Press "Enter" to skip to content

Anderson Valley in 1954 & 1955

The AV History Museum has boxes with actual copies of the Anderson Valley Advertiser from November 1954 through December 1985. Individual copies were sold for 7¢ with a year of weekly papers subscription price of $3.00. The first paper in the box is from the November 1954, A Thanksgiving Issue and is the only one from ’54. Looking for August 1955, this time of year, I also looked at one from late July.

There was considerable logging oriented content at this time.

A story titled “New McCulloch On Display In Boonville” stated, “The most powerful one-man chainsaw ever offered to timber operators in this area, the McCulloch Model 73, is now displayed at Valley Auto Service…This new chain saw has the most comfortable feeling of ‘fit’ and its cutting response is the closest to the chain saw ideals of production loggers and pulp cutters everywhere.” Also available at Valley Auto: “Chain saw bars hard-tipped- bars straightened, welded or converted – only $7.50 to hard tip any bar.” Another logging headline read, “The Philbrook Mill was destroyed by fire at Philo.” Apparently a fire started under the mill near the edger diesel engine, and a failing air hose fanned the flames. In another headline, “Mendocino Man Killed in Logging Accident” – “Robert Bruce MacMath 46, of Mendocino a local logging contractor, was crushed to death by a log early Thursday as he was delivering a load of logs to the Mendo-Coast Lumber Co. Mill… one of the logs slipped out crushing him to his death.”

Another headline, “Driver Escapes Injury In Logging Truck Wreck,” featured a photo of a rolled log truck stating that, “Julius Newton, truck driver for Jack Hiatt had a narrow escape last week when the Peterbilt truck and its heavily loaded trailer overturned.”

The sheep also industry got a its share of mentions. One advertisement read; “Wool wanted; now in the market for wool. Needed to fill Boston orders, cash paid at scales.” — John Ornbaun, Phone Greenwood Ranch No. 1 Elk, CA. Another ad sponsored by the Ukiah Realty Co. “Wanted: Ranch that will run 3500 head of ewes; We have the buyer.” A sheep related story had a headline, “Judge Orders Sheep Killing Dogs Destroyed.” “Two dogs accused of killing sheep were ordered destroyed and damages ordered paid to the owners of the sheep at recent hearing before Judge J.D. Moungovan of Arena Judicial Court…The hearing was attended by a number of sheep men interested in the outcome of the case.”

There were several regular columns; “My Hometown” by Joe Rawles, “Stop and Chat” by Clydagh Blackwood and “Down Philo Way” and “Out Around Yorkville.” The writers mostly concerned themselves with seasonal happenings like progress in the garden or visitors from near and far that various valley residents were entertaining. Clydagh raved about a recent visit to see the then all new “Cinerama” during a trip to SF which she loved, “I am not exaggerating when I say that you are really there; you are really riding a Roller-Coaster, you are really in the airplane and you are really at the Opera.” She also included a poem, “When I have Time” – When I have time, so many things I’ll do / To make life happier and more fair / For those whose lives are crowded now with care. I’ll help lift them from their low despair, when I have time…”

These are the names of some of the businesses that advertised in the paper back then. Farmer Drug, Track Inn, Boonville Motel, Valley Auto, Boonville Garage, Weise’s Valley Inn, Jack’s Valley Store (which had a large Grand Opening Ad!), Claire’s Café, Mannix Inc., Navarro Machine Shop, Navarro Inn and Coffee Shop, Philo Café and Ashford’s Union Service. The prices quoted on Jack’s Grand Opening spread are interesting to read;

Sugar- 5lbs. for $.49, Ground Beef- $.39lb., Jams and Jellies- 3 for $.99, Picnic Ham $.35lb., Margarine 5lb.s for $.99, Pork Steak- $.49lb. All that AND “Peg Leg Pants- the new rage with the smart young crowd in wheat and charcoal,” also, “Orchids will be given to the ladies on Friday.”

In local news a very space-age looking preliminary plan drawing for the new High School looked impressive coupled with a story “Record Vote Predicted on School Election.” … “A record vote is being predicted for the School Election that is to be held this Friday, May 20th. The voters realize that an answer must be found to the ever increasing problem of educating more and more youngsters every year.” 

Under a large headline “Announcements,” Kindergarten Registration: “The Anderson Valley School District is considering starting a kindergarten this fall if enough parents are interested. Children must be four years and nine months old on or before Sept. 2, 1955… If started the kindergarten will be held in one of the new fair buildings in Boonville. Transportation cannot be provided. Parents will have to bring and call for their children.” Another big change.

In the November 1954 issue the top story was “Valley Lions Club Initiates Action in Area Fire District formation.” “Oct. 25: Report is made to the Valley Lions Club that the State Forestry Station will be closed on the first rain after Nov. 1st. In the discussion that followed opinion was that we should try to obtain a 24-hour basis instead of part-time during the winter months…” 

My how things have changed. 

Other headlines, “Willits Road Mystery Blast Caused by Dynamite,” “Mendocino County Budget Approved- $4,987,101.57” [!], “Many Abalone Law Violators This Year” (some things never change) , and “Know these Garden Pests and Kill Them on Sight.”

A small story mentioned “Many Mendocino deer hunters at Mendocino National Forrest.” “14,000 deer hunters came into the west half of the Mendocino National Forest for the opening this weekend it was announced by Forest Supervisor Robert E. Dasmann. One hundred and forty deer were killed the opening day. Most of the deer were in only fair condition.”

I did the math and think that there must have been a lot of disappointed hunters since only 1% got a deer.

Walking down memory lane is interesting. The valley was a very different place back then. Not one mention then of grapes or wine (or marijuana). The ball just keeps on rolling. What will things be like in Anderson Valley 70 years from now? No one can even come close to knowing.

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *