Friday, February 23, 2007

Six Mile Walk

This morning was another morning where the force of gravity seemed extra strong in my bed. If I listened very carefully I could convince myself I heard light rain. I took comfort in that thought and snuggled deeper into the covers but soon started thinking, I really ought to get up and take a look to make sure it is in fact raining. Long story short, I got up, looked out the window and the stars were shining!! Nothing left but to get dressed and out the door.
I did my pre-walk stretching against the old Square Pole on the corner of Laurel and Harrison and then headed north. Nothing particularly in mind. When I got to Bush I decided to head west and check out the progress on the Pudding Creek Trestle.
When I got to the bridge it was still quite dark so I decided to continue on out the Haul Road for a while. I spotted a Buffle Head duck feeding in the Virgin Creek pond. The sky was getting lighter and I then noticed a rainbow in the clouds over the ocean. A glorious morning in progress. The sun cleared the coastal hills at 7:13 AM!

Next a walker came striding along and I thought I recognized him. I asked if he'd mind if I joined him. “Not at all”.
And that is how I ended up walking a total of six miles this morning. My personal best!! Woo Hoo!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

More Then and Now

1906 earthquake. C. R, Johnson residence with five of seven chinmeys toppled. The propped up Bank of Fort Bragg in the foreground.
2007. C.R. Johnson residence now the Guest House Museum. The Bank of Fort Bragg now housing law and investment offices. (my photo)

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Wonacott's Fotos

Here’s some interesting information I happened upon at the Guest House Museum today.

"Harold Howard Wonacott was born in Missouri in 1888. His family moved to Oakland in 1903 where he apprenticed with a photo studio. In San Francisco he photographed the 1906 earthquake. One story says he ferried to the stricken city from Oakland, made photographs and returned to his studio in Oakland at night to make prints. He then sold the prints on the street for a dollar each, reputedly making a healthy profit.

"In 1908 H.H moved to Willits where some of his relatives were living and opened a studio at Valley and Main Streets. By 1911 he was doing well enough to marry and in 1917 opened a second studio in Fort Bragg. He continued to work in Willits a couple of days a week until John Parkins bought that studio in 1922. From then on he resided on the coast. Large photo commissions by the Union Lumber Company to document their reforestation project and mill operations may have made this move possible.

"Other photographic work included portraits of individuals or groups, school classes and local businesses. In addition he photographed events, festivals and everyday scenes of interest which today offer a window into our area’s past. He also provided film processing for customers through larger drug stores. He offered prints for sale at his studio on Laurel Street.

"Automobiles were an important part of Wonacott’s photography business. In Willits he advertised a Thomas Flyer as a prop for portraits that he made into postcards. After 1917 the car he drove between the Coast and Willits advertised his services on the spare tire and side doors." In this image of his studio in Fort Bragg he is standing with his prize Hudson parked in front. Even after he no longer drove it he kept the Hudson in the barn to remind him of the old days.

"Wonacott sold his studio in 1947 to Gerhardt Ahl from Wisconsin and retired to his farm off Simpson Lane (south of town) where he had a trout farm called, “U-Catch-em” He also had a small studio there which he used to take photos of happy fishermen with their trout catch. Wonacott happily operated his farm and trout farm until he died in May of 1960.

"Meanwhile, Gerhardt Ahl dumped most of Wonacott’s negatives over the bluff, probably at the City Dump (Glass Beach), and sold his panoramic camera. He had no appreciation for their historic value.

"In 1948 Hal Ogle, who had come to Fort Bragg in 1945, took over Wonacott’s Laurel Street Studio. He gave many of the surviving negatives to a local history buff named Albertson. Ogle continued at that location until 1968 when he moved to a new studio on McPherson Street.
"Today this storefront houses the Headlands Coffee House." (My photo.)

Friday, February 16, 2007

A place to "Kiss"

I spotted this in “If the Shoe Fits” window this morning.

That got me to thinking about Gus West Island, a small sea stack just west of the former Union Lumber Company.

Gus West Island "had a brothel in historic times”. I've been told access was via a cable suspension bridge! Now days only a few impressions of the building's foundation remain on the island.

I can imagine a young "woods worker" coming in on the Friday evening logging train and heading for Gus West Island for a “kiss”, the waiting girls out there surrounded by pounding surf and fog. All that was needed was money in the pocket and the guts to cross that bridge!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Valentine Residue

This morning was a walk of an automaton. (2. a person who acts in a monotonous, routine manner, without active intelligence.)

I woke at 5:58 AM. Rolled out of bed, dressed, and was out the door in five minutes. A mild foggy morning. Quiet, damp, peaceful. Nothing in mind except to put in an hour of walking for purely physical reasons and return home for my cup of tea.

Up Harrison, east on Winifred, south on Harold. A few cars, mostly mist shrouded streets. Walk and walk.

Returning on Franklin I was suddenly snapped out of my zen like state by a paperback book on display in the window of, “If the Shoe Fits”. I stopped to take a photo and…

laughed all the way home!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Pre Earthquake

The 1906 earthquake that hit Fort Bragg was the same one that leveled San Francisco!
Here are some photos of buildings that pre-date that earthquake and still stand today.

418 N. Main. One of Fort Bragg’s first hospitals. Today it houses a restaurant.
412 N. Main. Was and is a meat market.
400 N. Main. Weller Hall today houses a music and camera store.

Monday, February 12, 2007

1906 Earthquake

Rain has arrived and instead of walking I am sorting through my photos and connecting them with historical information I gleaned from the Guest House Museum.
The above photograph shows almost nothing left from the west side of Franklin St. to the west side of McPherson, (between Laurel and Redwood Ave) after the 1906 earthquake and subsequent fire. (The red dotted line, I added, is Franklin St.)
Here is a diagram showing the burnt area. The red arrow shows where I stood to take the following photograph (south) down Franklin St.
I am quite surprised to discover both sides of Franklin Street from Laurel to Redwood Ave. were completely rebuilt after the 1906 earthquake and fire. I had always thought these buildings were part of the “original” Fort Bragg.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

An Experiment

I was out of my favorite tea and decided to walk to Harvest Market which requires crossing the Highway One / Noyo River Bridge. This bridge was recently rebuilt to the tune of around $30,000,000.00.

While walking the pedestrian walk way on the east side I noticed expansion joints in the guard rail separating us walker/bicyclers from the car/trucks. Expansion joints allow for the expansion and contraction of large object due to temperature changes. I discovered there were two of these joints located about equal distance from the north and south ends of the bridge.

After buying my tea I headed home and decided to stop and measure the “gaps”. Not having a tape measure with me I decided to use the change in my pocket.
South expansion joint
North expansion joint

As you can see, both gaps are just over .75 cents wide.

When I got home I checked the outside temperature. 47 degrees.

So, 47 degrees equals a little more than .75 cents.

As warmer weather arrives I will revisit the expansion joints and see how much they close as the bridge warms up.

And here I was thinking I was going to run out of things to do in this small town!!

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Zen like

Rain was predicted. I heard it during the night but when I woke up at 5:45 for my morning walk I had no excuse, the rain had stopped.

So, out the door into the dark and freshly washed air. Nothing in mind. I’m just doing my basic maintenance walk but like so many walks the unexpected visuals along the way make my walk enjoyable, interesting and meditative!!

Here is a collection of what I noticed today.

An indication of past and present.

Food for thought.

Super Bowl residue.


Tuesday, February 6, 2007

More buildings from 1890

I’m walking around with this map and trying to find the buildings that still exist from that era. The numbers in red are what I have so far.

The Stewart House (# 5) (I’ve posted this one before but I like this photo with the moon).

A nice residence (#49) kitty corner from the Baptist Church (#35) Currently, Fort Bragg Glass (# 56). That's the "livery" (#61) to the left. I posted that one yesterday. (#2) is the Guest House Museum, where I got the map.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Fort Bragg 1890

Oh boy! Oh boy! I stopped by the Guest House Museum and talked to John Skinner who was “on duty”. I asked my questions about my various “oddities”; the horse and buggy tie-down rings, the square telephone/power poles, the obelisks; no problem! I did stump him with the two inset curb thingies south of Paul Bunyan (east side of McPherson between Redwood Ave. and Alder St.). We are going to dig into that a bit deeper.

Then we moved to a large 1890 photograph hanging on the wall. (I posted the “diagram” in the February 2nd blog which lists the various houses and businesses visible in the photograph.) Above is a portion of that photograph. I added the approximate location of where I live and the word “Laurel Street” to show where Laurel Street petered out in 1890. The diagonal path coming past where I live is one of the paths kids took on their way to the elementary school (The photo was taken from the roof of that school).

Beyond Laurel and to the far right is visible the First Baptist Church. John told me the bell tower eventually fell over because of rotted timbers and when it was reconstructed the whole church was lifted, rotated ninety degrees counter-clock wise, set back down and finished in a Spanish motif!! The windows visible in this photo now face north!

Now, during my walks, I have started taking photos of the various building that existed in 1890.
Here is one. It used to be a livery. Note the curb! Now it contains two businesses, Flo-Beds on the right and “Pippi's Longstockings”, a business that sells socks on the left.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Assholes in the Park

This is the same park I mentioned yesterday, the Harold O. Bainbridge City Park. I live half a block west of it.

About a week ago, around 10:00 PM, I heard a car engine. It sounded like someone tearing around and doing donuts. I didn’t bother to go look.

The next day I walked over to the Library @ the Vets and sure enough. Some assholes had tore up the grass in the park.


So, the other morning I’m doing my morning walk and thinking about those assholes and suddenly remembered the 1951 Dodge four-door sedan I used to own.

I was a year out of the Navy and working at Boeing. I had two cars; my nice car, a 1964 “Aztec Gold” Thunderbird convertible with a black “rag” top and my “beater”, the ’51 Dodge.

The Dodge didn’t have a back seat and when my buddies and I would take the girls for a spin we would borrow two chairs from the kitchen. We would drive into the woods behind the house and tear around running over small trees and doing donuts. It never dawned on me at the time what the neighbors thought. It was all about being wild and crazy. Having fun and scaring the girls.

Forty years later I’m on the other side of the coin. Now I worry about what the neighbors will think.


Friday, February 2, 2007

25% Off Sale complete!

The sale is complete. I couldn’t resist!
But enough frivolity! Back to the business of 'Walking Fort Bragg" (and learning).

I stopped by the Guest House Museum yesterday (Open 10~2 Thursday and Sundays during the winter) and, with permission, took a photo of:

Chronologic Listing of Buildings & Occupants.
"This diagram to be used with photograph "Fort Bragg City-1890"
Diagram + Information for Union Lbr. Company, by Charles Weller ll”

This “Diagram” is posted below a 1890 photo of Fort Bragg which was taken from the roof of the Elementary School ("#83") fronting Harrison St. between Laurel St. and Redwood Ave. The Elementary School is gone. Currently the property is a park.

I plan to use the guide to locate and photograph the buildings that still exist, fore instance:

#35 The First Baptist Church.

PS. I wonder if Mr. Charles Weller ll was associated with the Weller House, #6?

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Noyo Neon

Although two people have sent me comments saying “Enough with the neon already” I was really excited about walking to Noyo Harbor early this morning to see what they had for neon signs. I was expecting fish neon, crab neon, charter tour neon, all aboard neon but no. I arrived just in time to hear the Coast Guard station announce,
“Reveille, Reveille, zero six thirty, Reveille”!
Looking around I discovered all the shops and stores were closed and dark. No neon then, across the harbor, I spotted one in the window of "Tommy's Marine Service".

A “Miller Lite” neon sign. It was a long shot and required my mini tripod and time exposure but I got it.

Further along North Harbor drive I noticed this at the Anchor Lodge.

That was it for the Noyo Neon!
Walking home I happened to glance east up Oak Street and spotted this at the B&C Deli (Northeast corner of Harrison and Oak). Finally a crab!

Okay. That’s it for the neon, for now.

Tomorrow, good news! The 25% sale at Understuff is complete!