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A Petaluma360 Blog

Our River Town

Bill Hammerman on Petaluma's past, present and future

Lest We Forget – Petaluma Street Names

My previous blog (12-26-2014) honored Bill Kortum who died on December 20, and whose memorial will be held on Saturday, January 24, 2015 at 1:00 p.m. at the Sonoma Mountain Village on Petaluma Hill Road. There was a Letter to the Editor in last Sunday’s Press Democrat (12-28-2014) suggesting that due to Bill’s many contributions to his community, it might be appropriate to rename Petaluma Hill Road to Bill Kortum Boulevard, in his honor. (BTW, at one time, Bill thought… Read More »

Lest We Forget – Bill Kortum

Over the past several days, both the Argus-Courier and the Press Democrat have published articles, an editorial, and the obituary for Bill Kortum (1927-2014). The headline for the PD read, “County’s environmental champion dies at 87.” Over the past six decades, Bill was instrumental in the fight against the nuclear power plant planned for Bodega Head in the 1950s and ’60s.  In 1972, he formed the California Coastal Commission that established the public’s access rights to 1,100 miles of shoreline… Read More »

Lest We Forget – John W. Cavanagh, Jr.

The Hoppy Hopkins Research Library on the second floor of the Petaluma Historical Museum (4th & B Streets) has many oral history tapes, as well as biographical files related to Petaluma’s early settlers, founders, and civic leaders. Many citizens of today do not know their names; consequently, we post a brief description of their contribution to our favorite “River Town,” periodically. The following information about Jack Cavanagh, one of Petaluma’s longest serving City Council members, was found among the newspaper… Read More »

Lest We Forget – Petaluma’s First Electric Trolley & Railroad

Did you see the article of historical significance in the Press Democrat (Nov. 30, Section D, 1-2) by Lori Carter, in which she writes about the love by Lauten Williams and Christopher Stevick for trolleys and railroads?? It was titled, “Pair pursue Petaluma trolley dream,” and traces their tireless effort over the years to preserve and restore the trolleys that once carried passengers and freight into and out of Petaluma. Their eventual goal is to run the trolleys on the… Read More »

Lest We Forget – Petaluma Bridge Builders

  Most of my twilight moments occur between 3 & 5 a.m. After a night of not being able to fall asleep until well after midnight and not waking up until 7 a.m., my thoughts focused on the “tools” that many Petalumans have used over the years to help build our favorite “River Town.” – those of a “bridge builder.” For many years, I used to carry a poem titled, “The Bridge Builder” in my wallet because I thought it… Read More »

Lest We Forget – Petaluma’s Early Libraries

Although Sonoma County citizens narrowly rejected the recent quarter-cent Library Improvement Tax; Measure M fell short of the two-thirds majority needed for passage. There were 62.2% of the of the voters who supported our libraries, 67,973 “Yes” votes to 40,034 “No” votes. If one goes back in the history of Petaluma, they will discover that the 1858 private library collection started by members of Lodge No. 30, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and Silver Spray Lodge No. 86, was opened… Read More »

Lest We Forget – Rev. Lorenzo Waugh

Many Petalumans know about the Waugh Elementary School District located at 1851 Hartman Lane. The district now consists of two sites; Corona Creek Elementary School and Meadow Elementary School. But … how many readers know about the original Waugh Elementary School site (1922) at the intersection of Corona and Old Adobe Roads and the person for whom it was named – the Rev. Lorenzo Waugh? Lorenzo Waugh was born on August 28, 1808, near Greenbrier River, West Virginia, in what… Read More »

Lest We Forget – Helen Putnam

Since today is election day and Petaluma will be electing city representatives, my thoughts went back to a former mayor of Our River Town.   Most of the LWF Petalumans that we have blogged about have died long before most Petalumans of today were born. Helen Putnam, however, is one who many current residents remember quite well and loved. She died on July 2, 1984 after a political career that spanned 38 years. She was a mother, school teacher, mayor… Read More »

How Many Senior Citizens Are Amateur Radio Operators?

For some reason I can’t keep  Emergency Preparedness concerns out of my mind; especially the role that Hams or FCC licensed Amateur Radio Operators might play in the event of a major earthquake disaster. That question caused me to wake up at midnight this morning was, “How many Hams in Petaluma are senior citizens?” I know that many seniors take part in the programs offered at the Novak Senior Center, next to Lucchessi Park. Then there are the three Sons in… Read More »

Earthquakes – Where’s Our Focus?

Two earthquake related events took place this past week. Thursday was the annual Great California ShakeOut Day, and Friday was the 25th Anniversary of the Loma Prieta quake (1989). The focus of the Great ShakeOut was to help people to “Be Ready & Prepared” for a major  shake, which included how to “Duck, Cover & Hold On.” Friday’s article explained what causes a major 6.8 earthquake and how to protect homes and buildings.. Both news items were important, but for… Read More »