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


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 for much more on Parente:

By 1925 he had built a “new” hotel.


ParenteAlternateweb copyParente3

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



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

The Corner of Thomson Avenue and Highway 12


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.


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


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


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


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.


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.



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.

History, mid-century

Mendel Cader

Mendel Cader was Sam Ganos’ step-son. Lillian Cader, Mendel’s mother, married Sam in the 1930s. Mendel married in 1944.

Sam Ganos emigrated from Greece in 1907. Making his way from New York to Sonoma Valley, he opened Sam’s Grill in 1916, in the building that still stands on the Highway, opposite Central Ave. It now houses La Hacienda Taqueria (2016.) This means there has been a restaurant in that building for 100 years. (See the post about Sam).

According to Todd Ganos, Sam’s grandson, Sam brought Mendel into the business in the late 40s, eventually turning it over to him, renaming it Mendel’s Café. In the early 1950s, the Café moved around the corner to the building on Boyes Blvd. These buildings later came to known as the “Uncle Patty’s” block.

bhs1950ssnapshots1-copyAn article in the Index Tribune of June 1, 1951, tells us the café would be open every day but Tuesday, starting Memorial Day. On the same page we learn that, “14,000 swam at Boyes Over the Weekend.” Also on the same page was an ad for Bob and Edith Lanning’s Resort Club, offering “Fun, Friendship and Fine Drinks…. Blue Pacific Strings are playing Saturday night.”nathansThe building next to Mendel’s, housing Nelson’s Delicatessen in the 50s, is thought to be the former Nathan’s, dating from circa 1910. (Photo courtesy of the California State Library.)mendelsopensnotelyRather than just citing newspaper stories, sometimes it’s interesting to look at the whole page, or part of a page, to give context. The above clipping is from the Index Tribune, November 14, 1952. It’s interesting that the “local boy” witnessing the H bomb test was permitted to write home about it! The Hot Springs Happenings columnist later became Gaye LeBaron who is well known as a journalist and historian of Sonoma County. Visit to find out about the Gaye Lebaron Collection at the Sonoma State University Library. (Reading newspaper archives is similar to reading the dictionary: all kinds of unexpected information and associations pop up.)

In March, 1955 Mendel sold the café to Mr. and Mrs. Tom Sterling. Cader had been running the café for eight years. The same year, Mendel was apparently managing the restaurant at the Sonoma Golf and Country Club. That New Years Eve he offered “dancing, favors, surprises” and a deluxe steak dinner for $7.50. In 1958, Mendel was hosting at the Broadway Café, located at #536 Broadway. The same year, he closed the Broadway Café and opened a bar in San Francisco, “with an uncle.”it1958mendelbroadwaycafecropSome time after the SF venture he again opened Mendel’s Café in Boyes, which had become “Millie’s.” He then sold it in 1963 and went on to operate Diamond Lil’s Restaurant in Petaluma with his brother Dave.diamondlilfrontandbackLillian Cader Ganos had inherited Sam Gano’s substantial estate, which she lavished on Mendel and his brother, who proceeded to go bankrupt in the 1970s.


Architecture, History, mid-century, Uncategorized

The Boyes Springs Food Center

A sampling of the history of the Food Center, as told by the Index Tribune. Included are surrounding articles and advertisements, to give some sense of the life in the Springs in 1949. That year was indeed a special one in this area, and deserves and article of its own.



1956. Presidential politics anybody?it1956foodcenterpolitics

Architect Hugh Duffy designed the Plaza Center building also.it1960bigthreearchitect-copy

One of Zan Stark’s wonderful photographs of the building, and more. 1950s.zane64lookingnorth2008. The tiled awning was still in place.foodcenter2008


New to the Springs Historic Photo Database


The Valley of the Moon Daily Review


The street scene by Zan Stark shows, at left, offices of the Valley of the Moon Daily Review, of which he was publisher in the late 50s and early 60s. The paper is from 1956.

Zan was prolific photographer and publisher of post cards from the 30s through the 50s. Copies of the newspaper are rare. They are valuable historical records of life in the Springs in the mid twentieth century. If you have one or two, consider giving them to this Museum, or the Depot Park Museum. Thank you!

Postcard image used Courtesy of the Department of Special Collections and University Archives, Stanford University Libraries.