- Hot Days
- Budget Approved
- PA Testing
- Macdonald House
- Sacto Tip
- PO Movers
- Who Cares
- Melbourne Store
- School Memories
- Ukiah Pears
- Ed Notes
- Yesterday's Catch
- Newsroom Fear
- Space Tourists
- Philbrick Overload
- Miracle Diet
- Baby Boomlet
- Hank Aaron
- Oxen Team
- Sweating Bullets
- Tree Fox
- Gagging Applebee's
- Comptche Melbourne
- Race Relations
- Ida Jackson
- Hendy Women
- Found Object
HOT AND DRY conditions will persist through Friday across the interior, followed by a cooling trend this weekend into early next week. Morning cloudiness at the coast will give way to sunny skies and warmer temperatures in the afternoon. (NWS)
SUPERVISOR John McCowen posts:
COVID-19 TESTING IN POINT ARENA
Redwood Coast Medical Services, Mendocino County Public Health and the City of Point Arena have collaborated to provide free surveillance testing for COVID-19 to residents of Point Arena and the South Coast.
The drive-thru testing will be conducted on a first come-first serve basis on Monday June 29 starting at 9:30am and is free-of-charge.
Testing will be limited to residents of Mendocino and Sonoma Counties. There will be approximately 100 tests available.
COVID-19 Surveillance Testing
Monday June 29, 9:30am
Point Arena City Hall/Veteran's Building
451 School Street
For general information about the testing, please contact Point Arena City Hall at 882-2122. Please note that no reservations for testing will be accepted.
NOTE: Public agency, lodging, restaurant, grocery store and other employees with heavy public contact will be able to receive guaranteed testing between 9am and 9:30am. Please contact Point Arena City Hall at 882-2122 by 5pm Friday for more information or email email@example.com by 5pm Sunday June 28.
We look forward to helping provide this vital public health service for residents of Point Arena and the South Coast.
MACDONALD HOME, COMPTCHE
CRYPTIC HOME INVASION PRESSER out of Fort Bragg
On June 23 2020, Officers of the Fort Bragg Police Department were alerted by an off duty Sacramento Police Officer that a suspect in a home invasion which occurred in the Sacramento area was currently in the area of the Noyo Bridge.
Officers located the associated vehicle and initiated a traffic stop at 1190 S Main Street (McDonalds). The suspect was detained without incident at the request of the Sacramento Police Department. He was later transferred to their custody, arrested, and transported back to Sacramento.
Further details regarding this incident have been withheld to protect the confidentiality of those involved and the current investigation. Further inquiries regarding this incident or the suspect in custody should be directed to the Sacramento Police Department.
MOVING COMPTCHE POST OFFICE, 1926
In 74 years, I never wasted one second thinking about the namesake of the cities of Fort Bragg. Portland, Seattle, Phoenix, Syracuse — who cares?
If I reluctantly drive through Fort Bragg, I never think of a Confederate soldier or a slave or recognize any disrespect for Blacks. What a waste of time.
It may make some white politicians look better to change names, but it won’t solve the problems of racism, police brutality, inequity in education, opportunity, jobs and Black income and social standing.
For God’s sake, correct the problems and give up the grandstanding name changes. Hood, Bliss, Benning, who were they? Who cares? They died 50 years ago. Our politicians are alive. Make them provide equity in education and oversight of police policy — at least a beginning that may accomplish something.
Very interesting if sobering "Message to the Class of 2020" by Tommy Wayne Kramer in the June 17 edition.
I grew up in an affluent community and graduated from a public high school that was essentially a publicly funded college prep school.
At my high school graduation ceremony the three valedictorians of my class gave speeches. They probably had GPAs around 4.85. I happened to know two of them, one a guy I'd known since the fourth grade; the other a guy I'd known since the sixth grade. I don't remember anything from their speeches.
I do remember something from the principal’s speech though, both because of its importance and its irony. He said in his speech that all of us in my class (realistically almost all of us) had learned how to "read, write and compute at a high level" during our four years at our high school.
To me this was ironic because within the environment of my high school with its grandiose expectations (or demands) of sending graduates to prestigious colleges, most of us students (and our parents) took for granted that we had learned to read, write and compute at an adequate level.
Unfortunately, we all knew that a lot of American high school graduates do not learn to read, write and compute at an adequate level.
In my opinion, the academic focus at my high school was all out of proportion towards achievement and performance rather than learning. In fact, I'm sure that some of my classmates had a feeling: "I don't really care so much if I can read, write and compute at an adequate level, I just want to go to UC Berkeley and wind up in the affluent professional class like my parents."
Speaking of my classmates, I did not celebrate graduation with my group of 12-15 male friends that night after going out to dinner with my family. Why not? Looking back all these years later I suppose it's because I didn't really consider them friends — they were merely guys I hung out with. After I dropped out of college in 1988 because of the prestigious college professional class rat race had beat me to a pulp, I knew my high school "friends" would reject me outright and consequently I haven't had any contact with them since 1988.
TRUMP, via Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, has activated the National Guard to protect monuments during anti-racism protests in Washington, according to a report. Last Friday, DC’s statue of a minor Confederate, Albert Pike, near the city’s police headquarters was pulled down. This Monday, protesters tried but failed to topple a statue of President Andrew Jackson that faces the White House. President Trump called the assault on Jackson’s statue a “sneak attack” and warned activists they face up to 10 years in prison under the Veterans’ Memorial Preservation Act.
TRUMP'S RE-ELECTION STRATEGY is as transparent as can be. He's already saying that he's all there is standing between his base and statue vandals, Mexican immigrants, Nancy Pelosi, and disorder generally. If Trump was a little smarter he'd be even more dangerous than he is, but even his base is beginning to drift away, having realized, finally, that he's not the guy to get them to the fascism they yearn for without knowing what it is. Trump's unwitting re-election helpers are people like that self-righteous mob in the street outside Fort Bragg City Hall Monday night.
WHEN will the schools open? A new state budget agreement offers more money to California schools than was projected, but requires students to return to in-classroom learning — except for specific coronavirus-related "triggers." The details, contained in a budget trailer bill released late Monday night, say the return to full five-day in-classroom instruction begins when the fall term starts in late August. The trailer bill contains no cuts for K-12 public schools, and offers some protections from teacher layoffs that had been threatened for next year.
I DON'T CARE. Call me soft, but I like Melania, and I agree with her that the "inappropriate and insensitive comments" about her son from some third string comedian — "I hope Barron gets to spend today with whoever his dad is" — were cruel and unfair to Melania and her son. "Sadly," she said, "we continue to see inappropriate and insensitive comments about our son. As with every other administration, a minor child should be off-limits and allowed to grow up with no judgment or hate from strangers and the media."
A REVERSE Fort Bragg bigot called Ui Wesley posted this comment about Monday night's meeting of the Fort Bragg City Council: "There will be a loud, proud, confident racist majority speaking against the name change. Please help us push back. The full list of demands of the Mendocino BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) are after the details below." Purple fascism is on the march. No racists spoke, and an Indian from the Sherwood tribe who graduated from Fort Bragg High School said he opposed a name change. I especially enjoyed the comment by an elderly woman, a native of Fort Bragg, who said she hadn't even known who Bragg was "until all this started."
MATT TAIBBI NAILS IT: "Our president, Donald Trump, is a clown who makes a great reality-show villain but is uniquely toolless as the leader of a superpower nation. Watching him try to think through two society-imperiling crises is like waiting for a gerbil to solve Fermat’s theorem. Calls to ‘dominate’ and ad-libbed speculations about Floyd’s “great day” looking down from heaven at Trump’s crisis management and new unemployment numbers (“only 21 million out of work!") were pure gasoline at a tinderbox moment. The man seems determined to talk us into civil war. But police violence, and Trump’s daily assaults on the presidential competence standard, are only part of the disaster. On the other side of the political aisle, among self-described liberals, we’re watching an intellectual revolution. It feels liberating to say after years of tiptoeing around the fact, but the American left has lost its mind. It’s become a cowardly mob of upper-class social media addicts, Twitter Robespierres who move from discipline to discipline torching reputations and jobs with breathtaking casualness. The leaders of this new movement are replacing traditional liberal beliefs about tolerance, free inquiry, and even racial harmony with ideas so toxic and unattractive that they eschew debate, moving straight to shaming, threats, and intimidation. They are counting on the guilt-ridden, self-flagellating nature of traditional American progressives, who will not stand up for themselves, and will walk to the Razor voluntarily."
I WROTE to KZYX local reporter Sarah Reith to say, "On this morning's newscast you said that Mr. Neuroth's beating was ‘caught on tape.’ The phrase ‘caught on’ suggests the event was filmed by someone who just happened to see it, as in, say, the George Floyd murder. The Mendo County Jail has cameras throughout the facility. The Neuroth film was made public by Sheriff.”
NITPICKING, YOU SAY? I don't think so. It's these casual misrepresentations that fuel unreasoning hostility for people like cops and jailers as they — the large majority anyway — try to do a reputable job in a very difficult context. Ms. Reith is a capable reporter who, natch, didn't bother to respond.
CATCH OF THE DAY, June 24, 2020
JOSE ESTRADA-WIRT JR., Ukiah. Fighting in public, controlled substance, resisting.
MICHAEL JAMES, Fighting in public.
ALDEN LARVIE, Ukiah. Failure to appear.
ROBERT SMITH, Fort Bragg. Domestic battery, probation revocation.
VICTOR VARGAS, Ukiah. Resisting, probation revocation.
FRANCISCO ZAMORA, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
THE AMERICAN PRESS IS DESTROYING ITSELF
Sometimes it seems life can’t get any worse in this country. Already in terror of a pandemic, Americans have lately been bombarded with images of grotesque state-sponsored violence, from the murder of George Floyd to countless scenes of police clubbing and brutalizing protesters.
As a long time [38 years] subscriber. I finally let my subscription expire due to your unrelenting acquiescence to Mr Philbrick's racist, misanthropic, ignorant rants. Ok, Let him scribe a couple but it’s a constant platform of hate and stupidity that you countenance. Please. Enough is enough. What purpose are you serving letting this crockpot spew the same shit every week? If Mr P. had enough intelligence and insight to at least vary his tormented diatribes I might be curious, but no, It’s the same crap every single week. As an ancient welder and blacksmith I worked on LP’s equipment on Willow Creek in Occidental since the 80’s and then for MRC after. Never met a redneck asshole such as Philbrick. Thank god.
There will be a minor baby boom in 9 months, and then one day in 2033, we shall witness rise of THE QUARANTEENS.
— Anica Williams, AV Village Coordinator
THINKING OF HANK AARON on his 85th Birthday.
Scott Doggett: See the young man in this picture? He was 18 years old when it was taken at the train station in Mobile, Alabama, in 1952. There is $1.50 in his pocket. In that bag by his foot are two changes of clothes. (And if his mama was anything like most other mamas in the South, probably some sandwiches and other snacks.) He was on his way to Indiana to take a job. He was going to play baseball for the Indy Clowns of the Negro Leagues. Apparently, he was pretty good at it. A couple of years later, he was signed by the (then minor league) Milwaukee Brewers. He played for the Brewers for 2 seasons, then moved across town to the Braves, and later followed them to Atlanta. Eventually, he was the last Negro League player to be on a major league roster. He still hangs around the baseball world. At the moment, he's the senior vice president of the Atlanta Braves. Even though the team has changed stadiums (twice) since then, his retired number, 44, still hangs on the outfield wall of the old Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium near where he belted a homer to break Babe Ruth's all-time record (which he held for 33 years). Happy 85th birthday to "Hammerin' Hank" Aaron.
CASPAR OXEN TEAM
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Over the weekend we heard of the necessity to rename Yale University owing to Elihu’s unfortunate business enterprises. The rest of the Ivy league is sweating bullets.
“Jesus as white European” images are now in the crosshairs.
Will the Mayor of DC protect the National Gallery, Hirschhorn, National Portrait Gallery? Translation: “Tax-supported images of oppression.”
Will the Mayor of Chicago protect the Art Institute?
Is that smoke rising from the left bank the former contents of the Louvre?
Can Da Vinci, Michaelangelo, be far behind?
Someone in Boston please save for me Sargent’s Mrs Fiske Warren and her daughter Rachel. The absolute embodiment of white privilege.
DENIS ROUSE WRITES:
Been re-reading Robert Stone, prompted this email thanking you for turning me on to him years ago. Yesterday I was having lunch with some delusional friends in Appleby's, and while I was gagging over what was served to us as food, I remembered Stone's great short story "The Archer" in his collection "Fun With Problems", the restaurant scene in it is unforgettable. Also, since I've had some experience with some of the human reptiles in the Hollywood movie biz, Stone's "Children of Light" is a novel I've read at least three times and have enjoyed it more with every read. So, anyway, thanks again, and thank God for the great lit.
COMPTCHE-MELBOURNE STORE, 1918
BLACK PEOPLE IN THE ANDERSON VALLEY
Ida and Emmett Jackson bought a ranch high above Boonville in the 1930s. She had been the first Negro Masters graduate in education at Cal in the early 1920's. He made a living renting to single workmen in San Francisco. The Jackson family had emigrated from the New Orleans district years before that. She became an acclaimed educator and modest philanthropist. They vacationed summers at their ranch in Anderson Valley.
The attachment here is from her autobiographical reflections for a California oral history project. Chapter XIII deals with buying and living on the ranch. My wife's parents visited them throughout the 1940's and 1950's, as late as the early 1960's by which time both her parents had died. Ethel Waters was another visitor. The local sheep and hog rancher element was violently hostile. It was a general attitude in the region. When Emmett took my wife to Point Arena in about 1951 to get her an ice cream cone, the proprietor refused service. Emmett pointed to the money, quarter, and demanded the ice cream, which the owner handed over.
Years later, someone sabotaged the Jackson ranch house's propane tank with a timer set to explode and blow up the house. It happened that my wife, the only occupant, then a teenager, had left unexpectedly to return to Berkeley that weekend. Old Boonville hands confirmed the race relations circumstances to Marianne Crispin, a young wife living in Boonville when Judith was a child. They recognized each other in Willits 25 years later at the Carnegie Library in 1972. Marianne died falling asleep on the way back from Boonville taking care of her mother in about 1980.
Ida should be considered a pioneer in race relations in the Bay Area. The honorific might be extended, were it known, to life in Anderson Valley. When the nearby Hendy Woods State Park was inaugurated, she invited Ethel Waters to attend and perform.
It was a rough crowd. She avoided all talk about it in her memoir.
PS. One anecdote about the only Black man in redneck country. My late neighbor Glenwood Wagner in about 1958 had a 1924 De Soto, perfect condition, newly upholstered, about which he was constantly being importuned by a little old 'Black,' then 'Negro', guy in the neighborhood who was bound and determined to get it. "He was always at me, always at me," Glenwood explained to me. He was the best hunter and fisherman of his time, For years he only used a crossbow, meaning he had to get within forty yards of his prey. He lived twelve years past what his oncologist predicted as curtains. But he was generous to a fault. Finally he gave in to the little guy and sold him the relic, for $35. The buyer spent his last days at Ridgewood Ranch, the religious collective South of Willits, complaining incessantly about racial prejudice. I saw him there in the late 1970s when I delivered mail at Ridgewood as a contract carrier. Black people didn't move to Willits.
Bill Ray, Willits
IDA JACKSON IN MENDOCINO COUNTY
Morris: How did you and your brother decide to buy a ranch in Mendocino?
Jackson: As I may have told you before, Emmett and I planned many things together. Of course, I had no money. On my salary, it was all I could do to live. And I didn't entirely live off that salary. Are you interested in this background?
Morris: I am indeed.
Jackson: For months I had noticed my brother would have in his pocket the Want Ads section of the Examiner and the Tribune. He worked in San Francisco, among the many jobs he had. He would read these ads on the trains. I couldn't understand how he could be just interested in Want Ads. But I just passed it off as one of his hobbies. And lo and behold, he was looking for a ranch site. We usually did things on the weekends, such as visiting. For years we knew every antique dealer in San Francisco, just about. They knew him. So we would go there. Most of them were open on Sundays. After church we would go there. At that time, he was a member of the Christian Science church and so was I.
Anyway, this particular weekend he went off alone and said, "Kiddo, I won't be back tonight, and maybe I'll go on to work. I'll call you, though, and let you know where I am."
Morris: Were the two of you living in this house by then?
Jackson: I was living here. He didn't ever live here, although he bought this house. He had to live at his apartment house. It's a long story. I'll make it short. During the rent control days—
Morris: During World War II?
Jackson: Yes. His rents were frozen. He had let people who didn't have money just pay a nominal sum for four- and five-room apartments. And the rents were frozen on him. So he found the only way he could make it was to rent rooms to men. He knew men working at the shipyards and the like. He had a wide acquaintance. So in that way he was able to keep up the payments on his places. How did I get off into that?
Morris: He went off on the weekend and didn't tell you where he was going.
Jackson: Yes. Finally the time came, and he said, "Kiddo, I'll call you." Then the next week he went. So I said, "Well, now this is funny." So I thought he just had a new girlfriend he was going to see. Usually he would tell me about his different friends. He said, "I like her very much, but she's getting serious." I mean the different ones. Most people liked him. He was a very unusual person. Not because he was my brother, but he was. I wondered what he was doing. So then when he came back during the week he said, "Are you going to be busy this next weekend?"
I said, "No, if you're not going out of town."
He said, "Save it for me."
As the week went on, I said, "What are we going to do?"
He said, "I want you to go to Point Arena with me."
I said, "Point Arena? Where's that?"
He said, "You're a school teacher; you're supposed to know."
We went up to Ukiah. He said, "I want to go to Ukiah."
I said, "All of this mystery! But I won't push it so long as I'm going along."
So we went to the county recorder's office. And he had been meeting the owner of this ranch. This man had advertised in the Examiner. And he answered the ad. These weekends that he wasn't seeing me, he was meeting this fellow. The first time, the man met him in San Francisco. The next time he went to Point Arena. And they had a bus line that stopped in Point Arena then.
Morris: From Ukiah?
Jackson: No, from San Francisco, the bus used to go to Point Arena up the coastline. As I said, the first weekend he was meeting the man who owned the ranch. The next weekend they went farther to look over the land. Then the third weekend was when he invited me to go. And we went to the recorder's office. He asked my brother James if he wouldn't come along too. On our way up I was driving and he said, "Now, James, I know you can keep a secret, so I don't want anyone to know anything of the business we transact today."
So James said, "Okay, you know it doesn't concern me."
So we went to the recorder's office. And he was having the deed recorded. And the former owner was there, Gus Hoffman. I was introduced to Gus Hoffman. So we went up to the recorder's office and Mr. Anderson, who was recorder then, asked him how he wanted it made out. He said, "Emmett Lee Jackson, a single man, and Ida Louise Jackson, a single woman."
And I said, "Emmett, I don't have—" And he put his foot on mine. I can see Mr. Anderson now with his pen poised, and he said, "How do you want it?"
He said, "I told you, Emmett Lee Jackson, a single man, and Ida Jackson."
When we came out I said, "Emmett, you know I don't have any money."
He said, "You're not supposed to have any. But you do keep a car. You don't manage to have any money, but you do keep a good car. And all I require of you as joint owner is to provide the transportation so that we can go back and forth."
So that's how I became half-owner of a 1280-acre ranch.
Morris: Is this something he had wanted to do for a long time?
Jackson: All his life. You see, when we came out here, my mother left a nine-room house and its furnishings and came to California and never went back. We came out here in February of '18, and she went back in '29, and just left the place with the woman in charge. And the woman took care of it in exchange for living there. That was her payment, caring for the place. As far back as I can remember, there was always a problem of paying taxes on some land. Mama and Papa would be talking, "We can't get the children a bicycle this year because we've got to pay the taxes." I told Emmett, "When I grow up, I'm never going to own any property, because all you do is pay taxes." Of course, I was young then.
Morris: Did he go up there and run it as a working ranch? Or did he have somebody run it for him?
Jackson: For a year we left the former owner on it. He did not announce it to the people there, that he had sold it. In the middle of the second year, we arranged to take over. It took Emmett some time to find someone who could manage it for him. It was a sheep ranch. At the time we bought it, we bought 273 sheep with it. The owner stayed on it and we hired a man to do the chores, that is to take care of the sheep and such cares.
Morris: I would think sheep ranching would have been quite different from your memories and Emmett's memories of cotton and other kinds of crops in Mississippi. Yes?
Jackson: Well, what we knew about the cotton crops in Mississippi was what we read until I went back there.
Morris: In the summers?
Jackson: In the summers. Because we lived in Vicksburg. It was and is still the largest city in Mississippi, which isn't saying much. My father died when I was ten. He had a plantation. When he didn't have any carpentry work, he went down there. There were seven families that lived on this place.
Morris: By and large somebody else did the actual farming for your father?
Jackson: Yes. Because the money came from his carpentry.
Morris: What did you think of the sheep ranch in Mendocino?
Jackson: I liked it. First of all, this was Lookout Ranch. And it was at the summit of Lookout Range, eleven miles from the coast and sixteen miles from Boonville. So we were almost midway between—It was fifteen miles from Point Arena and sixteen miles from Boonville. But the coast was at Manchester, and that was five miles out of Point Arena. So that was the nearest place to the ocean.
Morris: Boonville is a beautiful place.
Jackson: Oh, it was beautiful. You see, we were at the summit and we had a view of the surrounding country. There were areas of the ranch where we could see the ocean. There was a grove of fir trees and redwoods that started at the gate and went all the way back almost to the house that was on it. A beautiful place. The game warden told me that our place was a landmark because he could see it from the county seat in Fort Bragg. That's the largest place up there. They said that was a landmark. They used it. You could see five counties from our place.
Morris: Did you decide you were going to retire from teaching and go up there to manage the ranch?
Jackson: Yes, after a while. I was ambitious and had gone in for administration. I had hoped to some day become a principal or administrator of some sort. Emmett said, "Sister, you will never be anything but a teacher in Oakland. So why waste your time there? You can make more money by going up and managing the ranch. So why don't you leave?" But I didn't. And it wasn't until much later on that I realized I wouldn't be getting anywhere. It was sort of a routine thing. They continued to give me the problem students and that sort of thing.
HENDY WOODS, THEN & NOW: IT WAS (MOSTLY) THOSE WOMEN
by Kathy Bailey (December, 2011)
In May 2011, if you had asked pretty much anyone in Anderson Valley why it was that the ancient redwood groves of Hendy Woods State Park had been spared the axe and sawmill fate that befell most of the original two million acres of giant Coast Redwoods, you would have been told about Joshua Hendy. Joshua Hendy owned the woods and he wanted the groves spared. And as far as we know, this is true. But Joshua Hendy died in 1891. What happened in the 72 years between his death and the dedication of the park? It is one of the upsides of the state’s threat to close down Hendy Woods State Park on July 1, 2012, that the community has dug into its files and has begun to fill in some of the almost forgotten history. Although more is bound to surface, here are the outlines of what we now know.
Joshua Hendy was actually quite a guy. According to the Wikipedia entry for the Joshua Hendy Iron Works — sorry, but it’s the best source I could find for the moment! — he was born in Cornwall, England in 1822 and at the age of 13 migrated with his two brothers to South Carolina. He grew up to be a blacksmith, living with his wife and two children in Houston, Texas. But a yellow fever epidemic extinguished his young family, so in 1849 he did what so many young men were doing: he came around Cape Horn and arrived in California. According to several sources, Hendy built one of California’s first redwood lumber mills in 1853 with Samuel Duncan and then sold his interest in the mill to Alexander Duncan in 1855.
A better understanding of the history of Hendy’s mill and the extent of his forest ownership will have to await more research. However, the history of his Iron Works is fairly well understood. By the 1890s the company had become a leader in mining technology and exported equipment worldwide with Joshua Hendy’s technical innovations continuing as the industry standard far into the 20th century. Long after Hendy died in 1891, the company continued to thrive, with its giant hydraulic crushers used to dig the Panama Canal. Later its marine engines were important in both World War I and II. In 1947, the Joshua Hendy Iron Works, making a variety of military equipment including radio telescopes, was sold to the Westinghouse Corporation. In 1996, Westinghouse sold the company to Northrop Grumman, and the company is now called Northrop Grumman Marine Systems. It seems likely that few at Northrop Grumman know much of Joshua Hendy himself, nor of his redwood groves.
We would be at a great loss to remember what came next had it not been for Jack Clow, the Jack of Jack’s Valley Store outside Philo and descendant of the well-known settler family that has given its name to Clow Ridge, which forms the north side of Anderson Valley from Philo to many miles west. Many of the Clow family still live here, and Jim Clow, of course, only recently died. Fortunately, like many people of his generation, Jack kept a few newspaper clippings from important events. At the store, he tucked away a small file with clips of two articles from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat at the time of the dedication of Hendy Woods State Park, a Souvenir Supplement of the Anderson Valley Advertiser, and a photo of the store before some of the existing buildings were built, with Big Hendy Grove in the background across the river. Just as fortunate, when the store changed hands in 1987, one of the new owners, Bill Boger, who bought the store from Jack Clow along with his business partner Jack Moyer, not only kept the folder with the newspaper clippings, but offered to find it when a representative of the Chamber of Commerce came by in July 2011 soliciting his signature on a letter to Sacramento asking that Hendy Woods be taken off the park closure list. The articles, one of which was written by Mike Pardee and the other without a byline, provide a lot of the history and point the way to more.
When a newcomer arrives at a place like Anderson Valley, say for instance in 1971, it is more or less like the beginning of time. Depending on one’s interest in local history, one can assume for weeks, years, or decades that the Valley had always been as one found it. If one stays long enough, little by little, some historical realities eventually sink in, often catalyzed by the observation of changes happening in front of one’s face. After 40 years, it was with a sense of considerable surprise to realize that Hendy Woods became a park less than a decade prior to my own arrival in Anderson Valley. Of course, the groves had always been there. And it’s no small miracle that they still were.
According to the Press Democrat, when Joshua Hendy died in 1891, his nephew Samuel Hendy inherited the property and “carried on with protection of the twin groves until it became economically necessary for him to dispose of the acreage.” He sold the property to the Pacific Coast Lumber Co. The land then passed to the Albion Lumber Co., and in 1930 it was purchased by the Southern Pacific Land Company.
It was during this era that renewed community concern for saving the groves is documented. A subhead in one of the Press Democrat articles says it all: “Women Started It.” The article gets it a little wrong as to the date, but not the organization: “Largely through intervention of the Anderson Valley Unity Club, a women’s club that boasts valley-wide membership, the wooded tract was saved from logging operations.”
This is, indeed, the same Unity Club, affiliated with the California General Federation of Women’s Clubs, that just hosted the annual Holiday Bazaar earlier this month, organizes the Anderson Valley Wildflower Show every spring, and spearheaded the fundraising drive for our new police dog, Bullit. And, extraordinarily, has a diligent member who had taken it as her project to transcribe minutes from meetings decades past.
Thanks to this selfless soul, Ms. Mary Darling, we know that on “February 19, 1938 — Mrs. Millie Brown presented the Speaker of the day, Mr. Al Strowbridge of the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco who gave us an extremely interesting and much appreciated talk on the Redwood forests of Sonoma and Mendocino Counties, Hendy Woods and suggestions as to ways in which these various woods might be obtained by the Government and thus saved for ourselves and future generations.” “The Chairman appointed the following committee to try to promote this work. Chairman: Mrs. Patterson, Dr. Dorothy Jordt, Miss Blanche Brown.” On March 19, 1938, “Blanche Brown reported Mr. Strowbridge had written a resolution about Hendy Woods to be sent to Senators and Congressmen.”
Of course, the call for protection was not immediately answered, but the women were not deterred. January 18, 1941: “Jessie McCarty asked that a group from the Club meet with the Farm Center Monday night to urge that Hendy Grove be included in the State Park area. A committee consisting of Jessie McCarty, Alice Tindall, and Millie Brown, be appointed to attend to this matter. Suggested also that a letter be sent to Senator Biggar regarding Hendy Grove.” And so the work went on for a very long time.
In 1948, the groves, along with most of the hillsides forming the south side of Anderson Valley and on out to the Coast, were sold to the Masonite Corporation, which established a giant panelboard mill in Ukiah. Thus began the post-war lumber boom, which brought new technology, equipment, and energy to the North Coast logging industry and Anderson Valley. And with it, new threats to the virgin redwood groves of Hendy Woods.
Not all the activity to save Hendy Woods was spearheaded by the Unity Club. All sorts of folks with a love for the place where generations of Anderson Valley families had swam, picnicked, and camped did their part. 7th Grader Lenore Lamb was one of them. Lenore, now Lennie Roberts, is part of the Clark family, and a cousin of Christine Clark. She had spent many of her summers on the family ranch in Anderson Valley and enjoying nearby Hendy Woods. According to Lennie, her family thought that the only reason the groves were still standing was the absence of a mill that could handle the huge timber. But all that was changing after World War II and the family believed the groves were in danger. So on March 8, 1950, Lenore, having recently visited the Capitol with her Orinda school class, wrote a letter to Governor Earl Warren asking him to permanently protect Hendy Woods. Less than two weeks later, on March 23, Lenore received a letter back from the Governor thanking her for bringing the matter to his attention and stating that he was forwarding it to his Resources chief. Lenore went on to have a career in land preservation and conservation and she had a hand in preserving much of the open space one can now see in the San Mateo area and the Peninsula south of San Francisco. Governor Warren went on to do interesting things as well.
According to the Press Democrat, in 1954 the “first formal action came … when the Mendocino County Planning Commission petitioned the Masonite Corp. to donate what would amount to one-half of the area for state park purposes.” The Unity Club minutes note: “Once after a news item about the grove appeared in the Press Democrat, a Masonite executive commented somewhat testily, ‘Don’t those women know by now we’re not going to cut those trees!’”
“Those women” knew they had better keep pressing forward!
Success was at hand the following year when, in 1955, a bill by State Senator James E. Busch for the state appropriation to buy the property was approved. Finally, in 1958 the state purchased the land from the Masonite Corp for $350,000.
It was another five years before the park officially opened, with campgrounds, trails, a picnic area, a good paved access road, and 11,000 feet (about two miles) of frontage on the Navarro River. The 604-acre Hendy Woods State Park was dedicated on Sunday, July 7, 1963.
The June 30 and July 28, 1963 Press Democrat articles on the dedication ceremony and the new park feature names and faces so familiar in their day. Here are Veryl Baxter and Jack Clow, President and Vice President of the Chamber of Commerce, along with Dick Winkler, manager of the Mendocino County Fair, holding the dedication program in front of a very large old redwood. Camp Fire Girls Patricia Maddux, Rhonda Peterson, and Carolyn Self, in uniform, gaze at a fallen giant. Austin Hulbert stands dwarfed by another fallen tree. Jack Clow, holding little Larry who looks to be around 3, shows some feature of a fern covered tree to the new park Supervisor, James Davis. The women of the Anderson Valley Methodist Church are serving a box lunch after the dedication ceremony. Speakers include State Senator Frank Peterson. Veryl Baxter, a timber cruiser in his day job, notes there are individual giants that would “scale 50,000 feet — at $28 a thousand.” Somewhat incongruously, Blues singer Ethel Waters, famous for her rendition of Stormy Weather, is performing two numbers at the dedication. She was recruited by her personal friend Miss Ida Jackson, a retired Oakland schoolteacher who lives part of the year on her ranch in Anderson Valley. Robert Rawles, secretary-manager of the Chamber of Commerce will be master of ceremonies, and members of Boy Scout Troop Number 60 will be the color bearers. “Pretty Eileen Carlson, a teen-aged … 4-H girl who was crowned the ‘Anderson Valley Apple Queen’ at the recent Boonville Buckaroo Days, will be the official hostess….”
The Souvenir Supplement of the Anderson Valley Advertiser adds another slew of prominent names in the form of small sponsorship ads, as well as some key details: Austin Hulbert is a County Planning Commissioner. Would he, perhaps, have been the person who pushed the vote in 1954 to petition Masonite to sell the land? Jack Clow was the Chairman of the Dedication Ceremony, a good enough reason to put aside a few newspaper clippings of the event. There is a map showing the park in relation to the Pacific Ocean and the local roads, the program for the dedication, a full-page photo of giant trees and a few smaller photos of people at the park. Many of the little ads have an interesting omission — last names. “Anderson Valley Market — Clarence — Frank.” “Philo Market — Cecil, Birdie.” “Valley Inn — Alyce & Ray.”
You could do the same today.
Representing Governor Edmund G. (Pat) Brown at the dedication in 1963 was state Resources Agency Administrator Hugo M. Fisher. Now, slated for July 1, 2012, in the 49th year of Hendy Woods State Park’s existence, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. is overseeing the opposite of a dedication. He proposes the deliberate dismantling of a great park and a great park system.
The history of Hendy Woods did not stop at the dedication. The Unity Club went on to create the Gentle Giants All Access Trail in 1980-81, the Year of the Disabled, under the leadership of Joan Bloyd, its President between 1979 and 1982. One assumes that Elinor Clow also played a role in creating the trail that would have allowed her to find her way through the grove even though she was without sight. Building on their lead, the park now has a few wheelchair accessible campsites, an accessible bathroom and shower facility, and one of the four little sleeper cabins is also wheelchair accessible, making Hendy Woods one of only two state parks in Mendocino County that comply with the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Acquisitions by the Save-the-Redwoods League added a total of about 204 acres to the park in four transactions between 1979 and 1988, bringing the total park acreage to its current 816 acres.
Over the years the community has hiked, camped, taught kids to ride bikes, breathed deeply, pondered fate, played tag, watched bats, chipmunks and falcons, celebrated birthdays, gotten married, stood in awe in the ancient heritage groves, and welcomed people from throughout the state, nation, and world to do the same.
Now the history of Hendy Woods also includes Occupy Hendy Woods, a recent visit by a prominent legislator, and the formation of the Hendy Woods Community (HendyWoods.org), which is planning to volunteer time and skills, raise money, and generally do whatever it takes to keep Hendy Woods the way it is supposed to be: Open.
For the 72 years between Joshua Hendy’s death and the dedication of the park, you know there were threats and some were likely imminent. Having finally achieved a measure of safety, today’s community is not likely to let down those before us who worked hard so we could enjoy the great pleasures of a beautiful park. People come, they live, and they pass on. Now, 121 years after Joshua Hendy’s death, it’s our turn to make sure the ancient groves will always be here.