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.

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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.

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Boyes Hot Springs, History, Now and Then, Resorts

The Center of Town

The corners Sonoma Highway makes with Boyes Blvd. and Vallejo Ave. are the heart of Boyes Hot Springs. From the 1890s to now, it has been our commercial hub. Many buildings are gone, but significant ones remain, if altered. The Post Office has been there, in three different buildings, for over one hundred years. Many new businesses thrive and more are planned. During the season, we now have a weekly farmers market.

The path the highway follows was probably originated by mastadons migrating to the coast. Boyes Blvd. and Vallejo Ave. came along much later, during the early 20th century, when speculators started to subdivide the land.

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Only the highway ( called “Road to Santa Rosa”) was there in 1860 when the United States Court confirmed Thaddeus Leavenworth’s claim to 534 and 62/100 acres of land in the Rancho Agua Caliente, land that was to become Boyes Hot Springs, Agua Caliente, and Fetters hot Springs.

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The highway is just called “County Road” in the 1916 Hotel Grounds subdivision map, which also show Boyes Blvd. but does not extend to the east, so no Vallejo.

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Possibly the oldest photographs of the location are scenes of The Club House (Red roof in lower photo, shown on the Hotel Grounds map), Grahams Store, and other businesses, from around 1910.

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A beautiful 1939 shot shows the entrance to the Sonoma Mission Inn, the Richfield Station, Jim’s café, other businesses and the palm tree in the center of “Boyes Plaza.”

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Shot from slightly farther south, this 1930s photo also show Jim’s, in the distance, and two buildings in the foreground that are still there in 2019.

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Now looking south at the Center Building, that housed Jim’s, past the corner of Vallejo Ave.

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The southwest corner with the Woodleaf Store, around the same time (1930s).

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This 1943 Naval aerial photo shows the train depot and palm tree in the upper right corner.

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In the early 1950s, the Plaza Center building replaced the Boyes Plaza. The Center  Building (opposite side of the highway) has become Polidori’s 5 + 10 cent store.

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The Mission Inn entrance in the 1950s. On the right, signs for Gallo Brothers Service, Mike And Rose’s market and the C.O.G. club.

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A little later in the 50s, Polidori’s has become the Boyes Variety store. The Woodleaf Market sign is promienent on the right, as well as Betty’s Cut and Curl.

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In 1955 the Chamber of Commerce issued a map showing many local businesses, including ones at our corner.

The Big three closed in 2016, never to reopen? Buildings come and go. It’s inevitable. But preservation should be important to all of us. Let’s hope we can do what is needed to preserve the Big Three/Woodleaf from demolition.

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Two artistic interpretations of the intersection from the Valley of the Moon Main Stem Project, by Michael Acker.

Thanks to Arthur Dawson for the Leavenworth Plat interpretation and general info. Other images courtesy of the Sonoma Valley Historical Society, the Northwestern Pacific Railroad Historical Society, the Sonoma County Recorder’s Office, and Stanford Library Special Collections.

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Boyes Hot Springs, History, Now and Then

Boyes Springs Mineral Water

 

In 1914, the Sonoma Vista Land Company, Harvey Toy, President, advertised in the San Francisco Examiner for a  train excursion to Boyes Hot Springs:

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“home sites $195 and up” and…”Boyes Springs mineral water served free on the grounds.”

Sonoma Vista was subdivision on the west side of Sonoma Creek, south of Boyes Blvd.

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In January of 1918 the Index Tribune stated that “The bottling works of the now famed Boyes Springs Mineral Water has been put in the charge of Fred J. Hansen, popular musician and poultry man.” (A talented guy, apparently!) And “The management of the mineral water concern is no small matter as $25,000 worth of water was bottled and marketed last season.”

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By 1925, the concern was managed by one H. Peterson, according to the IT. “Physician recommend the use of this water as a corrective for stomach and related troubles…Try a case and enthuse more and more over Boyes Springs,” the reporter stated, severely blurring the line between news and advertising.

Baseball players also enjoyed it, according to the Oakland Tribune in 1947:

BoyesWaterBaseballOakTrib19472

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The bottling plant, as shown on the County Recorder’s map of the Hotel Grounds subdivision, was adjacent to the Bath House near Boyes Blvd.

(See https://springsmuseum.org/history/documents/maps/)

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The building survived and has gone through a number of incarnations.

1980s:

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2009:

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And inspired some art:

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Artist: Michael Acker

Images courtesy of Sonoma Valley Historical Society, Robert Parmelee, and the author’s collection.

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UPDATE: Interior of the bottling plant, courtesy the Internet Archive.

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

Reclamation?

This is the key historic building still standing in Agua Caliente. Apparently undergoing demolition-by-neglect, it has, in August 2018, gotten a set of new windows and a paint job. We can only hope that the structure behind the stucco still has integrity.

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Before the new paint, the ghost of the word “Mexcian” could be seen near the sidewalk. Various restarants and markets have been housed in the building.

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After paint. The windows still have the factory sticker.

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In the days of Liexner’s Resort.

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And Nimpfer’s.

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Architecture, History, Jewish History, Now and Then, Resorts, Uncategorized

Rosenthal’s Resort, Part Two

We left off with Selig Rosenthal’s death in 1938. But the story of Rosenthal’s Resort did not end there.doraswedding1939In June of 1939, Dora Rosenthal married Joe Winters, a well-known local tailor.

it1938wintersfirstmentionadwintersoldshop1956Joe Winters’ shop was for many years located next to the El Dorado Hotel. The red and white awning of the Raymond Real Estate office would not get past the Sonoma Design Review Commission now!

Winters was very involved with the rodeo in 1939. The rodeo was started in 1929 and ran through the 1950s, on the Millerick Ranch near Schellville. it1939wintersrodeophoto

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In 1939, National Geographic amgazine came to Sonoma and photographed the Rodeo “Kangaroo Court,” which included Joe Winters.

Winters was a Polish citizen. He applied for dual citizenship in 1940. R.R. Emapran was one of his witnesses. Emparan was the grandson of General Mariano G. Vallejo.winterspolish

In that year Harry Lyons was again partnering to run the resort.

In 1941, “the main building of the Winters resort near Boyes Springs, formerly Rosenthal’s hotel, is being remodeled by Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Winters into seven apartments.”

Rental accommodations were in high demand for defense workers at Mare Island. In 1942, the IT reported that many other resorts were being converted for war housing: “Farrell’s, Parente’s, Rosenthal’s, and Maurel Villa used to be popular in the good old summer time, but are now rented to all year round tenants, cottages being especially in demand. Fetters Hot Springs has its share too.”

In 1945 the IT said the Winters had sold their resort and retired to San Francisco. They had actually sold the resort in 1943 to Mrs. Mary Kalivoda, who ran it as Acacia Grove Resort until 1955, when it was sold to A. R. Wilson of El Cerrito.

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Here is another example of the serendipity that happens when you search newspaper archives. On the same page as the item about the new Acacia Grove owners is this photo of Charlie Peluffo’s house being moved. Peluffo was the developer of the Plaza Center Building at the old Boyes plaza site. The house stood where shopping center at Verano Avenue is, and was move to a lot on Lomita Avenue. Is it still there?

The building that houses the Thai restaurant now (2016) was originally a store.

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rosenthalstore-thaiPhoto from 2008 of the Rosenthal Store building, housing E Sann Thai restaurant.

The building was the home of Lee and Lia Chinese restaurant from 1976 to 1987.

As with the Springs in general, the economic downturn that came with the end of the resort era, brought a certain amount of crime associated with Acacia Grove.

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However, positive things were happening also. In 1966 contractro R.A. Lof added a new laundry room and showers.

Jack Weiler bought Acacia Grove in 1971 and his family still owns it in 2017.

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Interesting buildings from the Rosenthal days:rosenthalchickencoopThe chicken coop. Poultry husbandry was common and popular in the Springs in the early 20th Century.rosenthaltankhouse

The resort was served by a well. The water was stored in the tank house, which is a residence today.rosenthallasalletteThis building was La Salette Restaurant for a few years, but has been vacant a long time. What function did it serve in the heyday of the resort? grangehall1930swebgrange2008mural2012web

The Grange Hall in the 1930s, 2008, and 2012.

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Now and Then, Resorts

The Valley of the Moon Resort

I had never heard of the Valley of the Moon Resort until Gordon Lindberg showed me this postcard. It is another name to add to the list of hundreds of resorts that operated over the years. It’s great that the building survives.

vomresort551 Cherry Ave - Google MapsGoogle Maps got the address wrong. It’s 531.vomresortad

Index Tribune advertisement from 1921. “..right near the Southern Pacific Depot” is a matter of interpretation!

Sonoma Vista is a subdivision bounded by Craig, Railroad Ave, Boyes Blvd. and Sonoma Creek.189sonomavistaclub1969

This photo from 1969 shows the officers of the Sonoma Vista Improvement Club handing over the deed to their building at Comstock and Riverside to the president of the Recreation District, which sold it. The funds were used to improve Larson Park. (Photo courtesy of the Sonoma Valley Historical Society.)

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