My tour of 1907 is almost over, marking the fourth year I’ve chronicled in this blog. It seems that there’s always a few pieces that are interesting or add more detail to a previous story, yet don’t quite merit an independent journal entry. Here are the “leftovers” for 1907:

* SOME WILLING; OTHERS ARE NOT An overlooked article about the anti-vaccination fight of 1907

* BICYCLES LEFT IN ANY OLD PLACE Someone at the Press Democrat – probably editor Ernest Finley – viewed himself as the Bicycle Cop, prowling the mean streets of Santa Rosa at night in search of “wheels” left out overnight. When, o when will these trusting fools ever learn?!? Also: an item about the near-death experience of Miss Luetta McCombs, whose bicycle was destroyed as she tried to cross the railroad tracks ahead of a train. “It is believed that the railroad company will present Miss McCombs with a new bicycle,” reported the PD.

* THE ARCHITECT’S BRIDGE It was reported before the earthquake that noted architect William Willcox had designed a new bridge for E street, but there was no further mention in the following year. This City Council item shows that the city did use his plans, after all.
* NEW HOUSE REPAINTED A small item that the Lumsden house – now the Belvedere bar and restaurant – was being repainted. Why would they go to the trouble and expense for a fine house less than five years old?

* FIND THE HERITAGE TREES A year after the 1906 earthquake, the old courthouse was finally being demolished, and the first step was saving the valuable trees, which were taken to the grounds of the old County Hospital. Are these the trees at the Chanate Cemetery?

* COLORED VIEWS OF SANTA ROSA Postcard collectors, rejoice! Here’s a date for the series of post-quake photographs of Santa Rosa published by Rieder, one of the largest publishers in the country. The most famous early photo of Comstock House is probably from this photo shoot, but we’ll wait until we can verify that this card was indeed from his publishing house.

* STOP BOYS FROM JUMPING TRAINS More from the annals of stupid, near-death experiences of early 20th century children.

* THE FORTUNE TELLER’S LICENSE Both newspapers regularly had classified ads for spiritualists, palm readers, and fortune tellers, and apparently Santa Rosa didn’t care – as long as they had a business license to peddle their hokum. Here Mrs. M. A. Young asked the City Council to wave the fee so that she could practice “her art of astrology,” although the “revenue from her business would not justify her to pay the license imposed.”
Opposition to the Enforcing of the Vaccination of School Children is Being Manifested

“Some are taking to it kindly, and are preparing for vaccination; others are not and are raising many objections. I am afraid that there will be considerable trouble in some circumstances,” said County Superintendent Montgomery yesterday when asked concerning the enforcing of the vaccination law in the public schools of Sonoma county.

The matter is one of much interest for in November a report has to be made to the State Board of Health regarding the number of school children who are then unvaccinated and the number who have complied with the law.

Some of the trustees are already taking steps for the purchase of the virus for the inoculation of the children who have not been vaccinated. Others are visiting the office of the County Superintendent or are writing asking many questions concerning the method of procedure and are referred to the law which specifically sets forth the plan of procedure.

– Press Democrat, September 25, 1907


But for the watchfulness of the Police Department bicycle thieves could make a nice haul any night in Santa Rosa. It is really wonderful that more wheels are not stolen or ridden off thus causing the owners considerable inconvenience. And the owners in many instances would have nobody to blame but themselves.

The other morning, about 1 o’clock, when practically nobody was about, a Press Democrat representative counted within two blocks on Fourth street sixteen bicycles. Some of the wheels were standing up against buildings, others against the curbs or posts while several were left sprawling half across the sidewalk. And this is what one sees night after night.

The police usually gather in the wheels and let the owner pick [them up] for himself when he comes to report at police headquarters later in the day that some one has taken his bicycle. It is practically a safe bet that had the investigation been conducted further on this particular morning forty of fifty wheels would have been found.

– Press Democrat, September 25, 1907

Miss Luetta McCombs, the girl who narrowly escaped death at the Third street railroad crossing of the Northwestern Pacific railroad on Saturday morning when the rear wheel of the bicycle she was riding was mashed by a locomotive and she was thrown for a considerable distance, was able to go to school on Tuesday morning. In addition to receiving some bruises, her ankle was sprained slightly. That she was not killed is extremely miraculous.

According to a statement by her father, Mr. McCombs, the girl had jumped off her wheel at the crossing and a freight brakeman motioned her to come on saying that she had time to cross. He probably misjudged the distance of the train. It is believed that the railroad company will present Miss McCombs with a new bicycle. The accident has been reported at railroad headquarters.

– Press Democrat, September 4, 1907

The bill of architect W. H. Willcox for $300 for the preparation of plans and specifications for the proposed E street bridge, before the April disaster, was referred to City Attorney Geary.

– Santa Rosa City Council item, Press Democrat, May 22, 1907

Repainting Fine House–W. H. Lumsden is having his home at the corner of Mendocino avenue and Carrillo street repainted. The work makes a neat improvement in the appearance of the place.

– “The City in Brief” column item, Press Democrat, May 24, 1907

Removed Ornamental Trees–Louis Kearney, assisted by W. H. Schieffer, removed a number of the ornamental trees from the courthouse yard yesterday, and they wee taken to the County Farm where they will be set out in the hospital grounds.

– “The City in Brief” column item, Press Democrat, May 25, 1907

M. Rieder of Los Angeles has been spending a couple of days in Santa Rosa this week. While here he completed arrangements and will send a photographer here in May to take a large number of views of the city and surrounding country, to be made into colored post cards.

Mr. Rieder is one of the largest post card dealers in the country and at the present time has 6000 views in stock, besides those made for special towns and cities. He will make twenty views of Santa Rosa into cards at once and the order will consist of 60,000 cards, or 3,000 of each view. Later he will add other views to the collection, which will be handled by the local dealers as soon as they are ready to be placed on sale.

– Santa Rosa Republican, April 25, 1907
Two Lads Are Arrested and Given Several Hours in Jail Here Yesterday Afternoon

There have been a number of complaints recently about boys jumping on and off trains at the North Western Pacific depot. Already the practice has cost the lives of several lads and others have been maimed for life. And yet this lesson is not sufficient.

Yesterday Police Officer John Boyes arrested two lads named Reed and locked them up at the police station for several hours by way of a lesson. He captured them when they were jumping on and off the southbound Sebastopol train.

Later the lads were taken before Police Judge Bagley and were given a severe reprimand and allowed to go home. The officers intend to arrest all boys jumping off and on trains, and parents can do much to put a stop to the practice by either knowing where their children go after leaving school or by warning them and punishing them if they hang about the depots and jump the trains.

– Press Democrat, September 14, 1907

Mrs. M. A. Young asked the council to grant her a free license to practice her art of astrology in this city. She said the revenue from her business would not justify her to pay the license imposed. She stated that telling fortunes was her only means of livelihood, and that she had been injured at the time of the earthquake.

– Press Democrat report on City Council session, November 6, 1907

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Remember the old silent film gag where the steering wheel comes off in the driver’s hands? Something like that happened all the time in 1905, as cars went out of control because the steering gear failed; in an article that year in Horseless Age magazine, Dr. L.M. Allen griped, “Up to the present time I do not know of a car on the market that is reasonable in price and strong enough in all its vital parts to be reliable enough for the doctor’s use. During the three seasons I have used my car the steering gear has broken twice…when the steering gear is made so light that it cannot hold, and faulty in construction besides, it is criminal, because it places the lives of the occupants in jeopardy…”

Although the Press Democrat story doesn’t specify how many people were in the party, it’s safe to assume that they had hired a touring car with chauffeur. And since Mr. Lumsden was a wealthy man – owner of the Belvedere as well as several race horses – it was probably similar to the model shown at right. This 1906 Pope-Toledo (the automobile model year began the autumn before) was one of several luxurious 1905 touring cars that were the limousines of their day.

William H. Lumsden of This City Hurt Near Yountville

While on a trip to Napa Sunday to look over a vineyard with some friends William H. Lumsden of this city was hurled from an automobile and was quite severely injured. The accident occured just as the party was coming into Yountville and was caused by the steering gear working loose.

The machine was thrown clear over and landed in the ditch wrong side up. All escaped with slight bruises except Mr. Lumsden who had his right thumb broken, both wrists sprained and his right knee cap injured. He was picked up unconcious and taken to the Yountville Home where Dr. F. A. McMahon dressed his injuries and cared for him until the afternoon train arrived which brought him back to this city. He was taken to his home where he is resting easily, although sore and badly bruised.

The auto was hired at Napa by the party. Mr. Lumsden feels grateful that the accident was no worse than it was and it will be sometime before he takes another auto ride. Mr. Lumsden is the well known manager of the California Wine Association’ big winery and interests here.

– Press Democrat, October 17, 1905

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This 1902 reference to the Belvedere is frequently cited in mentions of turn-of-the-century Santa Rosa, so it’s interesting to see what exactly appeared. The surprise was that the article also describes the next-door Paxton house, which allows us to date this lost Brainerd Jones masterpiece to 1901-1902.

Also noteworthy is that contractors are named, but never the architect Jones. Neither did the Press Democrat mention Jones in coverage of the 1904 dedication of the Carnegie Library. Is this because contractors are hometown companies and Jones hailed from rival Petaluma? Or does it suggest that architects were held in lesser esteem? None of the other items in the complete article mention an architect, but almost always the contractor is identified — and in one case, a “workman.”

Thirty-Five New Residences Going Up in This City
Four Brick Blocks in Course of Construction-Seven Other Business Houses Lately Completed

Santa Rosa has had quite a building boom this winter. The sound of saw and hammer can be heard in all parts of town and every few days a new home is started in some part of our thriving city. This is good evidence of the fact that Santa Rosa is prosperous.

A Press Democrat reporter took a run about Santa Rosa yesterday to ascertain how much building was going on at the present time. He found there were thirty-five dwellings in the course of construction or just completed. Nine business houses are going up and another was finished last month. One planing mill, a new maccaroni [sic] factory, three barns and four wood and coal sheds will also be soon completed. To this must be added the addition and improvements to the Santa Rosa Maccaroni factory of P. Bertoli just finished, and the handsome block which was started Saturday by C. C. Donovan. This is indeed a fine showing.

Among the new buildings noted during the newspaper man’s rambles are the following:


Blitz W. Paxton has just finished his costly and elegant home on Healdsburg avenue with the help of Contractor Kuykendall. This is an elegant mansion and a big improvement to the city.

Just across Carrillo street from the Paxton mansion is the large ten thousand dollar home of W.H. Lumsden, which with the Paxton home are the handsomest dwellings built in Sonoma county this year. Simpson & Roberts has the contract for Mr. Lumsden’s house.


– Press Democrat, February 2, 1902

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