Tindall’s Market

by Maurice Tindall, November 4, 2011

Tindall's Market is now closed after almost 32 years in business in Boonville. It is hard to say just why we left the land but when we came back home in the fall of 1936 from our seven years near Stockton where there wasn't much to do. Our land was rented out and the depression hadn't entirely cleared up. There was only a small inkling of the logging boom that was to come.

One day Bill Clow said, “Why don't you start up a meat market? We need one here in the Valley.” It seemed like a good thing to do, so away we went. We had secured a house in Boonville, one of the Looney houses, and we were glad to get it. Houses were scarce then as they are now and the rent was a lot lower.

We rented the old “Pig Butcher Shop” and I spent all year cleaning and painting and getting some equipment in. There was a walk-in box there and we bought a compressor and a meat counter and other things to operate a meat market with.

In March of 1937 we were ready to start, but had no meat. John Wallach was an interested observer of the project and he killed a shoat and brought it in. It weighed about 125 pounds. We laid it on the meat block and cut it up and it was quickly sold. We were in business.

For quite awhile we cut meat by hand but we finally bought a meat saw which made the work much easier.

For a time I ran a meat wagon as far as Navarro but in time a man came in from Sonoma County and took part of the business. During those years the Valley's population declined to the point that people could kill an animal and sell whatever was left over. All in all that was the end of the meat wagon business. I didn't really mind as it was quite a chore especially in winter.

Bill Clow knew all the meat salesmen and sent them by and before long we were stocked with lunch meats and weiners. The wieners came tied in bunches and were covered with a net. I always thought they were better than the ones we get now in bulk boxes.

At that time we could buy fresh meat locally. That was when almost anyone had animals to sell, mostly in the spring or summer. I killed a lot of my own stock, mostly hogs and sheep. I bought a good many alive and killed them myself also. I got pretty handy at it from watching the boys working at the butcher shop in Sebastopol.

At first we bought meat in Santa Rosa but when they closed we went to the Sebastopol meat company. While I was gone Alice would take care of the market.

There wasn't too much business at the time and profits were small. But by hauling out livestock and other activities we made it work out. I remember round steak was 25¢ a pound and other meats were proportionately priced. It was necessary to handle a good deal of meat to make much money. Later on, right after the war and its point system, stores began to put in meats and we decided we would have to put in groceries as we couldn't make out on meat alone after that even with the outside work I was doing.

John Wallach decided it would be a good thing to make more room so he subdivided his field and prune orchard. We bought three lots but later sold half of it for a Shell station. Bob Batterson along with some of the local boys put up the building. Mannix Electric Company did the wiring and there was a lot of it.

We also built a warehouse in back and made room for the post office in the side of the store building. The post office facilities had become to small for the rapidly increasing business. About the time we were finished with that building, a cement in and paving outfit came to the Valley and many places had curbs and gutters put in.

Our old butcher shop was torn down and a cafe was put in its place. With the other buildings that went up and the long overdue improvements to the Anderson Valley Apple Show, the looks of the town were greatly improved. At about this time in 1945-1947 the Hess Lumber Company began operations as well as the Charles Mill and people began moving in to work them.

In spite of the mill cabin construction, houses were still very scarce. But with the arrival of the mills, there was building material available locally.

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