Mike Reed/Pages From The Past
100 Years Ago
— Eugene Fisher, of Novato, is at the Emergency Hospital receiving treatment for a broken arm. fractured ribs and severe cuts and bruises, the result of an automobile accident Tuesday night near Ignacio. Lyndon Lafranchi, also of Novato, is suffering from numerous cuts and contusions received in the same mishap. The accident occurred when Lafranchi, who was driving, asked Fisher to take the wheel. In the change Fisher is said to have miscalculated and whirled the steering wheel too far over, sending the car into the ditch. The machine was overturned and both men were thrown out Lafranchi formerly resided here with his parents. Repairs are being made by Bogel & Nave of the Midway Garage.
— NOVATO MARKET CHANGES HANDS: Tom Richardson, who has been conducting a meat market at Novato for the past few years, has sold the market to Mr. Edsberg, who has engaged Mr. Collins of Chico as a meat cutter. Mr. Richardson is somewhat broken down in health and decided to take a rest.
75 Years Ago
— Max Thompson, proprietor of the Sanitary Market for the past year, announced this week that the establishment has been sold to Phillip Pachal of Yreka. Mr. Pachal with his wife and daughter has purchased a home here. The new owner will endeavor to handle only first grade meats and invites your patronage.
— Bob Wells, World War II veteran, announced this week that he has opened a photography shop in Novato and will be able to take all types of pictures including commercial, personal and scenic views.
— The Novato Chamber of Commerce approved the application of the Wright Farm for rezoning the acreage on the east side of Highway 101 to San Pablo Bay from its present agricultural to industrial status. The Wright seed cleaning mill is in operation on the property.
— Andy Rayburn has opened a branch of his Novato grocery on Sir Francis Drake Boulevard near Fairfax.
— Woodrow Binford is the instigator of a plan for a Novato airport. Binford, who has just been released from active service with the air force as a flight instructor and he will have his CAA instructor’s rating. The field would only be small at first, probably with only one plane as Novato becomes air conscious. The increasing growth of the town seems to make this the time for an airfield.
— Mr. and Mrs. Leigh Shoemaker, who have conducted “Leigh’s Drygoods Store” at 155 Kentucky Street, Petaluma for the past eight years, opened a new store at Novato. The store is located in the new building that was erected by A.W. Bowman on the site where the Pini building was destroyed by fire.
50 Years Ago
— The North Marin landscape is being chewed up by these monster pieces of earth-moving equipment as the Crossroads townhouse complex site (Highway 101 and South Novato Boulevard) where McKeon Construction Company of Sacramento has been grading. Problem is McKeon started grading before city approved precise development plans. Earlier a master plan for the area had been okayed. But Monday night the city planning commission agreed with Planning Director Brian Mattson that the development plans were not good enough. McKeon protested that the grading seen above may have gone for naught and it would require two to four months to redesign and regrade the job. Legal action was also threatened. The commission’s attitude: To begin grading before final approval of precise development plans is a calculated risk undertaken by the developer. Townhouse developments purportedly reduce the amount of grading that’s necessary, but note chopped hill in background in right hand top corner of photo. Residents in the South Novato area have recently expressed alarm about the number of townhouse units they claim are going into the area. McKeon has an option on the O’Hair property at Sutor Avenue and Novato Boulevard, once proposed for a city park in a bond election. The company first proposed a townhouse complex to city officials, but apparently is now revising its plans.
— The first step in acquiring land for the proposed expansion of Novato’s Civic Center was taken last night when the city council agreed to purchase the Lloyd Rodoni property adjacent to Community House for $34,000. The city had offered $32,500 on July 8 and the $34,000 was a counteroffer by Rodoni. Councilman Wayne Womack thought the $1,500 difference could be made up by renting out the presently vacant old house on the property (for 15 months at $100 per month).
— For the second year in a row a Novato boy has won the Champ of the Camp trophy for his age group at the first 1971 session of the University of Santa Clara “coaching camp”. Gerald Ghirardo was awarded the top trophy on the basis of his all-around athletic excellence, sportsmanship and leadership. Gerald and his brother Steve both won trophies last year. This year the boys were at the bottom of their age groups, 11-year-old Gerald winning in the 11-12 group and 13-year-old Steve, a close runner-up in the 13-14 bracket.
25 Years Ago
— A Mill Valley property management company is seeking permits from the city to construct an 11,000-square-foot retail building at a vacant lot on Diablo Avenue, the former site of the Unocal service station.
— The Presbyterian Church of Novato will host its annual Buck-A-Roo Breakfast in the Pini Hardware parking lot at 1107 Grant Ave. from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. Thursday prior to the Novato Hometown Fourth of July Parade. The menu will include ham, eggs, orange juice, coffee and all the pancakes you can eat. Cost will be $4 for adults, $2 for children 5-12, with children under 4 eating free.
— James Hogeboom has been hired by the Novato Unified School District as the assistant principal at Hill Middle School. Hogeboom is a former social studies teacher at Tamalpais High School in Mill Valley. He has also served as an administrative intern and the coordinator for teacher training in the Tamalpais High School District.
— Price-Costco, the wholesale giant that began negotiations last year to build a store in Terra Linda, may not be leaving Novato—not if city officials can help it. A delegation of two—Mayor Ernie Cray and Councilmember Cynthia Murray—met last month with Jeffrey M Brotman, chairman of the board for Costco, to see what the city can do to keep the warehouse store in Novato. Brotman says the 112,000- square-foot Vintage Oaks store is too small. “Prototype” Price-Costco stores now range from 135,000 to 145,000 square feet. That combination of cramped floor space and inadequate parking is “deadly,” Brotman said in a phone interview Monday. The Novato store currently grosses about $100 million a year. A larger store would enable the company to do an estimated $130 million a year in business.
— The A & W Restaurant of Novato at 1535 S. Novato Blvd. served its last char-broiled burger and drive-In style milk shake last Tuesday, July 23 after more than three decades of successful business. The restaurant will be replaced with California Grill and Rotisserie in about 2-3 months, when refurbishment of the building is complete, say father and son owners, Kenneth and Kenny Steffen.
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