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A Petaluma360 Blog

Our River Town

Bill Hammerman on Petaluma's past, present and future

EP #115 – Oh, no! Not Another Earthquake Warning

Is that Pete Golis meant to say in his  column, Sunday (T5), titled, “Ho hum, a new quake warning?” He reminds us that the April 18, 1906 quake was “the most cataclysmic event in the history of Sonoma County. Downtown Santa Rosa was reduced to a pile of bricks …. No home or building was left undamaged.” He goes on to give us the latest statistics from the U.S. Geological Survey: “Within the next 30 years, researchers say that there… Read More »

Lest We Forget – Fred Wiseman

One of Petaluma’s most significant historical events was the delivery of letters from Petaluma to Santa Rosa, February 17-18, 1911, via an airplane. Due to engine problems, the flight took two days. Whether or not it was the first such flight is still debated today. Wiseman’s flight in 1911 aroused the interest of the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce, which urged all persons interested in the event to urge Congress to recognize the authenticity of the Wiseman flight by having… Read More »

Indian Tribe

This Guest Blog – “Indian Tribe” – was submitted by Jack Withington. Readers are invited to submit comments and/or their blogs. E-mail them to: whammer@petalumanet.org  Be sure to include your name and e-mail address. *    *    * The road to understanding the complexities of what is called the “Indian Tribe”  is mired with political, social, and economic ramifications. In the United States there are 500 Indian/Native American bands, tribes and or nations, while our good neighbor to the north, Canada,… Read More »

Calling All Ham Radio Operators – 2015

Several years ago, volunteer neighborhood emergency response teams in Petaluma promoted the use of amateur radio operators (Hams) as communicators when most normal communication tools might be inoperable due to a major disaster and the loss of power. One of my earlier blogs, “Calling All Hams,” was posted on January 17, 2010 and explained why a local Community Emergency Radio Network (CERN) made common sense in today’s world of earthquakes, floods, hurricanes and tornados. Last month, a new effort to… Read More »

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 »