The Santa Rosa that emerged after the 1906 earthquake was certainly a more modern-looking place, but in those new downtown buildings were businesses with old Victorian-era attitudes; if you were a woman, there were fully three dozen places that you could not enter.

Saloons and cigar shops were off-limits to women, who could be arrested for entering a bar for any reason. The barkeep could also lose his license for admitting a woman, or even on hearsay that he had done such a terrible thing, as happened in the “Call No. 2 Saloon,” on West Third Street, mentioned in the Saloon Town article. In one of the incidents described below, a roadhouse on the road to Sonoma was closed after a complaint that a party of 4-5 men and women were allowed to drink together and cuss.


Wednesday night about half-past 10 o’clock Police Officer Lindley arrested a woman whom he noticed leaving McKee & Morrison’s saloon on Fifth street. Under the ordinance no woman or minors are allowed to frequent a saloon. The woman was taken to the police station and put up twenty dollars bail for her appearance before Police Judge Bagley. She claims to have been in the saloon for the purpose of getting some washing.

– Press Democrat, June 20, 1907
Lively Time Following Auto Trip to Resort at Melitta

On the evening of May 18 last, there must have been a taste of “high life” out at M. F. Wilson’s saloon on the Sonoma road to Melitta according to the complaint made to the Board of Supervisors and filed in the office of the County Clerk on Monday morning.

Among other things on that memorable night an automobile drove up to the saloon and it contained two or three women and two men. The language used was not parlor talk or credible to persons having any regard for personal decency, according to the allegations made in the complaint. More than this the women were lifted onto the shoulders of their male companions and were carried into the saloon. Inside the saloon it is alleged the obscenity was kept up.

Other lewd conduct is set forth in the complaint…accompanying the complaint is a largely signed petition asking the Supervisors to revoke the liquor license held by Wilson.

– Press Democrat, July 2, 1907
Supervisors Hear Much Evidence on Both Sides of Case and After Argument Take Unanimous Action

The Supervisors spent all of Wednesday in hearing evidence on the question of the revocation of the liquor license of M. F. Wilson, who operates a roadhouse near Melitta station. After the evidence was all in and arguments had been made the board by unanimous vote revoked the license.


…The allegations of the petitioners charged the roadhouse with being noisy, boisterous, disorderly and disreputable place was strenuously denied by all the witnesses for the defendant. The allegation made against the place charged that women were carried into the place on July 4 by men and that decent people in the neighborhood were subjected to insulting scenes and language by the patrons of the house.

– Press Democrat, July 11, 1907

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *