Boyes Hot Springs, nature, Neighborhood Phenomena, Trees, Uncategorized

The Oak Tree at Sierra Drive

Just south of the Sonoma Mission Inn, on the west side of Highway 12, Sierra Drive intersects.

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Aerial photo with streets courtesy of Arthur Dawson

Google Maps

At that corner stands one of our landmark oak trees. The tree is in front of the building that now houses Ross Drulis Cusenberry Architects. The building was built in 1966 for Sierra National Bank. It seems that the street, originally known as Meincke Road (more on that later), was renamed for the bank. The street also has the distinction of being on the former NWPRR right-of-way (the tracks were removed in 1942).

Our tree is a Valley Oak, Quercus lobata. According to the California Native Plant Society (http://calscape.org/), the Valley Oak ranges over the interior valleys of the State, and needs to be near a source of water (Lily Creek*, which flows down Arroyo Road, tunnels under the highway very near the tree.) It can grow to 100’ in height and live for as many as 500 years. The tree in question, which has three trunks, certainly could be 100 years old. We have a photograph of the tree (and building) from 1973, which shows it to be in pretty poor shape. In 2018 it appears to be much healthier.

*Thanks to Greg Larson for the creek name.

 

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1973 top. 2018 bottom. Top photo courtesy of the Sonoma Valley Historical Society.

The tree may appear in some other historic photos.

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Boyes Depot, 1930s, (approximately located in the parking lot behind the Plaza Center Building), looking north to Sonoma Mountain. The oak in the foreground is possibly the Sierra Drive tree.

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Photo by Zan Stark, 1950s. The location is opposite Arroyo Road on the Highway.

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Oaks are never more beautiful than in winter.

Next post: About Sierra Drive/Meincke Road.

 

 

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Boyes Hot Springs, History, Photographs, Trees, Uncategorized

The Fairmont Employee Parking Lot

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.

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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.

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Liaros sold part of his land to the proprietor of the ice plant.

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The building changed hands in 1949.LairosVarietyStorePlansJims

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?”

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The above mentioned variety store, operated at one time by the Polidori family.

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The building was demolished as an eyesore in 1992. Progress!?

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In 1997, a lone California Bay tree stood on the lot, but it was dying.

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The merely functional parking lot in 2008.

Thanks to the Sonoma Valley Historical Society, Stanford University Library Special Collections, and Mr. Lloyd Cripps.

Addendum:

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Document describing the land in Woodleaf Park that Bob Liaros bought in 1931, including the ornamental arch.

 

 

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Boyes Hot Springs, nature, Neighborhood Phenomena, Trees

The Corner of Central and Highlands

At the corner of Central and Highlands in Boyes Springs, these trees had been “influencing” the fence for many years, in a wonderful display of found sculpture. In April of 2017, big changes happened._DSC8641

The trees, which had been menacing the house’s foundation, were removed and a new fence was built._DSC8652IMG_2277 It’s sad to see trees go, but they don’t live forever, just like people.

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