’s collection.

Standard
Architecture, Fetters Hot Springs, History, Now and Then, Photographs, Resorts

The Ideal Resort

According to the 2005 Historical Resources Compliance Report for the Highway 12 Phase Two Corridor Project of County Redevelopment (whew!) The Ideal Resort was built some time around 1910 by Anton and Helen Schaffer who, in 1919, sold to Joseph and Margaret Weiss.

The Schaeffer’s were active resort developers in the early days.

The Schafer’s and the Weiss’ were Austrian immigrants, like the Weghoffer family and Leixner, who also had businesses in Fetters Hot Springs. {See Liexner }.

A Northwest Pacific Railroad brochure from the 1910s described the resort this way: “At Fetter’s Springs, three minutes’ walk from the Northwestern Pacific Depot, and ten minutes walk to Boyes, Fetters, and Caliente Hot Springs, where there are large swimming tanks….No expense has been spared to make this place a pleasure ground. Large, sanitary and well ventilated rooms, sleeping porches or tents,…Mrs. Weiss has established a reputation for her excellent Hungarian cooking.”

From the NWPRR brochure, circa 1917

The Weiss’ ran the resort until 1934. Between 1935 and 1941, the property changed hands several times.  Joseph Weiss died in 1935. The IT gave him a front page obit, calling him  a “pioneer resort man.” The obit noted that he was born in Austria-Hungary in 1868.

In 1946, Ray and Florence Loper took over, renaming the place the Floray Auto Court. The Lopers sold in 1958 but the name persisted in to the 70s.

Plan of the resort from the 2005 Report

The 2005 Report noted that the Ideal Resort was “one of many small, family owned resorts in the Springs district. Small resorts such as this allowed families and people of lesser means to participate in the resort life previously enjoyed by the affluent. They plays an integral part in the historical development of this area. This property is a good representative of the Springs resort era. There are few small, road-side resorts from the early part of the century left in the Springs area, and non retain the degrees of integrity that this resort does.  Therefore, National Register Criterion A and California Register Criterion 1 are met.” In 2005. As with so many historic structures in the Springs, alteration or demolition proceeded before consideration of historic value could be contemplated.

The buildings were rehabbed in the 2010s. They remain, but very highly altered.

Main House, 2008
Main House, 2020

In 1924, this ad appeared in the Index Tribune. The assortment of goods for sale gives pause.

Index Tribune courtesy of the Sonoma Valley Historical Society. Photos by or from the collection of the author.

Standard
Architecture, Fetters Hot Springs, History, mid-century, People

From Tripp’s to El Brinquito

The store at the corner of Highway 12 and Depot Road in Fetters Hot Springs has been important in that community since at least the 1950s. Fetters Food Mart is first mentioned in the Index Tribune in 1952. The owner at that time is not mentioned, but we know that changed in 1956 when Mr. and Mrs. Roger Cleland sold to Mr. and Mrs. Victor Frolich, “formerly of Lodi.”

In 1963 the Tripp family took over.

 

Sharon Williams via Facebook: “This great photo was in the Our Supporter’s section of the 1965 El Padre. It is Tripp’s Corner Grocery, on Hwy 12, and we have Shirleen (Tripp) Perry (class 1966,) her brothers, plus Robin Dodson (1966) holding the dog.” (Cecil Tripp, owner, is at right.) The Nasso’s building can be seen in the background.

In February, 1966 the Index Tribune informs “the store is now operated by Mrs. Fena Parise, of Santa Rosa.”

“Opposite Nasso’s Gift House”

And in June 1967, “George Raby has taken over the former Fena’s Grocery at 17380 Sonoma Hwy., Fetters Springs. To be known as George’s Grocery, the store is on the corner of the road that goes down to Flowery School and is directly opposite Mountain Avenue. Raby formerly operated a grocery store in Boyes Springs and prior to that had one at Hooker Oaks.”



From the 1980s until 2005 it was known as Mike’s Market.

2005 First mention of El Brinquito. Photo 2008, Nasso’s building still standing.
Photo 2008

Rico Martin’s whimsical albeit controversial designs were introduced in 2015.

The Nasso’s building was replaced by the Vialetti family’s new structure, which was completed in 2019.

Bonus: Nasso’s ad from 1963

Index Tribune courtesy of the Sonoma Valley Historical Society.

Photographs by author. Yearbook photo from the “You Know you’re From Sonoma When” Facebook page.

Standard
Architecture, Boyes Hot Springs, El Verano, Entertainment, History, mid-century, People, Sports

May 28, 1959

This day, sixty one years ago. Eighteen pages in the issue. What happened that day? Things small and large, meaningful and trivial. Presented with just a few comments and notes.

1959052800000200-2.pdf

Valley Mourns Oscar Larson-See page 14 for an editorial appreciation of this important figure in mid-twentieth century Boyes Hot Springs.

Incorporation, Bank sought at Boyes –“’A committee to form a committee’” to work for incorporation of Boyes Hot Springs as a full-fledged city, was appointed Tuesday at noon meeting of the Boyes Hot Springs Merchants Association, held at Sonoma Mission Inn.” Zan Stark Jr., Harry Phinney and Milton Greger were appointed to “establish a “citizens committee” to “sell” the incorporation plan in the area.”

Page 21959052800001200-2.pdf

More about Oscar Larson. Dr. Ronald Scott fished in Oregon. Big News! (Oregon keeps coming up in this issue.)

Page 31959052800002200-1.pdf

You could get a permit to burn things.

Page 41959052800003200-1.pdf

“Never used anything like it,” say users of Berlou mothspray, odorless, stainless, and guaranteed to stop moths for five whole years. Simmons Pharmacy, WE 8-2039.

Page 51959052800004200-1.pdf

“Bob Fouts, sportscaster for the San Francisco 49ers and other athletic events of both radio and television, plans to spend the summer in the Valley of the Moon, the Index Tribune learned this week. Fouts, his wife and five children will reside in the Bel Aire development near the Sonoma golf Course, where they will temporarily rent a home during the summer months.” Just a few years later, Dan Fouts would be starring at quarterback for the University of Oregon, which is mentioned page 17.

Page 6

1959052800005200-1.pdf

Mary’s opens!

Page 71959052800006200-2.pdf

Merchants meeting continued:

“Help from an outside source in the merchants’ fight to retain the identity of the Boyes Hot Springs Post office came at the meeting when Harry Kay of Santa Rosa, member of the State and County Democratic Central committee pledged his aid.”

Page 81959052800007200-1.pdf

Page 91959052800008200-1.pdf

“The El Verano Improvement club members will meet on June 12 at the clubhouse on Riverside Drive.”

Page 101959052800009200-2.pdf

“Key figures in Valley of the Moon Little League…Gene Morreton, August Sebastiani, J. Bettencourt, C.M. Marsh, Carl Ellason, Betty Thomas, Thelma Ashley, Paul Marcucci Sr., Bud Butts…”

Page 111959052800010200-2.pdf

New Safeway Store to be Discussed By City Planners”, “No Setting Aside of Prunes This Year.

Page 121959052800011200-1.pdf

Page 131959052800012200-2.pdf

Mario Ciampi is recognized in Life Magazine for design of Sassarini Elementary School.

Page 141959052800013200-2.pdf

Oscar Larson remembered. A letter to the editor about Valley Unification.

Page 151959052800014200-1.pdf

Page 161959052800015200-1.pdf

Justin Murray Combo at the Palms Inn!

Page 171959052800016200-1.pdf

“Dr. and Mrs. Michael Mikita of Sobre Vista returned home recently after spending five days in Eugene, Oregon, visiting their son, Michael who is a freshman at the University of Oregon.”

Page 181959052800017200-1.pdf

Index Tribune courtesy of the Sonoma Valley Historical Society

Standard
Architecture, Boyes Hot Springs, nature, Neighborhood Phenomena

Waste Space

HighwayPlanCover

In 2008 final construction drawings for “Phase 2 Stage 1” of the Highway 12 sidewalk project were issued. The drawings are detailed and very specific, as they would be. Everything is spelled out, down to the design of the hardware used to hold up mail boxes, sign details, and the depth of fence posts.

MailboxDetail

FenceDetail

HighwaySigns

 

One thing that was not thought about is the space created, or delineated between the edge of the sidewalk and buildings, fences and walls along the highway. Formerly just part of the shoulder of the road, these unpaved spaces became the chaotic province of weeds and trash, unclaimed and untended by anybody.

 

HawthorneThomsonLayout

Layout of the Hawthorne-Thomson stretch

This 300’ strip on the east side of the highway between Hawthorne and Thomson is a good example.

Hwy12planting2009

October 2009, soon after construction was finished. Broadcast wildflower seeds are just sprouting.

_DSC7366 copy.jpg

November 2016. Weeds and exotic grasses grow mixed with a few California poppies surviving from 2009.

DSC03870.JPG

2019. Property owners have planted palm trees.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Other examples of wasted space.

The new sidewalks, streetlights, and other amenities provided by the project are much appreciated in the community. It’s a shame that the interstices of the design were not dealt with originally, but they now represent an opportunity for creativity and community engagement. Let a hundred fledgling landscape architects bloom!

 

Standard
Architecture, Boyes Hot Springs, History, mid-century

A Short History, with a gap, of 18350 Sonoma Highway

How old does something have to be to be considered “historic?”

18350SonomaHwy

Index Tribune courtesy of the Sonoma Valley Historical Society

The modern commercial building, with housing in back, was built in 1960 by real estate agent W. A. McFarlane. McFarlane practiced his profession through the 1960s, possibly at other locations. He died in 1975.

The gap in this story is a long one; between the 1960s and 2000, when Nola Lum Hsu filed her Fictitious Business Name statement for the Golden Garden Restaurant. It’s also during this period that the brick-faced addition appeared.

ThailandThai2008

Thailand Thai took over from Golden Garden in 2008.

Castner2010

The building was vacant in 2010 but Norm Owens was getting ready to open his Hot Box Grill that year.

HotBoxGrillSFGate

According to Sonoma Magazine

Former Cafe La Haye chef Norman Owens has opened Hot Box Grill in Sonoma — technically Boyes Hot Springs — in what’s fast becoming a gourmet gulch. The Aqua (SF) and Canlis (Seattle)  alum garnered serious cred while in the Sonoma kitchen before leaving.

FlyingPig2016 copy

Chef Rob Larman opened Cochan Volant in 2016, complete with the flying pig sculpture by Brian Tedrick, on the roof. In 2020, it continues to pump out fragrances that stimulate the salivary glands.

Please comment if you can fill in the gaps in the story of this building.

Hot Box Grill photo courtesy of Sonoma Magazine.

Standard