24 July 2009

The carpenter, the baker, and the Classics professor

Moran-Wright house, 2001 Francisco Street
(photo: Daniella Thompson, 2009)

The sky-blue Victorian villa—part Stick-Eastlake, part Gothic Revival, and proudly holding aloft a tower and weathervane on the northeastern corner of Francisco and Milvia Streets—is a striking sight.

Passersby who know nothing of its storied past are often captivated by the rows of cobalt-blue glass bottles lined along its window sills. If they raise their eyes, they may admire the handsomely proportioned windows, the classically balustraded balcony, and the numerous curved brackets gracing the house.

This edifice, popularly known as the Flagg House, has long been the subject of local legends, some of them propagated by local historians.

Read the whole story here.

06 July 2009

Beltane Ranch: From ‘Dusty Place’ to ‘Mammy’s Place’

Beltane Ranch, Glen Ellen (photo: Daniella Thompson, 2009)

Before there was a Glen Ellen, much of Sonoma County’s Valley of the Moon was part of the 18,833-acre Rancho Los Guilucos. The rancho—its name was later corrupted to Guilicos—was granted in 1837 by Gov. Juan Bautista Alvarado to John Wilson and his wife, Ramona Carrillo, sister-in-law of General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo.

In the late 1870s, Captain John Hamilton Drummond established his Dunfillan Vineyard on 150 acres of the rancho. After his death, the land was acquired by the wealthiest black woman in San Francisco, Mary Ellen Pleasant, widely known as “Mammy” Pleasant and now called the “Mother of Civil Rights in California.”

Read the whole story here.