Local History and Genealogy Notes
Posted on May 29, 2013
Since 1997 I've advocated for the preservation of the Hansen House at 718 North McDowell Blvd. The first time I learned of the house was when a developer proposed demolishing the house and replacing it with a medical office building. At the time I was working for the City of Petaluma Planning Department (when they still had one) and was asked to evaluate the property for its signifance. I did a fair amount of research and discovered that the house was associated with Anna Marie and Hans Hansen, Danish immigrants who came to the United States in May of 1903 aboard the "S.S. Ultonia".
The first stop on the West Coast was Los Angeles. From there they headed north to Fresno and finally Petaluma.
Anna Marie and Hans located temporarily in a house on Bridge Street and Main Street (now Lakeville Road and Petaluma Boulevard North). Shortly after that they moved to Sunnyslope Avenue and by 1906, with help from Anna's family, the Iversens, the house on North McDowell was constructed. An interesting feature of the house is the integrated tank house.
According to a history of the Iver-Joergensen family that we have here at the Sonoma County History & Genealogy Library, Anna Iverson was born August 27, 1865, in Gamst Vestermark, Denmark and married Hans Hansen in December 21, 1886. They had eight children, but only six lived to adulthood: Christine, Marinus, Thorwald, Hans, Jr., Tony and Joe. The family engaged in chicken ranching and Anna served as a midwife to many in the community including Emma Sonksen who was born in the Hansen House in 1911. Emma died in 2001, but up until at least 1997 she was living across the street from the Hansen House in the Capri Creek Mobile Home Park.
Although approved, the medical office project never occured. Several other proposals came up over the years - each time the first priority for the developer was demolition. After the Historic and Cultural Preservation committee determined that the house had historic significance, a residential developer proposed moving the house, but before the details could be worked about the house mysteriously caught on fire. Within a few days that developer was in the Planning Department requesting a demolition permit which was denied.
Years have gone by and it looked as though the house would go the way of so many others - demolition by neglect, but then last night at the City of Petaluma Planning Commission meeting a vote was taken to recommend to the City Council that the house be officially designated a local landmark. The Commissioners approved a development proposal by Hugh Futrell to rehabiliate the house in place and construct eight single family dwellings and 13 duplexes that are modest in price and size - on the property that are designed in a manner that respects the historic character of the Hansen House. It's a happy day for preservationists in Petaluma. Let's make sure this project get's our support as it moves forward.
Posted on May 11, 2013
An item in the Petaluma Argus Courier public notice section caught my eye the other day. Mixed in with all the notice of trustee’s sales in the sports section I saw a notice of public hearing for a project that involves the historic Hansen House at 718 North McDowell Boulevard – a property that I’ve been closely associated with since 1997 when I worked for the City of Petaluma and was asked to provide an historic evaluation of the residence when there was a plan to demolish the house and build a medical office building. Several projects have come and gone since then and the house was damaged by a fire in December of 2003, five months after Petaluma’s Historic and Cultural Preservation Committee declared the Hansen House to be historically significant. This photo and article appeared in the Press Democrat on June 4, 2004.
The current proposal, according to the public notice, calls for having the Hansen House officially designated as a landmark and rehabilitated by developer Hugh Futrell. Mr. Futrell proposes to build 34 two-story residential units, including 8 detached single family homes and 26 duets (duplexes). The Planning Commission will review all of this Tuesday, May 28th at 7 PM.
For more information and/or to provide comments, contact Heather Hines, Planning Manager at (707) 778-4316 or send an email email@example.com
The notice states that the Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration was released for a 20 day public review from May 9th thru May 28th and that the document is available at the Community Development Department at 11 English Street and on the City’s web site http://cityofpetaluma.net/cdd/planning.html
Posted on May 04, 2013
In this week's Petaluma Argus Courier there was a story about McKinley Elementary School celebrating it's 100th birthday in style. I read with interest all the great things that are taking place under the leadership of Principal Matthew Harris. It wasn't until a few days later that something occured to me - where did the 100 years come from?
There have been three McKinley Schools. First there was a one room school house which was replaced by a larger building designed by Brainerd Jones (the blueprints are on file at the Sonoma County Archives which is managed by Tony Hoskins of the Sonoma County History & Genealogy Library) and constructed by Frederick Cullen in 1911according to Thomas Gregory's History of Sonoma County.
Both of these buildings were located on East Washington and Vallejo Streets - where Whole Foods is today. The second school was demolished in November of 1955. Construction of the current McKinley Elementary School on Ellis Street began in April of 1949. The architect was Robert Stanton of San Francisco and the builders were our very own Midstate Construction who are presently working across the street from the McKinley Elementary School on the East Washington Place Shopping Center.
Whatever starting year you choose, none add up to 100 years. I bet several of McKinley students - past and present have figured this out, but heck acknowledging the educational accomplishments of today is what's really important here. Check it out for yourself by attending the celebration at the school on May 9th. For more information, please call Matthew Harris at (707) 778-4750.
Posted on April 19, 2013
When I was a budding genealogist decades ago, my grandfather Hoskins drew a chart for me showing our male line descent from his great grandfather, William Hoskins (1796-1870), Kentucky-born pioneer settler in Bureau County, Illinois. From that point until four years ago, I steadily researched this family, found William’s ancestors back to the English immigrant, Thomas Hodginson/Hoskinson (1680-after 1743), traced many lines from Thomas’s seven sons, and even established a point of origin and ancestry into the Tudor period for this family in Preston, Lancashire, England.
My genealogical confidence in this line was shattered four years ago when I decided to “go scientific” and have my Y-DNA tested. Having received my results at the 67 marker level, I asked Hugh Hoskins - a man who had contacted me years before to trace his line - if he had had his Y-DNA tested and identified. He had. Since he and I were “on paper” (documented) 5th cousins, three times removed., we should have matched. We didn’t! About a week later, Hugh contacted me to let me know that a certain Ron Hoskins had matched him. Ron was “on paper” closer related to me than to Hugh. So, I knew the genealogical problem was not Hugh’s, but mine.
A bit alarmed, I contacted my 1st cousin Andy Hoskins. He tested, weeks passed and (happily) he and I were an exact match through all 67 markers: meaning our male ascent was assured as far as our mutual grandfather. But, “Cousins” Hugh’s and Ron’s not matching Andy and me had to be pursued. The problem was clearly Andy’s and mine – but how far back was the “problem”?
Interested in learning what unfolded next, and the surprising twists and turns this DNA-genealogical odyssey has taken? If so, come hear my presentation in the daylong seminar - Using DNA to Solve Your Genealogical Mysteries - sponsored by the California Genealogical Society, Nile Hall, Preservation Park, 668 Thirteenth Street, Oakland, CA 94612 on April 27, 2013, 9:00AM-3:30PM. (Pre-registration required. firstname.lastname@example.org. 510-663-1358 )
Posted on April 17, 2013
Today we received an email from the Healdsburg branch librarian, Bo Simons, who has a neighbor that is involved in rehabilitating the old Cloverdale Library and is interested in finding interior views of the building which was built in 1921. Perfect topic given that this is National Library Week!
So far no luck, but hoping that perhaps by posting this blog someone will come forward with photos, blue prints or building specifications (doesn't hurt to be optimistic).
A bit of history on the Cloverdale Library. According Images of America: Cloverdale by Joan Wagele, Marge Gray, and the Cloverdale Historical Society, and other sources, Cloverdale's first library was actually started around 1894 in the Library Hall at 231 North West Street. The Cloverdale Free Library was built in 1921 by the Women's Improvement Club on land donated by Ida (Hoadley) Humbert. In 1966 the Cloverdale Lbrary merged with the County Library and in 1979 the current Cloverdale Public Library located at 401 North Cloverdale Boulevard, opened in Feburary of 1979 at which time the "old" library became home to a wholesale lumber business.
If you or someone you know has information that you think might aid in the rehabilitation of this piece of history, please let me know by providing comments below.