Don’t panic. We’re talking almost ancient history here. As I sorted through research materials acquired while writing a 150-year history of Mendocino County I look at some of it and think “Where the heck did I find this?” In this case it was a competitor publication called the Anderson Valley Advocate, from the early 1970s.
One copy I found was newsprint and the rest was photocopies of the main stories. Publishers were “Friends & Neighbors News Service” with a five dollar a year subscription for a monthly paper. Writers included Charlee di Falco, Vaudis Parker, Anna Taylor, Gary & Peggy Templer, Brad Wiley and Spencer Zieigler.
Bobby Glover and Peggy Templer wrote many of the feature stories and provided the photos; a story could cover four pages of an issue. Topics for discussion in the one full newsprint issue I had included Wine Boom & Bust cycles, the 1975 county budget, disputes over the planned site of Mendocino Community College (some wanted to use the old state hospital in Talmage) and an astronomy column. Social notes and classified ads were included.
The long story in that issue was on “Hazel Hill: First of the Navarro Resorts,” with photos from the Van Zandt family. City people came to fish and hunt and relax after reading advertisements in the Northwestern Pacific Railroad Vacation Guide. Board was $7 a week or $25 a month. The resort was renowned for Mary Van Zandt’s excellent cooking. Existing for years, it became the Tumbling McD Ranch. This particular issue also had a long story on the Floodgate Store.
Feature stories from 1974 included one on Wendling, one on the “Railroad That Started Nowhere and Went Nowhere.” This branch of the Albion Lumber Company reached to Wendling, then on to Floodgate and Christine. They hoped to extend to Northwestern Pacific rail lines in Healdsburg but it never happened, and the last train ran in 1931.
There was a story from Alvy Price on swimming holes and fishing spots on the Navarro River and the Gschwend family, and Bobby Glover wrote an interesting story called “Days of the Apple Dryers” and another one on “Christine: Stage Stop for Guntlyville and the Gschwend Mill.” Joanadel Hurst contributed a story called “Charles Monroe Bloyd is my Name.” Peggy Templer wrote about the folks on Greenwood Ridge, Theresa Pronsolino, and the Prather family. Another Glover contribution was “Best Damn Hotel in Wendling” about Pardini’s.
So what will I do with this little treasure trove of Anderson Valley history? Early in 2019 I’ll give it to the Little Red Schoolhouse Museum for their archives. Catch the museum open on a weekend and ask to see the Anderson Valley Advocate. Compared to the esteemed decades-old Anderson Valley Advertiser it was a flash in the pan, but the Anderson Valley Advocate did have some good writing.