Did you ever look at a building along the side of the road and think, “Boy, there’s got to be an interesting story there.” That’s the way I was about the structure standing a 722 S. State Street in Ukiah and delving into historical resources told me some of its story.
In 2019 we see a Hispanic clothing store on the site but a lot of people remember when it was the Ukiah Saw Shop in the 1990’s. If you’re an old timer you can remember a variety of enterprises within its walls going back to the 1920’s. Most of the rock came from Feliz Creek in ”Hopland and some came from Talmadge’s Mill Creek delivered on a Model T Ford truck.
Built as a low rectangular milk processing building by George Thomas in 1924 the creator had fun using rocks of all sizes and embedding abalone shells and fragments in with the rock. The boiler for the chimney still stands. Then in the early 1940’s a rounded front addition allowed the family to sell milk products directly to the public. A lunch counter was added with fried chicken and apple pie topped with ice cream made right there.
When the two buildings were joined together with concrete imbedded in the ceiling were milk shake glasses to let the sun in. Solar lighting ahead of its time! By 1933 the business, the Ukiah Dairy, outgrew the Rock House and moved down the street to 109 S. State Street where an ice cream machine was placed in the window. Milk and cream were still sold at the Rock House and the back was a warehouse. In 1941 the warehouse, lunch counter and a small cabin was offered for sale for $5,000.
By 1950 a realtor had offices in the Rock House and insurance was sold there. Then in 1981 the saw shop took the space and many other businesses used the space before today’s clothing shop occupants. I like to think the building has lasted so long with so many businesses because it was so solidly built. The next time you’re in Ukiah stop and take a look at the structure. It’s bigger than it appears because it stretches far back from State Street. If you know any rockhounds or geologists tell them to take a look at it too. There are strange surprises imbedded all over the building.