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New to the Springs Historic Photo Database

The Northwestern Pacific Railroad published yearly booklets advertising all the resorts along its route. here is a sampling from the 1925 edition. Courtesy of the Sonoma Valley Historical Society. If you would like to use any of these images, please contact them first.

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Petaluma Ave. location

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Acacia Grove Mobile Court location

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Fetters Ave. at Highway 12

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18340 Sonoma Highway- the Greengrass Building

Frank Greengrass started out as an insurance salesman. He started working with Realtor Sol Becker in 1953, an event that rated right up there with the arrival of the Green Bay Packers ( though they were the “cellar dwellers of the National Professional Football League!”)

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In February of 1956, Frank Greengrass located his real estate firm to the newly remodeled building at 18340 Sonoma Highway. (On the same page the grand re-opening of the Woodleaf Market (https://springsmuseum.org/2018/11/07/the-woodleaf-store-big-three/), also remodeled, was announced, along with the relocation of attorney Jack Coffey’s practice from San Francisco to Boyes Hot springs, with offices in the Greengrass building.) Note also that the Boyes Bath House had record crowds and that “Mr. and Mrs. Frank Burmis of Sonoma are proud owners of a brand new 1956 seafoam green Cadillac Coupe DeVille…” Times were high in Sonoma Valley!

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GreengrassAd1956

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The 707 area code was introduced in 1959. The building burned in 1979, dating this photo in a twenty year span

The date of construction is unknown, but possibly early 1950s. The original owner is also unknown. Please comment if you have information.

In 1963, part of the space in the building was rented out to Nick’s Barber Shop.

GreengrassBarbershop1963

The Greengrass firm, renamed Sonoma Properties, prospered, it’s ads in the IT becoming bigger by the year. However, on May 17, 1979, the building burned to the ground.

Incredibly quickly by today’s standards, one year and one week later, Greengrass, with the help of architect Victor Conforti, Lely Construction, and a host of other tradesmen and suppliers, opened his brand new building at the same address. He invited the public to the opening with a full page ad in the Index Tribune.

1980052800092200.pdf

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The building next door once housed Zan Stark’s Valley of the Moon Daily Review newspaper. See the Zan photo below.

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Greengrass had sold the building to Henry Mayo in 1972.

 

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Photo by Zan Stark, circa 1953. See “we’re moving in,” above.

 

Sonoma Properties continued in business at the Sonoma Highway address until December of 1989. In December of 1990, La Luz opened in it first location in the building.  La Luz moved to their current Gregor Street location in 1993.

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In the 1990s, the Index Tribune published news in Spanish.

Frank Greengrass retired in 1992 and died in 1999, aged 83.

The years 1993-2002 remain a mystery unresolvable through the Index Tribune archives. Please help!

Springs Unity Partnership

In 1999 the Springs Unity Partnership (Springs Up) was founded to “help the residents of El Verano, Fetters Hot Springs, Boyes Hot Springs and Agua Caliente improve their communities and gain representation at the county level.”

In 2002 Springs Up established a nonprofit and opened the Springs Resource Center at 18340 Sonoma Highway. The Center hosted meetings, classes, and workshops under executive director Julie Zak. The nonprofit’s board was led by Steve Cox.

According to Ms. Zak, “the effect of 9/11 took its toll on most Sonoma Valley non-profits and the board of Springs Up chose to fold rather than competing for funds that would impact longstanding non-profits in the community. The assets of the non-profit were distributed throughout the community before closing doors in 2004.”

Editorial aside: The original goal of Springs Up, to “help the residents of El Verano, Fetters Hot Springs, Boyes Hot Springs and Agua Caliente improve their communities and gain representation at the county level,” is very much needed today. Would that it could be a model for future action. If so, can we get Julie back? Please?

18340-2008PartySupply

In 2008 the building housed a party supply store. Note the absence of sidewalks and street lights. The sign in the window next door says “Mobile Automotive Repair and Service.”

18340MetroPCS2012

By 2012, the Metro PCS store was in place, as it is today (2020) and the building next door was colorfully painted.

18315 Sonoma Hwy - Google Maps.pdf

2017. Tropical paint job next door is gone.

18340-2020

 April 2020

Index Tribune courtesy of the Sonoma Valley Historical Society. Other photos by Google Street View, the author or from the author’s collection.

 

 

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Lanning/Resort Club/Melody Club

In June of 1945, Bob and Edith Lanning were granted a license to sell alcoholic beverages at their B&E Café in Boyes Hot Springs. By 1949 they had changed the name to The Resort Club.

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ResortClubAd1951

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Highway 12 near Boyes Blvd., looking north, early 1950s. The Resort club building is at right. Beyond it the tower of the Fire Station can be seen.

Bob Lanning was also a photographer. Many of his photos appeared in the pages of the Index Tribune.

BobLanningPhotographerad1950

Bob was elected to the board of the Valley of the Moon Water district in the 1960s, but his activity on  water issues started earlier.

LanningSewerbondphoto1951

“…Art Stewart, Ed Delaney, and Bob Lanning took turns driving “The Thing” around the valley prior to, and during the election.” Photo by Bob Lanning.

Edith was active in the Sonoma Valley Grange for decades.

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Women of Sonoma Valley Grange #407, 1951

In 1965 the Lannings sold the business to Mr. and Mrs. Leonard F. Bruhn. After selling the club, Bob opened Bob’s Fixit Shop in building on the same property.

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In 1969, Pete Mancuso took over and opened his Melody Club.

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Pete Mancuso standing at left, standing. On the right is Kim Kimmel, “First Lady of the Hammond Organ.” 1969

MelodyClubAd1969

Pete retired in 1983. He sold the club to Doug Graham, but it didn’t last long after that. Lanning Construction moved in in 1984.

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“In 1984 Lanning Structures (Dean Lanning) converted the Melody Club into offices a while after Pete closed.  Lanning Structures closed in 1996 and Steve Lanning Construction took over the offices.  Both metal buildiing contractors, Father and Son.” Winnie Lanning (married to Dean Lanning), 2019, via email.

Dean Lanning died in 2006.

Bob Lanning died in 1995, Edith in 2013.

Lanning Structures, 2001, 2008, and 2009.

After the demolition, 2019.

Mrs. Lanning's Tree 41"x27" 5/2012

Entitled “Mrs. Lanning’s Tree.” artist Michael Acker.

Index Tribune and Grange photo courtesy of the Sonoma Valley Historical Society. Other photos by author and from author’s collection.

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Boyes Hot Springs, El Verano, Fetters Hot Springs, History, Photographs, Resorts, Uncategorized

Railroads in Sonoma Valley

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The history of railroads in Sonoma Valley is complicated and confusing. It started in the 1860s and included at least 15 different companies, but by 1889 there we just two: the Santa Rosa and North Pacific, and the Northern Railway. The SR and NP became the Northwestern Pacific in 1907, and Southern Pacific subsumed the Northern in 1898. The NWP tracks were on the east side of Sonoma Creek, with a depot in Boyes Hot Springs, and SP on the west, stopping at El Verano. The old rights-of-way can be glimpsed in some places. Sierra Drive in Boyes is one location. See https://springsmuseum.org/2018/03/29/sierra-drive-meincke-road/

A precursor to the NWP, the Sonoma Valley Railroad, existed until 1889. In this schedule we see that it visited a stop called Pioneer Grove. This was the name used before Boyes Springs was used.

svrailroadschedule1886 copy

The railroads served the populace of San Francisco, primarily, who wished to spend warm summer days at the resorts. They came in their thousands by rail. But as early as 1920, the railroads were challenged by bus lines and automobiles. (The “auto-camp,” precursor to the motel, originated in the 1920s.) The Index Tribune reported in 1921 that executives of the NWP were considering new, modern electric cars on the Santa Rosa-San Rafael line to counter the competition from buses. To no avail. In 1930, the Glen Ellen depot was eliminated.

glenellendeleted1930

The editorial comment in the IT was prophetic. Rail service was gone by 1942.

Following is a collection of images of depots in Sonoma Valley, with some maps, which are courtesy of the Northwestern Pacific Railroad Historical Society.

 

NWP depots:

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Agua Caliente, year unknown

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A later Agua Caliente depot? Similar to Boyes Depot of 1923

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The name was changed to Boyes Hot Spring at least by 1908, but Model T production started in 1909, so perhaps all of the signs were not changed at one time.

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Marie and Elsie stand in front of a depot called “Boyes Springs,” in 1921. apparently the word “Hot” in the name came and went. This station was destroyed in the fire of 1923.

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1916 map showing the old hotel and the canal that ran down Pine Street.

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Still from the 1923 Harold Binney movie “Account of the no-account Count.” The film shows the train arriving at Fetters Springs.

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Boyes Hot Springs depot in 1942, the year service ended. The Woodleaf Store can be seen behind the depot.

 

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The Verano depot, across the creek from El Verano.

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Verano depot circa 1905

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Glen Ellen, year unknown.

Southern Pacific depots:

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Eldridge depot 1898

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El Verano, circa 1890s

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El Verano depot shortly after construction, 1880s

Images courtesy of the Sonoma Valley Historical Society and the Northwestern Pacific Railroad Historical Society.

 

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Paul’s Resort

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After the main building burned in 2013, the Press Democrat reported, “The resort was built in 1908 at the El Verano rail station 20 years after the Santa Rosa-Carquinez Railroad opened the way for visitors from San Francisco and elsewhere,”. Actually, the location was the Verano rail station. The El Verano depot was across Sonoma Creek. Two competing railroads served the valley at that time. (See map), the Northwest Pacific and the Southern Pacific.

PaulsLocationQuadMap

As there were two depots with the word Verano in their names, so there were two Pauls.; Paul Vannuchi founded the resort in 1908. Paul Marcuchi bought it in 1944.

As was common, Paul Vannuchi ran afoul of Prohibition laws. In 1920 he was accussed of conspiracy. At the time, he was also the propietor, with one J. Foppiano, of a roadhouse near San Bruno.

PDVannuchiaArrest1920

You have to love the headline.

In 2016 we sat down with Eve Marcucci and her daughter Yvonne Marcucci Thibault to record some of their memories. As we talked, we paged through one of the many scrapbooks Eve kept of the resort and Paul’s career.

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Eve Marccuci in 1962

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Your host, “Dad” Marcucci.

Paul’s father, Paul Sr. (“your host” according to the flyer) was also a musician; he played the mandolin. The Marcuccis emigrated from Lucca, Italy around 1900. One branch of the family went to Argentina. We see some photos of them in the scrap book. Paul left home in Ohio at the age of sixteen with a band he formed. They toured the country backing a female impersonator who was popular at the time. Drag shows were a staple of the vaudeville circuit in the 1920s and 1930s.

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Paul in his vaudeville days.

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Paul and female impersonators, 1920s

According to Eve and Yvonne, Paul’s Resort was place of laughter and good times, and the leader and instigator of the fun was Paul.

Paul and his pals, including Pete Mancuso, sang, played and performed skits in the dining room of the resort, where there was a stage.

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Paul and Pete Mancuso, center, merged their businesses some time in the 1950s. The photo shows their “shotgun wedding.”

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Paul played electric organ and the trumpet at the same time. Some times the revelries were broadcast on radio from that stage on station KVON. Yvonne recalls that, as a child, her parents would put her on a bar stool, so they always knew where she was.

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Paul certainly was a man of many talents. According to Eve, “Dad built the pool. He became a licensed contractor to get work done on the resort faster.” He was also a well known music teacher who worked for the public schools and taught privately. During WW2 he served in the Navy as a musician, and wrote the patriotic songs “Remember Pearl Harbor” and “Win the War in 44.” His coauthor on the former was Aub Brandon of Santa Rosa. According to the Healdsburg Tribune, the song was written in one hour. It was released on December 18, 1941, just twelve days after the cataclysmic Japanese bombing raid.

On top of all that, he became the manager of a young singer from Marin County by the name of Clairette Clemintino. Paul’s daughter Yvonne remembers trips to Los Angeles with her dad and Clairette, for recording sessions and publicity events. The scrap books contain photos of Yvonne with the likes of Danny Thomas, Chubby Checker and Shelly Fabre. Clairette’s career is documented at the website www.girlgroups.com.

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Clairette Clementino appearing with Gypsy Boots! “Hollywood talent scouts will be present.”

Paul died in 1981

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In the 1980s the main building of the resort became a Moose Lodge.

In the 1984 Historic Property Survey Report, prepared by architect Dan Peterson for the Redevelopment Agency, the resort is listed as eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

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As mentioned above, the main building burned in 2013, much to the dismay of the Marcucci family and a community that continues to have warm memories of the resort.

More images from Paul’s Resort:

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Sonoma County Fair “Hillbilly Band” 1933

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Paul used the stage name Paul Marc

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Paul Marc and his Jail Birds. City unknown.

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All photos courtesy of the Marcucci family.

Sonoma Index Tribune courtesy of the Sonoma Valley Historical Society.

 

 

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