Mike Read/Pages From The Past
100 Years Ago
– The matter of a high school building has begun to agitate the minds of the residents of the district of Novato. This district alone sends 35 scholars to the high school at San Rafael. The next term will see this number increased to 50. Novato in conjunction with Black Point, Ignacio, Hicks Valley and Burdell united as one district for a high school, would not be a greater tax upon the district than at present, the honor of having a high school at Novato. Think the matter over, good people.
– The Shell Oil Co., has established a supply station at the Novato garage and machine shop conducted by R. M. Cantwell.
– H.P. Pini, who was operated upon for an affliction on his ear, may submit to a second operation, as his condition does not improve.
75 Years Ago
– The first commercial building permit issued in Marin County in 1947 was granted to Frank Valim for a carpenter and. cabinet shop to be built on Mervyn Street (Vallejo St.) below Machin Avenue. The building is to be built of modern Haydite block construction and will contain 1875 square feet. It will also have facilities for manufacturing of wood products for bay. area distribution.
– The Couplers Club will have a Hard Times party next Friday night, January 17th, in the Community House. A covered dish supper will proceed the meeting and party. All members are urged to attend, and any other young married couples who wish to join, are cordially welcome.
– Woodrow Binford has nearly completed the home he is building for his family on part of the acreage of his parents, the Paul Binfords property on Atherton Avenue. P. Woodrow Binford is developing an airfield on the Wright ranch on the Redwood Highway as fast as weather conditions allow. He has already built the hanger which houses his Aerona, the first of the squadron he plans to use as instructor in aerial transportation. Another project for the Wright ranch is a radio transmitter station which is awaiting the go ahead signal from Washington, D.C.
50 Years Ago
– Acting chief of the Novato police department from November 1969 to March 1970, Lt. Maurice D. Lafferty will put on his “act” officially when he moves up to the post of Tiburon’s first police chief on February 1. The last of Novato’s “original six,” who went on duty when this city’s first police department got rolling on December 19,1960, Lafferty was appointed Monday to the new job, which will pay $17,400 per year compared with the $16,298 rate he’s been earning. Lafferty was appointed a lieutenant November 1, 1969, but lost out on the appointment of Novato’s chief when Allen Klemme from South San Francisco got the job.
– Shopper’s Furniture, owned and operated by Louis Palleschi at 926 Grant Avenue for the past 13 years, is holding a close-out sale and will reopen about March 1 in the former Crocker bank building at 881 Grant Avenue on the corner of Machin Avenue. The new Shopper’s location will again combine the partnership of Palleschi with Gunnard Lepinski, who was once associated with the business for several years as a partner. Moving to the new, enlarged quarters will mean an expansion from the present 1500 square feet to an available 5500 square feet on the street level, plus 1600 square feet on the second floor. The close-out sale is slated to end in late February and the Shopper’s space at 926 Grant Avenue most likely will be occupied by Dud’s clothing store, which will move from smaller quarters on Highway 101 next to Perry’s Delicatessen.
– Empire Chevrolet, headed by C. Richard Oldham, 33-year-old car dealer from Needles, Arizona, will become the official new owner of Ted Schuman Chevrolet’s business as of February 1. Oldham, a licensed pilot for the past 11 years (he’ll base his Cessna Skylane four-seater at Gross Field) will be the top man of the operation, which includes new and used car sales and the Travel Town recreation vehicles. The name of Empire Chevrolet was picked by Oldham, he says, to reflect the Redwood Empire location at 7133 Redwood Highway, where the Schuman building was completed in 1968.
– A throng of “Freeway Bypass Now” advocates, led by the Novato Chamber of Commerce, won narrow 3-2 city council support last night amid some calls of recall and charges of conspiracy. Councilmen David Price Jones and George Quesada held out for a resolution supporting the idea of all due speed In constructing the bypass, but only if “subject to requirements of law” also was emphasized.
– It may come as a surprise to many that when Stafford Lake Park opens this spring those who come to the park by car will have to pay a 50-cent fee for parking. County Parks and Recreation Director Pierre Joske explains that the board of supervisors decided three years ago that parking fees should be charged at major county parks to ensure that park users will bear part of the cost of the parks.
25 Years Ago
– If the city council approves, Novato’s skateboard park will be built at Marion Park on the western end of Grant Avenue. The parks and recreation commission unanimously chose the Marion Park site over a proposal to put the park on property the city recently purchased with the former Goodman’s Hardware building on Grant Avenue and Seventh Street. The Marion Park site was selected because it is about twice the size of the Goodman site. The skateboard park will cost an estimated $185,000. The city has committed $165,000 toward the project and a community task force is in the process of raising another $10,000.
– Jerry London is the first male president in the 62-year history of the Novato Garden Club. The club counts 10 men among its 76 members. The Novato Garden Club has never been a place for shrinking violets. Founded in 1934, the Novato Garden Club’s roots run deep.; hundreds of newspaper clippings in the Novato History Museum’s archives testify to the club’s continual presence in and influence on Novato. The club’s activity was suspended for only two years since its inception—1944 and 1945— when members contributed to the war effort on the civilian front instead. Women have always made up the vast majority of the club’s membership. And the club has always been led by a woman—until recently. Two years ago, Jerry London, a retiree who was a Merchant Marine for 25 years, took the helm.