By Mark Read
100 Years Ago
(Editor’s note: This feature makes note of historical events in Marin through the pages of the Novato Advance.)
— A mass meeting was held at Community Hall last Friday evening when a committee of twenty was appointed to bring in recommendations and look into the feasibility of starting what is to be a regular annual agricultural fair at this place. The committee met Tuesday evening and another meeting will be held at Community Hall Friday evening at which all merchants, businessmen. Dairymen and poultrymen from Novato, Black Point and Ignacio are invited to be present. Great doings will take place at that meeting.
— A.H. ANDERSON CALIF. FARMS AGENCY 1216-1217 HEARBT BUILDING, SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF. Novato office corner State Highway and Grant Avenue. If your farm is for sale list it with ANDERSON.
— Miss Minnie Sutton, an esteemed resident of Novato who had many friends, passed away at her home. She was the beloved daughter of Frank and Elizabeth Sutton and devoted sister of Thomas F., John M., Richard J., Alden A., Lulu H., Frank M., Milton Jr., and Margaret L. Sutton and Mrs. S.P. Cavanagh.
75 Years Ago
— Novato grammar school auditorium was packed to overflowing when the Marin County Planning Commission was present to hear vital matters concerning zoning problems in Novato and elsewhere throughout the county. Most important item of business on the evening’s agenda pertaining to Novato was the application of Rene Nusele asking that the property which he recently purchased from Dr. A. A. Campbell atop the hill on the southern limits of Novato, be rezoned from a residential area to a commercial area thereby permitting him to establish a restaurant on the site. Letters from surrounding property owners protesting any such action were read, plus oral protests from interested persons from the floor was heard. Likewise, letters favoring such action were read and also proponents living in and around Novato were heard. After the Board had made sure that all had had their say, a motion was made by Mrs. Wayne Tharp, a member of the board, containing the following; that a strip 150 feet back from Reichert Avenue and 150 feet back from LaMont Avenue and 100 feet back from Hayden Avenue be zoned as R-l (residential) and that a road be built up from LaMont Avenue to the proposed restaurant so that patrons of the establishment would not necessarily be forced to drive through a residential area to reach the restaurant. The motion stipulated that the Nusele property be zoned as H-1, thereby necessitating a “Use Permit” being obtained for operation of any enterprise on the site. With these reservations the motion came to a vote and passed 5 to 2 to allow such an establishment to be operated on the site. Final hearing will come before the Board of Supervisors on Monday, September 24th. Samuel Gardiner, a San Rafael attorney, represented Mr. Nusele, and David Fyfe, also a San Rafael attorney, presented the opponents.
— Supervisor R.A. Thompson and his wife, Natalie J. Holly, have dissolved partnership in the Pini Hardware Co., leaving the other two partners, Douglas D. Phillips and Baxter Hovis, sole partners in the company.
50 Years Ago
— A tax increase that will provide more funds for dredging the Bel-Marin Keys lagoon will be submitted to voters in the Bel-Marin Keys Community Services District. The proposed increase is from the present $1.25 per $100 assessed valuation to $3. It would build a reserve fund that would be used to keep the waterways in the Keys navigable. Dredging also would be done at the point where Novato Creek enters the Petaluma River. If possible, steps also would be taken to try to prevent some of the siltation. Residents complain that the siltation has already reached the point where some big boats cannot get out of the lagoon at low tide.
— Plans for Novato Industrial Park were submitted to county and city planning officials last week for approval. The industrial park is being developed by Marvin Soiland of Soiland and Associates, the development Arm. It is composed of 280 acres located to the east of Hamilton Industrial Park and the Los Robles mobile home park on Bel-Mann Keys Boulevard. The property is presently zoned M-3. Soiland plans to seek rezoning of a triangular piece consisting of 30 acres for a mobile home park. The area is located adjacent to Los Robles. Separate access is available, according to Soiland.
25 Years Ago
Roger Wilco Markets, a Novato institution for 44 years, has been sold to Cala Foods of Hayward. Cala is the Northern California division of Ralph’s Co. of Southern California. The agreement was signed Tuesday with the changeover to become effective within 30 to 40 days. The deal is for all three Novato Roger Wilco stores, but does not include the Roger Wilco Rohnert Park store nor the Ignacio Center, which is owned by Roger Wilco founder and owner Bill Jonas. “We have been Novato’s hometown grocer for 44 years, so I feel a great deal of sadness that we will no longer be running the store,” Jonas said. “But I really think we found the right people to carry on our tradition of being a hometown grocer.
— Alfred Soares Dutra, who operated a shoe repair shop in Novato for many years, died Saturday, Aug. 19,1995 of a heart attack at his home in Novato. Mr. Dutra was 80. Mr. Dutra was born in New Bedford, Mass. on May 26, 1915 and was a small boy when his family returned to the Azores Islands. He learned his trade in the Azores. Then, shortly before he turned 18, he returned to the United States. Mr. Dutra moved to Novato in 1939. In 1946, he opened his own shoe repair shop in Sausalito. He moved his business, Al’s Shoe Repair, to Novato in 1955. After several years in a storefront on Grant Avenue, he moved his shop to Second Street. Mr. Dutra retired in 1975.
— A new Novato Community Hospital moved closer to reality Monday night, Aug. 28, when the Novato Planning Commission, by a 5-2 vole, approved a master plan for the new facility. The project, when fully built, will include a 114,000 square foot hospital with up to 100 patient beds, a 56,000 square foot medical office building and a separate 450,000 square foot office building. The project would be built on 12.6 acres in the Golden Gate Business Park located on the east side of Highway 101 near the DeLong Avenue overpass. Entrance to the hospital would be via Rowland Boulevard and Rowland Way.