Real Estate Listing Inspires Further Research

The Boccaleoni house at 415 E. Washington Street in Petaluma is for sale. I included a picture of this house in my book Petaluma: A History in Architecture. The original image is a post card which was loaned to me by Jane Soberanes, who along with her husband Bill lived next door to the Boccaleoni family for years.

Being that the house is on the market I was inspired to do a bit more research on the property. I knew from Sanborn fire insurance maps that the house was built between 1894 and 1906.

Using “A Map Book of the City of Petaluma” by F.G. Harriman, I discovered that the property was owned by Louis Bacigalupi, a railroad conductor in 1907. Mr. Bacigalupi and his wife Katherine and their two daughters, Katherine and Evelyn were living at 415 E. Washington Street in 1910 according to the census for that year. It seems likely that Louis Bacigalupi had the house built.

In 1920 and 1930, the house was rented to Benjamin H. Corippo who was the proprietor of Corippo & Gilardi, a grocery and liquor store. The Corippo family consisted of Benjamin’s wife, Edith Gilardi Corippo and their children: Robert, Edward and Arthur. In 1930 the household also included nephew Richard A. Gilardi.

By 1940, the Rowan family was renting 415 E. Washington Street. Clyde Rowan was an auto mechanic and his wife, Mary was employed in the laundry at the Hotel Petaluma. They had three children: Winifred Vivian, and Cyde, Jr.

According to a city director, Guido and Iris Boccaleoni had moved into 415 E. Washington Street by 1947. Prior to this, the couple had lived at 610 E. Washington with Guido’s parents, Abramo and Mary.

In 1938 Guido established Guido’s Richfield Service at 440 E. Washington Street (now the site of Starbucks). In addition to managing the gas station, Guido was a member of the Petaluma Minstrels as an accordion player and the Sons of Italy. He also taught the accordion.

Guido Boccaleoni died on October 22, 1999, and is survived by his wife Iris, children Guido, Jr., Diane, Bruno, Charles and Karen.

I’m told that Iris remained in the house until just a few years ago. It would be great to talk to her. She witnessed a lot of change during her 70 plus years living in the “old” East Petaluma neighborhood.

About Katherine J. Rinehart

Katherine J. Rinehart received a MA in History from Sonoma State University in 1994. For the past 19 years, Ms. Rinehart has worked in various positions within the fields of Cultural Resource Management and Historic Preservation and is currently employed by the Sonoma County Library where she has worked in the Sonoma County History and Genealogy Department since 2002. Katherine is the author of Petaluma: A History in Architecture, a contributor to Celebrating Petaluma published by the Petaluma Sesquicentennial Committee and the Petaluma Visitors Program. Ms. Rinehart is an occasional contributor to the Press Democrat and is proud to be a Petaluma Good Egg.
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4 Responses to Real Estate Listing Inspires Further Research

  1. Joan Cooper says:

    Guido was my daughter Gabby Lang’s (La La) accordian teacher. He was the “father” of all the accordian players in this area. If you contact the Acordian CLub that meets at Volpi’s, you will find out about his impact. As a teacher he was wonderful to my then 10 year old – found her a full-sized keyboard in a smaller accordian, and when she stopped the lessons after three years, he told her to hold onto the acordian, because one day she would want to play it. SHe plays it professionally now and even wrote an accordian tune honoring Petaluma called “Butter & Eggs.” Thelessons were given in a studio entered at the front of the house, on the left side and until Gino passed there was a wonderful neon Accordian sign over the door. Wonder who has it or if there is a photo of it. Inside it was all notty pine, with a waiting room for me to sit in and a pass through window to watch the lesson in progress.

    • Katherine J. Rinehart says:

      Hi Joan:

      What a great story. Thank you for sharing. I too wondered about the neon sign. I plan to contact the realtor and see she can put me in touch with Iris. I’m hoping she’ll be up for an interview.

      Take care and all my best to Mimi!

      Katherine J. Rinehart

  2. Clyde Rowan says:

    Hello,

    I am Clyde Rowan III and it was very nice to see the house my dad lived in. My aunt Vivian still lives a few blocks away today and they both told me about this house when I was a boy.

    Thank you,
    Clyde

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