Freestone store

The Freestone General Store, 500 Bohemian Highway, was built in 1876 and has changed ownership a dozen times. It was also known as Freestone Country Store and not only provided general merchandise; one owner added an art gallery. The store also provided postal service until 1951 when the US Postmaster called for its closure. See 1970 above.

The following snippets of history were prepared by volunteers at the Western Sonoma County Historical Society. For more information about local history, go to the WSCHS website at wschs.org, or email comments or questions about this History Corner to Mary Dodgion at wschs.historycorner@gmail.com.

October 1920

Entire engineers force hand in resignations

Forty-one engineers and expert road builders, comprising practically the entire force of County Engineer Lloyd Aldrich, whose resignation takes effect October 31, have tendered their resignation to Aldrich, to take effect simultaneously with his, when the resolution of resignation, signed by the engineers, was made public.

The engineers, in the resolution uphold Aldrich vigorously as an expert engineer and “chief” and refuse to subordinate themselves to the administration resulting from the September election.

The resolution reads as follows: WHEREAS, The outcome of the county election of August 31st, 1920 is an indication that the efforts of our chief and ourselves to honestly and efficiently conduct the engineering work of Sonoma County have not received public appreciation, and WHEREAS, We know the great difficulty that will attend any attempt on our part to maintain an equally high standard of engineering and efficiency under the proposed new administration, now therefore be it RESOLVED: That we, the engineering organization of Lloyd Aldrich, County Engineer of Sonoma County, do hereby express our great confidence in the ability and integrity of our chief, and our refusal to subordinate ourselves to authority governed by ideas which we believe are not in accord with the public welfare and the best engineering practices, by making our resignation from the service of Sonoma County coincident with his own. It was signed by all 40 engineers.

October 1945

Mexican labor topic of employer's meeting

Farmers and Mexican nationals employed by them met with a representative of the War Food Administration at the Chamber of Commerce building to discuss a renewal of labor contracts up to May 1, next year. About 250 Mexican nationals attended the meeting of whom about half were agreeable to a renewal. Many others are “on the fence” until a decision as to whether or not a leave to visit their families in Mexico will be granted this year. In previous years the Mexicans have been granted up to 45 days leave by agreement with their employers. Due to the uncertain future of the War Food Administration, now set to disband on the last of day of this year, agreements as to leave, or renewal of contracts is only tentative. According to L.R. Hart, head of the Sebastopol Fruit Growers Assoc., the Mexican nationals have proved to be the most satisfactory of the imported farm labor in this area.

October 1970

Rural branch post office is authorized

The rural post office branch will be established at the Freestone Country Store, 500 Bohemian Highway, Freestone, according to Congressman Don Clausen’s office. The branch will be the first one of its kind to be announced for Sonoma County, and is a result of a recent study made by the Post Office Department. The rural branches are being instituted to take some of the burden off post offices.

October 2020 - West County Museum happenings

From the estate of Edna Cheek, the museum has received the records, newsletters, photographs and newspaper clippings of the Analy Preschool, which are all very well organized, in binders and boxes, and digitized by her daughter, Jan Cheek. Mrs. Cheek was a teacher at the preschool from 1966 to 2010. Upon her retirement she was asked if she wanted to store the “old” records and she had the foresight that someday it should be given to the Museum to preserve its history. We are very pleased to have received this collection so we can preserve and share the history of the Analy Preschool.

The Museum’s Suffrage exhibit has been completed and eagerly awaits visitors. Until we have been given the clearance to open you can get a peak via our virtual tour narrated by Mary Dodgion with special guests; Ellen Bowen and Michael Carnacchi. You will get a glimpse of the exhibit, a special collection of Suffrage ephemera detailed by Mr. Carnacchi, and a live performance by Columbia, who was part of the 1913 Washington, D.C. parade orchestrated by Alice Paul and Lucy Burns. Visit www.wschs.org to view it.

The museum was contacted by the Sebastopol Community Outreach Coordinator, Holly Hansen, to work with the Exchange Bank who is opening a new branch building at 640 Gravenstein Highway North. We have provided them with a pictorial timeline of Sebastopol for their “Proud Wall.” This should prove to be of great interest to local town people to bring back memories and interest in the heritage of our town. For a look back in time, the branch is located on the lot formerly occupied by Harold Homar’s Enco Humble Tire Shop from 1965 to 1975, right between today’s Taco Bell and Mary’s Pizza Shack.

(2) comments

ron hari

it also had a questionable bar for awhile in the rear- more pot was consumed there than booze. late 70's early 80's

John Boland

Thanks for the photo of the Freestone Country Store building. Just want to note that the photo was taken in the early 1990's, not 1970 as noted. You will note that the left side of the building houses the offices of The Paper. The Paper, an alternative newspaper serving the West County at the time, was located in the building from 1989 to 1992.

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