Boyes Hot Springs, mid-century, People

The Valley of the Moon Review

The weekly Valley of the Moon Review was founded in Boyes Hot Springs in 1946 by Colonel E.A. Little. Zan Stark and his son, A.J. Stark Jr., bought the paper in 1953. They turned it into a daily in 1958. The paper ceased publication in 1961. Zan Sr. was a well known publisher of “real picture post cards” of Northern California scenes. He died in Sonoma in 1977. As noted in the article about the history of the paper, their offices and printing plant were on Sonoma Highway, “across from Calle del Monte.”

The office of the Valley of the Moon Review is at left. This photo was taken by Zan’s partner Ed Wood.

Copies of the paper are scarce. The Sonoma Historical Society recently came into possession of a few of them. Among them, very fortunately, was the front page of the last edition of the weekly paper before it changed to a daily. It is signed, with an inscription, by Zan Stark Jr. who was publisher and editor.

The daily paper covered national news as well as local. Many stories from United Press International may reflect Zan Jr.’s eventual employment by them. He later became the bureau chief of UPI in Portland, Oregon.

Stay tuned for more from this trove of Boyes Hot Springs history!

Newspaper images courtesy of the Sonoma Valley Historical Society

Post card image courtesy of Stanford University Library, Special Collections

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Architecture, Art, Boyes Hot Springs, People, Wonders and Marvels

El Molino Central (updates below)

The fortunes of Boyes Hot Springs have waxed and waned. In the heyday of the resorts, it was a prosperous summer retreat. As the resorts declined, property values fell, and Boyes became “the other side of the tracks,” for a time gaining a reputation for being dangerous. The story goes that the State of California released parolees there because rents were so low, but in 1988 Sheriff Dick Michaelson told the Index Tribune “the practice ceased a couple of years ago.” When yours truly move there in 1997, the rumor was alive and well.

2007, Google Street View
2009, Street View. The Barking Dog moved in 2004. here it sits empty.

In that year (1988) things were looking up for Boyes. Young people form San Francisco were discovering that they could afford to buy houses there. New businesses were opening, such as the Central Laundromat at the corner of Highway 12 and Central Avenue. But wane followed wax once again and the laundromat went out of business and the building stayed empty until the Barking Dog Roasters opened there in 1995. According to the Index Tribune, “ A building once held up as a bad example has received new life-and a major renovation…Barking Dog Roasters at 17999 Sonoma Highway was formerly the Central Laundromat-once pictured in this newspaper as an example of the problems along Highway 12 through Boyes Hot Springs. The new restaurant opened in mid-June, after a six-month renovation that involved new wiring, plumbing, flooring, interior plaster, and outside stucco….’It has been a real labor of love,’ Peter Hodgson (one of the owners) said.”

2008

“The Dog,” as we know it, moved to its present location on the corner of Vallejo in 2004. The original building then went into another decline, sitting empty until Karen Waikiki commenced her grand transformation of the structure into El Molino Central, which opened in 2010.

Kathleen Hill wrote in that year, “When asked how she chose the name, Waikiki told us that every town in Mexico used to have a “Molino” where people took their dried corn to have it ground into masa, a very important and essential function.”

Update: El Molino under construction 2010
2010

El Molino has been a huge success, even being declared the best Mexican restaurant in the Bay Area at one point. It continues to be packed with hungry people from all over the Bay Area and probably the world, given the restaurant’s proximity to the Sonoma Mission Inn.

Karen not only transformed the building brilliantly, but continues to embellish it seasonally with the work of artist Mark Marthaler (https://www.facebook.com/mark.marthaler.3/about)

2021
2016
2021
2022
2022
UPDATE: More recent photos of the flowers, courtesy of Mark, showing the leaves.
UPDATE: More recent photos of the flowers, courtesy of Mark, showing the leaves.
Art by Michael Acker

Sonoma Index Tribune courtesy of the Sonoma Valley Historical Society

Photographs by the author and Mark Marthaler

copyright 2022

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Architecture, Boyes Hot Springs, History, People, Photographs

El Mirador-the Boyes Residence

update below

In 1882 Captain Henry E. Boyes, a retired officer of the Indian Navy, arrived in Sonoma Valley with his wife Antoinette. Looking for a genteel and healthful retreat, they were persuaded by T. L. Leavenworth to buy 110 boggy acres of his 320-acre portion of the Rancho Agua Caliente land grant. After developing the hot springs as a resort, in 1902 he sold his portion of the corporation and built a grand house overlooking the springs, which he called El Mirador.

The house was the scene of “ many hospitable social affairs” according to the Index Tribune. On the evening of September 16, 1905, “El Mirador,” the beautiful home of Captain and Mrs. Boyes, was the scene of a delightful party…The home was brilliantly illuminated and decorated in waving palm branches, asparagus ferns and flowers…About sixty ladies and gentlemen were present…regular dancing (was) interspersed with clever vaudeville numbers…The hit of the evening was Jack Kelly, who sang several ragtime numbers…About 11:30 the doors of the dining room were thrown open and the guests invited to partake of a typical English supper, which was greatly enjoyed…Dancing was then continued and before the guests departed flash-light photographs were taken of the party.” 

If only we had those photos!

In July of 1912 a farewell reception was held at El Mirador for the Boyes. After 30 years in the valley, they were departing for San Diego. Speeches were made and “dances and vocal solos by Mrs. Emparan and Miss Ramona Granice…” were enjoyed. Ominously in hindsight, the new owner of the house, Mr. Carlow, gave a “fire-extinguishing demonstration on the hillside.”

The house, along with many other buildings in Boyes Springs, burned in 1917. Antoinette Boyes died in San Diego, year unknown. Captain Boyes died in San Francisco in 1919.

The Mirador property was bounded by the present day streets Central Avenue, Vallejo Avenue, and Calle del Monte

In following years, the property was divided into several lots. Today Madera St. runs through it. Was this street the “approach” to El Mirador? Is the structure below the last visible remnant of the house?

Photo by author, 2022.

Index Tribune and photographs courtesy of the Sonoma Valley Historical Society.

UPDATE:

These images are from the Robert Parmelee collection, courtesy of the Sonoma Valley Historical Society.

Capt. Boyes, at Mirador, perhaps, with a pet. A cat perhaps?
Map from an abstract of title, which was a legal document tracing ownership of land that was used before title searches were possible. It seems to show Boyes’ parcel where El Mirador was located, stating that it was 25 acres. the abstract is dated 1909. Notice that in that year, Agua Caliente was considered a town, Boyes Hot Springs just a resort encompassing a small(ish) piece of land.
Cover of the somewhat lengthy abstract.

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Boyes Hot Springs, Neighborhood Phenomena, People, Wonders and Marvels

Tony Perez and His Garden

March 2019. Bonita Way comes into Central here, hence Street View’s address.

November 2019

Sometime between March and November of 2019, Tony started constructing his installation of flowerpots, plants, garden ornaments, lumber, and concrete blocks on the side of the street in front of 67 Central Avenue in Boyes Hot Springs. I originally assumed his name was Richard because of the sign he posted in 2021. The sign, which is not up currently, is a bit puzzling, but I’m glad he gave himself credit, no matter what name he used.

November 2019

Tony was born in Nayarit state, Mexico and came to the U.S. 50 or 60 years ago (he’s a bit vague on this). He has worked as a landscaper his whole life. “I know how to take care of plants,” he told me.

Joanie Bourg via Facebook:

“He used to come into Sonoma Mission Gardens where I worked for many years.. order plants or buy soil. The thing that struck me about Tony was his super boisterous laugh and spirit, and he obviously worked hard as a gardener.. I would see his truck everywhere. He’s a larger than life dude. I’m also a gardener by profession, so I know just how hard the work is. I love his fighting spirit.”

He has worked at that trade until he got sick. “The doctors took my money, and I’m still sick,” he said.  He will go back to Mexico when it’s “time for the ‘cementary’,” he joked. He usually walks with two canes, which he made himself, because he doesn’t like the store-bought ones.

November 2020
November 2020. The object with the four “tines” is made from ceiling fan blades.

Tony has lived in the apartments next door to his garden for five or six years.

His garden evolves with the seasons. He grows geraniums and plants annual flowers in season. He also uses artificial flowers. Periodically he paints the pots a new color.

November 2021
November 2021

Tony drives a Ford work truck. I find it charming that he has replaced the Ford logotype on the tailgate with stick-on lettering, which is slightly askew. It’s a very competent looking truck.

Tony’s Ford, 2021

Tony’s garden is getting noticed on social media, probably because it’s close to a popular restaurant, and it’s so great!

From the Instagram of Charles DesMarais, former art critic for the S.F. Chronicle
March 2022. Building back up (“better?”) Tony had winterized for 2021-2022.
March 2022
Tony with his custom-made cane.

Thank you Tony Perez for your gift to our neighborhood!

This post will be updated as Tony’s Garden evolves.

June, July, and August 2022. Tony is bringing a lot of tools and material out of storage to sell.

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Art, Boyes Hot Springs, History, People, Personal History, Wonders and Marvels

Patrick McMurtry

Art is in the name of this Museum, and after all these years of existence, here is the first post about a specific artist. Sadly, it is occasioned by his passing.

Patrick McMurtry. 1947-2021

Gael del Mar (a perfectly beautiful name), was Patrick’s life-mate.I knew Gael first. We met at the Red Barn Store at Oak Hill Farm. Somehow we started talking about Frank Zappa (she must have had his music on the sound system.) “You like Zappa? she asked. “I have someone you should meet.” And so she introduced me to Patrick. Nearly every time we would see each other, we would talk Zappa and Beefheart. He was also interested in Sonny Barger, the Hell’s Angels front man. He loaned me a book Barger wrote, which led me to watch a lot of  motorcycle exploitation movies, which are really great fun.  Patrick had many great stories about the days of the Hells Angels and other rowdies in Sonoma Valley, which is where the Sonny Barger thing came from.

I walk around the neighborhood a lot and would often walk down Orchard Street hoping to see the garage door of Patrick’s studio open. It wasn’t a big garage, and it was packed with art, but he had a space carved out to work in. Then he and Gael moved over to 4th Avenue, which was even closer to our house. Again, I’d walk by and frequently encounter Patrick in front of their place. Long conversations would ensue. His last studio was out at the Art Farm on Grove Street. I visited him there in 2019, hung out talking, and bought a small painting (below).

In 2009 Jonah Raskin published “Field Days,” subtitled “A Year of Farming, Eating, and Drinking Wine in California.”  The author spent that year hanging out at Oak Hill Farm, just up the road from Boyes Hot Springs. Patrick figures prominently in the book.

Jonah writes:

“Patrick McMurtry was not the first person I met at Oak Hill. Nor was he the oldest person living on the property. But he had lived there longer than anyone else-longer even than Anne Teller-and so I will let Patrick be the first Oak Hill resident to speak in this book. Anne dubbed him “the historian of Oak Hill,” and rightly so. Equipped with a good memory Patrick also appreciated facts and the sweep of events. Like most good historian, he had a knack for telling stories vividly. To go by his enthusiasm, body language, and facial expressions, he might have been talking about events as momentous and the American revolution of the civil War..” {I can certainly vouch for Patrick’s ability to tell stories vividly!}

“Of course, Patrick’s ancestors had come from Europe, and they belonged to that generation of early pioneers who put their stamp on California. They farmed, raised chickens, and cattle, grew grapes, and cut down trees, milled them, and sold the lumber”

“’My father worked for Shell Oil, and my mother worked at the high school,’ Patrick said. ‘They became party animals and alcoholics, but a great-aunt who had a farm in Paradise, California, continued the family tradition, and learned about agriculture from her.’”

“Born in 1947, Patrick watched the rural world vanish. In the 1950s, he witnessed the strange transformations of the American society of the post-World War II period, which forever changed the ways people worked and played, ate, drank, entertained, and existed.”

“Patrick graduated from high school and college and went the way of many a young man of his generation. He lived in a commune, grew marijuana, and protested against the war in Viet nam. ‘Those were trippy times’ he said. ‘There was Elvis, the Beatles, the hippies, and Abbie Hoffman’s Steal This Book, which I actually went out and bought.’ Patrick laughed as though it was yesterday and he could still smell the pot and feel the passion of that time. The 1960s had arrived with a roar and changed the cultural landscape of the Valley of the Moon. ‘It was wild,’ Patrick said. ‘The Hells Angels congregated here; and up on Sonoma Mountain, Alex Horn a follow of the Armenian-born mystic G.I. Gurdjieff, had a farm. Hippies moved up there; Horn took their money and put them to work, which is pretty funny.’”

Patrick in the IT, 1984

From the June 20, 1984 Index Tribune article by Rhonda Parks:

In his studio hidden deep in the woods, Patrick McMurtry creates paintings inspired by a vivid imagination, like what a person alone is apt to see hiding in shadowed cubbys deep in the brush.

Peeking from his paintings are nocturnal trolls modeled after the folks he sees walking out of bars at night in Boyes Hot Springs. Patrick does a lot of walking and sometimes sees things like that.

He’s a bit mischievous, with a playful nature expressed as much in the “real world” as in his fantasy-inspired artworks.

The artist says…that his paintings reflect what it is like “going in a strange land for a while.”

While he’s painting, you might say that’s where his is-immersed in a strange land. But while some of his paintings are haunted with elusive characters, other depict life in a whimsical cartoon world. (These works ought to be accompanied by some of avant-garde singer Frank Zappa’s tunes, the artist says.)

In April 1981, Patrick showed at Composite Gallery.

When he retired from the Sonoma Developmental Center he got a pick up truck. The bumper sticker he put on the back seemed to perfectly express Patrick’s outlook.


In the photos below you see some of Patrick’s phantasmagorical works, which are truly unique.


These two videos about Patrick are available on Youtube:

Patrick McMurtry was a highly original artist, a great friend, and a valued member of the Springs community. We miss him a lot.

Index Tribune courtesy of the Sonoma Valley Historical Society

Passages from Field Days used by permission of author

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Architecture, Boyes Hot Springs, History, People

John W. Minges, the “mayor” of Boyes Springs

J.W. Minges was a prominent business man and property owner of the Boyes Hot Springs community from 1905 through 1927.

According to the 1920 census, John W. Minges was born in Arkansas in 1845, although his obituary says New Orleans. He came to California with his family by ox team in that year, over the southern route, to Los Angeles. They later moved to Merced,  then Stockton, where he lived for many years and operated the San Joaquin Hotel.

San Joaquin Hotel, Stockton, circa 1875. University of the Pacific Library.

In 1905 he moved to Boyes Hot Springs. There he invested in real estate and built many cottages for the summer trade. His cottages were equipped with “all the modern improvement, including electric lights, water, and sleeping porches,” according to a brochure.

His original restaurant (“meals at all hours”) was located at the corner of Central Avenue and the “Santa Rosa-Sonoma Road,” where the old fire station (Voltaire Electric) now stands.

The sign next to the entry arch for Woodleaf Park advertises Minges “Summer and Winter cottages”. circa 1910. Courtesy of Lloyd Cripps.

In 1922 Minges, as president of the Boyes Springs New Improvement Club, presided over a gala Mayday carnival, which featured a parade, athletics, an airplane exhibition, and a carnival ball.

Most of his property burned in the great fire of 1923, but he started to rebuild immediately. “Boyes will rise from the ashes again,” he said in the Index Tribune. “Fire cannot rob us of our mineral springs, our climate and the whole-souled people who abide here. No siree!”

He was such a booster of Boyes Springs that he was often called its “mayor” in the Index Tribune.

 Minges died in 1931 in Oakland.


UPDATE/AFTERTHOUGHT

This “auto court” at the corner of Highlands and Vallejo could have been built by Minges after the 1923 fire. Almost certainly it is not a fire survivor. The present-day Vallejo Ave. enters the Highway right at the site of the Arch (see map).


Photos  from author’s collection. Map courtesy Phil Danskin. Index Tribune courtesy Sonoma Valley Historical Society

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Boyes Hot Springs, History, mid-century, People, Place Names/Street Names

The Larsons of Boyes Hot Springs

Keller’s opened in 1938. Photo by Art-Ray

In April of 1939 the Index Tribune reported “The Larson brothers of Hopland have leased “Keller’s” at Boyes Hot Springs.” The Larson family, including Oscar’s wife Ophelia, came to California from Wisconsin around 1939.

Oscar Larson  promptly changed “Keller’s” to the C.O.G. Club, for Cal, Oscar and Gary Larson. The club was located near the corner of Vallejo St. and Sonoma Highway in the current Barking Dog Roaster space. 

In 1942 they celebrated the fourth anniversary of the club with a Swedish smorgasbord.

Also in 1939, they bought a stucco house on property near the corner of Verde Vista and Arroyo Rd. in Boyes Hot Springs. The house was known by neighbors as “Larson’s Villa,” and by the Larson family as “Valhalla.” The house still stands in 2021, though the land was sold and subdivided in 1989 and new houses were built. The original stone walls and pillars, some fairly recently restored, still grace the street, and continue to cause curiosity. Other stone work has not survived.

Larson family members called this the “Sonoma Star.”
Entrance to “Larson Villa,” 1942. These gate pillars still stand.

Gary Larson via email, 2018:

I remember the house well. We visited it as late as 1989 and held a small family reunion there right before they sold it. I believe an article was written in the local paper. I will never forget as kids playing in the canals (See Lily Creek!) that ran under the driveway and the beautiful stone star at the bottom of the hill. There was one big tree that was on the edge of the property that they told us was a redwood. Ophelia’s home was warm. She played piano.

“MoMo” Larson with Gary and Danette Larson.

There was a bar in the corner of the living room for entertainment. There was a grill and huge outside patio and an apartment in the back. She always had a closet full of toys for us kids. We has a wonderful Christmas there one year in the 1960s.

Dad would put us to work raking and cleaning the yard when we would come to visit. Oh to be able to go back and visit my grandmother as an adult…I would have so much fun listening to the stories of their lives.


In 1949 Oscar and Ophelia Larson sold the club to Denny Coleman to concentrate on running  Larson’s Sporting Goods and Liquor store, which he had opened in 1945, next door to the club.

Oscar Larson was very involved in civic groups. In 1943 he was elected president of the Sonoma Valley Chamber of Commerce. Other board members included luminaries whose names are still known in the Valley: Rudy Licthenberg, Dr. Andrews, Vic Leveroni, I.S. Shainsky, and John Dowdall.

In 1945 the Valley of the Moon Recreation District was formed. Oscar Larson was appointed to establish the district. In 1951 the district acquired four acres along Sonoma Creek in Fetters Hot Springs for development as a park.  In 1955 the Lion’s Club erected a concrete block building for park use.

Larson Park building at the time of its dedication, 1955.

In 1959, what had been known as “Park #1,” was officially named Larson Park to honor Oscar Larson, who died in May of that year.


Iris Larson, Gary’s mother, 92 years old in 2019, told me via phone that Oscar bought war surplus houses from Mare Island and brought them to BHS. He installed them on lots he owned on Second Avenue. Some he joined together or stacked.

House on Second Avenue, Boyes Hot Springs, possibly brought from Mare Island by Oscar Larson.

UPDATE: The Larson stonework in 2021.

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

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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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