Kids in Sonoma County rarely had the opportunity for a snowball fight, so the little heathens (and a few adults) had a grand time after the January, 1907 snowstorm. Except when the guy tried to kill them with an ax.

If the "Jap" references in one of the items below seems offensive, see the previous post for a discussion of what was appearing in other California newspapers at this time.

The house in the postcard image below is the Belden House built in 1902, and which still stands at the corner of Cherry Street and Humboldt Avenue. (Courtesy the Larry Lapeere Collection)

Orange Trees Broken but the Golden Fruit Is Uninjured

Santa Rosa and Sonoma county were treated to a genuine eastern snow storm Sunday. The fall of the beautiful began shortly after 8 o'clock and continued for about two hours. It brought joy to the native Californians, who seldom see anything of that kind, and memories of home to the people from the east who have located here.

The small boy was in his element throwing snow balls while the snow lasted and was joined heartily by his elders. The exhilarating sport was indulged in by all, and many hard knocks were given and taken with the pellets of snow. Not even the policemen were exempt and Officer Ed Skaggs took his share with the rest, being compelled to seek his helmet several times after it had been knocked from his head.

Many windows were broken in this city by being struck with the balls and the fall of snow made business for the glazier.

Chinese and Japs who essayed to walk the streets were given a rousing reception, but the sport was by no means confined to these races. Everybody who ventured out got his full share of snow balls and even more. Many venturesome youths got on top of buildings and there rolled up huge balls of snow which they dropped from the roof onto unsuspecting passers by. An inebriated individual who chanced to go down the street was pelted for several blocks and furnished rare sport for the small boys and men. Women were not exempt from the general bombardment and they were pelted fully as much as were the men.

Two Japs who were trying to board the California Northwestern train were rescued with difficulty by Roadmaster J. W. Barrows. They had been caught by a crowd, who were determined to bury the little brown men beneath the white pall. The Japs did not become angry, but entered into the spirit of the occasion. They were permitted to depart in a volley of snow balls.


Snow falls so seldom in Santa Rosa or Sonoma county that it is a genuine surprise to see it here. About five years ago a slight fall of the beautiful occurred, but it vanished in a couple of hours under the warm rays of the sun. Previous to that it had been many years since any snow was seen here, and there have been few falls of snow within the memory of the oldest inhabitant.

- Santa Rosa Republican, January 7, 1907

Hotheaded Frenchman Seeks Revenge Upon Lads Who Snowballed Him in Petaluma Sunday

Swinging an ax above his head in a threatening manner Victor Bogue, a baker, lately of France, and altogether ignorant of the playfulness of the American youth when it snows in Petaluma and in Sonoma county where it is a novelty, got his French blood up on Sunday morning and charged some of the snowballers. Each time the ax went wide of its mark, and its edge was dulled by contact with the cement sidewalk. When things were at a pitch of wild excitement Constable James Sullivan took the situation in hand. It was not until he had managed to avoid the swinging ax and poke his revolver under the Frenchman's nose that the latter dropped his wood cleaver.

It seems that the dough-mixer's wrath had been kindled just before the snowballs were thrown by seeing two companions roughly handled by other men. A Petaluma man in town Monday gave a very realistic description of the encounter to some friends here. Bogue was taken to jail and detained for a short time until his wrath had subsided and the snowballs were no more.

- Press Democrat, January 8, 1907


Victor Bogue, a Frenchman, swung an axe at a crowd of Petalmans on Sunday when the crowd attempted to snow ball him. He had previously seen two of his countrymen pretty roughly handled and determined that he would not suffer similarly. Ignorant of the ways of the people here and having recently come from France and being unable to understand the language, he is not to be blamed for his display of wrath. The man was permitted to plead guilty to a simple assault and Recorder Lyman Green fined him ten dollars. He attempted to chop some one with the weapon, but only chopped a hole in the cement sidewalk.

- Santa Rosa Republican, January 8, 1907


Newer Post Older Post Home