Blogs I Follow
- Andrew Mills - Chief of Police - Santa Cruz
- Santa Cruz Mountains Local
- Claire Brighten Photography - Santa Cruz, San Lorenzo Valley and Santa Clara County family, maternity, children, newborn, lifestyle and senior photographer
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- I'm Calming The F#ck Down
- Legacy of Souls
- Santa Cruz County Real Estate Then and Now
- Felton Homes and History
- Today I Watched a Movie
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- Lake Havasu City History Page
- Boulder Creek Insider
- Belle Grove Plantation Bed and Breakfast
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- Homemade with Mess
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Category Archives: Local History
I wish I could share all of the others – but some of the shoots I do are for those souls only – but still beautiful in so many ways. Just felt like sharing what I have left in this life that gives something to the area I live within…so much of my film work is cataloged at the firehouse…I hope should any of you wish to see those pics that you can go to the BCFD office and ask to be able to look through the albums in there..anything from the early 1990s through 2005 was typically taken by me…Leo Kuhnlein before that time frame…
I have no reminisce of anniversary or cause of date for this post – other than to share with others what two people tried to give to others here in our valley…my dad gave so eloquently upon the taxpayers of BCFPD thru financial skill and eloquent leadership – me to the people that called for help and needed a hand to pull them from their temporary moments of hell…
Four Generations: (My great-grandfather served in Michigan as a firefighter in Wolverine, my grandfather in Lake Havasu City as a founding member and leader – and then Dad from the 1960s up to the 2010s)…and then I thru various years)
We both left that department we loved unwillingly – his thru death and mine thru the narrow-minded actions of others…but somehow we will talk again someday of this department and town…like we did thru the years that so many could never understand or know about because of internal or external conflict that could affect the betterment of others…
Moments lost in time…
I know we have our new visitor center open at the north end of downtown, but there is an unofficial one that has had their doors open for almost a decade.
It doesn’t take more than a visit or two for any regular patron at Jenna Sue’s (where my gallery is lovingly on display) to witness/participate in group conversations with out-of-towners. A nice couple from Long Island sat down at the bar and became the center of attention from staff and patrons as they were offered great food, directions to some county sights-to-see, and within short order were partaking in sharing photos of family and places.
Several other things happened behind the scenes though that when they do happen, my sensitive emotions can be affected. A fellow patron sitting across the room saw my camera and walked over to tell me some beautiful things about my work and what she thinks of my pictures. It was the second time in half an hour that someone either wanted to hold my camera or offered beautiful words about what they saw in my work. Admittedly I got a little wispy. But attention immediately turned to Lori as she offered some chocolate-dipped strawberry samples to the visitors…
As the couple got to hear from other patrons about where to go and what to eat (which once I received my astronaut plate – the lady immediately said we are getting that!) my conversation naturally turned to the fire service, of which this gentleman had been on FDNY during 9/11. As with every single fire personnel or resident of NY that was there on that day, physical health is an issue. I sometimes feel there is not enough stated in the world about the long-term health effects of everyone in the city that week.
But here in Boulder, two tourists were given some short and long term trip ideas nearby before they leave to go back east – and I was reminded how amazing our home is as the enthusiasm being worn by all of us bullet-pointing an endless list of what’s here that is beautiful, was clear.
Couldn’t pass up on showing the latest little addition to the bar; probably one of the best card holders one will see adorning a local counter. And thank you to the amazing ladies that work there for doing all that you do.
What started as a spontaneous history talk in a local store once again turned into me scanning more pics on each side of the album page from where I had originally sought just one picture.
My bus driver from many moons ago who virtually all children that went to Boulder Creek Elementary in the 1970s and 80s will remember – was Mrs. Young. I ran into her this week and we had some fun moments remembering how things were long ago. The people listening were fascinated to hear about how different the buses were before they all went to the “suicide” fronts later in the 80s (no engines in front anymore).
This was the famous Bus #32 doing the Highway 9 route and picking me up at what the front entrance to Meadowood used to look like…
As I looked through the surrounding pages of this particular family album I noticed some backgrounds that have drastically changed since the time of disco and Woodstock buses.
This one of Skypark when people could still fly into Scotts Valley caught my eye. Our family is shown here being flown out by another family member. The barren hillside (from the quarry) behind the plane is something I always recall as a kid driving through the sandhills. The following pics are from the Boardwalk.
Shown here are some of my cousin Greg Miller, friend Tim Wells and mom. This is looking towards East Cliff and that park hill. I am going to try and shoot this spot and see how much of the housing and fauna have changed in four decades. The reason I included this other one (with my great-grandma Lyon) was the cars in the background. That was the best part of the Boardwalk; those cars you could actually drive on the track (where that kids area is now). Those were the only vehicles I drove outside of the ranch until I was old enough.
I showed this one more for the fun of the clothing than the trestle and what was the new building overlooking the river mouth. Jennifer Miller, Kathryn Robechaud and Jerryne King (Philleo) also shown here. I will keep this one short…just thought a few of you might like the backgrounds…
I often think about the fun and amazing memories my parents made in those heyday times decades ago at the golf course; that story-filled era when Boulder Creek held host to a variety of the Oakland Raider contingency. From the 1960s into the next decade the team and staff would come stay at the fledgling golf links – of which dad had built the original 100 condos and club house. Some of them even had ownership on a couple of the new condos.
Dad’s group of friends in those times became part of a circle that still communicates today; and later into the 1980s the most famous of that group: John Madden, had retired from football and had started his foray into major broadcasting and video gaming. We were having a Superbowl party and John and Virginia were invited along with their core group of local friends. John had announced the Raiders Superbowl the prior year, but he had this one off.
Now, the reason I tell this story is not some semblance of any claim to something, just insofar that it is a memory I hold dearly of how my life was before the house burned down; so many thoughts and feelings that cannot be replaced nor replayed no matter how much I dream.
These two pictures survived the fire – hence the condition of how they appear. But when taking photographs like these as a teenager, I had no idea of so many things about photography and capturing famous people in ordinary moments, I was just trying to do something right for my dad right then.
Hearing John talk during the big game about what was transpiring will be something I wish I could remember in greater detail; but several moments that day will be etched. One of them was my best friend here winning a bet. Even then I was using a Canon – definitely the days when you better get it right because it might be another two weeks before you see the results.
Shortly after this picture was taken a fun moment of John breaking that chair in grand fashion occurred. During halftime they played golf into the arena, teeing off from the house as Todd and I chased the hits down to say who was closer to pin – would love to know the amounts being bet between the players. The Niners won that year, but I am pretty sure I listened to everything else going on in that group – lots of golf course history in these pics; Wayne Stigall, Hal Wells, Bob Lyons, the Casilli family, my dad.
I got asked this year as with most years if I have any special memories of the Superbowls…I smile and think and feel I got pretty lucky; Superbowl rings on the hands of arguably the brightest personality and career the sport has shown, sitting in my old living room as we watched the sport he coached in two other Superbowls – amazing.
As the souls started to die through the years, one in particular that loved the sport and will be a another story on another day, comes to mind. Hal Wells passed away three years ago this week, and two years later my dad – but one thing they both had in common was the love of the Raiders and of the couple that are John and Virginia. These two pics are from Hal’s funeral.
On the left are Hal and John holding a familiar trophy at the clubhouse, on the right are four of the people that were sitting in my old living room a few decades before in that first picture. As I look at these, I wonder if I will even know such friends that fifty years later they would show up at my funeral…hard thing to find.
Why the post now? Anniversaries I guess; Superbowl month, people passing, golf season starting for my son, moments in time. I know that is why I became a photographer before I even knew what that meant – moments in time.
I received a sad correspondence this week from a widower – the wife of a man I had worked for several years ago: Chuck McCarthy. I was lucky enough in that employment to have served with him at a historical and (little known) beautiful gem of a park: Little Basin (recently becoming a state park).
Little Basin is a local oasis hidden in the mountains adjacent to one of our state’s most famous parks; Big Basin. After being home to a Native American tribe for many years, the land became a grazing and logging area, followed by ownership via a well-known Silicon Valley company: Hewlett Packard. The company eventually created a private campground and gathering area for their employees and families and as the company peaked in size and success during the 1980s – so did their facility here. A full-time steward lived on the site at a residence constructed large enough to house this person’s family. They helped oversee the acreage, camps, buildings and recreation areas. Each summer, divisions of HP would hold large picnics with upwards of thousands in attendance during the weekend galas. With those events came the need for fire protection during the peak weekends – hence how I became acquainted with Little Basin throughout the late 80s and early 90s.
After HP’s budgets and size declined significantly, so did the park’s usage. Eventually, it was seen as a financial loss, so the area was gradually deeded to the State of California (there are many more details and involvements but I kept this as a simplified version for time’s sake). The state’s budget was not in a stable enough condition to take this area under their direct care either. So for the first time in modern parks history, a private company was hired to manage and run the park (and along with that to also operate a shuttered park in Sonoma County – Sugarloaf Ridge State Park…that is another beautiful story about a community coming together to save a park. Both Chuck and I had worked there also).
The steward that company hired to oversee the operations of Little Basin was named Chuck McCarthy. He and his family moved into the residence and quickly became known in and around town as the hard-working Jersey guy running that park where most locals had never even visited. He hired several staff members to help with the workload of maintaining the 50 camping sites, cabins, buildings, pump stations, recreational facilities and best of all – the reservoir. The small lake held one of the best kept and guarded fishing secrets in the SLV. The dam had been built generations before for a local water supply to accumulate, with fish eventually populating the waters.
One of the seasonal employees Chuck hired was me. I was intrigued to have the chance to work at such a beautiful place that I had gathered so many fun memories at while with the fire department.
Chuck’s personality was outgoing and forward to say the least. He literally worked his ass off, and even though he was a dedicated company man (United Camps, Conferences and Retreats – UCCR) he loved working at the park just for the sake of bettering the site. He had been working there for only a couple of years, but he cared about keeping that park running and making it a successful hybrid for the State to embrace and support. Even though I volunteered to take a 2-month assignment at Sugarloaf later that summer in 2012, he and I had become decent friends.
After returning to my assignment at Little Basin, Chuck confided in me he was battling cancer. His stories of Jersey and adventures in life were tall, amazing and he had the scars to prove them. I saw this as another task he would take on and defeat in his journey. Even though the seasonal workload was over, I would keep tabs on his progress. When he chose to move back east to be closer to home during his fight, I would inquire with trusted staff at LB to check on his progress – and rumor had it he was fighting it.
Almost one year to the day of losing my dad to cancer, I received an email. Chuck was roughly the same age as me, and as we have all heard too many times in all of our lives, Chuck was gone. I wish I could have attended his memorial wherever that was because I had some fun stories only those of us at Little Basin could know. One even involved me catching the main field on fire and Chuck literally sprinting to the rescue (the whole story is so worth retelling someday).
I understand in my old age now how people come and go throughout your life, but this time he will be one of those that sticks with me. He had some grand plans for that park, and I sincerely hope they all happen someday. Sadly, his most important place to relax and forget the world was the reservoir. He and I would have some meaningful talks there looking over the colorful waters. The powers that be well above our heads decided it would be safer to drain the lake quietly – which they did recently. It still seems criminal to me destroying such beauty (and their reasons will – spare the term – never hold water with me..nor Chuck.)
Hence I have included several pictures of what an amazing place it used to be – knowing the memories I have there of many friends and family I shared times with at that lake – and of one other dude who hired me and allowed me to have one of the most amazing summers of my life – thanks Chuck…here is a picture of my family doing the exact thing we all loved to do even though it was “not allowed anymore”.
The following pics are for two films made over the last few decades in Boulder Creek. Felt like a nice reason for a 25-year anniversary post about our town. Out on a Limb, starring Matthew Broderick and Jeffrey Jones was filmed in town as Welcome to Buzzsaw over the early spring of 1991. It was released a year later to less than stellar income and reviews. But it helped immortalize another era of town. Grave’s End follows at the end of this post.
Welcome to Buzzsaw (Out on a Limb) c. 1991
I was going through my black and white film phase – and the grain and grit are from years of storage in a the glue bindings (that at the time were deemed safe but have now proven to be detrimental to long-term storage). I didn’t budget the time to remove the hours worth of grit – just adds to it I guess.
This whole season of Universal filming was fun for the town and the fire department. SO many memories of good and bad over those six weeks – the most unusual being that the fire department still held our annual Fireman’s Ball while the entire firehouse was unavailable for usage (since movie props, stages and equipment filled the fire hall and surrounding venue). The movie company installed huge tents for us to hold our function as to keep everyone out of the weather. And trust me when I say the stories of that night were ‘epic in nature’ would be an understatement…stories we will tell our kids someday I suppose.
^The many nights of Highway 9 being closed and the rain truck filling the streets with water…
The front of the fire station after becoming a bank…^
The famous fire service hero Ray Landi posing in front of the old post office (police station) – also pictured Limp Minoggi:
The love of my life patrolling the closed off streets of Buzzsaw. No one understood what the hell she saw in me – but those years of being the young fire dude dating the gorgeous local CHP officer were some of the best of my life – and stumped everyone else. Thank you Veronica for everything – you are a beautiful soul.
Now the BC New Leaf – but then the only real park this locale had seen in the downtown since 1939 (when the fire station was built on the only downtown park):
^Everyone always remembers the name Joe’s Bar became as the movie props stayed behind to this day in there…
^The inside of the fire station hall – became the bank, complete with a vault and cameras.
Town even had a lingerie shop!
Grave’s End c. 2003
This group had their fun personalities but I was most interested in the X-Files guy – cool dude. The office trinkets of our (then) fire chief get immortalized on film. The story behind the horrible pics is this movie was never released in the United States. When I had the movie store I carried DVD players that can handle discs from around the world (as this was only released in Germany). I still hold on to these nostalgic titles and access so others can see them through the years.
Fire station office:
River Road in Brookdale:
Boy Scout Camp off Bear Creek Road:
Highway 9 looking towards what would become Burger 9:
Circa 1956 and a few years later..like finding the shots that show a different angle not always shared…
Obviously the IOOF side of Boulder Creek circa 1950s.
What I absolutely love about this shot is the other 500 pictures of this day face the infamous Burl Theater fire of 1956…yet this is the only one I know of that shows the crowd and main intersection of town that day…I have written chapters about this year in SLV fire history…someday to post.
And the only one I know of that captures Felton’s most famous fire until the Community Hall fire in the 1990s…of which I have a video but need to find ways to screen capture and share…
Some decent representations of the changes downtown went through in less than 15 years. I know only a couple of the pics as being taken by Leo Kuhnlein…unknown credit on the others. Leo was the fire department photographer prior to me taking on most of those duties from somewhere in 1990/1991…
Between these two pics you can see the buildings on the Liberty Bank side, then the empty lot that became the BCFD tree sale location for years…
Pep Rocca’s green/white pickup parked on the street there..
Facing south. The Chevron/Standard station (long since torn down).
And finally a pic from 1961 showing what the rec district yard and building used to look like.
And finally the new construction can be seen for what would become Liberty Bank…