More proof that life in 1906 Santa Rosa was returning to normal, four months after the great earthquake: the police again are busting bicyclists for riding on the sidewalks. Raconteur and soon-to-be historian Tom Gregory even penned a satirical column on the topic, suggesting that sidewalk bicycling should be encouraged because enough $5.00 fines could pay for reconstruction of the civic buildings downtown. The city could even sell coupon books to repeat offenders: "Under this beautiful system a cop could grab a wheelman, tear off a coupon, and let him ride on. No delay, no bother."
Sidewalk safety was also a concern because the town went roller skating crazy that summer, and, as someone complained in a letter to the Press Democrat, "much of the day that thoroughfare is crowded with roller skaters making it impossible for people afoot to use it."
RACE FOR LIBERTY TO KEEP HIS $5
Special Officer Samuels Has a Lively Chase to Run to Earth a Violator of Sidewalk Ordinance
Never since the days when bicycle races in Santa Rosa furnished sport for several hundred enthusiastic cyclists, has there been such a sprint witnessed as that which brought people to their front doors and windows and cause vehicular traffic to be pulled to one side of the highway on upper Fourth street and Sonoma road, near this city, on Wednesday afternoon. The scorchers were Special Officer Samuels and a young man, who was violating the bicycle-riding-on-the-sidewalk ordinance near the park.
"Stop," yelled Samuels to the law violator. The latter just turned his head and caught sight of Samuels. Then he bore down on his pedals and, as the men at the race track say, "They're off." For a time the men anxious to keep a five dollar piece from the city treasury, led the pace with Samuels gaining by inches. For half a mile and more they raced until the pursued turned his bike and headed for the creek. Nothing daunted Samuels, [who] followed and effected the capture. The officer brought his man back to town and after the latter had found a friendly storekeeper to lend him the fiver required to appease the majesty of the law, he rode home slowly and thoughtfully, and kept the middle of the road.- Press Democrat, August 16, 1906
SKATING ON SIDEWALKSEditor Press Democrat: Chief of Police Rushmore struck the keynote when he asked for an ordinance that would preserve the city sidewalks to pedestrians and not to roller skaters. As it is the practice of using the sidewalks for a rink it is rapidly becoming a nuisance. At first the bicycle riding on sidewalks was harmless, but soon laws had to be enacted to drive those machines out into the street with the other vehicles. I have a new cement walks laid on two streets in front of my corner residence, and much of the day that thoroughfare is crowded with roller skaters making it impossible for people afoot to use it with safety. Not long ago I saw a big boy fall heavily and one of his metal skates struck the cement of the walk, breaking a deep hole therein the diameter of a fifty-cent piece. With the metallic wheels of the skates rolling ever that place the break will be continually enlarging. By all means have this nuisance abated. Property Owner. Santa Rosa, Aug. 30, 1906.- Press Democrat, August 31, 1906
NEW FRENZIED FINANCE IDEA
Tom Gregory Makes a Suggestion to the City Fathers Anent "Fares" for Bicycle Riders on Sidewalks
Editor Press Democrat: Here is a frenzied finance idea for the City Council. During the month of August the sidewalk bicycle riders of Santa Rosa paid in fines $110. Now, would it not be well to systematize this growing, profitable traffic--work this source of "easy money" income for all it is worth. The evident mania of the local bicycle people to utilize the sidewalks should be encouraged.
Think of it--$110 per month is $1,320 a year. There are probably 500 wheels in this city, and if each owner could be induced to mount the sidewalk even once a month (at $5 per ride), $2,500 would be the monthly receipt therefrom, and $30,000 yearly would swell the municipal coffers to bursting. With this noble harvest what improvements could be made. New public buildings arise from the ruins, a never-ending relief fund created and the $200,000 bonded indebtedness be among the things that were.
But it is not necessary to run at this high-water rate. A lower schedule could be adopted. Instead of a uniform price of $5 a ride, make it $4 or even $3. Issue monthly commutation tickets at the last figure. Twelve tickets or coupons in a book at $3 per would amount to $36, and the 500 wheels would bring in $18,000 annually. At this lower rate the riders would use the sidewalks more frequently and increase the sum total. Under this beautiful system a cop could grab a wheelman, tear off a coupon, and let him ride on. No delay, no bother.
Of course "fare" could be collected again next block if the rider were "sporty" and wealthy.
A separate schedule could be arranged for rubber-tire buggies (without horses--whose hoofs would damage the sidewalks), automobiles, and roller skates. The bicycle folks evidently want to ride the sidewalks and want to pay good money for the valued privilege. The spirit that fathers this twin-want should be encouraged--at least till the city is rebuilt. This reinforced concrete idea is not copyrighted, and its splendid plans and specifications are free for the Council to adopt. Tom Gregory, Santa Rosa, Sept 1, 1906- Press Democrat, September 2, 1906
These three stories from the summer after the earthquake are as rare as they are disturbing. I don't recall any other newspaper reports about child molestation during this era; either this crime was unusual, or it usually wasn't spoken of.
It's certainly possible (I suppose) that the trauma of the quake might have pushed some with borderline sexual disorders over the edge; it was well studied at the time that the disaster had a positive effect on those inclined to harm themselves, with the suicide rate dropping sharply in San Francisco during this post-quake period. It would be an interesting project for a psych student to see if there was also an effect on anti-social crimes, for better or no.
Yet the final story in this entry suggests that the papers were willing to downplay such crimes when the molester came from a family of "respectable people." Apparently Mr. Faxon had already done six months in the pokey for exposing himself and grabbing children; as reported in the Republican after his new six month conviction, "Faxon's conduct has been going on for some time past. Many nights he has occupied a position on the E street bridge and accosted young girls."
Also notable is the story of the man using his automobile to lure children within grabbing distance. This was 1906, remember, and horseless carriages were still very expensive and rare to see; surely it would have been possible to find the perp if authorities in other towns had been given a description.
OLD MAN GIVEN A WARNING
Complaints had reached police headquarters of the alleged misconduct of an old man named J. F. Winkinson in the presence of small girls on Second street, and on Monday night he was arrested by Police Officer Hankel, and was put under a severe cross-examination by the officer and Chief of Police Rushmore. At first he denied any impropriety, but afterwards admitted it. He was given a reprimand and agreed that he would leave town Tuesday morning under pain of being arrested. The parents of the children were desirous that he should make his presence scarce and avoid their children being brought into the notoriety in a court investigation.- Santa Rosa Republican, June 26, 1906
ATTEMPTED TO FONDLE A GIRL
Stranger Invites Two Young Girls to Go Auto Riding With Him and Behaves in Improper Manner
Last night something of a sensation was caused here, but was kept very quiet owing to an expressed desire on the part of the families concerned to avoid notoriety.
A well dressed stranger, driving an automobile, while passing a house in the southern part of the city, stopped his machine and invited two young girls to go for a ride. Believing everything was all right and anxious to have an auto ride they accepted the invitation and clambered into the machine. Their newly found friend soon pulled into a quiet thoroughfare and stopped the machine. It is said that he then attempted to fondle the oldest girl. Both girls screamed, and he started up the auto and hurried on. A few seconds later he stopped and told the girls to get out, and he then drove on at a lively gait. Word was sent to Police Officer I. N. Lindley and a careful watch was kept for the reappearance of the stranger in the automobile, but he came not. He is said to have been seen speeding towards Petaluma. He told one of the girls that his name was "Doctor, and nothing else." The girls were eight and twelve years old.- Press Democrat, August 8, 1906
Faxon Gets the Limit of the Law
E. F. Faxon, who entered a plea of guilty Wednesday to indecent exposure and making improper proposals to young girls, was made to feel that there is a law which even he in his depravity must respect when he appeared before Justice A. J. Atchinson Thursday morning. The man with the brutal instincts was given a severe lecture by the justice on the beastly manner in which he had conducted himself in the past and was then handed a sentence of six months in the county jail. The justice gave him no alternative of paying a fine for his offense, and the man will have to spend the time in the county jail meditating on his past conduct.
Faxon's conduct has been going on for some time past. Many nights he has occupied a position on the E street bridge and accosted young girls. His shocking conduct brought down on him the threats of vengance from many fathers and mothers, and a sigh of relief was heaved in the neighborhood when Officer Lindley appeared on the scene and captured the man. His declarations of innocence were apparently so well founded that for a time he threw the officers and justice off the track, and they took only nominal measures to prevent his leaving town and escaping the punishment he so richly deserves.
Faxon was very anxious that nothing should be known of his nefarious practices, and especially that it should not get to a citizen who had employed him the day before he was caught by the officers. When he was arrested the second time and his bail increased to one hundred dollars, he realized the evidence against him was strong, and he confessed the crime. The main's parents reside in this city and are respectable people. They are crushed beneath the predicament of their son.- Santa Rosa Republican, August 16, 1906
HUGGER GIVEN 6 MONTHS IN JAIL
E. F. Faxon Sentenced by Justice Atchinson and is Given the Maximum Punishment
Justice A. J. Atchinson meted out punishment to E. F. Faxon on Thursday morning to the tune of six months in the county jail. This was the limit he could give him for the offense charged, and judging from the expressions heard from some fathers in town the defendant got off more luckily than they would have let him.
Faxon is the young man who pleaded guilty of unseemingly and disgraceful conduct on the E street bridge, and also with grabbing and following young girls and making improper suggestions to them. When Police Officer Lindley arrested Faxon he denied that he was the man sought after for having been offensive to girls, but later admitted his guilt.- Press Democrat, August 17, 1906
A ladies' hat in 1906 was a thing of wonder, an elaborate headgear adorned with ribbon and feathers and flowers. The problems of wearing such an architectural monument were also legendary, and the font from which poured a billion cartoons, vaudeville routines, and wheezy jokes, not to mention a few angry letters to the editor.
The other story reminds that chapeau love isn't only a woman's province, as Mr. Skaggs must convince a haberdasher to reopen his store late at night because he couldn't be seen at the ball game without a derby on his noggin.
WILL LADIES KINDLY REMOVE THEIR HATS
Editor Republican: Will you assist the long suffering men at public assemblies who desire to see the speaker and help us to get an ordinance to require women to remove the glaring sky scrapers and upturned things now in use? I sat behind one and just as I got a peek of the speaker through the loop of a sinuous twisted thing that crowned the feather head piece, away bobbed the owner's head and I had to squint alongside the head where the so-called hat rim shoots skyward, holding a bunch of something to prop it up. My limited view of the speaker was interesting, could I have kept it, but a baby at the far end of the room began to rattle a paper and away went the head and spoiled my view.
An ordinance should be passed requiring females to remove their hats at all public assemblies and require the posting of notices in all halls and churches.
At the jubilee concert ladies removed hats on request, but some who came in later sat in their selfish flaring glory (?) the entire evening.
Why will a woman be a lady everywhere else but at a public assembly? Let us have an ordinance and a policeman, if necessary, but have the menace abated at any cost. Has the practice a single defender? [signed,] A SUFFERER.- Santa Rosa Republican, December 4, 1906
W. W. SKAGGS HAS A PECULIAR MISHAP
William W. Skaggs was the victim of a peculiar mishap Saturday evening. While seated at the theater on Main street enjoying the performance the seat in which he rested suddenly gave way beneath his weight. Skaggs struck the floor amid the wreckage rather hard, but this is not the part that worried him most. Beneath the seat was his derby hat and when Skaggs had raised his two hundred pounds off the crown of the hat it resembled a pancake more than anything else. He had been planning to go to the ball game at Petaluma Sunday afternoon and when he left the theater after the performance all the stores had closed. He rustled around and after much persuasion succeeded in getting an accommodating hatter to sell him another skypiece. His friends are making the most of the unpleasant predicament at Skaggs' expense.- Santa Rosa Republican, November 26, 1906
For all that Santa Rosa had to worry about that terrible day of the 1906 earthquake - fighting the downtown fires, rescuing those trapped, tending to the dead and badly injured - no one in town needed to worry about hunger. Within hours of the disaster, wagons began arriving with food and in the following days, more donations arrived. And more. And more. Before long, tons of food was piling up in the warehouse on North street, probably more than the earthquake victims could possibly stuff down in a year. With so much free food available, town fathers did the natural thing: They began to strictly ration it.
The volunteer work in town was no less noble. The Boyd family opened their home to anyone hungry at any hour. A commandeered blacksmith's shop became a relief station that doled out meals to hundreds of households each day, with Mrs. Smyth and Mrs. Elliott (no relation) loading their buggies with take-out deliveries for those too poorly to come down to the station. In Santa Rosa welled a spirit of community - at least, for the first seventeen days.
Then on May 4, no more free lunch; food donated to help earthquake victims was henceforth available only to "widows, orphans and the sick." Anyone capable of work was expected to find a job, even if it was shoveling debris at $2 per day for the city. Why the restrictions, given that the warehouse was bulging with food? Was it an attempt to whip a little Puritan work ethic into the laggard class? Did the volunteers tire of running their soup kitchen? Alas, we don't know anything more; all local newspapers from the early part of May, 1906 are missing. We only know about the crackdown at all because it received a small notice in the San Francisco papers.
At the end of the year when there was hot debate over what to do with the remaining relief money, the Santa Rosa Republican ran an article about the food leftovers. The quantities were astonishing: still sitting in the warehouse was almost two tons of salt pork, 1,300 pounds of sugar, 30 sacks of beans, loads of canned goods, and "soap enough to supply this city a year or more." What happened to all this stuff is also unknown; while the relief committee would account for every donated penny, it was mentioned only in passing that the committee would "dispense the food and clothing now on hand." Hopefully, it was all shipped to the earthquake refugee camps in Oakland, where about 5,000 displaced San Franciscans were still being fed by their charitable neighbors.
ALL MUST WORK IN SANTA ROSA
Only Women and Disabled to Be Fed
Over $30,000 Is in the Relief Fund
SANTA ROSA, May 4--J. R. Edwards, treasurer of the Santa Rosa relief fund, has issued a statement showing cash receipts of $30,921 from the following sources: Standard Oil Company, $10,000... [ 41 other donors] ...No Name, 50 cents; total $30,921.
There has been paid out about $3000 as wages to men engaged in cleaning debris from the streets and searching for bodies in the wreckage, while nearly as much more has been set aside to pay the salaries to the city officials and wages to city employees. The later sum will be paid as soon as the banks open for business. The distribution of this large amount of cash has relieved the money stringency and greatly reduced the number of applicants for provisions at the relief station. The free distribution of provisions will be stopped tonight or tomorrow and only widows, orphans and the sick will hereafter be provided with food, as there is now plenty of work at good wages for all who desire it.- San Francisco Call, May 5, 1906
Approves Relief Work.
SANTA ROSA, May 5--The relief bureau opened here two weeks ago and placed in charge of B. M. Spencer and a corps of a dozen or more volunteer workers has filled orders for groceries on 4089 applicants, representing 20,880 persons. There are a large number of San Francisco refugees here besides the hundreds of local residents made homeless. The relief work has been carried on systematically. After a thorough inspection General Greeley, United States Army, expressed his approval and appreciation of the methods in vogue.- San Francisco Call, May 6, 1906
EARLY HISTORY OF RELIEF WORK
The early days of the relief work in this city following the disastrous fire of April 18 and 19, showed the unselfish devotion of citizens of this city in assisting others less fortunate, and the splendid liberality of the people residing in this vicinity in providing for the immediate wants of the people.
It is well to have a record of these things preserved in print, that those to whom credit is due for their efforts may be given the same. At this lapse of time from the memorable occasion many may be prone to forget the fullness of action of those days, and fall to remember the generous giving of time by the people to aid the worthy cause.
In the history of the relief work many acts stand out prominently in the cause, and for unselfish and painstaking work nothing better could be written than the efforts of the corps of ladies and gentlemen who had charge of the work.
On the afternoon of April 18 Mayor Overton called a meeting of citizens at the Methodist Church, South, and arranged for the handling of the situation that presented itself here. S. P. Erwin was made chairman of the committee to take charge of the work of distributing food supplies. B. M. Spencer was secretary of the committee, and its other members were Frank C. Loomis, George F. King, W. D. Reynolds and C. A. Wright. Hardly had the committee been named when two wagon loads of edibles were at Mr. Spencer's store, sent by the generous people of Petaluma, for the sufferers. Making a necessity for the occasion, the blacksmith shop of William G. Keenan was pressed into service while the owner was absent, and a relief station established. Keenan was performing rescue work at the Grand hotel ruins, and when he returned to his shop accepted the situation with the best of grace. Not only that, he entered into the relief work heartily, and each day was at the station cutting meats that had been sent here for distribution. A fortunate circumstance was that Petalumans had arranged for an elegant banquet to be given on the night of April 18, and all the viands had been prepared. Among other things were a dozen roasted turkeys prepared for the banquet, and these, with tons of edibles, were sent to this city on a special train.
For seventeen days this committee with the assistance of others who are named in this article, performed splendid service in relieving distress. During that time there were 4473 calls for provisions from families, an average of 263 families for each day the relief station was open. All of the people at the relief station worked without wages or hope of reward from early morning until late in the evening. At the expiration of that time the work was turned over to the general committee, and Herbert J. Waters assumed charge of the distribution.
The services of Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Boyd and family stand out prominently among the others. They had been through the Johnstown flood and the Chicago fire, and with the experience gained in those calamities were ready in an instant to succor those needing assistance. They threw open their home, took every one in who applied, fed the hungry and kept a portion of their premises open all night long to feed the people who came. They took charge of providing for the special police who were appointed, and arranged to feed the guardsmen and provide them with coffee during the long hours of the night. Theirs was a most unselfish labor, and they kept it up until there was no further necessity for it.
Mrs. Frank Adams was another whose work was more than appreciated. She took to her home the meats provided for the people, and there cooked them nicely, returning them to the relief station for distribution.
Mrs. Newton V. V. Smyth and Mrs. J. B. Elliott came every afternoon and gave the use of their surreys to haul provisions to the sick and needy, and to those unable to come in person. These ladies did a splendid work, and their efforts were greatly appreciated. Unfortunately the taking of the provisions away in the vehicles gave rise to a report that people were coming in buggies and hauling away the provisions, until it was explained that these ladies were devoting their time and strength to the alleviating of suffering.
The farmers of this vicinity showed their generous spirit daily in their donations to the committee. Day by day many farmers drove to the relief station with eggs, milk, butter, and farm produce of all kinds. Their generous wives prepared many dainties and substantial dishes for the sufferers and these were brought in and given the committee. In this manner tons of provisions were furnished, and the committee were more than grateful for their thoughtfulness.
As the schools closed after the disaster for several days, most of the teachers gave their time to the service of those in distress, and none did more valiant service than these instructors. Early and late they were on hand doing everything in their power. Many deserve special praise, but this article cannot give it at this time. Among those who performed good service were ...[38 names].
Major Devine, the chief of the Red Cross service in San Francisco, complimented the local committee highly on its work, and the systematic manner in which the distribution was made. From the start the system was complete, and there is a record of every transaction, those who donated and those who were assisted. To those who were so zealous in the relief too much commendation cannot be given.
One of the most noticeable things to the committee was the manhood and desire to help themselves manifested by the people of Santa Rosa. When the first workmen were paid from the relief funds after the disaster, the number of applicants for relief fell off one-half in two days. This showed that while the relief had been accepted, many preferred to provide everything they needed for themselves, and did so at the earliest opportunity.- Santa Rosa Republican, July 12, 1906
REGARDING RELIEF GOODS
The editor of the Republican has made inspection of the relief goods stored in the McDonald warehouse, for his own information and for the information of the readers of this paper. Herbert J. Waters, who has charge of these goods, kindly acted as pilot and pointed out the goods in store.
As stated by us yesterday, there are some two carloads of clothing in the warehouse, part of which is new and part of which is so badly worn as to be of little value. All of this clothing was fumigated last spring and put away in boxes, after the authorities at San Francisco had refused to receive the same. In fact some boxes of clothing bear the name and address of Mayor Schmitz, showing that it had first been sent to the metropolis and forwarded from there to this city.
In the stock of groceries we found more than two carloads of flour, 3500 pounds of salt pork, about 30 sacks of beans, 9 cases and eight barrels of coffee, half a wagon load of sardines, an equal amount of hominy, baked beans in tins, canned corn, 1300 pounds of sugar, a great quantity of condensed milk and soap enough to supply this city a year or more. Many other kinds of groceries are held in like or nearly like quantities.
Mr. Waters receives $75 per month for managing the business and the warehouse storage bill is $25 per month, making $100 per month paid out of the relief funds sent to this city.
We are curious to know the time this condition of affairs is going to continue? How long does the management of this business intend to conduct a clothing and grocery concern? At the rate these goods are going and have been taken the past three or four months the business will last a dozen years or more.
We are not disposed to find fault with what is doing in this matter. It is enough for the present to state the conditions as they exist. The whole matter is in the hands of the city authorities. If it is well done they deserve commendation.- Santa Rosa Republican, December 6, 1906
Here we go again: another year, another confab about creating an alliance to promote Sonoma County interests. The group formed in 1905 completely fizzled and now in 1906, Santa Rosa's newly minted Chamber of Commerce became a charter member of the "North Bay Counties Association." But it's a wonder they signed on at all, considering the guy behind the effort had also called for splitting the county into three parts in order to screw over Santa Rosa.
With much fanfare, formation of the Sonoma County Progressive Association was announced in early 1905 with the primary goal of organizing a big local presence at the upcoming Lewis & Clark Centennial Exposition in Portland that summer. The fair was a success beyond anyone's dreams, but Sonoma County had no official presence whatsoever. No explanation was given, but it seems most likely that the farming communities were reluctant to spend time and money at the Oregon exposition to mainly hype Santa Rosa, which had loudly stated ambitions to become the great metropolis north of the Golden Gate.
Come the 1906 earthquake and Santa Rosa is helpless and literally begging for funds. A huge new bond would be needed to rebuild the downtown county courthouse and other official buildings destroyed in the disaster. Not so fast, said John L. Camm from the Petaluma Chamber of Commerce and others; if the county were to be divided into three sections, Petaluma could build a courthouse for the new southern county, and Healdsburg could be the seat for the new northern part. Although not stated directly, their plan would have left Santa Rosa as the county seat for just itself, Sebastopol, Forestville, and Graton (Wikiup, maybe). No need to build an expensive marble-walled hall of justice for that itty-bitty jurisdiction, no sir.
There was no followup to that meeting in Petaluma, and the only mention of it in a Santa Rosa paper claimed "the sentiment in favor of keeping this great county together as a unit is well nigh unanimous," and anyway, it couldn't legally be done. It's interesting to also note that the article also didn't mention the justification for the split was the expected extravagant cost of the new courthouse (which ended up costing over $7 million in today's dollars).
Yet less than two months later, here again was John L. Camm from the Petaluma Chamber of Commerce, this time spearheading the regional association. What gives? Was the split-the-county meeting really a feint to scare Santa Rosa from another attempt to dominate the new organization? Was opposition to the bond settled behind closed doors? Or did some in Petaluma really want to redraw county lines in order to destroy their
sibling rival sister city?
ORGANIZE TO PROMOTE THE PROGRESS OF THIS SECTION
Enthusiastic Meeting in Santa Rosa Yesterday
The Constitution and By-Laws Adopted and Officers Named for the Ensuing Year--Delegates Entertained
"The North Bay Counties Association" is the name of the new body organized in Santa Rosa yesterday for the purpose of exploiting in a practical way the resources and opportunities offered by the counties of Sonoma, Marin, Napa, Mendocino, and Lake counties by means of legitimate advertising, the distribution of literature and in other ways.
The Association was formed by representatives from the Chambers of Commerce and other commercial bodies in the counties named at a meeting held at the court house in this city yesterday morning and afternoon. Some enthusiastic speeches were made setting forth the advantages of united effort in the great work to be undertaken in the future.
John L. Camm, of Petaluma, was chosen temporary chairman of the meeting, and after explaining its object business of organization was taken up. The Rev. Robert Newton Lynch of Petaluma was at the secretary's desk...
[..]- Press Democrat, August 29, 1906
NEW COUNTY MEETING HELD
Pursuant to a call issued by J. L. Camm of the Petaluma Chamber of Commerce, and upon request of a number of prominent Petalumans, a meeting of local citizens was held at the city hall Friday evening for the purpose of discussing the advisability of inaugurating a "New County" movement. The council chambers were well filled when the meeting was called to order by Mr. Camm, who stated the object of the meeting and outline the proposed new county plan. The project, as stated, was to form a new county, with Petaluma as the county seat, by taking that portion of Sonoma county south from a point north of Sonoma, including Penngrove, Bloomfield, Valley Ford, and Bodega, and by taking that portion of Marin county lying north of a straight line running westerly from San Antonio creek to the ocean including the town of Tomales.
The question was discussed dispassionately and earnestly by a number of citizens, including Assemblyman Cromwell, H. P. Brainerd, A. Kahn, J. E. Olmsted, Supervisor Armstrong, Arthur Robinson, J. W. Horn, L. C. Byce, Mayor Drees, Superintendent Van Frank of the electric road, Thos. Maclay. Mssrs. Cromwell, Brainerd, and Kahn, were of the opinion that the movement is neither feasible nor desirable. Mr. Brainerd thought such a movement would be wrong in view of the disaster recently suffered by Santa Rosa, and Mr. Kahn was like minded. Assemblyman Cromwell was of the opinion that the proposed new county could not be created because of the opposition that would have to be overcome; he also expressed the opinion that our tax burdens would be greatly increased and that the prestige now enjoyed by the big County of Sonoma, politically and otherwise, would be destroyed by the creation of another county largely therefrom.
The other speakers all expressed a desire to further the interests of Petaluma in every possible way, but were not prepared to declare themselves as in favor of launching a movement of such magnitude without further consideration.
As a result of the discussion the chairman was authorized to appoint a committee to look thoroughly into the object, consider all its phases and possibilities and report at a meeting to be held at such time as the committee may designate.
[...]- Petaluma Argus, June 30, 1906
DIVISION OF COUNTY
The talk of the county division is not a dream. The idea of the county voting itself into debt again after just getting out of it is not generally favored. To vote a large bond issue to build a new court house, new hall of records when in a few years the natural growth of the county will compell division is not wise. If the county is divided either Healdsburg or Petaluma would furnish buildings free of cost to the county and leave us to start on even footing instead of loading the county with a debt that would mean the paying of increased taxes and be a continuation of carrying a debt that would in the end make us pay two prices for our whistle. There [are] a number of men in Petaluma who would put up $10,000 each for a new courthouse in Petaluma who feel that it is a hefty burden to have to pay on bonds and interest for useless expenditures.- Petaluma Daily Courier, June 26, 1906
A few days ago the Republican received information to the effect that parties in Petaluma were discussing the project of trying to divide Sonoma county into three parts, as was said of Gaul many centuries ago. It was proposed to make Petaluma the capital of the southern and Healdsburg the capital of the northern section. We did not give the matter great consideration at the time, for the reason that we believed the story to be idle rumor and that if such attempt should be seriously made we had no doubt of its being generally condemned. It is now of record that a county division meeting was held at Petaluma last Friday evening and that it was not a very enthusiastic affair. Three speeches were made against the scheme and the other speakers were rather noncommittal. A committee was appointed to take the matter inder consideration and to report on the same when ready to do so. The three Petaluma men who spoke against the effort to divide the county are members of the committee.
There is no law now under which a California county can be created, and it has not been possible to enact such a statue since the adoption of the constitutional amendment providing that a county can be created only under a general statute. The intelligent people of Petaluma must know this. They must also know that the sentiment in favor of keeping this great county together as a unit is well nigh unanimous. Hence, we do not think them in earnest in the division scheme. They may think it a good advertising project for the time being but this is all they can hope to get out of it.
It is of far greater consequence to all concerned to keep this great and growing county together as one county, than that any particular town may be a county seat. Not many will consent to the divorcement of any portion of our territory. Division would be hurtful to all concerned. This is the imperial county of upper California and the people here will insist on its remaining such.- Santa Rosa Republican, July 2, 1906
This 1906 birth announcement for the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce finds that town boosters were egged on by Petaluma (sorry) and an upcoming regional meeting to organize a local Chamber. See the following post for more about that meeting and another reason why Santa Rosa may have been motivated to move swiftly.
The only newsworthy tidbit in the items below came from Allen Lemmon, editor and publisher of the Republican newspaper, who remarked that there had been a housing shortage in Santa Rosa since the earthquake and it was expected to worsen.
CHAMBER OF COMMERCE FOR GREATER SANTA ROSA
Enthusiastic Meeting Held Here on Friday Night
Vigorous Addresses Made and Common Acclaim Predicts Greater Prosperity and Progress Than Ever Before
The meeting called for last night brought together a large audience of enthusiastic citizens anxious to promote the best interests of Santa Rosa, and uphold her importance as the county seat of a county that is second to none in the diversity and scope of its products, and also to "boost" the entire county and section.
A number of interesting hearty addresses were heard, and it was decided to form a Chamber of Commerce upon a solid basis, increase its commercial interests, foster industries already here, and encourage the introduction of others, and promote the general welfare of the city.
Captain Houts called the meeting to order and stated the purposes of the gathering. An occasion arose, he said, as the result of the forward movement inaugurated at the meeting under the auspices of the Petaluma Chamber of Commerce the other day. The idea was, he said, to have the counties of Sonoma, Marin, Mendocino, and Napa work together through their commercial bodies to advertise the general interests of this and adjoining counties in this section of the state. He told of the advantages to be gained by the lectures and advertising in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and other places in bringing to the attention of the eastern home-seekers. To many eastern people, the Captain said, this section of the state with its diversity of interest was an "unexplored region."
At the meeting held in Petaluma, Captain Houts said, it was decided to hold a session of the representative of the various commercial bodies of the counties named in Santa Rosa and perfect the joint organization to promote the interest of the proposed county organizations. He told of a need of a Chamber of Commerce or similar body here.
He then threw the topic open for discussion...
[Judge Seawell, Judge Crawford, Colonel Julliard, and other notables spoke and agreed that starting a Chamber of Commerce was an excellent idea, and a committee was elected to organize it.]
...Allen B. Lemmon said his heart was thoroughly in the work suggested. He touched on the value of co-operation and organization, and predicted that with a good, live Chamber of Commerce, the results attained would be far in excess of the blow dealt on April 18. He urged proceeding deliberately and carefully in the adoption of by-laws and general procedure of business. He mentioned the fact that there are "no empty houses in Santa Rosa now," and predicted that by September 15 there would be 150 more houses needed than could be had for rent...- Press Democrat, August 18, 1906
NEW CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
Committee Makes Appeal for 600 Names
"Don't Be Pushed--Push
Such is the motto the membership committee of the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce has adopted in its efforts to enlist the business men and property owners of this city. The committee consists of Captain O. L. Houts, A. T. Crane and Dr. S. S. Bogle and hundreds of letters have been sent out to the "loyal citizens desirous of advancing not only your own interests, but those of your home town," to secure the enrollment as members so as to be able to take part in the organization Friday evening when officers are to be elected.
In the letter the committee says: That you and other representative citizens of this city may become alive to the objects of this organization, and be ready to act intelligently upon same, the committee respectfully solicits your careful consideration of the Constitution and By-Laws as adopted...
...Let us all join in the common effort. It will cost you at the rate of but $12 per year, that is, $1 per month. So fall in line and help swell the procession for a town whose citizens are united and progressive.- Santa Rosa Republican, August 23, 1906
Let it be known: Healdsburg Avenue is no more, but not, really. It is now Mendocino Avenue because Healdsburg Avenue was too confusing. But the residents of old Josiah Davis street are pissed because a few years ago they agreed to change their street name to Healdsburg Avenue and now they're stuck with just a two-block stub that doesn't even go to Healdsburg anymore but to Mendocino. Got all that? There WILL be a test.
The Santa Rosa City Council had lots on its plate in the months following the 1906 earthquake, so it's a bit odd that they chose that moment to start renaming streets, but so they did. The changes did make sense, however. Before, a traveler heading north from downtown Fourth Street turned onto Mendocino Street. Six (or so) blocks later, there was the intersection of College Avenue; after that, the journey north jogged slightly to the right to join a street called Healdsburg Avenue (an 1877 map simply called it "the road to Healdsburg"). Wasn't it better to name the whole route Mendocino-something or Healdsburg-something? They did, and chose the former, probably because the Mendocino Street end of it was best known in the downtown business district. Thus after October, 1906, the home that would be known as Comstock House was on Mendocino Avenue, not Healdsburg Avenue.
It's also understandable that the people living on "Joe Davis" were upset. After the 1880 Josias Davis addition to the town (see map at right, courtesy City of Santa Rosa), the western side of the two-block triangle leading to College Ave. was mostly known as Josiah Davis Street (also referred to as "Jos." or "Jo." Davis on maps and documents). Sometime before 1900, residents petitioned the town to make their little street part of the great Healdsburg Avenue. It must have seemed a sensible idea at the time, but after the 1906 name changes they found their street was now an odd little historical archipelago, not part of an avenue but more of a dinky side road for an intersection. And so it remains today; identifying Healdsburg Ave. on a map of modern Santa Rosa should be worth bonus points in a game of Trivial Pursuit.
PROTEST AGAINST CHANGING NAME
Residents of what has been generally known for years as Joe Davis street, running in a direct line with Healdsburg avenue from Tenth street to Lincoln and College avenue, protest against the changing of the name of Healdsburg avenue to "Mendocino avenue." A number of property owners on the short street asserted Wednesday that some years ago they petitioned the council to change the name of "Joe Davis" to ["]Healdsburg avenue," and aver that they have since been receiving their mail addressed to "Healdsburg avenue," and that the streets proclaim that thoroughfare to be "Healdsburg avenue." They are displeased that Mendocino street should absorb the name of the continuation of their street, and point out that while mail addressed to Healdsburg avenue may have been missent to Healdsburg, when addressed to Mendocino avenue may be missent to Mendocino county. In the petition the name of "Joe Davis" street was still mentioned for the street between Tenth and College avenue, at one time known by that name.- Santa Rosa Republican, July 25, 1906
HEALDSBURG AVENUE A MATTER OF HISTORY
At the meeting of the council Tuesday evening the new ordinance passed changing the name of Mendocino street and Healdsburg avenue to Mendocino avenue, and the name "Healdsburg avenue" passed into history in the city of Santa Rosa. The matter has been before the council for several weeks and there have been petitions pro and con on the matter.- Santa Rosa Republican, October 3, 1906
It could be a scene from an E. L. Doctorow novel: you encounter someone in need of help on a remote country road, offer assistance and have a nice hour-long chat before everyone goes on their way, you none the wiser that you'd just met one of the most famous and powerful people in the world, William Randolph Hearst.
In 1906, probably no man in America except President Teddy Roosevelt had a more well-known face than Hearst. Two years before, Hearst almost became the Democratic nominee for president, then almost became mayor of New York City, then almost became governor of that state. His large and oddly rectangular head appeared regularly in newspaper and magazine photos, engravings, and editorial page caricatures. Simply put, it was more likely that someone should have recognized Mr. Hearst that year than had experience changing an automobile tire. Except in Sonoma County, apparently.
(RIGHT: William Randolph Hearst in 1906)
HELPED HEARST WITH MACHINE
Don Prentiss of This City "Lends a Hand" to Automobile Party in Distress and Learns Identity Later
While in Sebastopol Sunday, Don Prentiss of this city noticed an automobile party in distress, and as he came up he was asked to "lend a hand" in the somewhat difficult task of replacing a damaged tire with a new one carried in anticipation of just such an emergency.
Mr. Prentiss willingly responded, and after the heavy work had been finished, lingered and talked an hour or more with the members of the party while the chauffeur puts the machine in readiness for resuming the journey.
After the automobilists had climbed in and waved goodbye, Mr. Prentiss learned with some surprise that he had been talking to Mr. and Mrs. William R. Hearst, who with the latter's younger sister, have been spending several days traveling through this part of the country in Mr. Hearst's automobile. The party passed through this city last week, going north as far as Ukiah.- Press Democrat, August 7, 1906
The year following the 1906 earthquake was one of the most remarkable periods in Santa Rosa's history - but you wouldn't know that from reading the local newspapers.
From both the Press Democrat and Republican we see only glimpses of how drastically life was interrupted during this patch, such as what shoppers must have endured with all of Fourth Street turned into a construction zone (not to mention a dangerous obstacle course). Only a year later was it finally mentioned in the papers that most professional offices had been operating out of a shantytown at Mendocino and 5th Street.
There can be little doubt that both newspapers intentionally kept quiet about such details. The earthquake had brought to Santa Rosa the national spotlight that boosters always craved, and the last thing they wanted was for out of town papers to reprint disparaging news that the downtown core of the City of Roses was no better than a muddy, plank-sidewalk mining camp. Instead, it was claimed over and again that progress was seen everywhere and rebuilding was proceeding "nicely." So relentless was the cheerful spin that had flying saucers from the planet Mulduhr descended and swept away all the children, the papers doubtless would have boasted that Santa Rosa sidewalks were free of annoying orange peels and that exciting career opportunities had opened up for fruit and hops picking.
But despite these dry pages, I always looked forward to reading the next edition of the Press Democrat after I discovered my guilty pleasure: Dorothy Anne, Society Gossip.
"Dorothy Anne" - real name unknown to me (read update here) - began writing about two months after the quake, and her first column recounted her origins, as she and (presumably) editor Ernest L. Finley strolled downtown:
When I was asked to do the society work on this paper I looked up at my interrogator in amazement. It was just two days after the quake. There was no paper and no society. "But," I exclaimed, "there is nothing to work with." "There will be," he replied, as we continued our walk through the burned district
Whether by Finley's instructions or her own inclinations, Dorothy Anne steered clear of writing directly about post-earthquake issues, alas. Nonetheless, she was a good observer of her social world, and soon became something of Santa Rosa's own Pepys. (The analogy is apt; Pepys was famously indifferent to disaster when he saw the beginnings of the 1666 Great Fire of London from his bedroom window, shrugged, and went back to sleep.) The digirati set can think of her as the town's first blogger, albeit typeset.
My favorite Dorothy Anne columns are the ones that appeared that summer, where she recounted imaginary (or not?) conversations over afternoon tea that included herself, the "Matron," and the "Sarcastic Girl." In an offering transcribed below, it's revealed that there were an estimated one hundred social groups for women in Santa Rosa, a town with a population of only 10,000. Yet despite all that elbow-rubbing, they still were bored to tears. They griped that men didn't like to socialize with them and the women-only party scene was a grind. So monotonous was their social life that another column found them waxing enthusiastic about a near-legend "ghost party" from 18 months earlier (which actually sounded as if it was sort of Goth). "Card parties, card parties, card parties," complained the girl, "until the sight of an ace of any suit puts you to sleep."
"No wonder we get blase before the winter is over," said the Matron. "It's a case of too much sameness. Why, sitting at the same tables on the same chairs and with the same cards, from one end of the season to the other we play the same game with the same good and the same bad players, say the same inane things, eat the same refreshments arranged and served just the same way on the same trays, give the same prizes..."
Dorothy Anne wrote less about her "little afternoon affairs" with the Matron and friends once the abbreviated social season began in August and she finally had something more newsworthy to cover than doings at the town's roller rink. By then she also had the confidence to toss out bits of her opinions with her gossip. "Good men often make politics, but politics seldom makes good men, in my opinion," she mused that month. "Women as a rule are very poor politicians. They are, a great many of them, natural intrigues, but few can plan and plot and think about it for six months or a year and not tell some one how its going to be." And then she wrapped up her column with notice that the Fork Club met and Mrs. Woodward took home the fork that day.
Her talents as a writer were limited (as if you couldn't tell), which sometimes made columns unintentionally funny. Items often could be dismissed as "catty," although I mostly disagree; it seems more that she didn't really care if she was liked or not, which is an admirable quality in a real journalist. But her weak writing skills undermined her. When the rival Republican (re)started its own society column, "Our Social Affairs by Madame Trice," Dorothy Anne penned a welcome that may come across as snide and condescending; but read it again to find sentiment and introspection revealed. Here her flaw was being inartful more than mean-spirited:
"Madame Thrice [sic], I welcome you into the uncertain field of journalism. I should judge that you, like myself, are one of the products of the quake. I might mention, quite incidentally, that I recognize you. In fact I had to read but a few lines before your identity flashed before me, and my mind traveled back many years ago, and I saw two small girls wending their way to school together. In those days both you and I had high ambitions. You were scheduled to be a High School teacher, and I a missionary. What would our Alma Mater say, I wonder, if she realized that we were devoting the result of her training to writing complimentary squibs about our society people?"
But there are other columns that are indisputably cruel or snobbish, and there's no defending her honor there. My alternative theory about Dorothy Anne is that she really was an insufferable snoot who sadistically took pleasure in insulting her neighbors. In this scenario, Ernest Finley gave her the job of society editor so this unlikeable scorn had to be invited to a party if the hostess wanted to be mentioned in the newspaper. Finley apparently didn't socialize much, himself; maybe Dorothy Anne was his unwitting agent for tormenting the farm town sophisticates who took on airs.
...When I was asked to do the society work on this paper I looked up at my interrogator in amazement. It was just two days after the quake. There was no paper and no society. "But," I exclaimed, "there is nothing to work with." "There will be," he replied, as we continued our walk through the burned district. The paper has readjusted itself--at least partially--but society has not. It will probably be some time before any one will feel able physically or financially to give a party. I for my part, think things should soon commence to resume their former tenor. We can't go on always without any social life, so I hope soon to see the ice broken and some social functions take place...- "Society Gossip" column, Press Democrat, June 17, 1906
"What we need is originality," said the matron.
"What we need more is individuality," said the pretty girl.
"What's the discussion about, ladies?" said I, as I joined a quartet of well-known society women seated around a very pretty tea table the other afternoon. It was one of those informal little afternoon affairs that happen frequently, and where are expounded a great many bright and original ideas.
"Our discussion was on the time-worn subject of how we were to avoid becoming blase in society," replied the Matron.
["]People haven't had much chance to become a victim of ennui in Society lately, have they?" asked the Sarcastic Girl.
"No, but why?" asked the Pretty Girl. "There hasn't been enough going on to warrant unpacking our party clothes."
"Yet," said I, "last week it looked as if things were really going to pick up."
"Yes, and how?" said the Engaged Girl. "Card parties, card parties, card parties, until the sight of an ace of any suit puts you to sleep."
"No wonder we get blase before the winter is over," said the Matron. "It's a case of too much sameness. Why, sitting at the same tables on the same chairs and with the same cards, from one end of the season to the other we play the same game with the same good and the same bad players, say the same inane things, eat the same refreshments arranged and served just the same way on the same trays, give the same prizes--"
"To the same people," interjected the Sarcastic Girl as she calmly reached for another lump of sugar.
"Now, wouldn't that list of sameness make anyone blase by the end of the season?" continued the Matron. "If we could only have some original parties this winter! We have had them. Don't you remember Mrs. Ed Merritt's ghost party?"
"Just one objection to that party," said the Engaged Girl. "No men."
"That didn't worry anybody but you," said the Sarcastic Girl.
"What a party that was!" said the Matron, "How funny some of the girls did look! And do you remember what a shout of joyous laughter went up when dominoes was known to be the game of the evening?"
"Yes," said I, "and do you also remember how there were not more than three in the assemblage who knew how to play a game of dominoes, and how Mrs. Merritt had to reveal her identity in explaining the game?"
"Yes." sighed the Engaged Girl. "I remember I didn't know how. And I didn't learn until the evening was almost over."
"Then Mrs. Marvin Vaughan gave an advertising party," said the Matron, "and it was a great success, and Willie Finley's musical parties were always delightful and generally had some original features."
"The Irene Club usually manages to do something that shows individuality. Maybe they will start the ball rolling this year," said I.
"I don't see how we can be original or individual in our parties when times are so hard," said the Matron.
"Don't use your pocket book; use your brains," said the Pretty Girl, in reply.
"We might go back to husking bees and quilting parties," said I. "Or we might organizing an old-fashioned singing school. We might even dig up tiddle de-winks, [sic] or ping pong, or arrange a few spelling matches, We might give literary parties--"
"Stop her, somebody, before I faint!" cried the Matron. "Imagine the most of our men at a literary evening! How they would enjoy it! One of those evening, say, when you are called upon to guess the names of authors from about three-quarters of an unheard-of quotation.["]
"But the men don't really care for card parties," said the Engaged Girl. "Only the married ones ever get a chance to see whether they would like them or not," here spoke up the Sarcastic Girl.
"Well," said the Matron, "we used to invite the young men, but they have treated us so unpolitely we simply have had to leave them out. They ignore our cards when we send them, they never call on us after a party, and they never entertain. They seem to have no sense of obligation. Why, I gave a party last winter and invited them all. All came, but do you know, only one has even so much as intimated in any way, shape or form that he owed me a call, and he mentioned it on the street."
"I remember an awful nice party," said the Pretty Girl, "and although it started with cards, after refreshments we guessed the names of musical selections played by Bud Parks."
"Oh, you did?" said the Sarchastic Girl.
"Well," said the Matron, "I must be going home. I have a husband who fortunately enjoys my society. We will have to all put our brains to work this winter and try to break the monotony of our social life."
Yes, we all chimed in together, as we arose to leave, "we must have some original parties this winter."- "Society Gossip" column, Press Democrat, August 12, 1906
"She said she didn't believe women ever got as foolish over anything as men do when they get the lodge fever," remarked the matron.
"What is the discussion, ladies," I asked, as I seated myself and accepted a cup of tea.
"Not much of a discussion," replied the pretty girl as she passed me the sugar. "She was simply repeating the remarks of one of our society leaders upon the time-worn subject of 'Why men become so devoted to lodges.'
"One has but to see a few of their homes to know why," said the sarcastic girl.
"Are men more devoted to their lodges than we are to our clubs?" I queried.
"Not at all," replied the matron. "I'll venture to say none of you have ever enumerated the women's clubs and lodges in this town. Let's try and see how many we can name. I'll begin. First of all there are the churches. There are fourteen churches in town and say there is an average of three women's societies to a church. There you have a starter of forty-two societies to commence with. We have the card clubs, including the Married Ladies Club, the Book Club, the Cup and Saucer, the Fork Club, the Third Street Club, the McDonald Avenue Club and the College Avenue Club. These last two have not played this season yet, I believe, but"--
As she paused for breath, the pretty girl came to her rescue. "Yes, but they will later!" she said.
"Then," continued the matron, "there are the literary clubs, too, of which there are several. These include the Saturday Afternoon Club, the Irene, the Starr King Club, the Shakespeare Club, the Philomath Club and the Teachers' Club.["]
"Yes," I added. "There are the sewing clubs headed by the Cozy Corner Club, and followed by the Saiho Gakko, then the T. J. E.'s, the D's D's and the Thimble Club."
"I don't think the the T. J. E.'s are a Sewing Club," ventured the pretty girl.
"They used to be, when they were little girls, and made fancy articles to sell for sweet charity's sake," said the matron. "Everybody keep still while I try to think of the lodges. They are the Eastern Star, the Court of the Amaranth, the Rebekahs, Ladies of the Maccabees, Daughters of Pocohantas, Companions of the Forest, Ladies of the Grand Army, German Ladies Aid Society, Royal Neighbors and--"
"Shades of our Ancestors!" said the sarcastic girl. "Don't tell me you know any more!"
"Yes," I replied, "there are more, for the ladies share jointly the lodges of the Fraternal Brotherhood, the Grange, the Linnean Society and the Short Story Club."
"Then," remarked the matron, "there is the Ladies Improvement Club, the Woman's Relief Corps, and the one musical club, the Etude, now a section of the Saturday Afternoon Club."
"How many does that make, any way?" suggested I timidly.
"Nearly eighty, including church societies, and we have probably omitted a third--the small clubs," continued the matron. "It will be safe to say there are one hundred women's clubs, lodges and societies in the town. No wonder the men are advocates of lodges! They could hardly be expected to do anything else with that example set them."
[..]- "Society Gossip" column, Press Democrat, September 16, 1906
It took months for the Santa Rosa social scene to resume after the 1906 earthquake, and it came, in part, thanks to the Oates and the clockwork-like appearance of Anna May Bell.
When the quake struck, Mattie Oates was preparing for a big party that would have marked the first year in their fine home. As it turned out, the event rescheduled for August marked instead her 25th wedding anniversary with Wyatt.
Anna May Bell, something of a godchild to Mattie and Wyatt, was now 29 and an English teacher at the Los Angeles Polytechnic High School. She arrived around July 1 and stayed for about fifteen weeks, as usual; and per the norm, a gala party was held in her honor. It was a step down from the three parties held for her in 1905, but still remarkable, given the situation in town.
COLONEL AND MRS. OATES PRETTILY ENTERTAIN
The elegant home of Colonel and Mrs. James W. Oates was the scene of a merry card party Wednesday evening when the Married Ladies' Card Club was entertained. The apartments had been prettily decorated for the occasion and hydrangeas and sunflowers were effectively used in the decorative scheme, making a beautiful decoration with the blending of the many lights.
Miss Rena Edwards and Miss Irma Woodward took the ladies' first and second prizes respectively, while to Mrs. C. C. Belden fell the honors for the lone hand. Ernest L. Finley and Attorney J. T. Campbell took first and second gentlemen's prizes. During the evening delicious refreshments were served.- Santa Rosa Republican, August 9, 1906
The beautiful home of Mr. and Mrs. James W. Oates was a brilliant scene last Wednesday evening when the Married Ladies' Card Club were entertained there. The decorations were very simple. The interior furnishing of the house are sufficiently decorative in themselves, and Mrs. Oates showed her artistic taste in not overburdening the house with flowers. Mr. and Mrs. Oates, although the fact was unknown to their guests, on that occasion celebrated their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. But for this fact, Mrs. Oates would have waited until later in the season to entertain the club, when more of the members would have been at home...- Press Democrat, August 12, 1906
Mrs. Blitz W. Paxton has the distinction of giving the first big party since the quake, and certainly no more clever society woman could have been found to set the example for the many parties that will no doubt follows hers now. On Friday afternoon Mrs. Paxton was the hostess at a card party given in honor of Miss Anna May Bell of Visalia, who is a guest of Mrs. James W. Oates. The beautiful Paxton home was artistically decorated for the occasion. Sunflowers and Amaryllis lilies with greenery being used in charming effect in the large rooms. The game was "500" and was played at twelve tables by a crowd of ladies who certainly presented a pretty picture in their dainty, cool gowns, each animated and playing the game with an interest and skill that brought about sharp competition for the beautiful prizes...Mrs. Paxton proved herself a very charming and thoughtful hostess. She was assisted in receiving by Mrs. J. W. Oates, Mrs. Bell of Visalia, mother of Miss Bell, the guest of honor, who was also present and received her share of attention.
- Santa Rosa Republican, August 18, 1906
The departure of Miss Anna May Bell for her home in Visalia has caused sincere regret among the many friends and admirers she has in the City of Roses. Miss Bell has been a welcome guest in the Oates home for some time, and was, as Mrs. Oates expressed it, "like a ray of sunshine" to them, and the entire household feels her absence now.- Santa Rosa Republican, September 16, 1906