During the Luther Burbank era, Santa Rosa was like an iceberg of secrets. Its public face was the pretty little City of Roses, "the chosen spot of all this earth," as Burbank famously said, and which boosters endlessly repeated. After 1906 it also became known as the plucky little place that quickly arose phoenix-like after the Great Earthquake (it didn't).
But beneath the placid surface, rarely mentioned in public meetings and only hinted at in the press, lurked serious crime and social problems. One of these big secrets was that Santa Rosa long had been a "wide-open town" when ponies were running at the fairground track, which drew the free-spending Bay Area gambling set. Most (all?) of the downtown saloons and hotels competed for their business by offering illegal gambling, with local police turned into something like casino floor managers, watching only for cheats.
With big-time gambling came big-time prostitution, and the town had an enormous red-light district, with no fewer than eleven whorehouses just a couple of blocks away from the downtown courthouse. And then in 1907, Santa Rosa took a brave or reckless step: The town legalized and licensed something very much like modern-day Nevada style prostitution.
The announcement hit the papers exactly one year after the 1906 quake, but the decision by the City Council and mayor had been made a week earlier, in secret session. Proprietors of the "boarding houses" would have to pay $45 per quarter; the "guests" who lived there would have to be examined by a medical doctor every two weeks, and forced to leave if found to have "any contagious or dangerous disease."
As you might expect, the respectable citizens of Santa Rosa went nuts.
Religious leaders and outraged public figures queued up to denounce the Council's decision from the Presbyterian church pulpit at a civic meeting the following Sunday. Besides the predictable cries of moral outrage, Attorney Rolfe Thompson also made the novel point that it was unfair to saloons, which had to pay $15 more every quarter.
But why did they consider legalization of prostitution at all? The first clue appears in the April 19 Press Democrat: "The payment of this license will do away with the much criticized practice in vogue here for many years of arresting the women proprietors of the houses each month and fining them for misdemeanor, to wit, selling liquor without a license."
A few days later, PD editor Ernest Finley defended the decision - while condemning it at the same time (no mean feat, that). Finley wrote that "the new city charter expressly provides that such places as those complained of may be regulated or suppressed by the public authorities." Before ending with a call to "not sanction the regulation of the social evil in any form," he dropped this additional nugget:
For years the only supervision exercised over the district complained of has been exercised by the police. What has been done in that line has been done without legal warrant and purely through a process of intimidation. The city authorities, after carefully considering the matter for months, decided that there was but one way to handle the proposition, and that was as other public matters are handled, or in other words by duly delegated authority.
In other words, Santa Rosa had a long-standing policy that unofficially sanctioned prostitution, just as it was abetting illegal gaming in the saloons. But in this case, police became the enforcers in a monthly government shakedown. The City Council was only formalizing the setup by making the bordellos pay a tax instead of the charade of arresting the Madam to collect a montly fine.
The groundwork for the resolution came from the 1904 city charter, which was rewritten by a committee (technically, a 15-member "Board of Freeholders") whose chairman was none other than our own anti-hero, James Wyatt Oates. In a Sept. 9, 1904 letter to the Republican newspaper, Oates defended the new charter which granted the Santa Rosa City Council greater powers to manage the city, and particularly more local control over public utilities. Under the new charter, Oates expressed hope that there would finally be a solution to the city's long-running water problems. "There are more things in this charter to which I might refer," Oates concluded, "but want of space forbids more at present."
The resolution also established the tenderloin district as centered on the intersection of D and First streets, which would have broad impacts on surrounding property values, and which led to the ordinance being overturned - but that's getting ahead of the story.
CITY COUNCIL LICENSES EVIL
Important Action Taken at a very late Hour
At the close of the regular session of the council Tuesday evening, April 11th, City attorney Geary requested an executive session for a few minutes. The following resolution was adopted at the meeting that evening, but not while the public or newspaper representatives were in the room:
"A resolution licensing and regulating boarding and lodging houses, and bording or lodging houses on D and First streets, in the city of Santa Rosa:
"Resolved, by the council of the city of Santa Rosa: That all boarding and lodging houses and boarding or lodging houses located, conducted, doing business on or having entrance on that portion of D street between the southerly line of Second street, and Santa Rosa Creek, between D and E in the City of Santa Rosa, shall pay a quarterly license fee in advance of $45 per quarter, and it shall be unlawful to operate, conduct or maintain on the therinbefore described portions of D street, or First street in Santa Rosa, any boarding and lodging house, or any boarding and lodging house, or have any entrance to such house on either of said streets without first having obtained the license herein provided for.
"Sec. 2. The city clerk shall issue said license...
"Sec. 3. The person owning or conducting such boarding and lodging house shall keep a register in which shall be entered the name, date of arrival and departure of each guest and such register shall always be open to the inspection of the Chief of Police.
"Sec. 4. It shall be the duty of the person conducting or owning any of the places herein to cause an examination to be immediately made by a qualified physician of Santa Rosa, of each guest arriving at such house, and again at intervals of not longer than two weeks, during the residence of such guest in the house. If any such inspection shows that any guest is afflicted with any contagious or dangerous disease, such guest shall immediately be removed from such boarding and lodging house and not permitted to return thereto until cured of such disease.
"Sec. 5. The physician making such inspection shall deliver to the person so inspected a certificate of the result of his inspection and the same shall be posted in a conspicuous place in the apartment occupied by such guest, and shall at all times be subject to the inspection of the chief of police.
"Sec. 6. All such houses shall at all times be kept in a clean and sanitary condition and shall be conducted in a quiet and orderly manner.
"Sec. 7. The person owning or conducting such houses shall be permitted to furnish and sell therein only to their guests and visitors to the same, spirituous, vinous and malt liquors to be used on the premises and the provisions of Secs. 9 and 10 of Ordinance No. 238, of the city of Santa Rosa, shall not apply to such houses.
"Sec. 8. For any violation of the provisions of this resolution...shall be sufficient cause for the revocation of the license herein provided for.
"Sec. 9. Any persons violating any of the provisions of this resolution shall be guilty of a misdemeanor...
Ayes--Burris, Donahue, Hall Johnson and Wallace.
"Finally approved this 11th day of April 1907.
"Approved J. P. OVERTON, Mayor of the City of Santa Rosa."- Santa Rosa Republican, April 18, 1907
BROTHELS HAVE TO PAY LICENSE
Will Be no More Arresting and Fining of Women in the Tenderloin
The City Council has passed a resolution compelling the proprietors of the houses in the tenderloin district who furnish liquors to the frequenters of their resorts to pay a license of forty-five dollars per quarter.
The payment of this license will do away with the much criticized practice in vogue here for many years of arresting the women proprietors of the houses each month and fining them for misdemeanor, to wit, selling liquor withoit a license.
The resolution also provides for the maintenance of better sanitary regulations in the tenderloin, medical examinations, etc. It likewise provides that a register shall be kept at each house of the guests frequenting the place, such register to be open at all times for inspection by the police.
Prior to adopting the resolution the Council went into executive session to discuss the matter, whereupon, as is the usual custom, the newspaper men and spectators present took their departure. Later the Council temporarily convened in regular session and passed the resolution as above outlined. The resolution was adopted by unanimous vote of the Council, all members being present with the exception of Councilman Reynolds.- Press Democrat, April 19, 1907
THE CITIZENS PROTEST IN MONSTER MASS MEETING
Strong Addresses--Laymen, Attorneys and Ministers Condemn Council
Never has there been such an outpouring of the respectable citizens of Santa Rosa to register their protest and condemnation of an unrighteous act as that witnessed at the Presbyterian church Sunday evening. The great edifice was filled to overflowing and many stood all the evening to hear and applaud the sentiments expressed by the various speakers, representing the churches, law and laymen.
Rev. William Martin presided and on the platform with him were... [religious leaders comment]
Judge R. F. Crawford followed and said he was ashamed of the condition which required such a gathering. He recalled the terrible and crushing blow which struck the fair City of Roses a year ago and blotted out its business interests and homes and wiping out scores of lives--a blow which was heard all over the broad land and which had created heartfelt sympathy, caused tens of thousands of dollars to be poured into our laps and tons of provisions to be hurried to us, all of which came from an unseen hand.
But this was nothing, he continued, to be compared to the blow struck on April 11, so startling, shocking and unexpected as came from the hand, voice, and vote of those who had been entrusted to protect and guide the destinies of the city and to work for its welfare and interests.
"Why quietly and secretly adopt such a law?
"Why regulate such houses under the guise of boarding or lodging houses?
"By such a resolution you have eliminated all evil from your fair city, but it is there under a new name, just the same. There are no inmates any longer. They are simply guests. It is a downright insult to every respectable boarding house in the city. Hereafter you may expect to find in the cities surrounding us any number of 'Santa Rosa Boarding and Lodging Houses.'"
The speaker concluded with the statement that he did not believe it possible that the council had considered the resolution sufficiently, or in conference with the public and when the members know the sentiment of public opinion, they will rescind the objectionable resolution.
Frank A. Sullivan spoke for the Catholic church...
Dr. D. P. Anderson represented the residents south of the creek, who had long been silent sufferers, hoping that the day would come when the evil could be forced to remove from the gateway of the city. Like Professor McMeans, being a member of the city government [ed. note: he was just a trustee on the library board], he hesitated to criticise, as he knew from personal experience how easily an official's act are often misconstrued, misunderstood and condemned, when they were not fully responsible, when in acting they had used their best judgment and ability, but had been misled.
If through legal quibbles and technicalities there was no other method left open for the authorities to handle such vice, he did not hesitate to declare that our vaunted civilization and Christianity are a total and absolute failure. He did not believe, however, that the facts in the case demanded such radical action. There should not be any vice legalized by a city and on this principle, believed it was wrong to license saloons to debase and make drunkards of boys for the sake of the revenue obtained to run the schools and make streets or furnish water.
He said he expressed the sentiment of every virtuous woman and decent man south of the creek when he protested against the action of the council. The location granted for the use of the vice was where it had to be passed four times a day by those who were required to come up town and the children who went to school. He was glad to know the council had the power to regulate the business, for now the residents would organize and force the removal of the houses from their doors. (Applause.)
Attorney Rolfe L. Thompson said he had never seen such a magnificent outpouring of the citizens of the city in his fourteen years residence to protest against a pretended law. The protest, he presumed, would be of about as much avail as had the petition of the respectable people regarding the regulating of the saloon. Santa Rosa had been declared a wide open town now, had repudiated the sanctity of the Sabbath, slot machines were running openly, and bawdy houses had been licensed. But with all this, the meeting was a sign that there was some respectability left.
He said he referred to the pretended law advisedly and then quoted the recently enacted statute which says that the general reputation of such places is sufficient for a conviction. "What a farce, then," he continued, "that you and I should enact a resolution authorizing such house to run, and invite the women to come to our city to be our neighbors. I say you and I, for the citizens are responsible for the laws enacted by our representatives to the extent that he or she does not do all in their power to enforce the laws and select men who will carry out desires."
The resolution, he declared, was in the direct conflict with the state law and of no [illegible microfilm], as it provided that while saloons were taxed $60 a quarter, the boarding houses were taxed $45.
The meeting closed with a standing vote of protest, first by the men present, then by the ladies, followed by men and ladies together.- Santa Rosa Republican, April 22, 1907
CLEANSE THE STABLES!
The action of the city council in attempting to place certain forms of vice under direct public control, where it can be properly regulated and restricted, has aroused a storm of public indignation, and among the arguments advanced against it is the claim that nothing of the kind can be done under the law. The new city charter expressly provides that such places as those complained of may be regulated or suppressed by the public authorities, and represents the last public expression of the people of this city upon the subject. But if the evil cannot be restricted, and restricted properly under the law, then there is but one other thing that can be done, and that is to try and do away with it altogether. It is claimed by many that the social evil is something that cannot be suppressed, that experience has shown that if it does not exist in one form it will in another. Santa Rosa has a good opportunity of demonstrating the truth or falsity of this statement right now. For years the only supervision exercised over the district complained of has been exercised by the police. What has been done in that line has been done without legal warrant and purely through a process of intimidation. The city authorities, after carefully considering the matter for months, decided that there was but one way to handle the proposition, and that was as other public matters are handled, or in other words by duly delegated authority. The vote on the proposition was unanimous. For attempting to do this they have been criticized and maligned, as people generally are who try to harmonize the theories of the world with its true conditions. But that the authorities have honestly and sincerely tried to meet the situation is not the point. Public sentiment does not sanction the regulation of the social evil in any form, and such being the case the people responsible for its existence should be run out of town and made to keep out. No half-way measures will do. Let us cleanse the stables, and do it without further delay.- Press Democrat editorial, April 23, 1907
LIVELY TALK ON LICENSES
There was a lively time before the council Tuesday evening when a motion was made by Councilman Wallace to rescind the resolution licensing "boarding houses." The motion was seconded by Councilman Johnston each of these men declaring he was not satisfied with the legislation.
City Attorney Geary announced that the council was not able to rescind any existing rights conferred where the license had been granted and said the matter could not be accomplished until after the expiration of three months, the time to which the license fees have been paid, unless it be for cause. It was reported that all the "boarding houses" had taken out license.
Councilman Hall declared he did not favor such action, and said he could not be bluffed out. If the council was not able to do business without backing down, he announced, it was not able to do business at all.
Councilman Wallace averred that he was in favor of controlling these places, but it looked to him like the council was granting a privilege under a different name.
City Attorney Geary said he was getting tired of certain people trying to run the town, and that it was time to speak right out in meeting. He declared that in a recent mass meeting when speakers stated there was a state law against such things, they knew their statements were untrue, because they had been so informed previous to their making the statements. He said the preachers of this city had no right to condemn the action of the council, and that he was opposed to this sort of class legislation demanded, where men were continually coming to the council and protesting against certain things. The attorney said the preachers should not go into politics and that it was the protest against such actions and class legislation that had driven the emigrants to the New England shores and caused the settlement at Plymouth Rock. "Let the preachers come here as men and our equals," he said. "This reminds me of the popes and preachers holding up the cross and saying, "you must bow down." There is nothing new in the matter except the ignorance of these preachers. The charter is paramount, and the whole question is withdrawn from legislation."
Councilman Reynolds wanted to know what the license was issued to these "boarding houses" for, and was informed it was for selling liquors. He declared that the council had decided not to permit a woman to have a license for selling liquor and had turned down an applicant for such a permit. City Attorney Geary corrected the matter by saying these places were licensed as "boarding houses."
Mayor Overton said he would have to rule that no resolution could be rescinded except bt resolution, and no action was taken.- Santa Rosa Republican, May 8, 1907
MOVE TO RESCIND THE RESOLUTION
Question of Controlling Questionable Houses Brought Up--"Charter Paramount," Says Attorney Geary
"The charter is paramount to any action of the state legislature. Its power as regards the municipality is absolute. No general law can disturb the charter of a municipality."
This was the gist of an opinion given by City Attorney Geary at the meeting of the Council last night, following a remark that the state law overruled the authority given the Council by the charter to regulate the questionable houses on D and First streets.
Just before the meeting adjourned at midnight Councilman Wallace made a motion to rescind the resolution passed at a previous meeting licensing "boarding and lodging houses" on the streets named. He said after consideration he was not satisfied with the provisions of the resolution.
City Attorney Geary called attention to the fact that the rights granted by the licensses already issued could not be abolished except for cause and could not be revoked with a hearing, until the date of their expiration.
Councilman Hall said he for one did not like the idea of being coerced or bluffed, and that he believed the Council to be fully capable for handling any matter coming up for consideration.
Councilman Wallace said he was not "scared," but while he believed in controlling the resorts mentioned he now thought it had better be done in some different way. Councilman Johnson said he was not fully satisfied with the licensing plan adopted in the resolution, and was willing to second Mr. Wallace's motion. Both voted for the passage of the resolution it will be remembered.
Reference was made to the mass meeting held recently in the Presbyterian Church, and Councilman Burris characterized it as a "disgrace" to publicly flaunt the matters under discussion in the faces and ears of women and children. Councilman Wallace said he did not approve of the meeting either.
Councilman Reynolds, who was not present at the time of the passing of the resolution, asked what the license was for, and was referred to the resolution itself for his information. Mayor Overton ruled that a resolution was necessary to rescind a resolution.
After some further discussion the Council adjourned. The matter did not come to a vote.- Press Democrat, May 8, 1907
You can always tell when summer's winding down because back-to-school ads begin creeping into the newspapers. But in Sonoma County, the approach of another school year also brings the annual showdown between health officials and parents over vaccinations - and has, for more than a century.
In the 1907 items transcribed below, a news article reported that the new vaccination law was met with protests, but no details were given as to why. Insight came from a letter to the editor that quoted one Dr. Theodore Judson Higgins, who argued against the "inoculation of healthy people with vaccine" because diseases like smallpox were disappearing, and "vaccination is responsible for more or less of leprosy." Reading that, I'm sure many a mother became began to wonder if Johnny learning to read was worth the risk of Johnny's nose falling off.
The good Dr. Higgins, who was quoted from an article in The California Medical Journal, suggested many other helpful ideas to his colleagues in medicine; earlier that year, he wrote that the best treatment for pneumonia was to thickly smear the patient with olive oil, lard, and emetics, such as ipecac and strychnine.
But the anti-vaccination steamroller was only starting. The 1920 "Horrors of vaccination exposed and illustrated" by Charles Michael Higgins (unknown if related to Theodore Judson Higgins) insisted that vaccines not only didn't work, but caused epidemics - and that there was an international conspiracy to cover up this awful truth. Also fear-mongering was Daniel David Palmer, the crank founder of chiropracty who originally claimed he had magnetic hands. Palmer's basic text, The Science of chiropractic, has a long section denouncing vaccinations as useless and often fatal. Soon the conspiracy thinkers and the chiropractors joined forces, and the "Chiropractors' constitutional rights committee" wrote and published in 1941 its own screed, "The Horrors of Vaccination and Inoculation at Work," which went so far as to claim most people who were vaccinated would become seriously ill, and mandatory vaccinations were unconstitutional. The Chas. Higgins book is now back in print, and is probably feeding the fears of a new generation of Sonoma County parents.
PROTESTS BEGIN TO ARRIVE NOW
The Enforcing of the Vaccination Law is Not Favored by all--Trustees to Purchase Virus
As was anticipated when it was announced that the vaccination law was to be enforced in Sonoma county protests are already being received. Clerks of several of the school districts have called upon County Superintendent DeWitt Montgomery to make further inquiries regarding methods of procedure, and some of them have brought protests along from people in their respective districts. But the law will be enforced. The State Board has sent out its ultimatum, not only to this county, but to others.
Upon inquiry regarding the law it was ascertained Wednesday that it is necessary for school trustees to purchase good and reliable virus to be used at the time of vaccination. In cases where parents are too poor to pay for the physician this may also be made a charge against the district.
While there are protests coming in there are parents who are taking the matter philosophically and are having the children vaccinated without murmuring.
- Press Democrat, September 19, 1907
IS STRONGLY OPPOSED TO VACCINATION
Editor REPUBLICAN: Will you kindly find space for the following synopsis of a convincing article by Theodore Judson Higgins, Ph. G., M. D., M. S., recently published in The California Medical Journal, on the dangers attending the practice of vaccination?
Dr. Higgins introduces in the foremost paragraph of his paper a long list of names of distinguished medical men who assert that vaccination is responsible for more or less of leprosy. He argues the dangers of compulsory vaccination, the inoculation of healthy people with vaccine and asserts that the conditions are so grave arising from the practices that legislative correctives should, through popular petition, be applied. Sanitary ameiloration should be substituted for innoculative experiment and "other drastic forms of medication" abandoned. Germicides, fumigation and the complete destruction of the bodies of all persons dying of small pox, leprosy, tuberculosis and other dreaded diseases are urged as the most effective remedies. Small pox is decreasing in violence in this country, just as it has erased in China, where it is scarcely feared, it being the contention of Dr. Higgins that true smallpox loses its fatal qualities in five or six generations. By his invention of the terms, "variolae vaccinae," Dr. Jenner has confounded the student and led the investigator astray, and although the unlikeness between the inoculated cowpox vesicle and the smallpox pustule has been demonstrated the medical profession yet adhere to the Jennerian theory and practice.
Dr. Higgins declares it is the blood and not the tissues most affected by incapable diseases and that "its altered state is maintained no matter what materials are added to the blood." The tissues may and do recover but the blood by an assimilative and selective process retains the taint. Any foreign material introduced into the blood remains there and will sooner or later manifest its appearance in the body.
Dr. Higgins concludes his paper with the statement that during his professional experience he has by research and experiment, both clinically and microscopically, verifies the theories of the authorities he quotes.
-- "A. G."
- Santa Rosa Republican, November 13, 1907
Over the course of 1907, the future arrived Santa Rosa. The 20th century came late, and not because of the big 1906 earthquake; that disaster actually thwarted meaningful progress and entrenched the town in its 19th Century ways, as hashed over in an earlier essay. But finally by 1907, ownership of an automobile was no longer such a novelty that the newspapers always reported the purchase; electrical service was reliable (well, reliable-ish); and most of all, private telephones became ubiquitous appliances.
Just a couple of years earlier, there was an average of about one phone for every ten residents, and lines were shared with several other homes. Now in 1907, even two-party lines were to be rare because more telephone numbers were available (three digits, now!) and prices were reduced - although still expensive by today's standard. Then residential phone service was $1.75/month, the equivalent to about $41.00, adjusted for modern inflation.
But for some, telephones created an early wave of "future shock" - anxiety over rapid and widespread introduction of a new technology - which in this case, was being unsure that you knew how to use a telephone "correctly." Some even had trouble communicating with the local "number, please" operators who did the actual technical work of making the connection, as joked about in a 1906 humor item. The two instructional items below (reprinted uncredited from elsewhere) provide a list of rules for having a proper telephone conversation and discusses the etiquette of ending a call, while bemoaning that "the undignified 'Hello' seems to have come to stay."
MANY PHONES IN USEThere are 870 telephones in use in the City of Roses at present. This number almost approximates the number of phones that were in use here before the April disaster last year, and in the near future it is expected the former record will be exceeded. There is a constant increase in the number of subscribers...- Santa Rosa Republican, March 15, 1907
TELEPHONES ARE ADDED
Two-Number Phone Contracted On Main Line
Manager H. S. Johnson of the local telephone office stated Wednesday afternoon that there are a great many contracts being made these days by patrons of the company for the change from party lines to main lines. The work of the changing to the mainline system has progressed so rapidly that already all of the two figure lines have been contracted for and they are now making contracts for the three figure phones. The recent reduction in telephone rates has had a good effect upon this part of the business, and soon they are to issue a new directory giving the changes...
After the canvass for the main line business has been concluded, the representative will be put to work on the party line business and it is expected that there will be a great many people who will desire to change lines carrying fewer number of phones, and this will tend to greatly improve the phone service of the city.- Santa Rosa Republican, July 25, 1907
SOME CHANGES IN THE PHONE SYSTEM
Two Party Lines Are to Be Adopted--New Directory to Be Issued Very Soon
County Manager H. S. Johnson of the Pacific States Telephone & Telegraph Co., is now engaged in getting the Santa Rosa business into shape for the new directory soon to be issued which will contain the names of subscribers and their street numbers as well. The work is quite extensive and means a lot of labor but will prove of great benefit and convenience to the patrons of the company when once completed.
Preparatory to doing anything in the matter, it has been decided that all four party lines shall be raised to two party lines, so as to do away with the ringing of the bell unless the subscriber is wanted. It will also lessen the complaint of "line busy." The Company has recently granted a reduction in independent and two party lines, both business and residences.
This latter move has proved extremely popular with patrons, although it has meant quite a heavy loss in revenue for the time being to the Company. Later the loss will probably be made up in the increased number of such 'phones used. Prior to the fire the price for individual business lies were $3 and now they have been reduced to $2 per month. The two party lines in use prior to the fire were $3 for business houses. Now they are $2.50. For residences they were $2.50 and now they are $1.75 per month. Another concession has been made to the patron of the Company, as a desk 'phone is now placed, if more convenient, without extra charge. Previously there was a charge of $1.50 per month for a desk 'phone in addition to the regular rental for the class of 'phone used.
A number of canvassers are now at work seeking a renewal of the contracts under the reduced charges and are meeting with ready acquiescence all along the line as soon as the plan is fully understood. The work of making the changes in the system is already under way and as fast as possible all lines will be worked over into the single and two party system. There will be no more four or ten party lines accepted.
A temporary 'phone directory is being prepared to meet the demands made necessary by the change from the four to two party lines, but as soon as the system is arranged a complete new directory with the street numbers will be issued by the Company in Santa Rosa. It is expected that the work will be completed by the first of the year.- Press Democrat, November 8, 1907
YOU SHOULD KNOW HOW TO TELEPHONE
One of the assets of the man who does business today is his telephone voice, provided he knows how to make a good impression when he talks over the wire. All sorts of affairs are now conducted by telephone, but the importance of telephoning in the proper way is often overlooked by business men who would on no consideration permit a poorly typewritten letter to leave their offices. Take the trouble to fix firmly in your mind half a dozen simple rules, put them in practice and see if your telephoning conversations are not made of increased value in your business. Here are the rules:
1. When you are talking by telephone to a person in your own town, speak in an ordinary tone of voice. Do not whisper into the transmitter, but, on the other hand, don not shout at the instrument as if you had a grudge against the telephone system and everybody who uses the telephone.
2. When you are using a long distance line elevate your voice and speak a little louder than you would speak to a man in the room with you. This does not mean however, that you should try to make noises as loud and discordant as those produced by the calliope in the circus parade.
3. Besides speaking distinctly avoid talking too fast. There are orators who reel off words at the rate of 300 a minute, and still make themselves understood, but they couldn't do it by telephone.
4. When you telephone devote yourself to telephoning. When you write a letter you do not at the same time look out of the window to see who is going by on the other side of the street. If you turn your back on the telephone and send your words flying hither and yon all over the room and into the great world outside, It is not fair to blame the apparatus and the man at the other end of the line if he does not hear distinctly all that you say.
5. Remembering rule 4, speak directly at the transmitter. Don't get so near it that you seem to be trying to crawl into it. Neither should you keep it at arm's length. It won't hurt you. Sit or stand so that your lips re about an inch from the transmitter and your words will go flying on their own journey without trouble.
6. If you are using a desk telephone don't hold it upside down or at all sorts of odd angles. The desk telephone was made to do its work while standing on its own base or held in a perpendicular position. You should not expect a thermometer to be accurate if you hung it wrong side up. Why not use the telephone as it was intended to be used?
Moral: Should you think at first that it really does not make much difference how you do your telephoning remember than an average of 16,940,000 telephone conversations pass daily over the lines of the Bell system and that three million people in the United States are subscribers to the service. That in itself shows how great [a] part of the telephone plays in the daily life of the American people. Personal appearance counts in the business world. It is important to make a good appearance when you meet a man face to face. It is equally important to make a good impression by telephone.- Santa Rosa Republican, May 7, 1907
The Undignified "Hello" Seems to Have Come to Stay.
"How do you ever stop a conversation with a girl over the telephone?" asked a worried oung man the other day. "Grace X. called me up last evening to tell me that she had heard frome somebody I was interested in, and then we talked along in a desultory way, while I was wondering how I was ever going to get into my dress suit and call for Ethel in time for the opera, and Ethel dotes on the overture. I didn't think it was my place to say 'goodby,' and Grace evidently had nothing pressing on hand and felt sociable, and there I was. At last she seemed to reflect that I might have something to do besides gossip with her and she rang off, but I was fifteen minutes late at Ethel's. The matter was not made better with her when I explained that I had been detained by Grace at the telephone."
It is the place of the young lady to stop the conversation. The younger should always wait for the elder of two men or two women to end it.
And beware how you call the name of your unseen friend until you are sure. The other day a young man responded to a ring and, after a moment's talk, exclaimed, "How good in you, Emma, to call me up!" Coldly came the rejoinder, "This is not Emma; it is Gertrude." Strained relations marked the rest of the interview.
The undignified "Hello" seems to have come to stay. Nothing better has been proposed in place of it, but when we can substitute "Good morning" or "Good evening" let us do so.- Santa Rosa Republican, June 3, 1907
Despite Santa Rosa's dreams of a post-1906 earthquake renaissance, it remained a modest farm town until after WWII. While the first 25 years of the century saw booming growth in other towns such as San Jose, Vallejo and Oakland, the official population numbers for Santa Rosa stayed stubbornly under ten thousand.
Even though Santa Rosa was a Bay Area backwater, it had two daily newspapers with pages to fill, and the little squibs that padded the space between serious news and the ads still provide much of the fun in reading those old pages. Here were described the local ripples from the life mundane, usually squibs about the doings of the neighbors you sort-of knew who lived in a little house halfway up on the next block.
Among the samples below, it's described that someone ("the buggy man of Healdsburg") grew a large turnip, a kid had a pet possum and squirrels - which were sent all the way from Texas, no less - and a family had a clock that only needed winding once a year. Also, there were new water troughs for horses downtown, which became the (un)inspiration for what surely has to be among the most boring sentences ever composed: "[The] horses were, it is said, some small and some large, some short and some tall, and those who witnessed the test say that they all drank and that the trough was not too high."
Hundreds of vignettes like these, sometimes bizarre, sometimes quaint, appeared every year, and most probably inspired idle talk at the barbershop, were mentioned over supper, or chatted about during a hand of cards. As entertaining as they may be, the items are also a galling reminder that there was meaty news that the papers could have written about but chose to ignore, such as the long-running illegal gambling scene in the downtown saloons during horse racing season. Safer and easier, though, to write about that monster of a turnip that a guy lugged down to the newspaper office.
A Big TurnipContractor Frank Sullivan brought to this office on Monday morning an immense turnip presented to him by his friend, James Brown, the buggy man of Healdsburg. The turnip is on exhibition.- Press Democrat, September 17, 1907
POSSUM FROM TEXASMaster Thomas B. Miller has a possum at his home on Tenth street, which was sent him from Morgan, Texas, by L. M. Smith, who formerly resided here. The possum and three Texas squirrels made the trip to this city nicely, and are being cared for at the Miller home. Master Miller is proud of his new possessions.- Santa Rosa Republican, April 30, 1908
HORSES DRINK AT NEW WATERING TROUGHS
Yesterday some twenty horses drank at the new water trough outside of the Mission on Mendocino avenue by the Woman's Improvement Club. The trough is one of a number in different parts of town. In the score of horses were, it is said, some small and some large, some short and some tall, and those who witnessed the test say that they all drank and that the trough was not too high. Among those seeing the horses quench their thirst were Mayor James H. Hray and Mrs. L. W. Burris, President of the Woman's Improvement Club.
The idea of having the troughs so high has been carried out in a number of places, including San Francisco, where the troughs were put up by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The troughs in San Francisco are not as deep as the ones in this city. Here, it was stated Wednesday, the ground about the troughs will be raised a little with a layer of crushed rock. There has been considerable comment that the watering troughs are too high.- Press Democrat, May 21, 1908
A LONG-WINDED CLOCK
Time Piece in the Coulter Family which is One of Six
"There's a clock that will run a whole year without winding."
Don't believe it.
So they went into Glickman's store to have the question settled. The clock is one that belongs to the Coulter family. It had been sent to Glickman's for cleaning, and its distinction became known.
"That's not quite right," said the watchmaker. "That clock, or any other clock has to be wound but it will run a year with only one winding. That's where it differs from most time pieces."
"Well, that's what I meant," said the man who had called attention to the clock. During the life of the late Squire Coulter, the annual winding of the clock was a part of the Christmas observances, and it is most probable that the custom will be perpetuated although the Squire is among the departed. There are, it is said, only six clocks in the world like this one.- Press Democrat, August 2, 1907