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Ask The Cazadero Road Wizard

Questions about Cazadero's history?
Ask the Wizard by using the Comments dialogue box in the Guest Book on the Home Page (or by e-mail).

Updated August 1, 2004 (Q.13 YMCA Camp McCoy)

Question 1 from RJR: Who/what was Austin Creek named after?
Answer: Pioneer settler Henry Austin who settled near the mouth of the creek (east bank) in 1856.

Q2 from George J:  What does the name "Elim" of Elim Grove really mean?
A: Even though "Elim" is often stated to be "mile" spelled backward (the grove of redwood trees along Austin Creek is about a mile south of town) the name was given to the grove by George Montgomery in 1890 from a passage in the Bible: Exodus 15:27: "And they (Moses and his followers fleeing Egypt) came to ELIM where there were twelve wells of water, and three-score and ten palm trees: and they camped there by the waters" (King James ver.). Biblical scholars interpret "Elim" as being "The Place of Refreshing".

Q3 from RJS:  Did Black Bart rob the Cazadero stagecoach on Fort Ross Road on December 4, 1888?
A: No. The stage was robbed by two brothers, George and John Gorton.  George stopped the stage copying Bart's style while John hid in the trees.  Black Bart (Charles Boles) who had robbed 29 stages from 1875 to 1883 was captured and sent to prison.  He was released from San Quentin prison on January 21, 1888.  The Gortons knew of the release and tried to shift the blame to him.  Their charade failed and were caught in Kansas in February 1889.  Black Bart did rob a stage north of Jenner on top of Meyers Grade on August 3, 1877.  Black Bart biography

Q4:  Today, what is Cazadero most noted for?
A: REDWOOD TREES and RAIN (see Rain Chart on the weather page).  Many residents have automobile license plate frames that advertise this geographical truth.  The frames can be purchased at Don Berry's "Cazadero Supply."

Q5:  What notable people have visited Cazadero?
A: UPDATED 11/06/01  U.S. Presidential aspirant Grover Cleaveland campaigned in Cazadero when it was named Ingrams on October 7, 1884.  Cleaveland became our 22nd president in 1885.  Novelist Jack London ("Call Of The Wild") visited on June 14, 1911 & the town was painted for his visit, Luther Burbank (notable botanist from Santa Rosa), novelist Peter B. Kyne ("Cappy Ricks & The Outlaws Of Eden"), and the landscape artist Lorenzo Lattimer frequently visited the Trosper House resort on Austin Creek during the period 1914-1925.  Lattimer's landscape painting of Red Oat Mountain, that he created while staying at the Trosper House, was exhibited in the 1915 San Francisco Panama-Pacific International Exposition on Treasure Island.  Herbert Waite Slater (1874-1947), the blind state Senator (1914-1947) from Santa Rosa, also stayed at the Trosper House frequently, and was a close friend of Luther Burbank. Slater was also a member of the Trosper Hunting Lodge on Pepperwood Creek.

(Did you know that the "Baby Ruth" candy bar was named to honor the president's daughter "baby" Ruth Cleaveland who was born in the White House?)

Q6 by Kathy O:  I've heard of a stream in Cazadero called the IRON SPRING. Where is it located?
A: It is a local historic artesian spring with a very high ferrous oxide mineral content and is located on the Rodgers' Ranch on Mohrhardt Ridge.  Spring photo

Q7 by BM:  When was the saw mill built in Cazadero?
A: Merrill Berry, son-in-law of George Montgomery, and his son Loren began the downtown mill in 1941 on the former NWP railroad depot site.  This Berry family and mill had no lineage or business connection with the Berry family saw mill that was established in 1894 on Freezeout Creek near Duncans Mills.  Cazadero's milling operations were moved to the current site on HWY 116 (adjacent to Cazadero Highway) in 1983.  (NOTE: Redwood and Douglas fir logs are hauled to the mill from many producing areas in the state.) Link to Berry's Saw Mill web site: About the Mill.

Q8 by AT: Any important minerals ever mined at Cazadero?
A:UPDATED 7/16/04   Chromite (chromium) was extracted from the Layton mines in the Cedars' region from 1916 to 1946.   Magnasite was mined in the Red Slide region from 1905 to 1925.  Manganese was taken from the Aho mine near Neistrath Rd. west of Cazadero from the 1920s to 1950s. Gold was extracted from two mines, Silver Queen and Leopard, on Marble Mountain beginning in 1894.  Minor gold finds were on Mohrhardt Ridge, along Ward Creek and in a meta volcanic exposure near town.  The amount of gold extracted from any of the sites did not pay for the picks and shovels needed to work the claims.   Bob Schneider Sr. who worked the Mohrhardt Ridge discovery said, "There was not enough gold found there to fill a bird's eye tooth!"

Q9 by GR:  How did Pole Mountain get its name?
A: In 1898 Pole Mountain was known as Mt. Ross, after Fort Ross. It was a U. S. Signal Station (Elev. 2205 Ft.) where Federal surveyors erected a large wood transit sighting pole on the mountain top which they used to triangulate map positions and elevations. When they were finished they left the pole in place; hence the name Pole Mountain. Similar sighting poles were erected on strategic mountain tops throughout the area during the General Land Office cadastral survey period. The Mount Ross Bench Mark was pried from the ground and stolen! The stolen Bench Mark is on the Cazadero Ten Most Wanted List.

Q10 by VS:  What were/are the two unsolved Cazadero murder cases?
A1: First case was the Kendall case. Enoch, Eura and their son Tom Kendall were murdered on the Margaret Starbuck ranch (now Lions Head ranch) on July 23, 1910. The Kendalls were in a lease partnership arrangement with Margaret to run the ranch for her. Margaret wanted them to quit the lease early and after their refusal, she sent a Japanese wood cutter, Manjiro Yamaguchi, to the ranch to cut tanbark and to "give em hell." Yamaguchi "gave em hell" by brutally murdering them and scattering their dismembered bodies throughout the ranch. He confessed his crime to Margaret and then just disappeared. Margaret Starbuck was implicated in the murder, but there was no solid evidence to tie her to it.
A2: Second case was the Seefeldt murder. Helmuth Seefeldt, age 68, was bludgeoned to death on or about August 20, 1942. His body was discovered in a shallow grave on his Creighton Ridge sheep ranch January 8, 1943. Buried with him was his pet dog. His ranch foreman Roy Cornett, age 42, was arrested for his murder, but there was not enough evidence to convict him of the crime. Cornett, however, was convicted of forgery for forging 3 of Seefeldt's personal checks while he was in the grave. Cornett was an ex felon who some years earlier had spent time in prisons for cattle rustling and forgery.

Q11 by ER:  When I was young and a camper at the UCC Camp I heard stories of it being haunted! Heard it was originally a religious community and one day all its occupants just disappeared leaving behind all their belongings never to be seen or heard of again. Any truth to this?
A. Yes 'tis true. In 1926 Reverend Mrs. Ollie Bradley and her husband purchased Ernest Trosper's 800 acre Bear Pen Creek ranch and began their religious Truth Sect community on the property that became known as the Truth Home. After earlier visits to Ernie's ranch Ollie had a divine vision that this was the only impending doomsday safe place in the world as foretold in the Bible's book of Revelations (chapter 7). Ollie believed that she was God's chosen one to lead her followers, World War I veterans and their families, to this safe place. Ollie kept her flock somewhat isolated on the ranch compound and the only outside news was provided by her... and it was only the bad news kind that reinforced her doomsday preaching. One day in 1940 one of the men had a heart attack and died while milking a cow. Information was leaking to the residents that world events were not as bad as Ollie was teaching and they were becoming aware that they were being used to build and maintain her own little utopia. The man's death was enough for them to flee the Truth compound, and they did so in a hurry. They were not going to spend restricted & false directed lives working for Mrs. Bradley any longer. Many of their personal belongings were left behind giving one the impression that the "Rapture" had suddenly taken place. (Ollie at least didn't have her followers practice "drinking the Kool Aid!") She sold her property to the General Council of Congregational Christian Churches (CCC) in 1946. It was then used as a church Boy and Girl Scout camp. In 1957, after church mergers, the camp's name was changed from Cazadero's Christian Congregational Church Camp (CCC CAMP) to the United Church of Christ Camp (UCC Camp). UCC HAD NO AFFILIATION WITH BRADLEY'S SELF PROCLAIMED TRUTH MINISTRY.

Read Sara Gerboth's story by clicking CAMP BEGINNINGS. Also Click on UCC Camp Cazadero's web site: UCC CAMP CAZADERO TODAY

Q12 by AB:  Who are the oldest resident families living in Cazadero today?
A: Trosper lineage (1866); Then in the 1880s Parmeters and Rodgers; Touradys in the 1890s.

Q13 By PJ:  What is the order of use of the property occupied by the Cazadero Performing Arts Camp (CAZPAC) at ELIM grove?
A:  Silas Ingram leased the site (then named "The Grove") to the San Francisco based Bohemian Club in 1887 and after purchased by George Montgomery in 1888 (see Q2) the Club made their summer encampments here until 1891 when George asked them to leave. They found their current Bohemian Grove site in Monte Rio in 1893 after a 1892 summer encampment in what is now Muir Woods. Montgomery expanded his Elim Grove camp facilities for revivalist gatherings and in 1892 the Bay Area Salvation Army Church (George was a Cadet officer in the Army) began making summer encampments here. The San Francisco YMCA also began using the camp site from about 1910 to 1920 at Montgomery's invitation. In 1911 the YMCA's boys division named their site Camp McCoy. Beginning in 1920 the San Francisco council of Boy Scouts made their summer encampments in the grove until 1924 when they purchased the nearby Col. Watson Ranch for their own camp (Camp Royaneh). The City of Berkeley began leasing the 50 acre Elim Grove camp from Montgomery in 1927 and purchased it for a family and children's camp in 1929. Berkeley advertised it as the Cazadero Redwood Camp. In 1957 it became the Berkeley Music Camp and in 1996 it became the Cazadero Performing Arts Camp. Berkeley paid Montgomery $25,000 for the property and the transaction was completed April 8, 1929; just two weeks before the Stock Market Crash of '29.

YMCA Elim Grove Camp ground postcard 1919

Q14 By JB:   What do you know about a logging railroad off Fort Ross Road?
A:   D.H. McEwen Lumber Company had a 50,000 board foot sawmill on the upper reaches of the South Fork of the Gualala River at Niestrath & Fort Ross Roads from 1906 to 1917. The company had a Cazadero post office address and had a six-mile 3 foot gauge logging railroad running up the Gualala logging slopes on what is now the Bohan-Dillon Road for which a small geared Shay locomotive was built. In 1910 McEwen had an inventory of 30 flat cars and 5 donkey engines. Lumber had to be teamed down the Fort Ross - Cazadero Road to the NWP railhead for transhipment. McEwen planned to extend his rail line down Ward Creek to Cazadero but nothing ever came of it; probably because he ran out of harvestable timber in 1917. He sold his Shay to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation in Bullard near Placerville in 1918.

Shay locomotive Shop Number 1823.
built in 1907 by Lima Locomotive Works (Lima, Ohio) for D.H.McEwen Lumber Company at Cazadero.
Cazadero's Shay Locomotive

Q15 By GJ:   Did George Montgomery ever live in Cazadero?
A:  No he never did. In October 1889 he purchased a 67 acre tract of land in the Oakland foothills where he built his home and lived out his life. It was here that he and his wife Carrie Judd also founded and built their missionary way station HOME OF PEACE (1893).
George and Carrie subdivided their East Oakland land into lots to begin a new temperance city which they named Beulah City. George donated lots for the Salvation Army to build its Rescue Home (1892), Home of Rest (1893) and Beulah Orphanage (1895). He also donated a lot to build the first Home for Aged and Infirm Colored People in California (1895).

Q16??  Ask the Wizard by E-mailing me or by using the comments dialogue box in the Guest Book on the home page.

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