Another local community historian that needs to be remembered along with Ed Fratini is Ed Mannion. His collection of books, files, and documents gathered over 40 years was originally given to the Petaluma Historical Museum; but later transferred to the Petaluma Library where there was more room. C. Edward Mannion was one of Petaluma’s best known citizens, who wrote about the city’s history died at age 73 in 1991. Ed Fratini was present at the official opening of the Petaluma History Room in 1993.
Argus-Courier columnist Bill Soberanes said that, “without Mannion, about 50 percent of our history would be lost.” Ed’s business card read: “Regional History Buff, Bottle Collector, Old Postcard Enthusiast, Local Relic Hunter.” Mannion was a member of the museum board of directors and the historical society. He earned a journalism degree from the University of Iowa, served in the U.S. Army during WWII, studied Japanese code at the Two Rock Station, and deployed to the Pacific.
Ed wrote a column titled, “Rear View Mirror” for the Argus-Courier from 1960-1963, as well as working for over 30 years for the newspaper in the composing shop. A book containing these column is available to the public in the Hoppy Hopkins Research Library of he museum. An index of names mentioned in this book lists over 2,300 people. Bill Soberanes is mentioned 17 times and Ed Fratini is mentioned 19 times. Collectively, all three of the served on the 1958 Petaluma Centennial Corporation. Ed Fratini was the Vice-President and Revenue Division Chairman, Bill Soberanes was on the Brothers of he Brush Committee, and Ed Mannion served on the Historical Program Committee. Mannion also wrote the lead article for the Centennial Booklet titled, “Petaluma’s History … Once Over Lightly.”
Ed Mannion’s legacy as a history buff, relic hunter, and columnist will continue to live on for decades to come. The Petaluma Library’s History Room is open to the public on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1:00-4:00 p.m., and Wednesdays from 5:30-7:45 p.m.