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.

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El Verano, History, mid-century, People, Resorts

Dutil/French Cottages/Verdier’s

The “French Colony” of Sonoma Valley included the Dutil, Lounibos, and Verdier families. The Lounibos’ arrived from France in 1873, the Dutils and Verdiers in 1893. (A different Verdier family came from France to San Francisco in 1850. They founded the City of Paris department store.)

By 1900 Jean and Anna Dutil were running a boarding house in El Verano, and improving it. “J. Dutil received a carload of lumber here Monday with which he will build a five room annex to his private boarding house in this place,”  wrote the Index Tribune.  After construction was complete, “Doc Wilson is painting J. Dutil’s villa. The colors are red white and blue.”

In 1902 “Mons J. Dutil, mine host of the French Cottage [as it was now called] will commence the erection of a large hotel in this place in a few days.”

Mrs. Anna Dutil died in 1943. According to the IT, she was 80 years old and came from Lyon France “fifity years ago,” ie, 1893.  “she and her husband founded the French Cottage, one Sonoma Valley’s first summer resorts, now Verdier’s.”

Post marked 1912.

According to historian Joan Lounibos, the Verdiers, Paul and his wife, worked for the Dutils at the boarding house, and, by 1922, they were the proprietors. “Mr. and Mrs. P. Verdier of the popular resort, the French Cottage, are making many improvements about the grounds, laying out beautiful gardens, painting the different buildings and getting ready for the coming season.”

By 1929, the resort was called Verdier’s. In the spring of that year, the Young Ladies Institute “enjoyed a bounteous repast at Verdier’s French cottage. The tables were beautifully decorated with daffodils and smilax, and the menu was elaborate, with chicken, ravioli and French pastry.”

1930s

1939-Paul Verdier makes more improvements

Paul Verdier died in 1945. His daughter and her husband, John Piro, take over and manage the resort until 1962. During this period, the resort was extensively photographed by Zan Stark. Several elaborate brochures were produced also.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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

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You could get a permit to burn things.

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“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.

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“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

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Mary’s opens!

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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.”

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

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“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…”

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

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

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

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Justin Murray Combo at the Palms Inn!

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“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.”

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Index Tribune courtesy of the Sonoma Valley Historical Society

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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?”

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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.

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Thailand Thai took over from Golden Garden in 2008.

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

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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.

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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.

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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, History, mid-century, Uncategorized

The Olive Grove Tract

The Olive Grove Tract: Where was it? What is the history of the trees? And where did the church go?

According to a Santa Rosa Press Democrat article from 1942, “Edwin P. Thomson, who many years ago owned the site of Fetters Springs…in 1887, planted the olive grove that now borders the highway between Fetters and Boyes Springs.” In 1946, the PD tells us that “Twenty-five acres of olive grove property fronting the state highway in Boyes Hot Springs and extending down to the ballpark, will soon be made available as an exclusive business and residential subdivision…” the owners were Bill Johnson and Rudy Lichtenberg, who also owned and managed the Boyes Bath House. Both men have streets named after them in that area.

Bill Johnson

Bill Johnson at the Boyes Bath House

(Courtesy of the Sonoma Valley Historical Society)

This map, from the website 321 Houses.com, shows an area which they call “Olive Grove.”

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UPDATE: Below is the Recorder/Assessor map of the subdivision. It is dated 1947.

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This is part of an aerial photograph from 1961, with a few street names superimposed. At that time, Bokman Avenue did not exist. Bokman approximately follows the outfield fence of the Boyes Springs Ball Park, which can be seen left center of the photo.

According to an IT article from 1988, the trees covered an area of 12.5 acres at that time. The trees were bulldozed in 1988, much to the dismay of local residents. See below.

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Zan Stark photo showing olive grove behind the ball park (to the east.) Courtesy, Stanford University Library, Special Collections.

At various times, various people have made the claim that the trees in the Olive Grove tract were planted by M. G. Vallejo. This was asserted and denied in 1988 when the trees were removed. Real estate agents and B + B proprietors still use this “information.”OliveGroveTrees988

(Copy from online advertisment, below)

Property Details for 17600 Johnson Ave

This property is no longer available to rent or buy. This description is from May 03, 2010

Experience this darling 1949 Turn-Key home in the heart of the Wine Country! This meticulous 2 bedroom, 1 bath home features a spacious vintage kitchen, and a light and bright living room. The private back yard is a gardener’s delight that includes a patio, a deck and plenty of shade provided by two mighty olive trees that were once part of General Vallejo’s olive grove. Minutes from the Sonoma Plaza, restaurants and wineries.

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”The area where this home is located was once part of General Vallejo’s personal olive grove.”

As mentioned above, the remaining trees were removed in 1988.

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Olive trees on DeChene Ave. in 2017. (Author’s photos) Many of the existing trees in the area seem very old. They could be survivors from Thomson’s orchard.

The Valley of the Moon Community Church.

The Valley of the Moon Community Church was located in the Olive Grove tract.

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In September of 1951, the foundations were poured. Fourteen months later, “The handsome church building is slowly but surely nearing completion.” In August of 1953, the church building was in use.

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This Chamber of Commerce map, courtesy of the Sonoma Valley Historical Society, from the 1955 shows the VOM Community church approximately where Lichtenberg St. comes into DeChene Ave.

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This is the last mention of the Church in the IT. What happened to the congregation? What happened to the church building?

 

Many thanks to Joanna Kolosov of the Sonoma County History and Genealogy Library for information from the Press Democrat and other sources.

 

Regrettably, we have lost track of the name of the gentleman who loaned the 1961 aerial photograph. The photograph was provided to him by Sonoma County.

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Boyes Hot Springs, History, mid-century, Uncategorized

Valley Watch Repair

Antonio Juan, who took over Johnny Mazza’s barber shop in 2017, found this clock in the back of the shop.

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Valley Watch Repair was started in 1954 by George R. Trueman, who previously ran a jewelry store in Sacramento. The shop was located in the Kinucan building, at first. This building, once called the Central building, was located on the highway, on the land that now features the Sonoma Mission Inn employee parking lot. At the time Trueman moved in, part of the building was used for the Boyes Springs Variety Store, run by the Polidori family.ValleyWatch1954

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In this post card photo by Zan Stark, the Variety Store is at left. The cars date the scene to 1954.ValleyWatchad1954ValleyWatchBusinessAssoc1955

George Trueman became active in the business community. In 1955 he was elected vice president of the newly formed Boyes Springs Merchants Association. President was Tom Polidori. Zan Stark and Babe Gallo were directors.

(The photo caption on the same page tells of the former A.B. Peluffo house being moved from the site of the new shopping center at the corner of the highway and Verano Avenue. Pellufo was the developer of the Plaza Center building which houses the post office in Boyes Hot Springs.)

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In 1956 Trueman moved his business to the former Saul Becker real estate office adjacent to Gallo’s Service station on the east side of the highway, near Arroyo Road. (Gaye Notely left for Berkeley a few days later, as we ;earn on the same page of the Index Tribune. Much later she would become Gaye Le Baron.)iValleydrugValleyWatchMrsTruemanShop1958

Mrs. Trueman opened her yardage and clothing store next to the Valley Watch Repair, “opposite the Mission Inn entrance on Highway 12…” in 1958. ZanE47SMIEntrance

The indispensable Zan Stark provides a view of the Mission Inn entrance.

In 1961, the Truemans sold their businesses and embarked on a cross-country road trip, saying they would return to Sonoma Valley. And return they did, in 1962, and set up business in Frank’s Hardware.ValleyWatchTruyemanSell1961

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Photographs courtesy of Michael Acker

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Architecture, El Verano, History, mid-century, Resorts, Uncategorized

Rozario’s

Rozarios’ resort, the successor to Parente’s Villa, was located on Verano Avenue between the Highway and the bridge.

Louis Parente, a notorious bar owner, fight promoter and would-be politician, came to El Verano in 1906 from San Francisco. (Please see Jeff Elliot’s great santarosahistory.com for much more on Parente: http://santarosahistory.com/wordpress/2016/07/the-village-of-vice-in-the-valley-of-the-moon/

By 1925 he had built a “new” hotel.

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According to the Index Tribune, “The 43 room hotel, hut, cottages and grounds were purchased by the Rozarios in 1943, and it was on January 1, 1944 that they opened it for business. The former San Francisco and Marin county residents had purchased the property from Joe Parente [actually Louis Parente], colorful Bay Area sports figure who brought many prize fighters here to train.”

Rozario’s was popular through the 1950s for wedding receptions, fashion shows, and formal dinners.

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The Rozarios sold the resort to Carl Innskeep and Joe La Rango in 1955.

It later became known as the El Verano Inn.ElVeranoInnweb

The buildings were torn down in 1985 to make way for an extension of the Finnish American Home Association’s housing complex for retired people, which was located behind the old resort building. In that year, the editor of the FAHA Manor News explained in a letter to the editor of the Index Tribune that FAHA wanted to preserve the building, but “could not afford the very expensive improvements necessary…” Thus we lost another piece of our history.RozariosTornDown1985clip

 

 

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Architecture, Boyes Hot Springs, History, mid-century, Photographs, Uncategorized

The Corner of Thomson Avenue and Highway 12

Dr. Allen Thompson, courtesy of the Sonoma Valley Historical Society

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Thomson Avenue, not Thompson Avenue, was named for Dr. Allen Thomson, who had been physician to General Vallejo, and who married one of his granddaughters. Thomson was president of the company that developed the subdivision known as Boyes Springs Park . Thomson Street is its southern border.BHSSubDivBweb

The building at the southeast corner was a Red Crown gas station circa 1930. It later became the Ferrando’s Plumbing building and now houses La Michoacana Ice Cream and Plain Janes. It was famously made over by Rico Martin in 2015.

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The caption says “Questerman/Churchill Garage.” Note the misspelling of the street name and the designation “east.”

Directly across Highway 12 from the end of Thomson (not East Thomson!) was Baker’s Drive In, established in 1957 (and open 24 hours per day!)Baker'sArticleAd In 1958 Norman Baker had big plans to build a truck stop on this property, but the county would not approve the project.BakerTruckStopweb

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Looking South, Farrell’s sign at left, Baker’s Drive In at right.

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Looking at Bakers’ Drive In on Hwy 12, from Thomson. Red Crown building seen at left.

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Looking North

These photos from 1958, courtesy of the Sonoma County Library, were used in a court case, the nature of which is unknown, but could have been a suit over a traffic accident. In the photo of the highway looking south, a sign can be seen (below the Richfield sign) which proclaims Farrell’s Resort, which would have been on the property now partially occupied by Arroyo Vet Hospital.

In 1972, John Metallinos and family opened the Fruit Basket on Arnold Drive.

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They opened their Boyes Springs branch sometime later, probably in the early 1980s, at the old Baker’s Drive In. On June 15, 1983, a fire destroyed that building.FruitBasketFireweb

Nearly a year later, the Boyes Springs Fruit Basket reopened, “in a flourish of live Greek music and dancing,” in its new building, which was designed by architect William Dimick.

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The Fruit Basket in 2107. It really is a graceful building.

My thanks to Mark Maberly for information about Dr. Thomson, and his general enthusiasm for our history. As always, contributions of knowledge are welcomed. Please leave a comment.

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