Mike Read/Pages From The Past
(Editor’s note: This feature takes a stroll down memory lane through the pages of the historic Novato Advance newspaper. To subscribe to the Advance today, see details on page 3A.)
100 Years Ago
— Mrs. William Bird, of Novato, told a sad tale in the Superior Court last Friday in her suit for divorce from her husband, a poultryman. She is a schoolteacher, and in addition to filling her position, she was obliged, she said, to get up at 5 o’clock in the morning, attend to the chickens and eggs, get her husband’s breakfast, and do the housework. Upon her return from school, she started the round of labor again, retiring late. Saturday and Sunday she works steadily. Her testimony was corroborated by her sister. Miss Grey, also a schoolteacher. She was granted her freedom, waiving alimony.
— The executive committee of the Community House, has purchased the vacant lot adjoining the Community House and expects to start work on the new building.
75 Years Ago
— C.N. Nelson has joined the Pini Hardware firm, it was announced by D.D. Phillips and Baxter Hovis co-owners of the firm now. They are planning a new building in the near future on the south side of Grant Avenue one block west of the highway, when lumber and other scarce materials become available.
— Mrs. Ida Magnus, owner and operator of Ida’s Grocery, housed in one of the Frank Silva stores, has sold her business to Mr. and Mrs. S. T. Corfield of Clearlake Oaks, Lake County. The new owners will take over the business on Monday and will be assisted by Mrs. Magnus for several weeks. The Corfields are not new to the business as they had a grocery store prior to coming to Novato.
— Miss Lulu Sutton announced this week that Novato grammar school exercises will be held on Wednesday, June 12th. Twenty-four youngsters will receive their diplomas at that time.
50 Years Ago
— Baskin-Robbins in Novato has 31 varieties of ice cream but there’s competition in variety on its way. At the other end of Grant Avenue—in the Silva building where Tobie’s Beauty Salon used to be located—W. W. Cameron is opening a retail and wholesale business specializing in popcorn— and he plans to offer 33 different kinds of popcorn. He expects the popcorn business to be eventually so popping good that 6 to 8 employees will be kept busy.
— The Moose Lodge sign on the hill near the intersection of Highway 101 and Lamont Avenue was redecorated by youthful pranksters to read “Mickey Mouse Lodge”.
— Some 2000 people attended the open house last Thursday evening of the new Bank of America office in Novato at 1600 Grant Avenue, according to manager Richard Beazell. Over the weekend cash and safety deposit boxes were moved under police escort from the old office at 1200 to 1600 Grant Avenue. The bank pays the police officers who were required to guard the boxes and vault in transit. The new bank officially opened for business four blocks up the street. No other furniture was moved. The old was left behind and the new office furnished entirely with new accoutrements.
25 Years Ago
— The Petrini grocery store chain, which includes a Novato store and 12 others across the Bay Area, was sold last week by its parent company to Certified Grocers of California, Ltd. Petrini’s is an independent grocery store chain known for its high-quality meat and produce. It was started in 1935 by Frank Petrini but was sold in 1988 by the Petrini family to Provigo, Inc. of Canada.
— Skateboarders may have finally found a home. The Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee selected Marion Park on Grant Avenue as the site for a long-awaited skateboard park after more than two hours of debate. The site will go before the Novato City Council in the next few months as an official recommendation by the committee. Then it will be up to the council to decide its fate, but several councilmembers have already expressed a desire to build a skateboard park in the city, so it has a good chance of being approved. Tuesday, the committee had to decide between four potential sites: Marlon Park, Pioneer Park, Hill Middle School, and Donna Street.
— The Navy is considering not turning its share of Hamilton Field over to the City of Novato after all, placing in jeopardy years of work and over a million dollars spent on planning for the successful reuse of the former military base. According to Novato City Manager Rod Wood, Navy officials now say they intend to go with the “highest bidder” at auction as early as January 1997, meaning the City’s vast reuse planning documents and years of public hearings were for naught. “We have memos from the Navy that they’re going to auction,” said Wood, referring to an unsigned memo obtained by the City indicating the Navy plans to scrap the recently approved reuse plan.