Mike Read/Pages From The Past
100 Years Ago
— Searching for wife deserter. Sheriff J.J. Keating is sending descriptions broadcast of Manuel Costa, lately of Novato, who is wanted for deserting his wife and two little children. A reward of $50 is offered for his apprehension. Costa is 27 years of age, 5 feet 6 inches tall, and weighs 150 pounds.
— For Sale – Gentle and sound driving horse, good traveler. Price reasonable. Mrs. H. Nielsen, Novato.
— Poultry farm, Novato, 7 acres, fenced, small house; $2,500; want equity in house or lot.
75 Years Ago
3-acres, small farm, 5 room house, large oaks, creek spring, electricity, near town. $7,000 terms.
— 2-acres, nice homesite, fruit, all utilities, near town. $2,500. L.R. Knuttle, Nave Building.
— Mr. and Mrs. G. Tirassa and their son, Raymond Tirassa, have reopened their bakery, closed during the war.
— With the breaking of ground last week, work got under way on Marin County’s first complete motel. The new business enterprise is a $90,000 development by Mrs. Laura Rodoni of San Rafael, and it is being built on Highway 101 at the southwest corner of Grant Avenue and the highway in Novato. There will be a modern service station with a spacious, modern restaurant and 16 modern cottages, completely furnished.
— Mrs. Laura Rodoni is returning to Novato, which she left in 1941 for San Rafael after selling the Village Inn and renting the home, the original residence of the late Supervisor and Mrs. Fred Sweetser, to Fire Chief and Mrs. Fred Miller, which she plans to occupy herself. The surrounding grounds are to be made into an auto court, housing eight units and a lunchroom on which the dwelling was moved back to Grant Avenue, will be forced to move for the widening of the four-land highway. Mrs. Rodoni plans to build a service station, with all plans having been approved by the Marin County planning commission.
50 Years Ago
Three clean-cut young gunmen held up the Black Point Inn January 10 and drove off with approximately $1,360 in cash, after securing both the owner and a part-time dishwasher with a Japanese pair of handcuffs in the bathroom. Only Jesse Fisher, the owner and Daniel Hunter, a 15-year-old Novatan, were present when the three bandits pulled out revolvers and asked for money. According to Fisher, they appeared “high” but not on alcohol, and extremely nervous. He was taken upstairs at gunpoint and told to open the safe, while the other gunmen ransacked the cash register and held Hunter. The bandits had neglected to take off the key from the handcuffs, and both victims were able to release themselves and call the police almost immediately.
— David Price Jones, local attorney, was awarded the Novato Jaycees’ Distinguished Service Award. He was selected for the honor from a field of nine candidates by a committee of five judges. As winner he will be entered in the California Outstanding Young Man of the Year program this year and will be one of those considered for the Jaycees’ national list of the 10 Outstanding Young Men of America. Jones came within 20 days of being too old for the award. He turned 36 on January 20, and winners had to be no older than 35 as of January 1. Jones and his wife Kay have lived in Novato since 1962. Jones is a partner in the law firm of Carrow and Jones.
— Novato Moose members will commemorate their eight anniversary in the Loyal Order of Moose with a two day celebration at the local Moose Lodge. A free spaghetti feed with dancing in the Antler Room will be held Friday. On Saturday, a special enrollment of new members will start at 7:30 p.m. This will be followed by a free buffet and cake cutting ceremonies and dancing in the Antler Room.
25 Years Ago
— Bali Hai Restaurant, located inside the Days Inn at 8141 Redwood Blvd., has changed its name to the Garden Court. The restaurant, which is still under the same ownership, specializes in Chinese cuisine.
— Richard Rhodes Hanna, whose ranch in Novato is now the site of both the Vintage Oaks shopping center and a wildlife refuge, died Tuesday, Jan. 16, 1996 at Mills Hospital in San Mateo following a long illness. He was 81 years old. Mr. Hanna, a resident of Hillsborough for many years, was a member of a prominent early California family. He was born in Los Angeles, where his grandfather, Richard Judd Hanna, had been sent by John D. Rockefeller to help establish Standard Oil of California. The family later moved to the Bay Area, where Mr. Hanna’s father, Richard Wright Hanna, was a principal in the further development of Standard Oil. Mr. Hanna graduated from the prestigious Cate School in Carpinteria. He went on to graduate from Stanford University, where he was a member of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity, in 1938. He was an outstanding sportsman and was among the team of collegiate athletes selected from throughout the country to participate in the only baseball team ever to compete in the Olympics. It was 1936 and the Olympic games were held in Berlin. The event was viewed by Adolph Hitler. Mr. Hanna, who played left field, came home with a Gold Medal and a Bronze Medal. He served with distinction in the U.S. Navy in the Pacific during World War II; he was an officer aboard the carriers USS Nassau and USS Enterprise from 1942 to 1945. The Hanna family were all lovers of nature who loved nothing more than to escape from the congestion and hectic pace of city life and head to the country. Shortly after the war, Mr. Hanna bought a hay farm in Novato — in those days’ country indeed. The family enjoyed countless weekends and summers on the 400-acre Hanna Ranch, which extended from Highway 37 south to what is now Vintage Oaks. It was a great spot for fishing and duck hunting; Mr. Hanna was an accomplished fly fisherman. As an independent businessman, he developed the family land holdings in Chandler, Ariz., Contra Costa County and, in conjunction with the Hahn Co., Vintage Oaks in Novato. In the mid-1980s, part of the Hanna Ranch was converted to a fish and game wildlife refuge. Mr. Hanna was a parishioner at the Episcopal Church of St Matthew in San Mateo and a member of the Pacific Union Club, the Burlingame Country Club and the Society of California Pioneer.