Exploring Rio Vista’s Past

The Town Clerk’s Report from December 31, 1906

Phil Pezzaglia
February 24, 2016

In this day and age, we find ourselves concerned with the costs and revenues involved with running a city. This week I would like to take us back to a simpler time.

In 1906, the town of Rio Vista was forty-four years old and had been incorporated for the past thirteen years

I thought that it would be of interest to print the Rio Vista Town Clerks Report for the Quarter ending December 31, 1906. F.J. Kalber, Town Clerk, submitted the following report to the Board of Town Trustees at the Town Hall (the town rented the ground floor of the Knights of Pythias Hall, located on the northwest corner of Second and Montezuma Streets for this purpose) on January 1, 1907:

 

General Fund

Receipts:

October 1st, 1906

By balance Cash in town treasury………….$804.93

49 general licenses 1776-1824 inc…………..394.50

24 dog licenses………………………………..48.00

Transient licenses October……………………10.00

 

December 24th

By 1 transient license…………………………..1.00

First installment taxes gen fund ’06-7……. 1710.76

 

Amt. Cash in treasury and collected to

January 1st 1907…………………………..$2969.19

Amt. Drawn from gen. Fund to 12-31-07….1180.90

 

Jan. 1st. 1907 by bal. Cash in gen. Fund….$1788.29

 

Disbursements

October 5th

Abe Crump, Street Work……………………………………….……25.00

A.F. Scott, salary and extra labor………………………………..…….22.00

  1. Stewart, park maintenance September…………………….………30.00

Rio Vista Electric Light & Power Co., Street Lights – September…..86.00

  1. Boock, Filling fire buckets and killing three dogs – September….13.00

M.T. Frates, Street work……………………………………………..32.50

F.J. Kalber, Clerks salary – September……………………………….10.00

Jno De Brake, Street work……………………………………….…..26.25

L.P. Siep, Supplies………………………………………………….…2.56

Otto Jensen, Printing………………………………………………….21.00

Knights of Pythias Hall, Rent…………………………………………15.00

 

November 9th

Rio Vista Electric Light & Power Co., Street Lights – October……107.50

A.F. Scott, Labor…………………………………………………..…10.00

  1. Stern & Co., Suppliers……………………………………………..23.35
  2. Vincent, Labor…………………………………………………….39.00

M.T. Frates, Labor………………………………………………..….27.50

F.J. Kalber, Salary – October………………………………………..10.00

  1. Boock, Labor and killing three dogs…………………………..….13.00

Knights of Pythias Hall, Rent – October…………………………….15.00

  1. Stewart, Park maintenance – October……………………………30.00

 

December 6th

H.B. Holmes, Labor and supplies……………………………………58.75

Rio Vista Electric Light & Power Co., Street Lights – November…107.50

  1. Stewart, Park maintenance – November…………………………30.00

A.F. Scott, Labor…………………………………………………….10.00

  1. Boock, Labor…………………………………………………..…10.00

Knights of Pythias Hall, Rent – November…………………………..15.00

F.J. Kalber, Clerks salary for November……………………………..10.00

Sullivan & Larsen, Lumber………………………………………….118.05

E.S. Egbert, Labor……………………………………………………..2.75

Reclamation District No. 536, Dredging……………………………100.00

J.T. Brown & Co., Supplies …………………………………………46.25

 

December 31st

22 Dog tags returned not sold………………………………………..44.00

Treasurers general fund 1906…………………………………………36.30

Marshall’s per cent general fund for quarter ending Dec. 31, 1906….39.45

Marshall’s per cent transient license…………………………………..2.20

Marshall’s per cent dog license…………………………………….….1.00

$1180.90

 

 

 

WATER WORKS FUND

Receipts

October 1st 1906

Balance cash in town treasury…………….$946.26

October 4th

Supt. Water Works receipt—566……….….229.95

November 8th

Supt. Water Works receipt—570…………..249.70

December 8th

Supt. Water Works receipt—571…………..243.00

December 31st

First installment taxes, 1906-7……………..1140.51

 

Cash on hand, December 31, 1906………$2809.42

Paid out to December 31, 1906…………..…298.51

 

Bal cash in treasury, January 1, 1907……$2510.91

 

Disbursements

October 5th 1906

Rio Vista Electric Light & Power Co., Pumping water, as per contract for Sept.                                     …1906………………………………………………..$60.00

Rio Vista Telephone Co., Batteries……………….….2.80

 

November 9th

Rio Vista Electric Light & Power Co., Pumping…..60.00

Rio Vista Electric Light & Power Co., Supplies……11.20

 

December 6th

Rio Vista Electric Light & Power Co., Pumping…..60.00

Rio Vista Electric Light & Power Co., Supplies…….1.90

D.M. Sullivan & Co., Supplies…………………….48.34

J.T. Brown & Co., Supplies………………………..11.80

Treasures per cent W.W. Fund ’06…………………42.47

 

$298.51

 

RECAPITULATION

Balance cash in town treasury, general fund, January 1, 1907………$1778.29

Balance cash in town treasury, W.W. fund, January 1, 1907…………2510.91

 

Balance cash in town treasury from all sources, January 1, 1907……$4299.20


 

Exploring Rio Vista’s Past With Phil Pezzaglia

Humphrey the Wayward Whale’s Journey through the Delta

October 10, 1985 – November 4, 1985

Thirty years ago, a misdirected whale took a monumental journey that would take him from the Pacific Ocean as far inland as Shagg Slough, north of Rio Vista.

The journey may have lasted only a mere twenty-six days, but the impact the whale had on those who gathered on the banks of the Sacramento River to catch a glimpse, as well as the residents of the Delta, will last a life time.

The misguided adventure of a whale put Rio Vista in newspapers that published in just about every state, from coast to coast, as well as the television newscast across the United States. Being cast into the public eye was not exactly a new thing for the town of Rio Vista, after all they were already known for the Bass Derby and the Rio Vista Gas Patch, among other things.

The story begins during what would be considered a normal humpback migration from Mexico to Alaska; a whale got separated from a pod and took a detour that took it under the Golden Gate Bridge, through the Bay and up the Sacramento River and into the Delta.

Once the whale cleared the Antioch Bridge, the story was media frenzy. Every newscast and every newspaper was reporting on the exploits of the whale, and how experts were going to get the whale turned around and back to the Ocean.

Thousands came to the Delta, lining the shores, with cameras in hand just hoping to get that once in a lifetime photograph.

Here is the tale of Humphrey’s escapade by furnishing a day-by-day account of the experience that was happening in and around Rio Vista, during the historical journey of the wrong-way whale.

 

The Journey through the Delta October 10, 1985 – November 4, 1985:

 

October 10, 1985

The Director of Education for the California Marine Mammal Center (CMMC) sighted, and identified, a humpback whale, outside the Golden Gate, 50 yards off shore at Ft. Cronkhite beach.

At 6:30 p.m. a humpback 40-foot-long, 45-ton whale was sighted in Oakland Harbor by Sealand Service

 

October 11th

The humpback whale was sighted in San Francisco Bay at Oakland Harbor, and the CMMC contacted research associates, Deborah Glockner-Ferrari and her husband, Mark, at the Center for Whale Studies in Walnut Creek. The couple had 11 years of experience in whale research, in Maui, Hawaii, studying Humpback Whales.

 

October 12th

The whale experienced several momentary beaching in shallow water, but managed to free itself. By nightfall the whale was swimming peacefully near Angel Island. The Ferrari’s spent the entire day observing the whale from a Coast Guard auxiliary boat.

 

October 13th

The whale moved from Carquinez Bridge to Chipps Island, all the while be under the supervision by the Ferrari research team, in a Coast Guard vessel.

During the days that followed, the Ferraris were in constant contact with some of the most knowledgeable authority on whales, including: David Baines, Acoustical Specialist, University of California, Santa Cruz; Michael Poole, Gray Whale Specialist, University of California, Santa Cruz; Dr. Ken Norris, Professor, University of California, Santa Cruz; Dr. Lou Herman, Professor of Marine Mammal Behavior, University of Hawaii; John Twiss, Director of the Marine Mammal Commission of the United States; Dr. Bill Watkins and Dr. Peter Tyack, Woodshole Oceanographic Institute; Dr. Barent Wursig, Moss Landing Marine Lab; Mr. Charles Karnella and Mr. Tom McIntyre of the National Marine Fisheries Service, Washington, D.C.

 

October 14th

David Baines, acoustic specialist, and Michael Poole, marine mammalogist, who had been contacted by the Ferrari’s a few days earlier, brought acoustic equipment and played recordings of orca whales, in an attempt to drive the humpback whale back towards the bay.

The Ferrari research team was added with vessels and manpower from the Contra Costa Sherriff’s Department and the Rio Vista Coast Guard.

The whale spent most of the day being observed in the Pittsburg / Chipps Island area and was sighted in the Rio Vista area by nightfall.

 

October 15th

At times it was difficult for the Ferrari research team to keep the whale in sight, on this day a helicopter was brought in and the Ferraris’ took to the air to track the humpback whale.

The whale was seen stranded near Decker Island, where the Ferraris’ set down and boarded a Rio Vista Coast Guard vessel, to get closer to the whale, which was stranded for approximately two hours.

The California Marine Mammal Center (CMMC), which was following the movements of the lost humpback whale, organized and called in volunteer staff, and within a few hours was on their way to Decker Island.

More than 150 staff members were on site and organized into day and night shifts, to assist at a moments notice if the whale was in danger or beached.

After five days of referring to the whale as “the whale,” on October 15th the lost whale was dubbed “Humphrey” by a Rio Vista restaurateur. Thereby the names “Humphrey the Humpback Whale” or “Humphrey the Wrong Way Whale” or “”Humphrey the Wayward Whale” were common nicknames being used in the media.

 

October 16th – 17th

By now the whale was in the Rio Vista area swimming being seen swimming just down river from the Rio Vista Bridge.

One of the biggest concerns by this time was whether or not the whale could be facing issues of buoyancy and the breakdown of the osmotic process caused by the lack of salinity in the water.

Deborah Glockner-Ferrari met with Dr. Norris telling him that the Japanese Oikomi method should be put into action. This was a process where six to eight foot long iron pipes, capped and filled with water, submerged and struck with metal hammers producing low chiming sounds which had been found effective with both whales and dolphins, as a means to direct them in the wild.

 

October 18th

By the 18th pipes had been secured and were stored at the United States Coast Guard Station at Rio Vista. The pipes were prepared and supplied, at no cost, by Dutra Construction Co., of Rio Vista.

Once sound equipment was brought in and tested, as well as observations made of the whale, which by this time had swam under the Rio Vista Bridge and on the north side, or upriver side, it was deduced that vibrations made by the automobiles traveling across the bridge might be causing a distraction which was causing the whale not to swim back under.

From the suggestion made by Dr. Herman, a J-11 transducer was used to track playback of acoustical sound recordings of orca and humpback whales, made in the ocean. The J-11 was made available by the United States Navy in Monterey and amplification equipment was received on loan from from McCune Audio-Visual, at no charge.

 

October 19th

For a time the whale was not seen for the better part of the day, but by late afternoon the whale was located in Shagg Slough, several miles upstream from the Rio Vista Bridge. In order to get there the whale swam past the Real McCoy ferry, into Cache Slough, and then into Shagg Slough.

 

October 20th

For the next couple of days the whale remained in Shagg Slough area, north of Liberty Island Bridge.

Deborah Ferrari contacted Dr. R.J. Hofman, Scientific Program Director, Marine Mammal Commission of the United States and Dr. Joseph Geraci, University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada to consult on the situation.

It was imperative that the whale needed to be moved or driven back to the bay, because of the temporary and possible permanent damage that the fresh water environment was doing to the whale’s body.

 

October 21st

For the most part the whale’s movements were tracked, while the team of experts conferred and looked at all of the options available to safely redirect the lost whale back to the ocean.

 

October 22nd

The whale remained swimming around Shagg Slough, north of the Liberty Island Bridge.

An observation team arrived from the CMMC, which would assist with the 24-hour recording of the whale’s behavior, movement, and respiration.

Sheridan Stone, biologist with the NMFS, arrived on site and he reviewed data regarding the acoustical attempts that had been made, and whether or not more attempts should be tried.

October 23rd

On the 23rd all the organizations, research teams, as well as Senator John Garamendi and his team, met and discussed all options.

The Oikomi method was still considered the best method; however it had not yet been implemented. It was decided that on Thursday, October 24th it would be put into operation. The operation was a success, however the whale would not go under Liberty Island Bridge.

October 24th

The Oikomi method, put the use of pipes to direct the whale out of Shagg Slough.

Due to the effort of Senator Garamendi the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services arrived on site to assist in the set up and maintenance of the Whale Rescue Command Center.

Several attempts were made, using the Oikomi method; however the whale would get close to the bridge but turn rather than go under.

Using equipment on the “Sportfish,” Jack Findleton discovered that there were old broken pilings from a previous bridge projecting up several feet from the river bottom, under the existing bridge, therefore making it difficult for the whale to swim through. After an emergency meeting to discuss these findings, Dutra Dredging had a dredger on site that evening to clear out the old debris, from under the bridge.

 

October 25th

The whale spent the day swimming around Shagg Slough, north of the Liberty Island Bridge.

Dr. Ken Norris arrived on site, so that he can evaluate the situation first hand, and conferred with all officials.

Once again the Oikomi method was attempted, however this time, the attempt was successful, and once the whale swam under the Liberty Island Bridge, the flotilla of boats were able to direct him down the slough, into the Sacramento River and towards the Rio Vista Bridge.

 

October 26th

Drive boats with pipes directed the whale south to Rio Vista area. For approximately 30 minutes the whale was stranded on a sand bar, near the Rio Vista Bridge.

The NMFS team was able to place a temporary suction cup style radio tag to the whale, for tracking.

Eventually the whale made its way under the Rio Vista Bridge, and began swimming south with the encouragement of the flotilla of boats.

 

October 27th

The whale was spotted in the morning near Decker Island, but with the use of several boats, the whale was diverted to the Pittsburg area by nightfall

 

October 28th

The whale swam back upriver and was sighted back near Decker Island, in the morning hours.

NMFS made an effort to attach a satellite tag to the whale; however, this unfortunately attempt failed.

Oikomi method was implemented again, in an effort to direct the whale downstream.

 

October 29th

Whale remained near Decker Island and no attempts were made to move it downriver, instead NMFS was given the opportunity to make another effort to attach a satellite tag to the whale.

 

October 30th

No attempts were made to divert the whale down stream. The whale remained in the vicinity of Decker Island, eventually being observed swimming north around 5:30 p.m.

 

October 31st

The whale moved, on its own, from Decker Island south to Antioch.

Senator Garamendi called for a teleconference, held in Sacramento, with the director of the NMFS Southwest Region. It was agreed that on November 3rd that both acoustic methods and the Oikomi method would be carried out.

 

November 1st

The whale was observed in Antioch area.

The NOAA team arrived at the Command Center, which had been relocated to an office at the Benicia Bridge.

 

November 2nd

The whale was observed a short distance from that of the day before, on this day being seen in the Pittsburg area.

NMFS was given the opportunity to make another attempt to attach a satellite tag to the whale. These were short-term tags that would allow the whale to be tracked for a few days.

 

November 3rd

The whale was first observed north of Antioch Bridge, but the whale was effectively encouraged to swim downstream with the help of acoustical specialists from the U.S. Navy.

 

November 4th

At the time, the whale was observed in the location of the Richmond Bridge, eventually swimming south and ultimately through the Golden Gate at 4:26 p.m.

In was with great delight that the lost humpback whale swam out of San Francisco Bay into the Pacific Ocean, followed by vessels from: the whale boat teams, United States Navy, United States Army and United States Coast Guard.

Whale boat #1, under the command of Captain Jack Findleton, followed the whale as far as the Cliff House, where the whale was last seen heading west.

 

The Impact of Humphrey the Wayward Whale:

As one could image Humphrey would leave his mark, in a larger than life way, in Rio Vista.

Humphrey was everywhere; merchandising, local cuisine, Bass Derby, murals, monuments, proclamations, films, music and books. Eventually, even the mascot for D. H. White School became a whale.

 

Merchandising (1986):

It did not take more than a few hours before it was realized that whether Rio Vista was ready for it or not, they were being thrust into the world’s spotlight. Thousands of people came to Rio Vista and the upriver sloughs to catch a glimpse of the lost whale. Local restaurants, grocery stores, service stations and campsites all prospered. A goldmine was here and it needed to be tapped. And that goldmine was merchandising.

The owner of the two local bait shops was able to get a local artist to design a logo and have shirts and hats made up.

Before long there were: T-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, bumper stickers, postcards, Christmas ornaments, pins and just about anything that a logo could be put on, for sale.

 

Local Cuisine Named After Humphrey:

Some of the local restaurants got on board and created signature dishes in memory of Humphrey. The Point Restaurant created the “Humpback Open Face Seafood Sandwich” and the “Swordfish a la Humphrey.”

 

Bass Derby (1986):

A year after Humphrey’s visit to the Delta the event was still in the recent minds of the community, of Rio Vista. When it came time for the Chamber of Commerce to choose a Grand Marshall for the 1986 Bass Derby parade, it was only logical to ask Deborah Glockner-Ferrari and her husband Mark, the husband and wife couple who were the leading research team observing Humphrey.

 

The Humphrey Mural (1986):

On the exterior of Hap’s Bait a large mural featuring Humphrey was painted by Richard Fishback, who also designed the logo for the T-shirts.

 

The Humphrey Monument (1986):

The people of Rio Vista thought that Humphrey the Humpback Whale’s journey should be somehow immortalized as a remembrance to future generations. It was quickly agreed upon to place a monument at the foot of Main Street, not far from where he had been swimming. A contest was organized for the local school children to write a poem about Humphrey. The winning poem would be inscribed on the monument and the poet would also receive a $50 check from the city.

On Friday, January 31, 1986 a crowd gathered at foot of Main Street for the unveiling of a monument to the memory of Humphrey the Whale’s journey up the Sacramento River. The twelve inch thick four foot by four-foot monument, placed at the foot of Main Street was unveiled by Rio Vista Mayor Milton Wallace and John Silva of Silva memorial, donating the monument to the city.

A beautiful etching of Humphrey decorates the front of the monument with the inscription “to remember the visit of Humphrey the Humpback Whale. Oct. 10 – Nov. 4, 1985.”

Two other important guests were present, along side Wallace and Silva that afternoon were; Senator John Garamendi, who coordinated the rescue effort, and Richard Fonbuena, the twelve-year-old Riverview Elementary student who was the winner of the school wide poem contest. His poem was etched on the statue “Humphrey the Humpback Whale, a mighty whale was he. He swam into the Delta to see what he could see. The people stood and stare, the fish were scared. He was famous across the nation, until they ended his vacation.”

 

The Return of Humphrey (1990-91):

Five years after his thrilling journey through the Delta, Humphrey once again took a wrong turn, and was spotted swimming at Sierra Point, at Brisbane, California.

Humphrey was spotted two times near the Farallon Island in 1991.

 

 

Proclamations – City, County and State:

A proclamation was, to the City of Rio Vista, from the California Senate Rules Committee Resolution, “Relative to the Rescue of Humphrey the Whale” signed by Senator John Garamendi – 5th District on December 5, 1985.

Another proclamation was received by the City of Rio Vista, in the form of a Solano County Resolution, “Commemorating Humphrey the Whale’s Visit To Rio Vista,” signed by Richard Brann, Chairman, Board of Supervisors, February 1986.

 

Humphrey in Film (2005):

One film was made which was based on Humphrey’s journey. Humphrey the Lost Whale was produced and opened at the Tybee Island Marine Science Center in Savannah, Georgia, on September 24, 2005.

 

Humphrey in Music:

Hip-Hop recording artist MC Lars recorded the song “Humphrey the Whale” which appeared on his 2003 album Radio Pet Fencing. This was his third album and the last one released with his former stage surname Horris.

 

Books on Humphrey:

There have been several books written about Humphrey, the whale, and his incredible journey. Some of the titles are: Hump Free – The Wrong Way Whale by Henry Eiseman (1985); Humphrey The Wayward Whale by Ernest Callenback and Christine Leefeldt (1986); The Great Whale Rescue by Tom Tiede and Jack Findleton (1986); Humphrey the Wrong Way Whale by Joan McCormick (1986); The Tales of Humphrey: The Humpback Whale Who Dared by Ray De Rouchey (1986); Humphrey The Wrong-Way Whale by Dana Goldman (1987); The Six Bridges of Humphrey the Whale by Toni Knapp & Craig Brown (1989); Humphrey The Lost Way – A True Story by Wendy Tokuda and Richard Hall (1992); and A Whale of a Tale in Rio Vista by Geraldine Naughton (2007)


Victor Arthur Kaufenberg
By Phil Pezzaglia

There are many names that have been continually linked to Rio Vista’s 156 year history. Most of those names are of pioneers whose decedents still living in the area.   However there are many individuals who resided in town for a short period of time, but still left a substantial  mark on Rio Vista, and all to often those individuals names have forgotten.  Local contractors and builders definitely left their stamp throughout Rio Vista’s history.  The first local builder was Chas Davis, who resided in town during the 1860’s and 1870’s. Unfortunately most of what he constructed has been either torn down or  was destroyed by fire, during the last 156 years.

Weston Campbell and Jens Peter Mortensen were his local contemporaries, however erected many buildings in town, during the late 1890’s and during the 1920’s and 30’s, respectively.  These two individuals names are still often spoke of, since many of the fine homes which they constructed are still in use.

But how many remember Victor Arthur Kaufenberg, and the mark he left on Rio Vista?    Kaufenberg came to Rio Vista, while working for a another builder by the name of Mr. Mayberry.   How often I have heard, or read somewhere, someone’s comparison of Rio Vista, to the mythical town of Mayberry, form the 1960’s television show “The Andy Griffin Show”.  Well one comparison could be that Rio Vista once had an apartment building aptly named “The Mayberry Apartments”, located on the corner of Second and California Streets. This apartment building was later renamed “The Marianne Apartments”.   Kaufenberg first came to Rio Vista with Mr. Mayberry and worked on the construction of the Mayberry Apartments.  Soon he took his knowledge of construction and when into business himself. He quickly became one f the most outstanding and sought after builder, in the area.  Three of the buildings which he constructed were the: (original) Rio Vista Volunteer Fire Department Fire House (1926); (the Second Street) Rio Vista Post Office (1927), and the Women’s Improvement Hall (1928)

Rio Vista Volunteer Fire Department (1926)

The city council was induced to provide a firehouse on Third Street, which was only in use for a short time from 1926 – 1927.   This first Rio Vista Firehouse was located on Third Street, in an old garage which had been around since the turn of the century. The building was only big enough to house two engines, and had an old wooden jail behind it. On top of the firehouse was a fire bell, cast in 1852, which had been originally purchased by the Rio Vista Hook and Ladder Company in 1873. When there was a fire, someone would pull the rope attached to the bell, to sound the alarm for the volunteers to show up.  This bell is presently mounted in front of the firehouse, on Main Street.

The Main Street firehouse was built in 1926, by local contractor Victor Kaufenberg.  Kanufenberg came to Rio Vista in 1925 as a helper to the contracting firm of Charles S. Maybrey Company.  He would go onto build a number of fine buildings in the area including:  the Rio Vista Firehouse (1926), Veterans Hall (1927), Rio Vista Post Office (1928), Women’s Improvement Club Hall (1928), Liberty Island Schoolhouse and a few beautiful homes in Rio Vista.
The “new” Rio Vista Fire House structure could house two pieces of equipment, and contained a meeting room and a kitchen. A drill tower was soon erected behind the building. After a few years the need to expand was apparent, so another wing was added onto the building. This new addition made it possible to contain four engines as well as have a dormitory.

This new firehouse was equipped with a siren, which was placed on top of the building. The department made arrangements with the Rio Vista Telephone Company, where when a fire was called in the operator would blow the siren and then keep a direct line to the firehouse open.  Whoever arrived at the firehouse first would then be told the location of the fire by the operator, after which it would be written on a blackboard, located just inside the door of the station

Rio Vista Post Office (1928)

Since its establishment during the early years of the community, the local post office relocated several times operating out of several building in the downtown area. It wasn’t until 1928 that the local branch of the United States Post Office were able to move into a permanent building, constructed for the sole purpose of being a post office.

In October 1928 The Rio Vista Hotel Company awarded the contract for the construction of a new building for the purpose of housing the Rio Vista Post Office. The Post office operated out of this building, located at 30 second Street,  from 1928 to 1967.

Louise P. Miller (1916-1936), John Ira Fiscus (1936-1947), George C. Cattey (1947-1949), Harry Lauritzen  (1949-1956), Asa T. brooks (1956-1964), and William M. Robinson ((1964-1979).  Since the post office moved out of this building in 1967, several businesses and organization used the building, including the Church of Latter Day Saints.

Women’s Improvement Hall (1928)

In September of 1920 the Woman’s Improvement Club joined the State Federation of Women’s Clubs, and by 1923 the membership was listed at 75 members. It was during the decade of the 1920’s that the club raised enough money to purchase the vacant lot on the southwest corner of Fourth and Montezuma Streets. It was on this lot that they erected a building of their own.

On March 23, 1928 the Women’s Improvement Club Clubhouse, on the corner of Fourth and Montezuma Streets, was formally dedicated with an elaborate celebration.  The day’s dedication ceremonies started with a luncheon, at the Hotel Rio Vista.  The luncheon fell under the capable supervision of Mrs. L.A. Anthony, who handled the reservations as well as supervised the dining room’s decorations and table decorations.  After the luncheon was completed, the attendants adjourned to the new clubhouse.  When they arrived they found the interior to be beautifully decorated for the dedication. Mrs. Mark Church and Mrs. Roy Goodman, as well as a few other able assistants, had gone to great lengths to provide a beautifully decorated atmosphere, for this most memorable of occasions.  Floral greetings were displayed throughout the clubhouse building, wishing the very best of luck for the club.  Those who sent flora arrangements were: Rio Vista Post and Ladies Auxiliary, Kiwanis Club, Friday Club, American Legion, Saturday Club of Vacaville, Wednesday Club of Suisun, Miss Clara Dills, Mrs. F.A. Steiger, J. Stern & Co., Brown-Gordon Company, and the Rio Vista Aerie of Eagles.

Mrs. Duncan S. Robinson oversaw the celebration arrangements, which occurred at the new clubhouse.   The program started off with selections performed by the High School orchestra, under the guidance and direction, of J. Bedynek.   Rev. Ralph Rowe, of the local Baptist church, provided the invocation, while Mrs. J.F. Mayne, president of the local Women’s Improvement Club, gave a rousing welcoming address.  Next on the programs list was the introduction of Victor Kaufenberg, contractor, who presented the key of the club.

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