Local History and Genealogy Notes
Posted on December 29, 2012
Vincent G. Raney, AIA of San Francisco designed Petaluma's United Methodist Church, which is located at the northeast corner of D and Fifth Streets, in 1941.
A quick search using Ancestry.com and other web sites including those associated with the Construction Specifications Institute and Rediscovered Paper brought fourth some interesting information about Vincent G. Raney (1905-2001).
Mr. Raney was born in Martin County, Indiana on October 17, 1905, to Francis and Ruth (Gootee) Raney. It was while working alongside his father, a building contractor, that Vincent learned about construction techniques. Following high school, he attended the University of Indiana, then received a degree in architectural engineering from the University of Illinois in 1929. He also attended the University of Arizona in 1930.
Raney worked for H.G. Atherton in Anderson, Indiana; and for Frederick H. Reimers, Masten & Hurd, and William I. Garren in San Francisco, 1930-36.
In 1937, Raney started his own company, under his name. He specialized in buiding and design of multiplex theaters for Snyfy Enterpries. The Cinema Treasures web site lists 36. Including the Kuhio Theatre in Honolulu.
Another speciality of Raney's were service stations. He designed more than six hundred service stations for the Associated Oil Company of San Francisco.
In 1939, Raney designed a house for the Golden Gate Exposition at Treasure Island. Notable for its high ceilings, floor-to-floor ceiling windows, and access to a garden from almost every room, it was named the Sunshine House. It was sold in a raffle, with tickets costing one dollar. The home was built to encourage home building and buying after the Depression. The winners sold the house immediately for $7,000. It sold for $845,000 in 2004 (San Francisco Chronicle, January 11, 2004, page G1 & G10).
After World War II, Raney got involved in designing affordable tract homes for returning GIs.
We may never know what brought Vincent Raney to Petaluma to design a church, but it is fun to have this background information. I'll never look at the Methodist Church the same way again. Are there other Raney designs to be found in Petaluma?
Posted on December 19, 2012
While going through my very large pile of items to be filed I came across a Petaluma Argus Courier article dated January 20, 1941, that describes how Goldstone Brothers, a garment manufacturer located at 300 Main Street (Petaluma Boulevard North), had signed a contract to supply the U.S. Government with 12,000 aviator coveralls within four to five months. The coveralls were to be assembled by 25 to 35 women and shipped to the quartermaster department at the Presidio in San Francisco and from there sent out to bases, ports and training fields across the United States.
I've checked the Library's catalog and have yet to locate a picture of the factory or its employees.
Today the Goldstone Brothers building is occupied by Military Antiques and Museum. Wonder if they have any Petaluma made coveralls on display?
Posted on December 13, 2012
So often we hear Sonoma County referred to as "The Wine Country" which is great, but we are also known for a whole host of other things including cheese. We just added The Guide to West Coast Cheese to our collection here at the Sonoma County History & Genealogy Library. The book is written by Sasha Davies and was published by Timber Press in 2010. I found 16 Sonoma County cheesemakers listed. Pretty impressive. The names, which range from Achadinha Cheese Company in Petaluma to Vella Cheese Company in Sonoma, will be added to the Sonoma County History Index. The Library has a large number of dairy related images, in fact if you go the Sonoma Heritage Collection you will find the Northbay Dairy Collection which includes many photos from the Petaluma Cooperative Creamery and Clover Stornetta as well as from individual dairy families. The only pictures we have that depict cheese making specifically are those associated with the Sonoma Cheese Factory and those are from the 1970s. This seems odd as we know that cheese making has been going on in Sonoma County for many years. For example, in 1874 there was the Petaluma Cheese Manufactory, which was located on the Petaluma Creek, about one mile south of town and known as "the only cheese manufactory based on the eastern principle, in the state of California." The proprietors of this business were A. Killan and J. Payne and their advertisement in L.L. Paulson's 1874 Handbook and Directory of the Pacific Coast claimed that they were "prepared to manufacture 1200 gallons per day, into cheese weighing from 10 lbs. to 70 lbs." A year or so ago I assisted a patron who was researching the history of Cantels Cheese Factory which according to Petaluma As Seen Through the Eyes of Bill Lewis was located south of Petaluma at the foot of Hein's Rockcrusher. Today we might describe that area as being at the foot of the housing development - Quarry Heights. It occurs to me now that the Petaluma Cheese Manufactory and Cantels Cheese Factory might have been one in the same - although Cantels wasn't established until 1918. Unfortunately we do not have a photo of either establishment.
Posted on December 08, 2012
I recently met Sam Brown, grandson of Joe Tuttle - founder of Petaluma's Tuttle Drug. Sam brought in this wonderful photo and allowed me to scan it for the Library's collection. Since it will be some time before we are able to catalog the image I thought I'd share it here.
The photo appeared in the Petaluma Argus Courier on June 30, 1949. The Argus identified the players as left to right, top row: Joe Tuttle, second base; Bob Ayers, center field; Bill Evart, pitcher; middle row, Alden White, short stop; Wis Studdert, first base; Dr. F.H. Phillips, manager; Ned White third base; Jack Lauritzen, pitcher and left field; bottom row, Bill Thomas, right field; Ham Farrell, catcher. Any of these names sound familiar? If so, be sure to let me know.
Using the Library's subscription to Ancestry.com and other sources I discovered that Joseph Wilford Tuttle was born in Petaluma on September 9, 1884, to Cyrus and Margaret Tuttle. Cyrus came to Petaluma from Canada as a boy with his parents in 1870 and grew up to become a rancher. Margaret was from Ireland and like her husband came to the United States as a child.
When the Elks baseball team photo shown above was taken, Joe was 40 years old and a veteran pharmacist. After graduating from University of California San Francisco in 1906 Joe went to work for John Clark of the Clark Drug Company at 113 Main Street. Some time later Mr. Clark sold the business to Joe and J.W. Tuttle Drugs was established. In 1912, Joe married Agnes Breckwoldt, daughter of Julius and Louise Breckwoldt. The couple had two children: Margaret (Sam's mother) and Lloyd.
Joe Tuttle retired from life as a pharmacist and drug store owner in 1940 and for a time enjoyed hunting and fishing. After World War II, Mr. Tuttle decided to return to work and became a deputy county assessor and later tax collector for the City of Petaluma. He sold the drug store to Lester Pometta and Ray Butler who retained the Tuttle Drugs name. Harold Erikson, who joined the firm as a partner in 1945 and later bought Butler's and Pometta's interests in separate deals to become sole owner.
In 1967 the Tuttle Drug Company, as it was now known, moved to 132 Keller Street. The store closed in 2004 and today the building is occupied by the Social Club restaurant.
Posted on November 16, 2012
Lately I've been researching the importance of river and rail transportation to Petaluma's history. As I scroll through microfilm copies of local newspapers I come across all sorts of fun articles that provide a snapshot in time for when Petaluma was the center of commerce for the North Bay. Such articles include this one from the Argus dated June 15, 1922:
"On June 10th three carloads of Petaluma eggs were shipped to New York and on the 12th one carload was sent to Los Angeles, while on the 13th another carload was shipped to New York. The five carloads aggregated a total of 2504 cases for the three days which is not so bad."
Those eggs could very likely have been shipped on the Petaluma & Santa Rosa Railway which had just completed construction of the West Petaluma spur and trestle.
The spur linked to the P&SR's main line at approximately Payran Street, then ran south behind the businesses backing onto Water Street - the Petaluma Poultry Company, Coulson Poultry & Stock Food Company, and Wilsey-Bennett Company - to Western Avenue. From Western Avenue and Water Street the spur continued onto the trestle with the G.P. McNear Company on one side, and the Petaluma River on the other. Having crossed the trestle, the spur continued south down First Street past Hunt & Behrens Feed Mill and warehouses, M. Vonsen Company Feed Mill, Cochrane Lumber Company, warehouses associated with G.P. McNear and the Poultry Producers and Central California and terminated at the Dow-Harriman Foundry, and the Petaluma Box Company at H Street, where Foundry Wharf is located today.
Petaluma & Santa Rosa Railroad Trestle Historic Structures Report prepared for the City of Petaluma by PAST Consultants - November 30, 2007
Sanborn Fire Insurance Map for Petaluma - December 1923
Polk's Petaluma Directory - 1929-1930