Elim Grove in Cazadero has been an integral part of the town since 1890, located where Raymond’s Bakery is today. Elim comes from a passage in the Bible: Exodus 15:27: “And Moses came to ELIM where there were twelve wells of water, and three-score and ten palm trees: and he camped there by the waters”. Biblical scholars interpret “Elim” as being “The Place of Refreshing”. While it is a coincidence that the grove is a mile from town, that is not where Elim received its title (i.e. Elim spelled backwards).
Elim was the site of the first summer retreat for the Bohemian Club in 1877. Members would board the ferry at the Embarcadero in San Francisco before catching a train at the Sausalito NWP depot. The seventy-seven mile trip from the bay to Elim lasted three hours with a stop at Duncans Mills to change over to the narrow gauge line. (more…)
The North Pacific Coast R.R., built in the 1870’s, stretched from Sausalito to Cazadero. Mishaps along the line were plentiful. George Simpson Montgomery, who originally named Cazadero, had switched from a Bohemian Club drunkard to a born-again Christian. His insistence that the town go dry might have initiated a protest in 1894 when Engine No. 9 was hijacked by its crew and others in Duncans Mills with the intent of a party-run on one stormy night to Cazadero. The train never made it to its destination plunging into Austin Creek while attempting to cross the trestle at Elim Grove. Frank Hart, proprietor of Cazadero Hotel, had joined the liquored-up group but unfortunately fell victim to the tragedy. His body was never recovered and presumed carried out eventually to sea. Ten days later a local Native American shaman joined the search party and affixed a candle to a board and sent it on its way. Several hundred yards downstream, the candle suddenly flickered out. (more…)
The North Pacific Coast R.R. ran from Sausalito to Cazadero via west Marin. Operated under different owners from 1877 to 1935 the line carried redwood to San Francisco and returned with weekenders who were anxious to party. From Freestone to Occidental, there was a dramatic horseshoe bend that allowed front and back passengers to gaze at each other before crossing the monstrous Browns Canyon Trestle, which at the time was the largest man-made structure west of the Mississippi. The broad gauge and narrow gauge met in Monte Rio before running down present day Moscow Road and crossing the Russian River at Duncans Mills. Nine years later the line was extended to Cazadero at the behest of the town’s founder, Silas Ingram. Much of the redwood lumber was used to help rebuild San Francisco and Santa Rosa after the 1906 earthquake. It is also said that redwood pilings from the mills were used as foundation for the Bay Bridge. (more…)
Just a few years ago in 2007, the entire town of Cazadero was for sale on the cheap. A similar occurrence happened in 1888. Despite being the rainiest place in the state (85 inches/year), the area has always had a certain appeal. This was true from the early beginning when George Simpson Montgomery purchased Ingrams and changed its name to Cazadero, which is Spanish for “The Hunting Place”.
At the time George was living at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco and holding membership in the exclusive Bohemian Club. Probably due to peer pressure, he soon developed into a two-fisted drinker with a reputation for visiting the brothels of a City that knows how. His wife ventured in the opposite direction, establishing a ministry. Her book, Prayer of Faith, was translated into eight languages and sold over four hundred thousand copies worldwide. A few years later her husband saw the evils of his ways (what are the chances?) and converted to Christianity. (more…)
Cazadero, the early days, was a tale created by a conflicted family. Silas Ingram and his wife joined a wagon train bound for California in 1840. While crossing the plains of Utah, they were attacked by a band if Indians who killed several in the party as well as absconding with the mules. Ingram was forced to walk over 100 miles to Salt Lake City where he caught transportation to San Francisco.
He later acquired federal timber land and moved his family to Sebastopol to be near his new enterprise along Austin Creek. He soon established a hunting resort in the rural area in 1869, naming it Ingrams. Silas became the first post master of the town. However, the mail was often not delivered on time or delivered at all. That was because it was pilfered on a regular basis. In an awkward twist of history, the culprit turned out to be none other than Silas’s own son, Charles, who later confessed to the crime and served eighteen months in jail. Tsk, tsk. (more…)