It was a grand housewarming for the grandest new house in Santa Rosa, as Wyatt and Mattie Oates threw the first of many parties at the home that would later become known as Comstock House. Not so grand was the weather that July 7th; it was the peak of a murderous heat wave, with the temperature that day reaching 109 degrees, just shy of Santa Rosa’s all-time high of 110 that would be recorded in 1972.

Newspaper descriptions of house parties at the time often mentioned card games with prizes awarded to best players, and Mr. Oates was frequently reported as a winner. Thus it’s no surprise that visitors to the first event at his home were greeted by no fewer than 18 card tables. Played here is Euchre, a very popular team-against-team game like Bridge, and specifically Railroad Euchre, a faster-paced version that was popular among train passengers.


The Misses Anna May Bell and Margaret Harrell the Guests of Honor – Cards and Music

The handsome new Colonial home of Colonel and Mrs. James Wyatt Oates on Healdsburg avenue last night was ablaze with light and daintily decorated for the large party given by them in honor of their guests, Miss Anna May Bell of Visalia and Miss Margaret Harrell of Fresno.

Additional significance was lent the function inasmuch as it was the first social gathering given in the new home and might also have been termed the housewarming.

The elaborate furnishings and the finishings architecturally of the interior left practically little for the decorators to do to enhance the appearance of things and there was nothing lacking to make the party a delightful success. From the nature of the decorations, the dainty prizes awarded, at cards and other features it was a Dutch Colonial party given in a Colonial home.

The guests were mostly young people invited to meet Miss Bell and Miss Harrell. Railroad euchre was played during a portion of the evening and the prizes were won by John Tyler Campbell, gentlemen’s first prize; Mrs. H. G. Hahman, ladies’ first prize and Mrs. Ralph Belden, lone hand. The remainder of the evening was devoted to social converse and music. Miss Frances Woolsey gave a whistling solo, Miss Blanche Hoffer a piano number and the Misses Bell and Harrell a duet. The last named young ladies were awarded prizes as guests of honor. There were eighteen tables for cards and some of them were placed on the spacious verandah which was transformed into a pretty bower. Refreshments were served. Mrs. Oates was assisted in receiving by her mother, Mrs. M. S. Solomon.

– Press Democrat, July 8, 1905

The Oates’ Card Party An Enjoyable Affair

Miss Anna May Bell of Visalia and Miss Margaret Harrell of Fresno were guests of honor at a charming party given last evening by Colonel and Mrs. James Wyatt Oates, with whom they are spending the summer. Southern hospitality was manifest in the cordial welcome Colonel and Mrs. Oates gave their guests, who enjoyed the evening thoroughly. The handsome new colonial home was thrown open for entertaining last evening for the first time and its spacious rooms, arranged in such artistic fashion, were very much admired.

Euchre was played in the drawing room and on the wide veranda which was enclosed with canvas. The scorecards were decorated with tiny Dutch Colonial figures and the prizes were also in quaint Dutch design. These were won by Judge John Tyler Campbell, Mrs. A. G. Hahman and Mrs. Ralph Belden.

Mrs. Oates’ mother, Mrs. M. S. Solomon, assisted her in receiving and also assisting were Miss Blanche Hoffer, Miss Bell and Miss Harrell, who gave piano selections and Miss Frances Woolsey, whose whistling solos with piano accompaniment were exquisite. Supper was daintily served at the card tables.

– Santa Rosa Republican, July 8, 1905

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