Point Reyes Station


Despite wet weather, celebrations of Halloween and Día de los Muertos enlivened Point Reyes Station Saturday and Sunday in advance of Monday’s trick or treating.

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Wendi Kallins (left), a candidate for county supervisor in the June primary election, and Constance Washburn as “Super Gaia” during the Day of the Dead party in the Dance Palace Saturday evening. The altar is decorated with memorials for deceased friends and relatives.


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Toby’s Feed Barn also held a Halloween party with a Día de los Muertos altar Saturday night. Here Feed Barn owner Chris Giacomini enjoys the decorations.


On Sunday, the festivities continued across town.

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In the firehouse, the annual pancake breakfast prepared by firefighters from Point Reyes Station and Inverness was held Sunday morning as a benefit for the Point Reyes Disaster Council.

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Marty Frankel (left) and Eileen Connery selling tickets at the pancake breakfast. Lynn Axelrod (far right), coordinator of the Point Reyes Disaster Council, checks out the crowd at the breakfast.

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For youngsters, one of the highlights of the pancake breakfast was a chance to take a firetruck ride around town.


Also on Sunday, Papermill Creek Children’s Corner preschool held a Halloween party in the Dance Palace.papermill-creek-childrens-corner-halloween-party

 Enthusiastic party goer at the Dance Palace takes a run between the rains that fell sporadically Sunday.

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For the youngest children, the chance to ride a horse around the block was a special thrill.

 

 

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Wearing tiger ears framing an exit sign, Lourdes Romo, executive director of the preschool, with three of her young charges.


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Halloween costumes:  Everywhere in town, many adults and children wore costumes all day Monday. The most realistic costumes I saw were worn by this group of trick or treaters, who showed up at our door that evening.

Point Reyes Station’s 66th Western Weekend this past Saturday and Sunday continued a colorful tradition that began in 1949 when a women’s group, Companions of the Forest: Circle 1018, held a festival, fashion show, and cake walk in their hall. (The Foresters’ Hall on Mesa Road still survives under private ownership. It’s immediately north of the Old Creamery Building.)

The following year, members of the local Lions Club, many of whom were married to Circle 1018 members, added a parade and a livestock show for 4-H and Future Farmers of America members. The event was called a “junior” livestock show because all those showing animals were 4-H and FFA members.

When I came to town in 1975 and my newspaper called the event Western Weekend, as many people by then did, more than a few oldtimers told me the proper name was the West Marin Junior Livestock Show. “Western Weekend,” they grumbled, was the name of the livestock show in Novato.

Western Weekend queen Graciela Avalos in Sunday’s parade.

Nigel, left, and his cousin Annabelle make contact during the West Marin 4-H Fair on Saturday at Toby’s Feed Barn. Sisters Olivia and Phoebe Blantz of Nicasio brought them as they have in past years, so they are all regulars.

 

Eva Taylor, 6, holds an eight-week old Champagne D’Argent rabbit. The breed was brought to the U.S. from France in the early 1900s. They are known to have been bred since the 17th century, according to Dorothy Drady of Nicasio, who oversaw their care at the fair.

Megan Binford, 14, of Tri-Valley 4-H, shows a four-month old Broken Black Mini-Rex doe named Ribbons, or, as a local rancher quipped, “a Holstein rabbit.”

A float in memory of Dorothy Rocca, who died this past year. She was the longtime owner of the Palace Market. The entry took first place in adult floats.

The exciting music and dance of Ballet Folklorico of Petaluma Paquiyollotzin wowed the crowds all along the parade route.

KWMR Community Radio and The Point Reyes Light marched together in a media section of the parade. The entry took 2nd place among adult floats.

Lynn Axelrod was among the MainStreet Moms calling for people to drink tap water rather than bottled water, which clutters the environment with plastic bottles. Mom Kathryn Callaway created the signs for her sisters.

The Coastal Health Alliance on the march.

Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation is dedicated to eradicating childhood cancer. The organization is named after a child who sold lemonade to raise funds for other kids, leading to a global effort that totaled more than $1 million. Ezequiel  (Ez) Powell and the Porrata-Powell family will hold their own lemonade fundraiser Sunday, June 14, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Town Commons.

Two young ladies took turns singing to the crowd as the Dance Palace Kids Musical Theater proceeded down the main street.

Towtruck driver Tim Bunce (right), who entered a 1953 Farmall Tractor in the parade, photo-bombs Sheriff’s Lt. Doug Pittman’s picture. Bunce took first in the Farm Vehicle division and first in the best-vehicle division.

More of the vibrant Mexican dancing in stunning costumes.

The littlest ones waved and snoozed from their float in the mid-day sun.

The Aztec Dancers took the first-place award for best street show.

Richard Kirschman and Doris Ober promoted the West Marin Fund, which encourages people to spend West Marin currency in West Marin.

Point Reyes-Olema 4-H Club took first place in the kids’ street show awards.

Mexican food was offered and mariachi dancing after the parade continued until about 8 p.m. in the West Marin Commons on the north end of the main street.

A woman draped in the colors of the Mexican flag dances at the Town Commons.

I’m still a bit gimpy as a result of a fall I took three weeks ago (and wrote about here), so my partner Lynn was good enough to fill in, shooting most of the photos for this posting and writing about half the text.

Hundreds of people gathered in and around the Dance Palace Sunday to celebrate the life of Marshall artist and political activist Donna Sheehan, who died April 17 at the age of 85.

Paul Reffell, Donna’s partner for the past 21 years, took the microphone to start Sunday’s memorial, during which more than a dozen friends and relatives of Donna told about their often-amusing experiences with the multi-faceted artist/activist.

The memorial was a potluck, and a large amount of food (such as these oysters) and drink was consumed.

Paul and Donna at her 80th birthday party, which was celebrated in Toby’s Feed Barn five years ago.

Paul was 21 years Donna’s junior, but they often collaborated on newspaper columns and books. Together they wrote a book titled Brainlines and another titled Seduction Redefined, which advanced Donna’s belief that women, not men, are the natural pursuers. Seduction and orgasms were central to Donna’s world view, and she never had a problem talking or writing about either. One of Sunday’s speakers, Toni Littlejohn of Point Reyes Station, told of the time Donna called her to report with hesitant pride that she’d had 25 orgasms that morning.

Donna’s nephews Erik Oehm (right) and Jacob Day told of the joy of having her as an aunt. Local musicians performed after the speakers were done.

Photo by Lynn Axelrod

An altar adorned with photographs of Donna and with her art was set up in the Dance Palace’s “church space.” Also part of the display was the hat she often wore.

Photo by Lynn Axelrod

Donna’s art, as usual, drew numerous compliments during the wake. She had little art training but had studied design and printmaking.

Photo copyright Art Rogers 2002

But it was political activism for which Donna was best known. During a chilly rain on Nov. 12, 2002, Donna gained worldwide attention when she assembled 50 “unreasonable women” at Point Reyes Station’s Love Field. Lying naked on the wet grass, the women spelled out PEACE with their bodies while Point Reyes Station photographer Art Rogers recorded the event.

Donna at the time explained she got the idea from a similar protest in Nigeria earlier in the year. Women fighting corporate exploitation stood nude in a vigil that lasted several days outside of Nigeria’s parliament, she noted. “[The Nigerian women] shamed the men and won their cause,” she said. This photo of the demonstration, which was published in The Point Reyes Light, was immediately republished throughout the world and inspired many similar demonstrations.

Donna had previously garnered widespread attention in West Marin when in 1983 she organized a group called MOW (Mow Our Weeds) to pressure Caltrans to start mowing weeds along Highway 1 and stop using herbicides.

Photo by Lynn Axelrod

The crowd for Donna’s wake was so large it spilled out onto the Dance Palace’s front deck and lawn. In a testament to how many people were in Donna’s world, more than a few people remarked that they kept running into old acquaintances they seldom get to see.

A movie with and about Donna and her lifelong pursuits was shown in the church space. Photo by Lynn Axelrod

Donna died of “an overdose while I was away for an hour, shopping in Point Reyes Station,” Paul explained at the time. Her suicide was not unexpected. “We had talked many times, including [with other people] about her finding a way out as her health deteriorated and her pain increased,” Paul wrote the next day.

Sunday’s wake was organized by Robin Carpenter in accordance with Donna’s wishes.

One of Point Reyes Station’s best-loved merchants, Chris Giacomini, proprietor of Toby’s Feed Barn, suffered serious injuries Tuesday, March 31, when he fell from a loft in the building.

Chris (foreground) frequently lets the Feed Barn be used for fundraisers and other community events. Here he and a throng of townspeople clap as they watch President Barack Obama’s 2008 inaugural address on a large-screen television in the building.

Chris fell about 20 feet, landing on the cement floor, shattering a wrist and ankle, as well as receiving major bruises. He’s already had surgery and is scheduled for more this coming week, but he is recovering, according to his family and staff. Get well cards can be dropped off at Toby’s.

•            •            •

New business.

Dan Thompson, owner of Perry’s Inverness Park Grocery and Deli, last Thursday opened a bistro called Gather on the east side of the store in a room created from a onetime railroad car.

From 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday through Sunday, Gather serves dinner featuring organic meat and vegetables, small-batch wines, unique beer, sours and cider. Lynn and I had dinner there Sunday. She ordered chicken with kale, mashed potatoes, and hush puppies. I ordered potato cakes with sauteed greens, caramelized baby carrots, mushroom ragout, and créme fraiche.

What we got was Parisian-style haute cuisine with a down-home presentation. We shared a bottle of hard cider, which came with canning jars for drinking glasses. Lynn and I loved our dinners, but the portions were so large we couldn’t finish them and we brought quite a bit home.

The view of the Giacomini Marsh as seen from Gather. Throughout the day, the bistro is also a fun place to have espressos and to eat sandwiches, salads, etc. from the deli.

At the moment, the walls are adorned with nature photography by local resident Daniel Dietrich.

Here’s some history of the place. In the 1920s, Michael and Filomina Lucchesi Alberigi “bought about five acres on the marsh side of Inverness Park and moved into a large home there,” the Jack Mason Museum publication Under the Gables reported two years ago. “They built barns behind the house. They grew vegetables and eventually used a small house next to their home as a general store. Later it also had a small café and became the social hub of the village.”

In 1949, the Alberigi family leased the old store to Annie and Victor Turkan to run while the Turkans built a larger store across the street. “After the Turkans retired, their daughter Wilma Van Peer — who lived next door in what is now Spirit Matters and had the first television set in Inverness Park — ran it,” Under the Gables notes.

Waving Bear, one of Daniel Dietrich’s photos currently on display in Gather.

In the 1960s, Vern and Diane Mendenhall bought the grocery and expanded it. The bistro part of the building, which is an old railway car, was added as a diner. The enterprise went through two more ownerships before Dan bought it more than 30 years ago.

In the early 1970s, the railroad car section housed a pizzeria before becoming a succession of bakeries under various names and owners. Under the name Foggy Mountain Bakery, it was run by Mountain Girl (Jerry Garcia’s first wife) along with Kate Gatov and Irene Keener. Later Station House Café founder Pat Healy owned it for a brief time, as Under the Gables notes. It was also Knave of Hearts Bakery run by Matthew and Robin Prebluda; Debra’s French Bakery (Debra had been a partner of Brigit Devlin in starting the Bovine Bakery in Point Reyes Station); and more recently the Busy Bee Bakery.

•            •            •

Mainstreet Moms at 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 7, will present an informational evening led by historian Dewey Livingston regarding Caltrans’ proposal to replace the Green Bridge in Point Reyes Station. The meeting will be in the old gym at West Marin School.

•            •            •

A couple from England misjudged a turn at Highway 1 and the Point Reyes-Petaluma Road at approximately 3 p.m. Monday, and their motorcycle ran off the highway. The Harley Davidson traveled a short distance in a roadside ditch, careened over a driveway’s culvert and back into the ditch where it knocked down a 25 mph sign.

Highway Patrol officer Will Thompson (pictured) said there was no evidence the motorcycle had been speeding. Neither the driver, Michael Hacker, 55, of Kensington, Ashford, in the UK, nor his passenger, Kay Hardie, 53, was injured although their rental motorcycle was damaged, and their trip to Mendocino was interrupted.

A guy is driving through Chileno Valley when he sees a sign in front of a ranch house: “Talking Dog For Sale.” He rings the bell. The owner answers and tells him the dog is in the backyard.

The guy goes into the backyard and sees a nice looking Labrador retriever sitting there. “You talk?” he asks. “Yep,” the Lab replies. After the guy recovers from the shock of hearing a dog talk, he says “So, what’s your story?”

The Lab looks up and says, “Well, I discovered that I could talk when I was pretty young. I wanted to help the government, so I told the CIA. In no time at all they had me jetting from country to country. I was able to sit among spies and world leaders because no one figured a dog would be eavesdropping.

“I was one of their most valuable spies for eight years running. But jetting around really tired me out, and I knew I wasn’t getting any younger, so I decided to settle down. I signed up for a job at the airport to do some undercover security, wandering near suspicious characters and listening in. I uncovered some incredible dealings and was awarded a batch of medals.

“I got married, had a mess of puppies, and now I’m just retired.”

The guy is amazed. He goes back in and asks the owner what he wants for the dog. “Ten dollars,” the rancher says. “Ten dollars!” the guy exclaims. “This dog is amazing! Why on earth are you selling him so cheap?”

“Because he’s a liar,” the rancher replies. “He never did any of that crap.”

More canine lore. Even after the brick Grandi Building in Point Reyes Station was reinforced a few decades ago by putting a steel frame inside the building, some concern remained that bricks would pop out of the wall during a major earthquake. That resulted in a warning being painted on the building, but within weeks, pranksters changed “PARKING” to “BARKING.” Nowadays motorists routinely ignore it. This year, the vacant building will turn 100.

Earthquakes are not the only threats to bricks in Point Reyes Station. Here a Western gray squirrel gnaws on a brick outside of Mitchell cabin. Why? “Because they have rootless teeth that keep growing, they must gnaw continuously to wear them down,” explains the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies. “Otherwise they would be unable to close their mouths and their teeth would continue to grow and eventually prevent them from feeding.” — Photo by Lynn Axelrod

Lynn and I were enjoying a couple of mocha coffees at Toby’s Coffee Bar Sunday, as we often do, when she noticed this sign on the front of the building. I had no idea what “orse” means, so I looked it up. Turns out its most common meaning in British English is “not comparable.” In short, there’s no stable that can compare with Five Brooks.

Further down the main street I spotted this small sticker on a steel beam that’s part of the Palace Market’s external frame. Chu is a Chinese surname, but that doesn’t explain the sign. I was laughing at it when a woman walked past, read the sign, and with a laugh remarked, “Well, it’s not me.”

A hummingbird flew into Toby’s Feed Barn Sunday and apparently lost its way among the skylights high overhead. There would be no practical way to get to it or catch it, so I’m just hoping it finds its way out soon.

More avian mishaps. Two red-winged blackbirds with injured legs have begun showing up at Mitchell cabin. Neither Lynn nor I could figure out what happened to them, so Lynn asked Dave DeSante, president of the Institute for Bird Populations in Point Reyes Station. His only guess was that they’d gotten their legs tangled in something unknown. So far, at least, they’re surviving. — Photo by Lynn Axelrod

•        •        •

A passenger in a taxi leaned over to ask the driver a question and gently tapped him on the shoulder to get his attention. The driver screamed, lost control of the cab, nearly hit a bus, drove up over the curb and stopped just inches from a large, plate-glass window.

For a few moments everything was silent in the cab. Then, the shaking driver asked, “Are you OK? I’m so sorry, but you scared the daylights out of me.” The badly shaken passenger apologized to the driver and said, “I didn’t realize that a mere tap on the shoulder would startle someone so badly.”

The driver replied, “No, no, I’m the one who is sorry. It’s entirely my fault.
Today is my very first day driving a cab. I’ve been driving a hearse for 25 years.”

A crowd of Tomales Bay area residents showed up at West Marin School Thursday to look over Caltrans plan to replace the Green Bridge in Point Reyes Station. The bridge carries an average of 3,000 vehicles on Highway 1 over Papermill Creek daily.

Caltrans would like to spend approximately $5.8 million to replace the 100-foot-long bridge, beginning in 2018 or 2019 and finishing three or four years later.

A team of Caltrans representatives were on hand Thursday to explain diagrams of four alternative designs for the replacement: a short, steel-truss bridge; a long, steel-truss bridge; a precast, concrete girder bridge; and a suspension bridge.

The underside of the Green Bridge.

“The current bridge was determined to be seismically deficient, and retrofitting the bridge was deemed infeasible due to limitations caused by the nature of the original structure,” Caltrans reported earlier. The bridge was built in 1929.

The alternative designs differ in: how the piers will affect the creek channel, affect neighboring properties, and alter the approaches to the bridge. They also differ in bridge height and in the thickness of the deck.

The short-steel-truss design is “very similar” to the present bridge, Caltrans says. ________________________________________________________________

The long-steel-truss design would be taller than the existing bridge.

It would have overhead bracing, which would put a limit on the height of vehicles that could use it.

Approximately 120 of the vehicles that now cross the bridge each day are trucks.

 

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Under this alternative, the bridge deck would be two feet thicker than it presently is. It would also cover more land and water, and this would have “moderate impacts to adjacent properties,” Caltrans noted.  _______________________________________________________________

The suspension-cable design under consideration would have towers at each end, anchoring the cables supporting the bridge deck.

There would be “no piers” in the creek and there would be “no change to the current road alignment,” according to the state.

 

 

 

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A spot check of residents attending Thursday’s meeting found many  people skeptical of the need to replace the bridge but resigned to it.

The hot-button issue was what will happen to traffic on Highway 1 and the intersecting levee road during the estimated 18 to 24 months of rebuilding. Caltrans has two alternative proposals for a temporary bridge, but each would be able to accommodate only one direction of traffic at a time.

Provision would be made for bicycle and pedestrian traffic, and a stoplight would be installed to regulate vehicle traffic. Vehicle delays would be “about five minutes,” the highway department predicted. The traffic jams on a summer weekend would be huge, numerous people warned.

A bridge too far?

Coming in for virtually no discussion was a smaller bridge about 60 yards north of the Green Bridge. This Highway 1 bridge was also built in 1929, but no mention was made of its condition.

Another bridge too far?

Also left unmentioned was a second small bridge, which is about 50 yards south of the Green Bridge near Marin Sun Farms. What’s the condition of its piers? I wasn’t about to wade around in the muck to find out.

A “draft environmental document will be made available for public review and comment in mid-2016,” according to Caltrans. “The final environmental document is expected to be issued by early 2017, and design completion will be in late 2018.

“Construction is expected to begin in three to four years and last approximately two to three years.”

People wanting to have their concerns considered in Caltrans’ planning can write the state at: <lagunitas_bridge@dot.ca.gov>.

Caltrans plans to hold a public meeting from 7 to 9 p.m. this Thursday, March 9, at West Marin School to discuss replacing the Green Bridge which carries Highway 1 over Papermill Creek in Point Reyes Station.

You’re familiar with Caltrans’ bridge work, I’m sure. Its star-crossed replacement of the eastern span of the Oakland Bay Bridge has become an endless story in the Bay Area news media.

Caltrans, which wants to spend $5.8 million replacing this bridge, says it has come up with four designs for a new one. The public will have a chance Thursday to comment on them.

In the mid-1800s, Olema was a far busier place than Point Reyes Station, and a ferry carried travelers going back and forth between the two towns. In 1875, the County of Marin built the first bridge in this location. Its modern replacement was obviously built in 1929.

This 100-foot-long span on Highway 1 carries approximately 3,000 vehicles per day, 4 percent of them trucks, Caltrans reports.  The 10,000-foot-long Bay Bridge on Interstate 80 in comparison carries about 240,000 vehicles per day between Oakland and San Francisco.

Caltrans questions whether the 24-foot-wide Green Bridge is earthquake safe, saying its structure is okay, but its “deck geometry” is “basically intolerable.”

— 1959 photo by D.M. Gunn, courtesy of Dewey Livingston

The old Tocaloma Bridge was built in 1927 to carry Sir Francis Drake traffic over Papermill Creek in the town of Tocaloma, which lies 1.8 miles east of Highway 1 at Olema. The bridge was designed by J.C. Oglesby.

Oglesby also designed the matching Alexander Avenue bridge still in use in Larkspur. (Wikipedia Commons photo)

Oglesby’s old Tocaloma Bridge as it looks today.

The new Tocaloma Bridge carrying Sir Francis Drake traffic over Papermill Creek is immediately upstream from the old bridge. The state built the new bridge in 1962 at a cost of $210,000.

San Antonio Creek forms the boundary between Marin and Sonoma Counties, as seen from the Point Reyes-Petaluma Road while heading west.

The San Antonio Creek Bridge along the Point Reyes-Petaluma Road straddles the Marin-Sonoma county line just east of Union School.

The 102-foot-long bridge over San Antonio Creek was built in 1919 and replaced in 1962.

The continuous-concrete-slab construction of the 1919 bridge still looks solid. However, the bridge’s width and deteriorating pavement brought about its being replaced with the wider, better-paved bridge beside it.

When I set off to shoot these photos, I was well aware that West Marin’s abandoned bridges are in scenic locales, but this view from the old San Antonio Creek Bridge was, nonetheless, a pleasant surprise.

If Caltrans has its way, the Green Bridge will likewise be abandoned in the near future. Will it then become an historic relic like these? Or will it be cut up and sold as scrap iron?

Just over a year ago, Tomales Regional History Center published my second book (coauthored by Jacoba Charles) The Light on the Coast: 65 Years of News Big and Small as Reported in The Point Reyes Light. The third printing is almost sold out, and it may soon be time for a fourth.

To whet the appetite of those of you who haven’t yet picked up the book, here’s a column from it that was originally written 30 years ago when these ruminations were in print labeled “Sparsely Sage and Timely.” Back then, The Light was published in Point Reyes Station’s Old Creamery Building with the newsroom on the second floor.

The Light’s former newsroom with my partner Don Schinske standing and me sitting at my desk. Back then I wrote and edited text on a computer but wrote headlines on an old-fashioned, standard typewriter and then hand-carried them to the typesetter downstairs. © 1998 Art Rogers/Pt. Reyes, who contributed 10 photos to “The Light on the Coast.”

It’s late in the evening, and I’m sitting at a rolltop desk in the newsroom listening to a dog barking a block or two away. Every minute or so, I can hear a car come down Highway 1 into town and turn the corner by the bank. Once in awhile, a car heads up the hill — probably someone who just stopped in town for a drink before heading home.

When I first arrived in Point Reyes Station in 1975, I slept for a couple of months in the newsroom of the old Light building [across the street from today’s Whale of a Deli]. Despite being at a bend and intersection of a state highway, the spot was reasonably tranquil — at least after midnight. Oh, there’d be a brief flurry of shouting when the bars closed and the sound of unsteady feet scuffing past the window, but for a place to spend the night, a room on Point Reyes Station’s main street wasn’t that bad.

When I was in college and had yet to live in a small town, I chanced to read Winesburg, Ohio, Sherwood Anderson’s sketches of small-town life. In one of the tales, The Teacher, Anderson describes a late evening when there are only three people awake in Winesburg.

Naturally, one of the three was a reporter in the newsroom of the town’s weekly newspaper who “pretended to be at work on the writing of a story.” At last, the reporter too goes home and to bed. “Then he slept,” wrote Anderson, “and in all Winesburg, he was the last soul on that winter night to go to sleep.”

As a college student used to cities and suburbs, I found the concept of a town where no one was awake so strange that I briefly wondered if such a place were possible. Now, 20 years later, I find myself living in a town where on occasion late at night I probably am the only person downtown who isn’t asleep.

Of course, there are some nights when the tranquility of even this sleeping town is disturbed. A few years ago, Michael Jayson told me at the time, he had been asleep in an apartment over the old Dance Palace [where Cabaline is today] when he was awakened by the thunder of hooves below his window on Third Street.

A dog had gotten into rancher Waldo Giacomini’s pasture [now the Giacomini Wetlands] and began to worry a herd of cows, which then gave chase to the dog, crashing through a barbed-wire fence in their pursuit.

The next morning, Jayson told in amazement of having seen the stampede gallop up Third to Point Reyes Station’s main street and then turn east. At the T-intersection where the main street ends in front of Cheda’s Market, the herd wheeled around and headed back west.

As it happened, a fight had spilled out of the Western Saloon and into the intersection at Second Street where it had caught the eye of a bartender across main street at the Two Ball Inn [now the Station House Café]. He called sheriff’s deputies, who had just arrived to break up the brawl when the stampede did it for them.

With a herd of cows galloping toward them, the two brawlers, along with onlookers, scattered. After the stampede had passed, however, the brawlers returned to the intersection only to have the stampede come through again on its second pass.

This time as the crowd dashed for safety, the two combatants kept on running — as did a number of Giacomini’s cows once the stampede reached the west end of main street. It was two days before the rancher got them all rounded up again. “I wish some people would keep their dogs tied up,” he grumbled to me afterward.

Down the street, the dog is barking again — probably bragging about the night when he alone provoked 50 head of Waldo Giacomini’s dairy cows to stampede through the middle of town. — April 11, 1985

Despite a drizzle that at times became a downpour, crowds turned out Friday evening in Point Reyes Station to celebrate the Yuletide.

It was a town-wide celebration: a Path of Lights on the main street, a Holiday Crafts Fair in the Dance Palace, a party with live music at Point Reyes Surf Shop, and a Christmas party including Santa Claus and carolers in Toby’s Feed Barn.

West Marin Senior Services sponsored a Lights of Life tree-lighting ceremony to honor loved ones who have  passed away. The pine, which grows in the median between the Wells Fargo Bank and the Palace Market parking lots, each year takes on added significance as the town Christmas tree.

The Path of Lights is symbolized by a line of luminaria along the main street, and the luminaria unfortunately suffered from the wet weather. Luminaria, of course, are small lanterns consisting of candles standing in sand inside a paper bag. It took only a couple of downpours for the splash to extinguish several lights.

The crowd outside Wells Fargo Bank.

Strumming her guitar, Harmony Grisman again this year led a crowd in singing songs of the Yuletide.

The 44th annual Holiday Crafts Fair in the Dance Palace.

The obvious skill in the work of clay artist Molly Prier of Inverness inspired praise from fair-goers.

Dusty Rose Designs brightened a corner of the Dance Palace with tie-dye-style clothing.

Eden Clearbrook from the Garden of Eden sold herbal elixirs.

Ana Maria Ramirez (center) and Lourdes Romo sold handmade clothing and accessories.

The annual Christmas party in Toby’s Feed Barn.

Santa Claus spent the evening posing with families who wanted their kids photographed with him. Meanwhile, the line of parents and their children waiting to be photographed at times reached 15 to 20 feet long.

West Marin singer, composer, musician Tim Weed here performs ‘Oh Holy Night’ for the crowd in Toby’s. Earlier in the evening, the Common Voice Choir led caroling in Toby’s.

Part of what made the evening so enjoyable was its being so homespun: the crafts, the music, and the food. When I saw a young mother with a baby on her lap sitting on a bale of hay in the Feed Barn, my first thought was, “Away in a manger….”

The Mexican holiday Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) was observed Saturday evening in downtown Point Reyes Station. It’s a day set aside each year for special remembrances of friends and relatives who have died.

Meanwhile up the bay, Tomales Regional History Center on Sunday opened a well-attended exhibition, “The Region’s Lost Buildings: Their Stories and their Legacies.” More about that in a moment.

A Día de los Muertos altar in the Dance Palace held dozens of photographs of deceased family members and mementos of their lives.

Saturday’s celebration began with a procession from Gallery Route One to the Dance Palace. These young ladies wore angel costumes and looked very sweet while some celebrants wore Halloween costumes which were downright ghoulish.

Aña Maria Ramirez, the de facto matriarch of the Latino community around Point Reyes Station, spoke in English and Spanish about Dia de los Muertos. The event was organized by Point Reyes Station artist Ernesto Sanchez, who also created the altar. The Dance Palace sponsored the event with financial support from Marin Community Foundation.

A variety of excellent Mexican food drew a long line to the serving table.

Local singer Tim Weed and his partner Debbie Daly (in white) led some impromptu singing in the Dance Palace.

For many in attendance, including Mary Jean Espulgar-Rowe and her son Joshua, it was a family event.

Elvira de Santiago of Marshall paints the face of Ocean Ely, two and a half, of Point Reyes Station.

Carrie Chase and Diego Chavarria, 10, of Point Reyes Station showed up in elegant costumes. Here Diego waits to have his face painted.

And while all this was going on, photographer Eden Trenor (left) of Petaluma and formerly of Point Reyes Station, was having an opening in the Dance Palace lobby for an exhibit of her works. With her is Dan Harrison, a printmaker who owns a gallery in Olema.

This photograph of ponds is part of Trenor’s show, which is called “For the Yes of It.” _______________________________________________________________

“The Region’s Lost Buildings: Their Stories and their Legacies,” which opened at the Tomales Regional History Center Sunday, is also a photographic exhibit for the most part, but the photos are far older.

Curating the exhibition was Ginny Magan of Tomales, and she did an excellent job, both in her choice of pictures to display and in her captions for them.

The narrow-gauge railroad depot in Marshalls, as Marshall used to be called. The Shields store to the right of the depot still survives and now belongs to Hog Island Oyster Company. “This image of Marshall’s depot shows a style typical of small, early train stations across the country, with its board-and-batten siding and deep eaves,” its caption notes.

The Bayview Hotel, which once stood in this spot on the shore of Tomales Bay, was built by the Marshall brothers in 1870 and was frequented by fishermen and hunters.

When it burned in 1896, the Marshall brothers had the North Coast Hotel (above) constructed on the site. “As the photo shows,” the History Center points out, “the building was a few feet from the railroad tracks.

“The hotel was knocked into the bay by the 1906 earthquake, but pulled out and repaired by the owners, Mr. and Mrs. John Shields.

“Except for its use as military housing during the Second World War, the building remained a hotel under several proprietors until it caught fire in 1971. The 25 guests, all the employees, and owner Tom Quinn and his family got out safely, but the hotel — with only its brick chimney standing — was a complete loss.”

“The depot at Tomales was unusual,” according to the History Center’s caption. “Because of its low-pitched roof, it resembles something built a century later. All Tomales railroad buildings were painted a brick red.

The aptly named hamlet of Hamlet, another stop on the North Shore Railway line, was a village from 1870 to 1987, when the National Park Service bought it.

“Hamlet’s namesake was John Hamlet, a dairyman from Tennessee who purchased the site with gold coin in 1870. He left little but his name. The next owner, Warren Dutton, developed Hamlet as a railroad stop that the Marin Journal described as ‘one of the most inviting places on the bay for aquatic sports.’

“To most of today’s locals, the name Hamlet is connected with the Jensen family, who purchased the land in 1907, and developed and inhabited the village over 80 years and four generations. By 1930, the Jensens were establishing Hamlet’s well-known connection with oyster farming.

The Tragedy of Hamlet.

“In 1971, third-generation matriarch Virginia Jensen was left a widow with five children. She — and eventually they — carried on, though maintaining the oyster farm, its retail components, and the property’s buildings was clearly a struggle.

“A 1982 storm all but obliterated the oyster beds. ‘I never planted [oysters] after that; that was my last tally-ho,’ remembered Mrs. Jensen. In 1987, she sold the site to the Park Service, which then looked the other way as vandals and the elements savaged it. In 2003, the Park Service demolished the last of the buildings.

Highway 1 is the main street of Tomales where it’s known as Maine Street.

“Trotting down Maine Street toward First c. 1890. Originally the Union Hotel occupied this site; after it burned this group of small buildings housed a saloon — one of six or eight in the town — a billiard room and Sing Lee Washing and Ironing. Today the Piezzi Building is at this corner.”

“On a windy day in May 1920, the Plank Hotel caught fire. Despite the best efforts of townspeople at least 16 buildings burned to the ground — two dwellings and most of the town’s commercial center south of First Street.”

“The William Tell was established as a hotel and saloon in 1877. The original building burned in the 1920 fire but was rebuilt within the year. This photo was taken in the mid-1950s.

“The Fallon Creamery, built near the end of the 19th century, used state-of-the-art, steam-operated machinery. The creamery exhibited a 500-pound wheel of cheese at the 1894 California Midwinter International Exposition in San Francisco.” ________________________________________________________________

By the end of the weekend I was again thanking my lucky stars to be living in West Marin. Everybody had been on their good behavior — even the cops.

When a sheriff’s deputy needed to use his patrol car to create a buffer for the Día de los Muertos procession marching down Point Reyes Station’s main street, I walked over and with feigned indignation exclaimed, “They’re all jaywalking.” The deputy replied with a laugh, “They are all jaywalking. And everyone is going to get a ticket.” And soon he drove off.

What a contrast with police in Saint George, Utah. At least according to the Daily Kos website, police last week raided a Halloween party at a family fun center simply because the event included dancing.

One can only imagine how St. George’s police would have reacted to the Aztec Dancers (left) in Point Reyes Station.

They weren’t just dancing, they were dancing on the main street.

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