Just a few weeks before the great earthquake tumbled Santa Rosa head-over-heels into the 20th century, there was a late winter’s evening when the town had a chance to forget the confounding modern age and gaze nostalgically backward. It was as if the 19th century dropped in to say goodbye.

The February 1906 event was a performance by the Mahara Brothers’ Minstrel Carnival at the old Athenaeum Hall on Fourth street. Today we think of minstrel shows as an ugly, irredeemable display of bigotry: Whites with burnt cork face makeup telling racist jokes in drawling “coon” accents or belting out “Mammy” songs. And that indeed was the type of minstrel show most people saw, particularly after the turn of the century. But there was another type of minstrelsy that had older roots. Both kinds shared the premise that the audience was supposed to watching slaves having after-dark fun on an antebellum plantation, but the other type of show avoided the demeaning racist shtick, and no surprise why: The performers in these troupes were all African-American.

The 1890 census listed almost 1,500 professional “Negro actors and showmen,” and most had to be working in all-Black minstrel shows, given the limited venues available to African-American performers in that era. They had their own trade paper, “The Freeman,” which tracked touring routes and bill changes, as well as publishing letters about Jim Crow encounters that might serve as precautionary tales to others passing through that area. Among these all-Black companies was the highly regarded Mahara show, which played in Santa Rosa that night.

One of the most famous graduates of the Mahara shows was “St. Louis Blues” composer W. C. Handy, who toured with the company between 1894 and 1903, except for one season. In his autobiography, “Father of the blues,” Handy provided a vivid description of what must have happened on Fourth Street that day:

“Life began at 11:45 A.M. in a minstrel company…we were sure to find a swarm of long-legged boys on hand, begging for a chance to carry the banners advertising the show–the same young rabble, perhaps, that invariably swept down upon the circus with the offer to water the elephants in return for free tickets.

“The parade itself was headed by the managers in their four-horse carriages. Doffing silk hats and smiling their jeweled smiles, they acknowledged with easy dignity the small flutter of polite applause their high-stepping horses provoked. After them came the carriage in which the stars rode. The “walking gents” followed, that exciting company which included comedians, singers and acrobats. They in turn were followed by the drum major–not an ordinary drum major beating time for a band, mind you, but a performer out of the books, an artist with the baton. His twirling stick suggested a bicycle wheel revolving in the sun. Occasionally he would give it a toss and then recover the glistening affair with the same flawless skill…

“…[A]t 7:30 we played a program of classical music in front of the opera house. In all probability, we would pull the ‘Musician’s Strike’ out of our bag of tricks. During this well-rehearsed feature each musician would, when his turn came, pretend to quarrel with someone else and quit the band in a huff. When, to the dismay of the innocent yokels, the band had dwindled to almost nothing, a policeman who had been ‘fixed’ and planted at a convenient spot would come up and ask questions. This would lead to a flght between some of the remaining musicians, and the officer would promptly arrest them.

“The crowd could be depended on to express its disappointment in strong language. ‘Just like ni*gers,’ they’d groan. ‘They break up everything with a fight. Damn it all, they’d break up Heaven.’ During these recriminations we would spring the old hokum. The band, having reassembled around the corner, would cut loose with one of the most sizzling tunes of the day, perhaps Creole Belles, Georgia Camp Meeting, or A Hot Time In the Old Town Tonight, and presently the ticket seller would go to work. Our hokum hooked them.”

Handy also wrote that company’s standards were so high that members thought of the troupe as a “finishing school.” By 1906 Handy was no longer with the show, but we know from reviews of their performances in San Francisco earlier that month that the big star of this tour was Bessie LaBelle, who would later become known as a West Coast blues singer with Jelly Roll Morton. That she was the featured performer was another difference between the white minstrel shows, which rarely had any women at all; as many as half the Mahara performers were female, including a renowned trombone player.

It probably goes without saying that the exception to the all-black identity of the Mahara company were the Mahara brothers themselves, who handled the money and managed everything. Founder of the touring group was William Mahara, who had been a manager for other minstrel companies going back to 1875 before starting his own in 1892. When W.C. Handy described “managers in their four-horse carriages” leading the parade, he primarily meant William, with his diamond-buttoned shirt sitting next to his giant St. Bernard, Sport.

According to W. C. Handy, William and his brother Frank, who managed their other touring company, treated performers with complete respect. Performers traveled the country in a private Pullman car with their own cook, waiter, and porter. Their train cars also had a hidden compartment to stash food, weapons, and act as an emergency hideaway, which Handy had cause to use when a Tennessee sheriff and posse sought to arrest him in 1903 for striking a white man. A third Mahara brother, Jack, worked as the advance man and miraculously survived being shot between the eyes during an 1894 train robbery. He was left with a hole about an inch deep and two inches wide in his forehead, which he covered with a silver plate. Talk about your conversation starters.

By 1906 the independent minstrel shows were facing hard times as vaudeville geared up to become an entertainment industry. That the ad in the Santa Rosa papers promised an “olio of pleasing vaudeville novelties” (the “olio” was the middle part of the minstrel show) was a concession that tastes had changed; a purposely old-fashioned show had dwindling appeal.

This was near the end of the Mahara Brothers’ Minstrels; William died in 1909, and that same year ads can be found for the “Jack Mahara All White Minstrel Company.” Blurbs that proceeded the show promised, “the minstrel show like any other enterprise in this progressive age has evolved; there are many changes from the old days in minstrelry. The Jack Mahara Minstrels have evolved…members that are young and full of comedy…a clean, refined and moral show.” A few months later, Jack abandoned his clean, refined all-white troupe in Nevada owing them back pay. And that was the end of the Mahara minstrel empire.

Plantation Life Will Be Well Presented

It was in the evening when the day’s work in the cotton field was done and “Massa” had gone to bed, in the darkest days of slavery, that the darky toilers wer wont to gather around their humble huts and there hold high carnival under the pale light of the moon. Though all, or nearly all, of this has passed into history and tradition, there is still a strong semblance of those never to be forgotten days left in “plantation life.” A vivid spectacle introduced in Mahara Bros. Big Minstrel Carnival this season, which makes its appearance at the Athanaeum on February 26th. To make the pictures more realistic they introduce ten of the handsomest creole ladies from the Boyou Teche, La., pastimes of the rice and tobacco fields, giving an entertaining exhibition of the tobacco stripping and manipulation. Grand choruses of supereminence song with the rich, true plaintive voices of the southern negro. The ladies of the company are also seen in the second edition of the program, known as “Minstrelsy of Today,” showing the evolution of the blacks since emancipation. This amusement, Dusky Beaux & Belles, is spectacular, up-to-date, singing and dancing, dressed in costumes of the club, reception, and the ball room.

– Santa Rosa Republican, February 24, 1906

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At the turn-of-the-century, that part of Sonoma County was just a handful of tiny, ad hoc farming communities — Vine Hill, Trenton, Peachland and Hilton — clustered in a place outside of Sebastopol long known as “Green Valley.” But when the electric railroad came to the neighborhood, almost overnight Green Valley became Santa Rosa’s favorite park. It was the place you took your sweetie for a picnic or the family for a Sunday outing.

Everyone’s destination was a 40-acre preserve, first known as “Piney Woods,” then later, “Handy’s Grove.” The owners aspired of creating a small zoo; in 1905, according to a Press Democrat promotional blurb, there was “a raccoon, two deers [sic], two monkeys and a brown bear.” As late as the mid-1950s, visitors could still visit the old park and see a bear chained to a tree (although presumably not the same one).

The name changed to Graton in January, 1906, not in 1905 as always reported. (Gaye LeBaron wrote that it was also briefly called Newtown, but I didn’t find any references to that.) A few months later the town threw itself a party, and thousands of residents from Santa Rosa and Sebastopol, quake-rattled and probably nervous about fireworks burning down what remained of their towns, descended on the Graton park for a grand Fourth of July celebration. It was a nice time for people who were overdue a nice time.

Green Valley, Recently Established on Line of Electric Railway

The town of Green Valley is Sonoma’s newest-born. Its cradle is between the hills of Oak Grove school district.

Green Valley, whose name the new town takes, is that fair, far stretch of country from Sebastopol to Guerneville, with Occidental and Forestville on either hand, and includes within its borders the villages of Vine Hill, Trenton, Peachland and Hilton. A shaded land where wild azaleas blow, mingling their fragrance with the pungent smell of pines and the balmy breath of the red-limbed manzanita. A quiet valley where the quail’s clear piping greets the dawn, and doves coo in the tree tops at evening.

James H. Gray and J. H. Brush have bought the Hicks and Bower farms, which almost surround the Oak Grove schoolhouse, and it is upon these two splendid orchard ranches that the new town is being built. The electric railway runs almost through its center, giving quick transit to Sebastopol, three miles distant, and to Forestville to the north. Green Valley creek runs through the town’s outskirts, and along its banks are several strips of “spouty” land–land that is always damp, and well adapted to the cultivation of such vegetables as require abundant moisture. Most of the townsite land is dry and on one of the several slopes that lead eventually to the creek, the new and promising town is located. A number of the original forest trees have been allowed to stand and around many of the dwellings in the new town there will be a grove of live-oaks, or of pines or madronas. The Excellent school is, of course, a splendid feature; two long-established churches are near by; and of prime consideration is the fact that the region round about is already populated by people of the best class. Population will surely be attracted, and the next few years see a town of a thousand inhabitants or more clustered around the splendid grove of live oaks which gave the name to Oak Grove school.

A winery, a fruit cannery, a hotel, livery stable, two stores and a restaurant are already established in the new town. A movement is on foot to establish a high school. “Piney Woods,” a beautiful grove over forty acres in extent, has been kept from the axe, and since the town was founded many excursions have been made to this grove by picnic parties. The proprietor has started a Zoological park there with a raccoon, two deers, two monkeys and a brown bear as nuclei.

– Press Democrat Promotional Insert, 1905

The Name Is “Graton

The postoffice at Green Valley has been changed to “Graton” as the name of Green Valley conflicted with another office in this State, and also with a station on the line of the California Northwestern Railroad. J. H. Brush and J. H. Gray, to whom the matter was referred, made their decision on Saturday, and it would appear that Mr. Gray is destined to have his name perpetuated in the town which he was instrumental in founding.

– Santa Rosa Republican, February 2, 1906

Splendid Fourth of July Celebration

The people of Santa Rosa and Sebastopol gathered in large numbers at the park near Graton Wednesday to join with the enterprising people of that little city in the celebration of the nation’s birthday. There were several thousand people present, and the entire program, as it had been arranged, proved very interesting, and supplied abundant entertainment for the visitors.

The natal day was ushered in by the firing of twenty-one guns, and early in the morning the crowds began to assemble. It had been announced that the literary program would take place at 10 o’clock, but owing to unavoidable delay in the arrival of a number of those who were to take part, it was nearly an hour later before the exercises began. The music for the occasion was furnished by Parks’ band of Santa Rosa, and furnished music for both the exercises in the morning, and also the dancing during the afternoon and evening.


The park where the celebration was held is a splendid place for such an occasion, and under the able management of James Gray, everything had been provided for the comfort and enjoyment of the large crowds that attended. The roadway from the electric depot to the grounds had been well sprinkled and an abundance of water was provided on the grounds. The electric railroad also did splendid service in the carrying of the people back and forth, providing a thirty-minute service during the day and until midnight. The long trains were crowded nearly all day, and everyone expressed pleasure at the manner in which the whole celebration had been arranged.

– Santa Rosa Republican, July 5, 1906

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Got a time machine? Go back to Santa Rosa in the months before the 1906 earthquake and tell the City Council to put a moratorium on new brick building construction. And while you’re there, let them know it would be a swell idea to have a reliable water system should something really bad happen — such as half the downtown burning to the ground after a major earthquake.

Fire destroyed much of downtown Santa Rosa after the 1906 quake, even though the town had both private and public water systems with separate pipes running down all the main streets. But the city lines already leaked badly, and presumably some of these mains burst in the jolt or were blown apart as the adjacent gas lines exploded; for whatever reason, pressure in hydrants was too low and the desperate firemen resorted to tapping what water they could from Santa Rosa Creek.

The water pipes for the private system belonged to the old Santa Rosa Water Works, better known as the McDonald Water Company, which had been operating since the mid-1870s. The old system had few enthusiasts; besides its wimpy water pressure that made fire hydrants ineffective, an 1891 report confirmed suspicions that its reservoir, Lake Ralphine, was contaminated with hog and human waste. The municipal system came along in 1896 and was also plagued with problems from the start. For a town built smack in the middle of a 250 square mile watershed, Santa Rosa has had remarkable troubles delivering a reliable flow of clean water to town faucets.

We wade into the water wars via the entertaining account of a 1906 City Council meeting transcribed below. Note that no actual point is debated; the meeting is a free-for-all public hand-wringing. The lowlight was the appearance of prominent attorney Thomas J. Geary, here rather obviously acting as a lobbyist for McDonald, urging the city to stop drilling new wells and instead buy water from McDonald’s company. Along the way, Geary also told the Council that the rich were entitled to more water than Average Joe because they paid more taxes.

The most interesting comment at the Council meeting came from “pump man” Mr. Fish (!) who “urged a plan which he had suggested for this city many years ago–that instead of pumping water into the reservoir outside the city, it be sent into a mammoth tank in the heart of the city eighty feet high.” Had Santa Rosa such a water tower in place before the earthquake, the downtown might have been spared the fire damage. The pumping station, which pushed the well water up to the city’s hilltop reservoir above Rincon Valley, never failed during the quake, and water levels in the four city wells even began going up immediately after the tremors and kept rising for weeks.

What irony; the only time city wells were overflowing in that era was when it was unavailable for delivery. Instead of McDonald’s contamination problems, simple lack of water was the bane of the municipal system. As soon it began operating in 1896, it was clear that the pumps weren’t producing as much water as needed, and yet another well was ordered drilled. The city also enacted conservation measures that became increasingly draconian over the next several years. A city inspector was hired to examine toilets, faucets, and other fixtures for leaks, and had powers to issue a $2.50 fine for each violation; police were ordered to spy for water running overnight, and wake up offenders to shut off the spigot; the city was split into east/west irrigation districts, with one side of town allowed to water lawns from 6 to 8 in the morning and the other from 6 to 8 in the evening, the starting and ending times strictly announced by the blowing of the town’s steam whistle. And when the fire alarms went off, all water use had to be stopped immediately.

Even with the addition of a 1903 well that nearly doubled capacity, the town water system was barely able to keep up with demand, and a report the next year explained why: Almost a quarter of the water that left the reservoir was lost somewhere in the city’s plumbing — 270,000 gallons just dribbled away every day.

The city finally began installing meters in 1905, with the promise that a family of five or less still could have 350 gallons of free water a day. But old habits die hard, and the town kept the Water Police around to assess extra charges for nearly everything; watering you lawn cost 1/2 cent per square yard per year, irrigating strawberries and vegetables, 3¢ per square yard. And it’ll be 25¢ per month for the pleasure of that bathtub in your house, plus another two bits for the potty, please.

Additional sources: Chapter 10 in the 19th century history by LeBaron, et. al, Ample and Pure Water for Santa Rosa, 1867-1926 by John Cummings,
The California earthquake of April 18, 1906
by Andrew C. Lawson
First Shipment of Water Meters are Now Due Here

City Clerk Clawson has received the bill for fifty of the water meters which were recently ordered by the City Council. The order was for one thousand meters and these will be installed in the near future. Now that the first shipment is about to arrive, it is reasonable to believe that the remainder will follow rapidly. When the meters have been placed the officials in charge of the pumping station feel confident that they will be able to supply all the water needed by the citizens of the City of Roses, because the meters will stop the alleged leakages in the system.

– Santa Rosa Republican, September 23, 1905

Result of Pumping Test in Known
Visit Paid to the Pumping Station to Receive Engineer Yandle’s Report

Mayor J. P. Overton and Councilmen W. D. Reynolds, Fred King and G. S. Brown visited the pumping station…Engineer Yandle informed the Mayor and Councilmen on Thursday that the test showed that 1,087,000 gallons of water was pumped each day…

– Press Democrat, December 28, 1905

From Mass of Eigures [sic] and Suggestions Given at Meeting Council Will Evolve Solution of Problem

After listening to much fervid oratory from citizens of Santa Rosa, and pondering over the momentous question of permitting the installation of electric pumping machinery and electric generating machinery at the local pumping station, the Council adjourned without being any nearer a solution of the problem than when the session began…

…[The City Council] had to wait until the citizens had finished offering suggestions, and then returned to their homes confused in mind as to the best course to pursue, and their rest was troubled with nightmares of machinery, long volumes of figures and well-rounded sentences of oratory.

There was not the interest taken in the matter by the citizens that its importance demanded. Hardly a dozen men had congregated to assist the Council in unravelling one of the knottiest problems that has confronted the city government. There is apparently a disposition to let the council act on the matter as it seems best to them, and then those who are not satisfied with the action taken will be able to spend their time on the street corners and “kick” because the action taken did not suit them.

[Danville Decker, “the suave local manager of the Santa Rosa Lighting Company,” told the Council that his company drilled two unproductive wells about 80 feet deep. John L. Jordan, “who takes a lively interest in the city’s water system,” told the Council that he could produce more water than the city needed if they would give him $600 to bore three 50-foot wells. Citizen John H. Fowler admitted no special knowledge on the matter, but urged the city to embrace progress and switch over to electric pumps, giving a little presentation on the history of machines.]

Attorney Thomas J. Geary made an excellent speech on “water” which provoked much merriment during its delivery. He declared he did know a great deal about water, and personally did not care a great deal for it. It looked to the speaker like the city had had ten years of municipal ownership which had proved a failure. Attorney Geary said that municipal ownership seemed to be on trial throughout the country, and while theoretically it should be an advantage, because it eliminated the profit of private corporations, and should be able to furnish commodities such as water at less than private corporations, it did not result favorably in practice. Whether the city could not conduct the water works as economically as private corporations, or what was the matter, he did not pretend to say. He declared that Santa Rosa’s experience of ten years was one of the worst cases of failure known, and said the municipality was paying more for the water it obtained than any other municipality. Property owners, he declared, had been deluded by the notion of obtaining “free water, which is a very catchy phrase, and said it was folly to delude the people into believing they were getting something for nothing, when they were not doing so.

The attorney declared that it had cost this city, with the interest being paid on its bonded indebtedness, $21,000 to pump and deliver the small amount of water given last year, about 800,000 gallons per day. In comparison with the water rates of San Francisco Mr. Geary said the same amount of water pumped here in 1905 at a cost of $21,000, could have been secured at a cost of $2009 in San Francisco, according to the report of that city for 1901. He stated that an individual could purchase one million gallons of water a day in San Francisco at a meter rate of $167 per month, while the City of Santa Rosa was pumping only about 800,000 gallons, and paying an expense bill of $909, many times greater in San Francisco.

Getting down to what he thought should be done with the pumping station, Attorney Geary said the city should rapidly install the meters purchased, allow a minimum quantity of water to each family at so many gallons per capita, and then give water to the citizens in accordance with the amount of taxes paid. He argued that the man who paid taxes on a ten thousand dollar home was entitled to more water than one paying one thousand dollars. He suggested conserving the water, and declared that with proper restrictions there was an abundance of water being pumped at present to supply Santa Rosa for the next three years at least. It looked to the speaker like the sensible thing to do with the present works was not to waste any more money on attempting to develop wells, and he declared the present water system was a bad legacy handed down to the present Council by previous boards, who while having done their best to make the works a success, had only resulted in failure. In accepting the proposal of the men to install the pumping machinery, Mr. Geary declared the city would cut down the expense of delivering water to this city, could save five thousand dollars a year, and within the next three years when it became necessary to have a greater supply of water the City Council could look around and obtain other supplies. He advocated the adoption of any plan which would cut down the expense of delivering the water into the city’s mains, and said that under no circumstances should it cost the city $11,000 per year to pump 800,000 gallons daily.

Another remedy he offered was that the Council could fix a rate on the McDonald system for the delivery of one million gallons per day to the city, and as long as this rate was a reasonable one, the city could compel the McDonald system to sell and deliver it. This figure, he declared, would be much more inexpensive than the present rate being paid for pumping the water by the city’s system. “Out of the economy you effect,” he declared, “you can buy water from the McDonald system to supply the city. Another matter that you can do, is to take the water that flows away from the McDonald system back into Santa Rosa Creek, and by using that water you might find you had an abundant supply for years to come.”

John Robinson of the Eagle Hotel made a short address, full of stirring words. He turned his batteries on Geary, and said he failed to comprehend the object of the legal gentleman who had addressed the Council. He declared Geary was guilty of “jumbling with figures and his statements were calculated to be misleading.” In comparing the cost of water of this city with San Francisco, he asked why Geary had not made a comparison with the deserts of Nevada. He believed Geary’s statement was misleading throughout, and said that experts were of the opinion that there was an abundance of water at the city’s pumping station, and said that on any question Geary handled, he “fixed it up with a polish that sways the minds of men.” Mr. Robinson declared the city had the well on its hands, and should go ahead and develop more water, in order that the deplorable condition of scarcity of that commodity experienced in past summer seasons should not be repeated during the coming summer. He felt that the council should persevere and satisfy themselves absolutely that there was not enough water at their pumping station for the city before abandoning it.

Attorney Geary replied to Mr. Robinson, and showed where these gentlemen were in harmony in all their statements to the Council. He showed that he had not spoken of abandoning the wells, but had urged conservation of water and maintaining the present system, but wanted the expense reduced materially.

Mr. Fish, a pump man, who was present, and spoke briefly to the Council, later answering many questions put to him by various people. He declared there were many ways of handling water cheaper than the city was doing at present. He urged a plan which he had suggested for this city many years ago–that instead of pumping water into the reservoir outside the city, it be sent into a mammoth tank in the heart of the city eighty feet high. This, in his opinion, would give a far better service than could be obtained with the reservoir…

…Chief Engineer Yandle spoke on the subject, saying the figures given by Geary included the salaries of Chief of the Fire Department L. Adams, and other expenses. He had previously advised the Council, and reiterated the statement, that with first class pumps the cost bill could be materially reduced. The engineer stated that the recent test of water being pumped at the station showed a million gallons strong being pumped from the wells.

Manager Danville Decker declared that the first impressions were the most lasting, and he had heard the Councilmen and other speakers talk of two million gallons of water so much he believed they had that figure indelibly impressed on their minds. No one, he declared, has ever said there was more than one million gallons of water at the station. At times when the city had bored a well and struck a magnificent flow of water the Councilmen had become enthused, and he admitted he had also become enthused over the splendid prospects of obtaining an unlimited supply of water. When this flow from the wells ceased, all were mutually depressed. He advised using the meters, and going to look for water elsewhere if it could not be found at the pumping station. The speaker believed there was no reason for expending money where there was a possibility no water could be developed, and said the city was not encouraged to do anything at the pumping station. Manager Decker has had much experience with meters in his business, and declared the meters were the best safeguard of the city’s interests, and said the questions was perfectly clear that no more money should be spent at the pumping station for developing water. The water should be pumped cheaply, or something was wrong, he declared, and reiterated the statement made to the Council some years ago, that his company was ready at any time to supply current for pumping water from the city’s wells.

Mayor Overton said the city was looking ahead in making its estimates for pumping two million gallons of water, and that it would be folly for a growing city like Santa Rosa to consider installing machinery at this time which would simply handle the supply at present developed. His honor declared he believed the city’s water system needed overhauling badly, and if the city was going to continue to do the pumping, they should have some one do considerable overhauling of the plant. He said if it was the sense of the Council to develop more water at the pumping station that it should be acted on at once. The Mayor wishes to do something at once to relieve the anticipated condition of next summer.

“We have a million gallons of water now, and cannot afford to abandon the plant. We should take action at once to decrease the cost of pumping, either by ourselves or by contract with some one else. We should do at once what is for the best interests of the city.”

Chief Engineer Yandle declared the million gallons of water at the pumping station would supply seventy gallons per capita to all the residents of Santa Rosa, which would make a total of 700,000 gallons, and allowing 150,000 gallons for street sprinklers, would leave a comfortable balance for the city…

– Santa Rosa Republican, January 10, 1906
First Step Toward Setting of Cost of City Water Used in Excess

In accordance with the provisions of the new city charter which will go into effect in April, an ordinance has been introduced fixing the amount of water that shall be allowed to each family for domestic purposes free of charge and the rates that shall be charged upon the meter readings for all amounts exceeding the allowance.

The new ordinance provided for 350 gallons of water for each family where there are five or less residing, for every twenty-four hours, and for each additional person residing in the house, 25 gallons per day. The ordinance provides that the term “domestic use,” as employed in the ordinance shall not be construed to mean “irrigation” or for the use of business houses or business purposes.

For all water that is to be used above the specified 350 gallons a day, the Council will determine the rate at their next meeting.

Where there is no meter the rates suggested are the same as have been charged heretofore by the Santa Rosa Water Company. These rates include $1 a month for a family of five or less and 10 cents for each additional person; 25 cents for each bath tub and closet; for irrigating flower gardens and lawns, per square yard per year, ¼ cent or ½ cent for six consecutive months; for irrigating strawberries and vegetables, per square yard, 3 cents; for one horse and vehicle, 20 cents; each additional horse or cow, 10 cents. For public uses the prices suggested are $3.50 to $15 for hotels, per month; saloons, $2; stores, 75¢; butcher shops, $1; offices, 50¢; dentists, $1; photographers, $2; restaurants, $2.50; bakeries $2; confectioneries. $1.50; steam laundries, $10; for motors, $3 to $25; building purposes, bricks per thousand, 15¢; plastering per square yard, 60¢; cement, 10¢ per barrel; lawns, gardens, flowers and not used for other purposes by six months, per month, 50¢.

– Santa Rosa Republican, February 7, 1906
Report to City Council Made by Street Commissioner Decker at Tuesday Night’s Meeting

…Mr. Decker reported that 290 water consumers used less than 250 gallons per day for the month of July; 230 used less than 500 gallons per day; 75 used less than 1,000 gallons per day; and 33 used over 1,000 gallons gallons per day. The average, he said, for those using less than 500 gallons per day being 260 gallons.

– Press Democrat, September 13, 1906

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