Sunday, April 25, 2010
Creek Lodge, an English country-style mansion on Moody Road, Los
Altos Hills, was built in 1935 by Consolidated Chemicals vice-president
Milton Haas. Haas sold the estate ten years later to Henry Waxman,
owner of Waxman's Bakery in San Francisco, who opened a swimming
club. It was a destination resort in the 1940s. Vacationers could
stay for a day, and hold weddings and picnics. Bandleaders Jimmy
Dorsey and Harry James played here under the stars.
In 1955 Adobe Creek Lodge, with 100 acres and barbecue facilities
for 7,000 people, was sold to Frank Martinelli, an owner of Bal
Tabarin theater restaurant in San Francisco. The property went
from a private to a commercial resort, then to a private club.
The former casino building is a guesthouse today.
John Ralston, Los Altos Hills Historical Society Program Director,
will speak on the Adobe Creek Lodge story, with illustrations.
Please join us at the quarterly meeting of the Los Altos Hills
Historical Society, Sunday April 25, 2010, 3:00 - 5:00 p.m., Los
Altos City Hall, 26379 Fremont Road, Los Altos Hills. Refreshments
will be served after the program.
Ralston is a third-generation San Franciscan, the great grandson
of Henry Russell Ralston, a Scottish ironworker who arrived in
San Francisco with his brother, the first John Ralston, around
1865, and who with the first John established the Ralston Iron
Works on Howard Street about 1870.
The current John was born on May 10, 1942, and as it was just
after the United States entered World War II there was a shortage
of necessities, including taxicabs. No cab came to the family's
Larkin Street address when John's mother went into labor, and
John's uncle was called in the middle of the night to take his
mother and panic-stricken father to St. Mary's hospital. John's
uncle tore over in his vintage 1940 Buick, the party was hustled
aboard, and the Buick tore off, but too late. Sixty-five years
later, John basks in the satisfaction of knowing that while many
San Franciscans boast of being born in such-and-such a neighborhood,
he was born in several! Appropriately, May 10th was Mother's Day.
Like his father, uncle, aunt, and two older brothers, John attended
the old Lowell on Hayes Street, and he majored in history at the
University of California, Berkeley, with an emphasis on Russia
and the Soviet Union. The circumstances of his birth having indelibly
impressed upon John a love for and fascination with his native
city, he began researching San Francisco's history independently
after graduating. Two literary sparks that ignited his research
were the late William Bronson's The Earth Shook, the Sky Burned
about the great Earthquake and Fire of 1906, and Boss Ruef's San
Francisco, by the late Walton Bean, distinguished professor of
history at the University of California, Berkeley, and a foremost
authority on California. In the latter work John first encountered
the great editor Fremont Older (1856-1935), and the more he read
about this incredible individual and the times in which he lived
- and influenced - the more John was determined to produce a biography
worthy of Older.
John and his wife Lana, have formed the Ralston Independent
Works (the name commemorates Great-Grandfather Henry's and
Great-Uncle John's venture), with several aims: publishing "This
date in San Francisco", a book that will have an entry
for every date of the calendar year, and will be available in
An Authentic Hero, the biography of Fremont Older; is almost
finished. In October 2003 John and Lana presented a mixed-media
program on the Billings-Mooney case to the San Francisco
History Association. In June 2004 John gave a program on Fremont
Older at the San Francisco Museum and Historical Society's
monthly meeting, and in September, 2007, a program "Character
References: Famous San Francisco Men and Women".
John and Lana also collaborate on the Encyclopedia
of San Francisco website, to help stimulate interest in the
SFMHS's monumental plans for a Museum of the City of San Francisco
in the Old Mint on Fifth Street. Please visit Ralston
Independent Works web site to get familiar with their work.