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Petaluma Argus-Courier

Lest We Forget – Samuel Cassiday

Samuel Cassiday - c1880

The lead sentence states that, “Petaluma owes a debt to Argus Editor Sam Cassiday that has never been paid. Only his gravestone in Cypress Hill Cemetery commemorates his name. The forgetful city long ago should have done the right thing by at least naming a street in his honor.” His collection of newspaper files dating back to 1855 is one of the most complete and “priceless” collections in the West. They may be found in the public library. He also authored a book about Sonoma County history, “An Illustrated History of Sonoma County, 1889.” An article in his file stated that, “he received the bitterest blow when the Chicago publisher of his history failed to credit him as author.” Cassiday was born near Reedsburgh, Wayne County, Ohio in 1830, and spent most of his boyhood near the Sac and Fox Indian hunting grounds of the Iowa Territory. Over time, he worked on a farm nine months out of the year and also learned the printers trade, as well as serving as an assistant teacher in a private academy. Cassiday came overland in 1850 to Sacramento and got involved with various mining operations in Nevada and Yuba counties. He moved to Sonoma County in 1854 and farmed until 1860. He spent a brief period of time publishing the Petaluma Republican before becoming one of the owners and editors of the Argus in 1861. After he sold the Argus in 1869, he moved to Monterey County where he studied law and was admitted to the bar. Later, when offered a United State consulship, he declined. This article closes with, “A few men gave to their community more than they received in return. Petaluma could change the name of Main Street to Cassiday Avenue and still not come out even.” Cassiday married Cynthia Francis Denman in 1864 and they had five children. His funeral was held April 6, 1904 with E.S. Lippitt, H.L. Weston, G.W. Lamoreaux, C. Temple, C. Poehlmann and Charles Dillion serving as pallbearers. Source:: Petaluma – Our River Town Related Links: California Biographies - RootsWeb 1898 Sonoma County Atlas - Rumsey Collection History of Sonoma County - Google Books Find a Grave

What Is Historical Significance?

Some readers might ask, “How do we define historical significance?” One web site “Facing the Past-Shaping the Future” addresses that concern: “Historical significance is the process used to evaluate what was significant about selected events, people, and developments in the past. Historians use different sets of criteria to help them make judgments about significance. Significance has been called the forgotten concept in history, no doubt because it can be challenging for both teacher and students.” Another explanation of how to establish historical significance is: “The past is everything that has ever happened anywhere. The past is recorded as history, but there is too much history to remember it all. So how do we make choices about what is worth remembering? Significant events include those that resulted in great change over long periods of time for large numbers of people. In this sense, an event like World War II would pass the test for historical significance. But what could be significant about the life of a worker or a slave? What about my own ancestors, who are clearly significant to me but not necessarily significant to others? Significance depends upon one's perspective and purpose. A historical person or event can acquire significance if we, the historians, can link it to larger trends and stories that reveal something important to us today. For example, the story of an individual worker in Winnipeg in 1918, which is seemingly insignificant compared to the story of World War II, may become significant if it is recounted in a way that makes it part of a larger history of workers' struggles, economic development, or post-war adjustment and discontent. In that case, the “significant” life reveals something important to us, and thus becomes significant. Both ‘It is significant because it is in the history book' and ‘It is significant because I am interested in it' are inadequate explanations of historical significance.” Source: Petaluma - Our River Town

Lest We Forget – Brainerd Jones

Although a photograph of Brainerd Jones hangs on the wall of the Petaluma Historical Museum and Library I wonder how many current Petaluma residents know about the impact he had on architecture of the schools, churches, businesses, public buildings, as well as homes in our town? As stated in his obituary in the Argus-Courier (March 21, 1945), “Architecture was his life and today a large group of buildings in this city rise as monuments to his artistry and skill.” Among the most notable structures he designed in Petaluma over a five decade career are:

Brainerd Jones

  The Carnegie Library (Now the Historical Museum) 1904-1906. The former Lincoln Primary School, School Administration building, 11 Fifth Avenue The former Post Office Building, 22-34 Petaluma Boulevard (1926). The Petaluma Woman's Club, 518 “B” Street An addition to the Sunset Line and Twine building (1906 & 1922). The remodel of the old Opera House, 147-149 Kentucky Street The original art Deco-style Fire Station on “D” Street (1938). The Must Hatch Incubator building, 401 7th Street The 1922 Petaluma Golf & Country Club Clubhouse The First Congregational Church, Fifth & “B” Streets Former Philip Sweed School, 331 Keller Street Jones's home-office, 226 Washington Street The Byce House (used for filming of Peggy Sue Got Married), 226 Liberty Street Residences at: 319 Keokuk Street, 300 Kentucky Street, 500 Western Avenue, and 625, 901, 910, 920 “D” Street.   Jones was born in Chicago, Illinois and moved to Petaluma with his recently widowed mother, when he was six years old. He won drawing contests at local fairs, as a young man. After his studies and work as an architect in San Francisco, he returned to Petaluma and became a very active member of the community: Petaluma Rotary Club, Petaluma B.P.O.E. Lodge #901, City Council member, and the City Panning Commission. It has been estimated that approximately 75% of the buildings in Petaluma's historic core were designed by Jones, although many are no linger there, now. Local researchers have found it difficult to find much about Jones' personal history. Katie Watts, has written for the Argus-Courier that, “It's almost as though he planned it that way – allowing his work to speak so magnificently about who he was.” Lest we forget. Resources: Research files: Petaluma Historical Library & Museum History Room, Sonoma County Library, Petaluma Katherine Rinehardt, Petaluma: A Histoiry of Architecture, 2005. Source: Petaluma - Our River Town

The Sages of Petaluma – Oral History Project

Recently, my blogs have focused on promoting our Petaluma Historical Museum and Research Library as a local “Treasure Chest” that contains many “Golden Nuggets” that enrich the legacy of “Our River Town.” A discussion group of Petalumans, who were either born here or have lived in Petaluma for several years, has been meeting monthly at the Museum and sharing their personal memories of growing up, going to school, playing, working and living here. They're known as “The Sages of Petaluma.” A few years ago, an oral history project was initiated by students at Kenilworth Jr. High School. They interviewed several Sages, using a video camera. To date, seven of these interviews, plus DVDs featuring “The Petalumans of Yesteryear” (Capt. Tom Baylis, Isaac Wickersham, William Howard Pepper) and a talk about Fred Wiseman's first air mail flight from Petaluma to Santa Rosa in 1911, have been given to the Museum and will be available for viewing by the public. The Sages who have been interviewed include: Dick Dunbar, Jim Giovando, Growling Bear, Lily Krulevich, Shep Shepard, Tim Talamantes, and Don Waite. Hopefully, additional interviews will take place over the coming months and added to this collection of “Golden Nuggets” in our community's “Treasure Chest.” Stay Tuned. Source: Petaluma - Our River Town

It all started here

Although his name is well known in “Our River Town,” how much do current Petalumans really know about Lyman Byce? Most readers will respond, “he built the first incubator.” However, are there other tidbits of information we should be aware of? This strange looking device was exhibited at several regional fairs. It was reported that a 400 egg Byce incubator hatched 95% of the eggs it cooked on a 200 mile trip by boat, train, and wagon. Christopher Nisson, a local Danish farmer, purchased several of these incubators and became the world's first commercial hatchery on his 100 acre farm near Two Rock. more Source: Petaluma - Our River Town

Wineries growing in Penngrove

New winemakers put down roots in historic Denman Creamery Building on Goodwin Avenue. The so-called Petaluma Gap, though not an official site on the American Viticultural Areas map, has been recognized for years as a wine-growing region deserving of respect. more    Source: Petaluma Argus-Courier Denman Creamery, c2011