The site at the corner of Vallejo and Highway 12, now in use as the employee parking lot for the Sonoma Mission Inn, has a long history.
This postcard, post marked 1913, shows the entry arch, to Woodleaf Park (in the middle of the lot), which was one of the early subdivisions in Boyes Hot Springs. The sign at left reads “Desirable Summer and Winter Cottages for rent. J. W. Minges.” Minges was a prominent land owner and businessman in early twentieth century Boyes Hot Springs and was often referred to as the “mayor” of Boyes Springs.
This is part of a full page ad (above) from 1925 promoting Boyes Hot Springs. It reads, in part, “In place of the frame building and barber shop that was located next to the original post Office at Boyes, the enterprising business man (Bob Liaros) let the contract for a handsome hollow-tile building with concrete floors and fireproof throughout.”
The view from the 1930s (below) shows the building mentioned above. Lairos was another Boyes booster and long-time business owner. Beyond the Liaros building are the ice plant and Sam Agnew’s service station at Vallejo St.
Liaros sold part of his land to the proprietor of the ice plant.
The building changed hands in 1949.
This article mentions that Jim’s Lunchroom is located in the building. If only we could get the Embalmers to come back! Perhaps they could “frolic?”
The above mentioned variety store, operated at one time by the Polidori family.
The building was demolished as an eyesore in 1992. Progress!?
In 1997, a lone California Bay tree stood on the lot, but it was dying.
The merely functional parking lot in 2008.
Thanks to the Sonoma Valley Historical Society, Stanford University Library Special Collections, and Mr. Lloyd Cripps.
Document describing the land in Woodleaf Park that Bob Liaros bought in 1931, including the ornamental arch.
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.
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.
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!) In 1958 Norman Baker had big plans to build a truck stop on this property, but the county would not approve the project.
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.
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.
Michael Acker’s book will be out on March 27. There will be a book signing at Reader’s Books in Sonoma on March 30, 7PM. Other events to follow including one at the Depot Park Museum, date TBD.
The book features 210 photographs of the Springs from 1885 to 2016. Part history, part nostalgia, part pride of place in the here and now, it is sure to interest and delight residents, visitors, and the curious alike.