cityhallturton

OUR FORGOTTEN CITY HALL

Give Santa Rosa credit: When it decided to destroy the downtown area, it did so thoroughly. In the late 1960s the town demolished all of its legacy public buildings including the Carnegie library (which was replaced only after considerable arm-twisting) and the county courthouse. Supposedly they were completely unsafe and ready to tumble down at the first quiver of a quake although there were little or no concerns before. County archivist Katherine Rinehart just came across blueprints from 1945 showing the county was even considering a third story addition to the courthouse.

Less mentioned is that the city hall building next to Courthouse Square was also torn down after Santa Rosa built the sprawling city complex on Santa Rosa Avenue in 1969. The new complex obliterated the site of Kabetciuwa, the most significant Pomo community in this area, so thus the town managed to score a two-fer in legacy destruction.

The old city hall represented the conclusion of post-1906 earthquake reconstruction. The original idea was for something much grander; in 1908 the city commissioned architect John Galen Howard to design a combined firehouse and city hall. His plans were in the Beaux Arts style much like the Empire Building, which he also created. For reasons never explained the project was abandoned; the firehouse remained at its previous location on Fifth street and the new city hall would be built at 210 Hinton (today part of the large bank building at 50 Old Courthouse Square).

Built in 1913, the place housed the city council chamber, police station, courtroom, jail, offices for the mayor, city clerk, tax collector, recorder, city attorney and street commissioner plus staff for all – it makes one wonder if they were sometimes sitting on each other’s laps. The issue of crowding came up even before construction started, as some of the most prominent men in town met with City Council in a special session. There were more suitable vacant lots around downtown, they insisted, some almost twice as wide as the 40-foot city-owned lot where the building was planned. Sorry, said the mayor; we’ve already explored those options.

At least the lot was deep, and the Santa Rosa Republican provided a detailed description of the interior, transcribed below; a highlight is mention that the jail included “a ‘hobo’ room, furnished principally with cool walls and floor and opportunity for reflection.”

The architect was Luther M. Turton, winning the contract over county courthouse designer J. W. Dolliver. I’ve long planned a thorough writeup of Turton as “Santa Rosa’s other Luther;” he was a prolific architect all over the North Bay and particularly in Napa, where he was based (short bio here). Besides city hall, he also designed several Santa Rosa homes, schools and office buildings. For a number of years he had an office here in (what would become known as) the Empire Building.

Like his contemporary Brainerd Jones, his work was eclectic and personalized for each client – for our city hall, he even provided the office furniture. Fortunately, the Napa County Historical Society has hundreds of Turton architectural drawings including his blueprints for Santa Rosa city hall.

 

Santa Rosa City Hall in 1967, Photo by Don Meacham and courtesy Sonoma County Library.

 

SANTA ROSA’S NEW CITY HALL

One of the best designed, constructed and fitted building in Sonoma county is Santa Rosa’s city hall, now nearing completion. It only remains to complete a small amount of finishing, install the lighting fixtures and put in place the furnishings.

The front facade presents a pleasing appearance, but the idea of utility at moderate cost is the object achieved. Abundance of light, superior ventilation, modern plumbing and heating have been provided and the arrangement of the interior is most excellent in all particulars.

The front rooms on the ground floor will be the office of the chief of police, provided with counter and steel lined vault, the public entrance being from the north corridor which runs the length of the building to the police cell room. A handsome private office is provided for the chief.

In the rear of this is the locker and rest room for the police force, containing seven conveniently appointed coat rooms for members of the patrol, and ample comforts for rest when off duty or on office detail.

Connecting with this room, next east is the City Recorder’s court room, light, ample in size, provided with finely appointed lavatory, hot and cold water, porcelain washbasin. The court room will be handsomely furnished. Direct entrance to the open court at the south is provided as well as entrance from the closed corridor at the north end of room.

In the rear of the court room is a supply land storage room of large capacity.

The entire east end of ground floor is devoted to the cell room; abundantly lighted thoroughly ventilated and containing shower bath and every convenience permissible in a detention room. There are five cells each containing two steel framed cots affixed to the walls, which may be folded against the wall if desired. Each cell contains sanitary plumbing and every provision possible for making confinement less irksome; thoroughly conforming to the most modern prison standard.

Between this room and the storage room are a woman’s cell, furnished as above and a “hobo” room, furnished principally with cool walls and floor and opportunity for reflection.

Throughout the building are convenient clothes closets provided with every convenience and sanitary luxury, all up-to-the-hour is character and style.

The floors throughout are of fibrestone, noiseless to the tread; the baseboards are all “coved” so that no lurking place for dirt or dust is found. The janitor’s duties are lightened and the most sanitary result possible in office flooring is obtained.

The finish is mainly in oak and mahogany, some native woods in finish harmonizing with the remainder. The is [sic] rich and solid in appearance, classic in design and devoid of “gingerbread” ornaments; sensible and durable.

The north corridor and staircase are of oak, the wainscoting being of fibrestone. All walls of the main floor offices are tinted in a manner to soften and tone the light with most pleasing effect.

The main front room on the second floor is for the use of the city clerk and provided with steel lined vault, and all conveniences for both public and the official. A mail chute to the chief’s office below permits the saving of many extra journeys up and down the stairs. An adjoining room for stenographers’ use, etc., and convenient closets are provided.

The rooms at front end of corridor make a private office with ante room for the Mayor.

In rear of clerk’s office are rooms for city attorney and street commissioner.

East of these office rooms is the council chamber, finely designed, handsomely fitted in oak and mahogany, light, airy, and with ample accommodation for the public as well as the city officials. The ceiling is ornamental in design and when the electric lights are turned on at sessions will present an artistic appearance.

On a dais in the southwest corner of the room “his honor” will be enthroned at a handsome mahogany desk, overlooking the scene from an eminence, as it were. Directly in front the city clerk’s desk will be in direct connection with the mayor’s–or within easy reach for the passing of documents. The councilmen will be seated at desks ranging in a quarter circle, the whole space being enclosed by a substantial parapet instead of openwork railing.

Wall seats line both north and east walls, giving ample and comfortable seating for more than fifty people. Flanking the clerk’s desk there are desks for the press representatives.

The acoustic properties are good and it will be easy to hear the ordinary tones of conversation any place within the room. When the handsome furniture is in place it will be a “gem” in its way.

The east rooms are for the city engineer and city assessor, commodious, light, with large storage closets and all conveniences.

The whole building will be heated by the hot water system, the radiators being already in place and the plant ready for operation,

The most modern sanitary plumbing fixtures have been used throughout and there is no concealed work, all being exposed, easy of access for repairs, ornate to look upon and the best that can be found anywhere. Hot and cold water are supplied to all basins and there is no place for germs or filth to accumulate in any part of the building.

The upper corridor is abundantly lighted by three large skylights and vault light frames in the floor admit plenty of light to the lower corridor.

The best of materials and workmanship have been employed throughout and Architect Turton is more than pleased with the manner in which the contractors, Gallagher & Wygant, have carried out their agreement.

The city now possesses a commodious and handsomely equipped building and–it will be paid for in full when the contractors turn it over in a few days.

– Santa Rosa Republican, October 13, 1913
WANT NEW SITE FOR CITY HALL
Citizens Confer With Council at the Special Meeting on Monday Evening

There was a special session of the City Council Monday night to meet Architect L. M. Turton, whose plans for a new City Hall have been accepted, to go over the working details and specifications of the structure.

Mayor J. L. Mercier and Counclmen Pressley, Skaggs, Spooncer and Wolfe were present, when the meeting was called to order and Councilman Hail came In later.

President John Rinner and a number of the Directors and members of the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce called on the Council. The object of the visit of the delegation was to present a protest against the building of a City Hall on the forty-foot lot on Exchange avenue [sic], if any other plan could be devised.

A number of the visitors spoke on the subject, Including President Rinner. Director Rosenberg and Messrs. J. P. Overton, E. L. Finley and C. H. Bane: and the Mayor and Councilmen Joined in the general discussion which followed.

The visitors voiced the opinion that the Hinton avenue lot was too small and confining for a suitable site for a public building; that the structure there would be lowered by the larger and more costly County Court House; that the same building erected in a lot giving ample room for a grass plot would make a far better showing; that an open lot for the building would give air and light, and at the same time remove danger of fire damage; that it might be possible to sell the present lot and purchase another better located and still have sufficient money from the sale to pay the additional expense on the building necessitated by having to furnish all four walls.

It was suggested that the Farmer property on Fourth street, adjoining the Library, 73 by 135 feet, be secured for the building with the possibility of purchase or condemnation of several adjoining lots through to Third street to give a pretty park which would end for the present the talk of bonding the city for park purposes and yet give a breathing place for the general public right In the heart of town.

Mayor Mercier explained that many months had been spent by the Council in studying the situation. An effort was made, he said, to secure a conference with the Board of Supervisors looking towards a trade of the city property for the county lot on the corner of Third street, but the Supervisors even refused to meet in conference to discuss the subject. Other sites had been discussed, but after all the matter came back to the old lot. An effort to get the Farmer property had even failed owing to the refusal of San Francisco heirs to agree to trade even for the present site.

After an informal agreement to sell the property, signed by E. C. Farmer, had been presented and filed with the Council, the subject was taken under advisement and the visitors departed.

The Council spent some time with Architect Tarton going over the proposed plans and specifications. These will shortly be In shape to submit to bidders, but meanwhile the Council will consider the matter presented by the protestants and decide upon some line of action.

– Press Democrat, November 26, 1912

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jakeluppold1918

THE MAYOR OF MAIN STREET

Researching interesting historical characters or events is great fun. Stumbling across disturbing questions about a beloved figure: Not so much.

This is the story of Jake Luppold, who was once the most well-known and well-liked man in town after that guy named Burbank. Between 1901 and 1922 he owned and operated “The Senate,” a saloon at the corner of Second and Main streets (next to the present transit mall) which was the unofficial political hub of Sonoma county, perhaps because it was the closest watering hole to the backdoor of the courthouse. He called himself the “mayor of Main street” which everyone thought was fitting.

(RIGHT: Jake Luppold c. 1918. Detail from photo shown below)

For some time I’ve intended to profile Jake and have written about him already; in 1908 he had fifteen minutes of national fame after announcing he was going to set fire to his unlucky automobile. That election night Main street was jammed with thousands of people roaring in delight as the car burned at the top of an immense pyre in front of his bar. If you haven’t already read “Bonfire of the Hoodoos” you might want to look at it first – that story is a pretty good intro to Jake and his times.

So popular was Jake that there were many hundreds of little items about him in the Santa Rosa newspapers during his lifetime, again only behind L. B. in those first two decades of the 20th century. But after he died in 1922, memories faded fast. By the time an old friend published a memoir in 1964 with a few pages on Jake he was reduced to a footnote in the famous legend of the hoodoo car.

In that memoir is an anecdote which I found so shocking that I felt I could never write about Luppold again. A few years passed and having forgotten about the book I thought a profile of him would be appropriate for the series covering the rise and fall of the roadhouses, as he also had a roadhouse at Gwynn’s Corners (the intersection of Old Redwood Highway and Mark West) until the county cracked down. Finding that anecdote again my reaction was the same – this was one of those stories that should not be told.

But after much consideration and jawing it over I changed my mind; this story should be written and not in spite of the troubling material but because of it. It illuminates how attitudes and knowledge has evolved over the century and raises questions about how we interpret history. The complete anecdote and discussion of it can be found in the final section below, following a bio of Jake.

Jacob J. Luppold may have been born in Germany like his two older brothers, but family genealogists offer no proof of that. He always said he came from Missouri where they “pry the sun up in the morning” and was born in June, 1860 near Bridgeport, an old frontier town near the Missouri River which was already fading away as he grew up. According to the obits he came to California around 1887 and first appears in any official local record in 1890, identifying himself as a farmer near Santa Rosa.

Jake introduced himself to Santa Rosa’s Good Ol’ Boys Club by buying the cigar store adjoining the barber shop in the Grand Hotel. In the 1890s cigar shops sold more than smokes – they were the spot for gambling, from legal nickel slot machines to sports betting. It’s reasonable to assume Jake made most of his money as a bookie; years later he even advertised in the 1904 Press Democrat he had “money to bet on the presidential election and on the total vote which will be polled in New York State. Come early and avoid the rush.”

In the summer of 1900 he caught gold fever, selling his cigar store and heading to the Klondike with nine friends. His adventure lasted a little more than two months. He found only enough gold to qualify as a souvenir and told the Press Democrat many would-be prospectors were seriously ill and “it was quite a common thing to see a man murdered” when he arrived.

In short order the 40 year-old Luppold reinvented himself as a saloon man. He leased a building on Main street, where the Senate opened its doors for the first time on January 26, 1901.

At the birth of the Senate was likewise born Jake Luppold, Santa Rosa’s gregarious everyman who was every man’s friend. He lent money to hundreds of bar patrons in a pinch and many couldn’t pay him back, which is how he got stuck with the hoodoo car. He affectionately called his regular customers cheapskates using an old Missouri idiom  – when they entered his joint he welcomed them by loudly announcing, “here comes another nickel splitter.” Anyone else who said that would have gotten a punch in the nose.

Most saloons offered a free lunch of sandwiches and snacks to wash down with beer, but the Senate spread was renowned. At Thanksgiving and other occasions Jake would go farther and host a free over-the-top banquet sometimes said to include over a ton of food. His 1913 tables groaned with 20 turkeys, 12 geese, 4 suckling pigs, 20 ducks, 20 chickens, and there were always buckets of oyster dressing and other “fixins'” to make sure his guests were properly stuffed. When he shifted his base of operations to the roadhouse from 1909-1912 his tradition switched to “Bull’s Head” barbecues of equal scale, with leftovers sent to the prisoners in the county jail. Hey, they’ll be thirsty when they get out.

The interior of Senate as shown in the Santa Rosa Republican, November 20, 1913. Other photos of the Senate interior appeared in a promotional section of the Press Democrat in 1904 and 1905. It was the only saloon ever pictured by either newspaper in that era

 

He was Jake the showman. Also from the memoir discussed below: “If one of the Cook brothers killed a mountain lion on Taylor Mountain, Jake’s Senate claimed exclusive rights to exhibit the gory corpse…every championship prize fight was announced to the citizenry by a raucous voice of his selection, a voice that stood upon the rear end of his mahogany bar, megaphone in hand, and read an endless relay of telegrams.” The PD reported in 1906 nearly 3,000 were jammed into the Senate one night to hear the account of one of those boxing matches. After the burning of the hoodoo car what was left of it hung from the ceiling at the back of the saloon. When he went to San Francisco for surgery and returned with whatever was removed preserved in a jar, he kept it on display with a label marked, “GUTISM.”

Jake apparently never married, although there was a little item in a 1907 Press Democrat, “Mr. and Mrs. Jake Luppold went to Boyes’ Springs Monday for an outing,” which had to be a mistake. No wife was otherwise mentioned and he lived in a room at the back of the Senate he called “the Nest.”

He died on March 6, 1922 at a Santa Rosa hospital from pneumonia after a bout with the flu. The only family he had was a couple of elderly brothers in the Midwest and they didn’t come for his funeral. He was buried by friends and members of the Eagles lodge in the mausoleum at (what is now) Santa Rosa Memorial Park.

His obituaries were lengthy and heartfelt, nearly as effusive as the praise heaped on Burbank following his death a couple of years later. “No man had a bigger or more generous heart,” the Press Democrat stated in a rare front page obit. He had “a nature which was gentle and good,” the Republican stated, “marking a man who endeavored to make the world better for those with whom he came in contact.” Both papers mentioned the hoodoo story and his generosity in making loans which were not repaid. “They probably needed the money more than I did,” wrote the PD, quoting a common thing he said.

“There was no sham nor veneer about Luppold,” according to the Press Democrat. “He was Jake Luppold at all times.”

Except maybe not.

The memoir with the anecdotes about Jake is “The Unforgettables,” written by Wallace L. Ware and published in 1964. Ware was a prominent lawyer and Sonoma county District Attorney as well as a Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce president and general all-around mover ‘n’ shaker. (Photos of the Ware family home on College avenue are often used to show 1906 earthquake damage, as the stately home is seen propped up by stilts.) He knew Jake through his father, distinguished attorney Allison Ware who had his son drive him down to the Senate saloon in their buggy. At age sixteen Wallace was part of the Senate gang, standing on the bar reading boxing telegrams with a megaphone. As an adult he remained Luppold’s close friend and acted as his attorney.

The anecdote in question appears on page 39 and is quoted here in full:

Luppold’s generosity and kindliness never found a boundary; especially for little boys who needed a bath and clean clothes. Whenever he discovered such a gamin–and these occasions were often–he had the unfailing talent of winning the lad’s confidence and becoming his chum.With his affectionate arm on the child’s shoulder he would lead him into the haberdashery of Frank McNamara or George Henderson. (Of course, both of these institutions were on Fourth street.)

Then and there the youngster became possessed of a brand new wardrobe: Two sets of underwear, six pairs of stockings, shoes, three shirts, three neckties, ten handkerchiefs, a sweater of the boy’s choosing, a cap, and the best suit of clothes in the store. Jake’s command was: ‘NOTHING BUT THE BEST.’

But before donning any of this toggery the beneficiary was given a real hot bath, in a genuine bathtub.

The giver carried the bounty to the nearest barber shop. The youth followed eagerly.

In those days the better barber shops maintained public bathing facilities. The toll was 25 cents; time limit 30 minutes. Then a bell rang. This signal was Jake’s cue to carry the finery into the bathroom. Then the transition.

The only thing that might be compared to the change was the metamorphosis of the silkworm. This world renowned insect, being gorged on mulberry leaves, spins a silken cocoon, and is endowed by nature to emerge therefrom an exquisite, tremulous, moth.

The two pals strutted like peacocks over to the Senate Saloon where they ate all they could hold from the best free lunch counter ever known to man.

What Wallace Ware thought was a sweet little example of generosity made me recoil in shock: My impression was that it is a clear description of “grooming” behavior by a pedophile.

(RIGHT: Jake Luppold portrait as it appeared in the Press Democrat, May 8, 1915)

I am NOT suggesting history books should be rewritten to state Jake Luppold was a child molester. I’m not a psychologist and there are ethical concerns about anyone, even professionals, diagnosing someone a century later sans legal or clinical evidence. However it is reasonable, even important, to point out his behavior would raise some pretty serious red flags among social service workers today.

Complicating any analysis is that we’re looking at these events through double layers of historical dust – we’re interpreting this story through what Ware penned over fifty years ago concerning what happened fifty years before that. There was nothing I could find in the original newspapers regarding Luppold and small children – which itself seems odd if “these occasions were often” because so much else was written about his  generosity.

In his choice of words, Ware almost seems to be hinting he knew there something amiss: “He had the unfailing talent of winning the lad’s confidence and becoming his chum,” “his affectionate arm on the child’s shoulder,” descriptions of the ritual of presenting the gifts to the (presumably nude) boy and then escorting the child to the saloon – which was also his bedroom. But that possibility is counterbalanced by Ware being a great friend of Luppold’s; he certainly would not have included this story if he dreamed it could be interpreted as anything but a selfless act.

Wallace Ware was a well-educated man and familiar with criminality; as D.A. he was famous for being the prosecuting attorney in every felony case. Could it be he simply didn’t see those contacts could have been sexual in nature?

Today most of us recognize warning signs of predatory behavior, no thanks to recent painful decades of stories in the news regarding church scandals, Jerry Sandusky and the like. But when Ware was writing his memoir in the early 1960s the concept of child sexual assault was limited to “stranger danger” threats of abduction. (One of the earliest public service films on the topic was “The Stranger,” which was made in Santa Rosa by Sonoma county undersheriff Joseph S. Cozzolino. Spoiler alert: It stinks.) Never was it considered then a child molester could be a trusted and familiar figure such as a babysitting neighbor, gift-giving shopkeeper, kindly priest – or the most popular guy in town.

If it’s unfair to judge Ware for not possessing our uncomfortable modern familiarity with the trickery of child molesters, we can’t criticize the Santa Rosans of a hundred years ago for not being suspicious why Luppold was doting over young boys he found on the street. It was unthinkable in their culture that a creature such as a pedophile might exist – and it has to be noted that even if he was sexually abusing children it wasn’t a serious offense then unless there was forcible assault involved. It remained an invisible crime until fairly recent; California law didn’t even require child sexual abuse to be reported until 1963.

And finally, maybe there really is no there there – that cynicism has led me to rush to presume the worst, like those who mistakenly squinted hard to find wrongdoing in the McMartin preschool case. As unlikely as it seems now, maybe Luppold really did have a secret, personal charitable mission to aid young boys. Jake grew up in Victorian America and for every villain in Dickens like Fagin who exploited Oliver Twist, there was a nice Mr. Micawber who befriended street urchin David Copperfield.

I would still like to believe Jake Luppold was the man he was believed to be – the genial and generous “mayor of Main street.” But after long pondering what his friend Wallace Ware wrote I just can’t shake suspicions he might also have been the “monster of Main street.” We can’t forget monsters don’t just lurk in dark shadows; they could also be escorting boys to a real hot bath in a genuine bathtub on a bright sunny afternoon.


Jake Luppold outside The Senate, c. 1918. L to R: Henry Carlton, Mr. Harris, Jake Luppold, unknown, and Tom Campion.  (Photo courtesy Sonoma County Museum)

 

Was Settled By Arbitration

The details of the recent purchase of the Luppold cigar store on Main street had to be settled by arbitration. Under agreements alleged to have been made by Mr. Luppold both Ernest Viers and Jesse Bronck claimed the right to purchase the place, and Luppold left the question of priority of claim to arbitration. Charles Winters, J. H. Boswell and Dan Goodman were selected as a jury, the merits of the case were inquired into and a decision was rendered in favor of Mr. Viers. There was no question as to the price, but both Viers and Bronck claimed that Luppold had) agreed to sell to them when he got ready to dispose of the place. The price paid was $250.

– Press Democrat, March 28 1900

J. Luppold left for San Francisco Saturday afternoon en route to Cape Nome.

– Press Democrat, May 16 1900

 

More Santa Rosans for Nome

The steamer San Pedro after some delay sailed from San Francisco Thursday carrying the following named delegation of Santa Rosa ns: C. H. Burger, Clyde Burger, Charles Cook, O. R. Gale, Joe Cook, J. Luppold, J. A. Gould, G. Calderwood, John Hudeon. Attorney D. R. Gale who was in San Francisco Wednesday saw most of them and they were all in good spirits.

– Press Democrat, May 19 1900
Returned From Nome

On Saturday J. Luppold and George Calderwood returned from Cape Nome. John Hudson, the other member of the party, Is at Seattle and will he here in a day or two.

In talking over the situation at Nome Mr. Luppold, who formerly conducted a cigar store on Main street, said that he did not find Nome the place he expected to.During the time they were up there he and his companions lived in a tent about five miles from Nome. They used their rockers on the beach and the gold they obtained made their wages. That the Nome beach was very rich Mr. Luppold says there is no doubt but it was worked out last year. The reported fabulous wealth taken out from the Anvil mines he says is not true and instead of the amount of gold being $15,000,000, he says $15,000 would. be nearer the mark.

Mr. Luppold brought back with him some samples of the gold found on the beach in the Nome country and also a small phial of the sand. These he left at the Press Democrat office.

There was a great deal of sickness at Nome when he and Mr. Calderwood left, more particularly typhoid pneumonia and some smallpox. A vast number of people have left the place and many others would leave if they had the wherewithal to do so. Food is pretty reasonable at Nome now and there are provisions there to last for a long time.

Shortly after their arrival at Nome, Mr. Luppold says, it was quite a common thing to see a man murdered. Now much of the lawlessness has ended. He saw many of the Santa Rosa delegation there and brought messages back home for their relatives. Both Mr. Luppold and Mr. Calderwood are glad to be home again.

– Press Democrat, August 15 1900

 

Gwynn’s Corners in New Hands

J. J. Luppold has purchased the well known road house at Gwynn’s Corners, and will in future conduct the place as a first class resort. A number of important improvements are to be made and the place will be thoroughly renovated. Mr. Luppold will undoubtedly do well in his new venture.

– Press Democrat, October 6 1900

A new floor has been laid in the Ullrich building on Main street and a new front is being put in. The building will be neatly fitted up in readiness for J. J. Luppold to open his sample rooms. Mr. Luppold expects to open up about January 15.

– Press Democrat, January 8 1901

 

Come and Bring Your Friends

Grand opening tonight at “The Senate,” 103 Main street. All cordially Invited. J. Luppold, proprietor.

– Press Democrat ad,  January 26 1901

Opening of “The Senate”

There was a large assembly at “The Senate” on Main street last night, over which J. J. Luppold now presides. The Senate is Mr. Luppold’s new place of business and he has a very neat stand. The sample rooms were crowded with friends and patrons and there was plenty of refreshment on hand for the delectation of the inner man.

– Press Democrat,  January 27 1901

 

An Exciting Race

J. J. Luppold, the well known proprietor of “The Senate” on Main street, and John Glynn were the contestants in a highly exciting race on that street on Wednesday afternoon for a stake of four dollars. The course was over the muddy street from the comer of Third and Main streets to Colgan’s blacksmith shop. George Ullrich was stake holder and Robert Ross dropped the flag. About 160 persons witnessed the race which was won by Mr. Glynn.

– Press Democrat, February 21 1901

 

THE SENATE SALOON
J. Luppold’s Resort on Main Street Well Patronized

“The Senate,” as Jacob Luppold’s well-known Main street resort is called, enjoys a good patronage and is one of the leading places of its class in that part of town. Choice wines, liquors, steam and lager, etc., are supplied over the bar, while a reading and lounging room is also at the disposal of patrons. Mr. Luppold opened “The Senate” something like three years ago, and from the first has enjoyed a good, steady trade, and one that is growing constantly.

– Press Democrat 1904 promotional supplement

 

SOUGHT A BURGLAR ON THE HOUSETOPS
SCARE AT THIRD AND MAIN STREETS SHORTLY BEFORE MIDNIGHT WEDNESDAY
Pet ’Coon Escapes and Man in Pursuit on the Roof Was Taken For Burglar—Officers in Pursuit

Jake Luppold’s pet ’coon, which escaped from its chain and climbed onto the roof of the adjoining buildings, was the innocent cause of a burglar scare which caused policemen to scale the roofs of buildings in the rear of the Yakima apartment house at Third and Main streets about half past eleven o’clock Wednesday night. It was not so much the ‘coon that caused the burglar scare as the man employed at the “Senate,” who climbed the roof in an endeavor to recapture the ’coon.

About half past eleven a hurried police call was sent by Mrs. Label and Police Officers Hanke! and Mclntosh responded. They were informed that a man had been walking about the roof in a very suspicious manner. The officers proceeded to investigate as soon as they could gain an exit to the root by means of a window. The officers searched the premises and caught the “burglar” supposed to be. It proved to be a man as stated, but when the officer sought an explanation. the man replied somewhat jocularly that the man on the roof was him all right, but he was not a burglar, but a hunter after Jake’s ’coon. The lady of the household was not overpleased at the scare given her and the people in the apartments. She was right, however, there was a man on the roof even if he were not a burglar as supposed.

– Press Democrat, August 25 1904

 

Improvements on Main Street

J. Luppold is making some neat improvements in the Senate on Main street and is putting in some elegant fixtures. He also owns the hall overhead, and he is turning that into a nice flat in which there will be severa! rooms. When the improvements are completed the place will be a very attractive one.

– Press Democrat,  April 28 1905

 

“THE SENATE” SALOON
Handsome Resort on Main Street Conducted by Jacob Luppold.

Four years ago Jacob Luppold bought the saloon at 103 Main street, and rechristened it “The Senate.” Then he set about improving the appearance of the place in every way of which he could think. The first embellishment was a handsome new front, ornamented with panel designs by an artist in oils. Then he got the notion that the back was not in keeping with the front, so he had the old bar and sideboard torn out and replaced by the finest creations of a skilled local artisan in native woods —curly redwood and burhl. New furniture had to follow this, and cozy card rooms were partitioned off from the main room. Now it is one of the finest bars in town. The plate-glass mirror reflects the gleam of new chandeliers; there are plenty of comfortable chairs. The latest magazines and papers are always within reach, and a real good free lunch is at hand.

The appearance of the place is not all that has received the proprietor’s careful attention. He is himself a connoisseur in liquids and he knows the best. He does not claim to have all the good liquor in town, or the only good liquor in town. But he has none that is poor. In distilled liquors his specialty is straight goods, but he keeps a small line of blended whiskies as well. There is a full line of wines. He makes a leader of Grace Brothers’ beers, but If you want St. Louis beer he has the A. B. C. and Lemp’s; also he has Fredericksburg in bottles. Frank Cootes is Luppold’s head bartender. He is away up In the business, just the same as Luppold Is. Either of them can serve you to the Queen’s taste.

– Press Democrat 1905 promotional supplement

Had a Big Crowd

J. J. Luppold, the well known proprietor of the Senate, on Main street, states that by actual count 2,973 people passed through the doors of his place of business during the time the rounds from the fight at Goldfield were being received on Monday afternoon.

– Press Democrat, September 5 1906
Turkey Dinner at the “Senate”

Today, in accordance with his usual custom on Thanksgiving Day, Jake Luppold has provided a big Thanksgiving dinner for his patrons and friends at The Senate on Main street. The hours will be from twelve to two o’clock. For the feast Mr. Luppold has eight fine turkeys, four sucking pigs and the other etceteras.

– Press Democrat, November 28 1907

 

Jack Luppold’s Gift

Jack Luppold of the “Senate,” on Main street, is presenting his patrons with a neat stocking decorated with holly berries hidden in which is a bottle of the finest Kentucky bourbon. Accompany the stocking is a check for 366 days on the “Bank of Prosperity.”

– Press Democrat,  December 20 1907

 

A Bull’s Head Supper

J. Luppold will give a bull’s head supper to the public in general at the Senate 103 Main street, Wednesday night at 8 o’clock. “The Mayor of Main street” invites all to dine with him.

– Press Democrat, July 28 1908

JAKE LUPPOLD GIVES THE PRISONERS A TREAT

Following the bull’s head supper on Thanksgiving day at “The Senate” on Main street, Jake Luppold sent a fine large bull’s head and the necessary edible trimmings over to the county jail on Third street to give the prisoners a feast there. The latter thoroughly enjoyed Mr. Luppold’s hospitality, as the following signed communication received by him from the Jail on Saturday will attest:

County Jail, Santa Rosa, Cal., Nov. 28. ‘OB. — Hon. Jake Luppold, “Mayor of Main street,” city. Dear Sir:

We, the undersigned, prisoners of the county Jail of Sonoma county, Calif., wishing to show our deep appreciation, and express our thanks to you for your kind, generous and substantial remembrance of us on Thanksgiving day, have voted you the best man in Santa Rosa, and ordered this slight testimonial drafted and sent to you as the only means, at present at our disposal, of showing our gratitude.

With sincere wishes for many pleasant returns of the day for you, and the assurance that our hearty good will follows you, we are thankfully and respectfully yours, [22 names] …There are six others who cannot sign their names, but feel Just as kindly towards your honor.

 – Press Democrat, December 1 1908

 

 “Mayor” Luppold Here

Jake Luppold was here from his new road house at Gwynn’s Corners Monday greeting his many friends. Mr. Luppold is planning to give some more of his banquets for which he has been noted in the past, in the near future at his new resort. He is a royal entertainer and a liberal provider.

– Press Democrat, January 4 1910

 

GREAT CROWDS AT THE LUPPOLD BARBECTE

It is estimated that between four and five hundred persons enjoyed the barbecue given at Gwlnn’s Corners on Sunday by J. J. Luppold. The meat was done to a turn and pronounced by many of those present as the finest barbecued meat they have ever eaten. Chef George Zllhart was in charge and he was much complimented. He was assisted by Assistant Chef Marble, Walter Farley, Marvin Robinson and J, Kelly. As usual “Mayor” Luppold’s hospitality was dispensed with a liberal hand. The feasting began about 11:30 o’clock in the morning and continued until nearly 6 o’clock In the evening, people arriving and departing all the time. The barbecue was served on long tables under the shade trees.

– Press Democrat, June 14 1910
 
LUPPOLD CLOSES HIS PLACE OF BUSINESS

Jake Luppold, the well known proprietor of the Gwinn’s Corners resort has closed that place and has come to Santa Rosa. He will remain here for an indefinite time, but it is not certain as yet whether or not he will make this city his permanent home. Mr. Luppold may make up his mind to take a European trip for a year or more. For some time past, he has had an ambition to hobnob with Emperor Willie of Germany and discuss the Far Eastern war situation with that august personage, and he is likewise desirous of discussing some of the other important questions of the day with other rulers of the old world. With these ambitions he may decide to cross the pond for a stay. Mr. Luppold’s headquarters while in Santa Rosa will be at his former place of business on Main street. He is one of the best known men in the county.

– Santa Rosa Republican, January 8, 1913

 

“MAYOR OF MAIN STREET TO RUN “SENATE” AGAIN

J. J. Luppold, familiarly termed the “Mayor of Main Street,” will shortly engage in business again at his old stand, “The Senate,” on that street. Mr. Luppold contemplates the outlay of considerable money in the practical rebuilding of the property, or at least the carrying out of extensive improvements. “Jake” says “there is nothing like Main street anywhere, and there are no nickel splitters there.”

– Press Democrat, July 10 1913

 

JUKE LUPPOLD BEGINS “SENATE” REBUILDING

J. Luppoid, proprietor of the ‘Senate’ on Main street, has commenced the rebuilding and improvement of the structure. Brick and other material have already been hauled and it will not be long before “Jake” says he will have a building that will be a credit to “Main.”

– Press Democrat, July 24 1913

Luppold Entertains Many Friends

Twenty turkeys, twelve geese, four suckling pigs, twenty ducks, twenty chickens and other good cheer composed the big Thanksgiving dinner Jake Luppold, “the Mayor of Main street,” served to scores of his friends at “The Senate” on Thanksgiving Day, The friends were bidden come and eat without money and without price and they did so. They took occasion to sing the praises of the generous hospitality shown by their host.

– Press Democrat,  November 29 1913

 

LUPPOLD FED HUNDREDS

At the “Senate” on Main street, the genial host, J. Luppold, fed several hundred people with plenty of turkey, suckling pig and the trimmings that accompany a Thanksgiving feast. There was plenty for everybody and all were welcome. This is a Thanksgiving habit of Mr. Luppold’s, which )s very much appreciated by the recipients of his hospitality.

– Press Democrat,  November 28 1914

 

BABY AUTO NOT BUILT FOR JACK LUPPOLD

When it comes In riding in an automobile Jack Lnppold, genial “Mayor of Main street” and proprietor of “The Senate,” cannot ride in a baby automobile, so Fred Harrell says. Luppold was spinning along the highway near Windsor last week in a little machine which almost touched the ground even though it was mounted on four wheels. Under Luppold’s weight the axle broke and he momentarily expected to see the machine broke in two. “Nothing too good for Main; no nickel spitters [sic] there,” quoth the “Mayor,” and the chances are that he will get a big Packard next.

– Press Democrat, July 7 1915

Seven roast pigs were featured in the Thanksgiving feast set by Mine Host J. J. Luppold at “The Senate” on Thanksgiving Day. “Jack” had several hundred guests and they ployed havoc with the porkers in short time. In addition to the pork, there were other good things, and it was certainly a feast fit for a king that Luppold set before the crowd that filled his place of business for a long time on Thursday.

– Press Democrat, November 27 1915

 

GENEROUS TRUSTING ‘JAKE’ LUPPOLD CALLED BY DEATH

Jake Luppold, the biggest hearted and most generous man who ever resided in this city, is dead. A rough exterior shielded a nature as gentle as a woman’s, and many in this city will shed a silent tear in memory of the man who has gone across the Great Divide into the shadowland.

Luppold had been ill for a couple of weeks past, and was being attended to in his little cabin, which occupied the rear of his property at the corner of Second and Main Streets. When he was engaged in business at this location, he erected this cabin, and always referred to it as ‘The Nest.’ He was taken from this place on Saturday to a local hospital, his condition having developed pneumonia, and it being inadvisable for him longer to remain without the skill of a trained nurse.

WHERE THEY PRIED THE SUN UP

The deceased came from the grand old state of Missouri, and he always declared that it was in Missouri that they ‘Pried the sun up in the morning’, that its bright rays might illumine the earth during the day. He had an inexhaustible fund of humor and witty sayings, and one of his chief jokes was on the ‘Natives’, and in his generous hearted way he fed all the poor that would come to his place, and then send the remainder of the feed to poor families of this city. There is absolutely no way of estimating the great good done by this splendid citizen, for he was an exemplary man in many ways.

BURNED AUTO AT STAKE

Luppold came into great prominence some years ago when he burned an automobile ‘at the stake.’ He had been victimized to the extend of many thousands of dollars by L. L. Viers, and the only thing he secured for the bogus promissory notes passed on him was an obsolete auto. This he declared had been a hoodoo, and he named a date on which the hoodoo auto would be burned. Many persons endeavored to purchase the machine from Luppold, and others sought to have him give them the machine, but to these suggestions he remained impervious, and finally the machine was burned and the cremation was witnessed by a large crowd of Santa Rosans. The remnants of the machine are still preserved in the former place of business of Luppold, as were also a photo of Viers and one of the promissory notes given Luppold by this individual who departed hurriedly from Santa Rosa many years ago. The photo and note were framed to preserve them.

Nor was Viers the only man who victimized Luppold and borrowed sums of money from him. Many prominent Santa Rosans made ‘touches’ for various amounts, and his estate holds innumerable ‘I.O.U.s’, and promissory notes. So generous was the deceased that he had never learned to say ‘No’ and all who applied for assistance got it without hesitation. Luppold’s first business venture here was when he purchased a cigar and tobacco store in the old Grand Hotel building at the corner of Third and Main Streets.

HAD A MAMMOTH HEART

Beneath his rough exterior beat a mammoth heart and a nature which was gentle and good, marking a man who endeavored to make the world better for those with whom he came in contact. He was one man who engaged in the saloon business who commanded almost universal respect, for he was honest and square, of strictest integrity, and he never lost faith in humanity, although he was badly treated at many times by his fellow human beings. Had Luppold chosen to have engaged in some mercantile line, he would have been a great success, for he drew people to him by his genial good nature and flow of wit and humor. No man in Santa Rosa possessed more genuine friends than this good man who has passed from life’s sphere.

– Santa Rosa Republican (? misidentified as the PD in The Unforgettables) March 6, 1922

 

JAKE LUPPOLD LAID TO REST BY EAGLES

The funeral of Jake Luppold was held this afternoon at 2 o’clock from funeral apartments of Lafferty & Smith. The fraternal order of Eagles, nearly all of whom were present, took charge and read the Burial Service. The Pall Bears were…all of whom were old friends of Mr. Luppold. Interment in the Odd Fellows’ cemetery mausoleum followed. William Mather offers the following tribute of a friend to the memory of Mr. Luppold…

– Santa Rosa Republican (? misidentified as the PD in The Unforgettables) March 9, 1922

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1963welcome

WE WERE ON TV IN THE 1960S

Want to remember (or discover) what Sonoma County looked like in the 1960s? You’re in luck; there’s an online archive of documentaries and news footage shot in that decade.

Sadly, it’s hard to find unless you know where to look – since this material is not available on YouTube, Google does not list any of it in video search results, even if the exact title is entered. Overall there are thousands of hours in those archives and they are a treasure for anyone interested in what happened in Northern California in the latter part of the Twentieth Century. Here are discussed only those most relevant to Sonoma County, along with a bonus section looking at other obscure – and sometimes bizarre – historical videos per our corner of the woods.

The videos are part of the San Francisco Bay Area Television Archive, which sweeps together decades of leavings from major Bay Area TV broadcasters. Maintained by San Francisco State University, the older stuff offers a glimpse of a time we’ll never see again – and by that I mean an era when local stations produced educational programs to show they were operating in the pubic’s interest, an FCC requirement for having a commercial license. These programs usually aired during the off-off-hours on Sundays and were produced on a zero budget except for film and a little staff/studio time. Quality varies greatly, as one might expect; the footage is sometimes puzzling or as awful as an unedited home movie, but there are also treasures such as the 1953 interview with Frank Lloyd Wright, where he talks for half an hour about architecture and his proposed design for the “Southern Crossing” (a companion to the Bay Bridge which was never built).

There are nine videos in the archive related to Sonoma County. Here are summaries and links to most of them:

PORTRAIT OF PLEASURE (1963) is a half-hour travelogue on Sonoma County. Like most of these amateurish documentaries, the script doesn’t add much and is sometimes misleading or outright wrong – apparently Burbank’s home and gardens are somewhere near Bodega. But, hey, we’re here for the pictures, right? Highlights are the aerial shots near the beginning, scenes of downtown Sebastopol and views of vintage (not then!) cars on Hwy. 101. It was county fair season so there’s a long segment which won’t be very interesting unless there’s someone you know slurping ice cream or watching the cattle judging. Unfortunately, that time wasted on boilerplate footage of carnival rides cuts into coverage of Santa Rosa, which is limited to a few downtown scenes. The streets are surprisingly empty; the only person clearly seen is on Fourth Street – and surprise, it’s a cop writing a parking ticket. Was ever thus.

LUTHER BURBANK: A GARDENER OF EDEN (1967) is mostly a generic Burbank bio but it contains some footage I have never seen elsewhere, including film taken during his funeral. Other highlights include a few views of a Rose Parade c. 1920 and a two minute interview with Judge Hilliard Comstock that begins at the 13:30 mark. Hilliard reminisces about working for him as a teenager and the time Burbank scolded him for eating on the job.

THE STORY OF THE GRAPE (1962) covers that year’s harvest and crush in the manner of an industrial video along with some sketchy history of the Buena Vista winery. The best parts are the many aerial views of Sonoma Valley and a full segment on the 16th Valley of the Moon Vintage Festival, including the children’s parade. There are some nice shots of the Sonoma Plaza and surrounding streets during the festival.

HIGHWAY THROUGH TIME (1965) A drive up Highway 1; the Sonoma County stretch begins at 19:55.

EARTHQUAKE IN SANTA ROSA (1969) A ten minute news segment from KPIX on the aftermath of the 1969 earthquake. Includes a short press conference by Police Chief Melvin (Dutch) Flohr, images of downtown and residential damage and the cleanup at the Fourth street Safeway.

Other material in the archive includes an interview with a PG&E spokesman on their intent to build a nuclear power plant at Bodega Head (1963) and a story on Bobby Kennedy visiting a school on the Kashia Reservation (1968). There is also a Jack London documentary which is too dim to watch and has a particularly weak script.

These videos either were made before 1960 or come from sources other than the Bay Area Television Archive. Some of these I have found over the years, lost, then found again, so it saves me grief to offer them all in one place.

THE INNOCENT FAIR is footage from the Panama-Pacific International Exposition of 1915. The film has a mysterious past; it was discovered at a Marin junk shop in 1961 and aired with narration the following year on KPIX. There are several copies floating about the Internet, but this one is the best quality, even with the station logo in the corner. Skip to 13:30 for the shots of Burbank, Edison and Ford together.

A VISIT WITH LUTHER BURBANK, THE GREAT AMERICAN NATURALIST (1917) is a short produced for the Ford Educational Weekly, a newsreel series the Ford Motor Company distributed free to nickelodeons and movie houses. Seen by an estimated 4-5 million people every week, these productions made the auto company the world’s largest film distributor at the time. A much higher quality copy of this is available for purchase via shutterstock but lacks the title cards revealing its origin.

THE LARGEST OMELET IN THE WORLD (1930) According to the Argus-Courier of May 3, 1930, “eleven Petaluma girls left here early Saturday morning for San Francisco to assist in the ceremonies of preparing the world’s largest omelet, which was cooked in a 16-foot frying pan…those who made the trip were Vivian Foster, Hazel White, Janet Perry, Hazel McDonald, Mildred Keller, Lola Hames, Jeane Sweeney, Helen Kenneally, Nettie Rorden, Marie Hames and Dorothy Swan” (spellings as printed).  Why they had to do calisthenics in the frying pan is anybody’s guess.

THE LIBRARY STORY (1964?) The old Carnegie library was condemned in 1960 and Santa Rosa was in no hurry to pay for a new one, so for years the town’s main library was on the second story above a saloon and a beauty shop on Exchange Avenue. This video, produced by the Friends of the Santa Rosa Public Library, was an effort to shame the town into building a replacement so the children didn’t have to hustle past the “Bambi Room” cocktail lounge to do their homework. It worked; voters approved a 1964 bond and the new main library building was opened in February, 1967. Thanks to architectural photographer Darren Bradley for an interesting blog post on this history and a fine profile of the current building.

JACK LONDON NEWSREEL (1915) Two minutes of Jack and Charmian supposedly filmed just three days before he died.

????? (early 1960s?) This was apparently raw footage for an industrial video or commercial promoting the Italian Swiss Colony winery, but it’s such a bizarre 55 minutes of random junk I would love to slip it to conspiracy theorists and watch them spin their wheels. Why all the ominous views of the deep shadows in the redwoods at Armstrong Grove? Why shots of highway 101 south of Petaluma followed by views of empty beaches? Why do the people in the tasting room scenes seemingly not know how to dress themselves – and why do they never swallow the wine they eagerly tipple? Why keep coming back to the ladies making straw chianti bottles? The film goes black for three minutes and when it returns…hand puppets!! There is a scene in a puppet store and another at the side of a puppet swimming pool. The puppets appear to be arguing. One sits in a puppet chair and dies, or at least collapses. The footage immediately cuts to a real swimming pool, as the camera pans over to show barrels of (poisonous!) chlorine stacked at poolside. This. Explains. Everything.

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