The Hideaway saloon in west Sonoma County sits on the same site as the 1870 Montesano Station, which served as a depot for the Guerneville & Russian River R.R. line. The structure burned down in 1920 but not before witnessing the grand ol’ days of the lumber industry. The present building was built on the original foundation, perhaps explaining why until recently not a square or plumb inch could be found. For decades the roofline and windows were cockeyed, which seemed a good fit for the eclectic bunch of characters who frequented the joint. At one time there were several cabins out back for rent while the main lodge served as inn and local watering hole. Historical legend states that the upstairs housed a six-room brothel back in the day, all the while playing host to a number of supernatural guests. Former employees testify that they have had numerous encounters of the prankster kind with Evelyn Ripkin, a deceased owner from the Depression era.
One of the longtime fixtures at The Hideaway was Angie Stanford. She ran the place for forty-six years always greeting customers with her blue-collar, Austrian accent. She stood under five feet tall, needing the assistance of risers in order to serve a libation. It was always an interesting encounter when ex-Niner Bob St.Clair walked into the bar and smothered her with his 6′ 9″ frame. But you had better not take her diminutive stature for granted. She was as tough as they came. On one occasion a band of bikers rolled into the parking lot wearing scruffy beards and club patches. Angie told her patrons to relax as she promptly exited and ordered the thugs to vamoose. Bred from old-school values, she wouldn’t tolerate any misbehavior. She once eighty-sixed a man for being impolite to his wife while booting out another for foul language. And if you didn’t like the stiff drink she poured, you might find the door as well. Gracious to a fault (and her pocketbook), the first beverage was always on the house. Angie Stanford passed away on May 26, 2015 and is residing with her husband George in heaven. Here’s to you, Angie!