Before the 1950’s, one of the largest resorts along the Russian River was Guernewood Village, which should not be confused with Guernewood Park. The former was on the north side of present day Highway 116 while the latter was on the south side. The top photo on the left depicts the Old Monte Rio Road, which was also known as the Monte Rio Highway, connecting Monte Rio with Guernewood Village. Also in the same pic is the gated entrance “To The Height” that was a summer home development and is now the intersection of Lover’s Lane.
Just east of the gated community and Lover’s Lane was the outdoor Catholic Church. The bottom photo shows a 1954 Sunday service in Guernewood. During the summer months, the regular indoor worship sites such as St. Elizabeth’s in Guerneville, St. Catherine’s in Monte Rio, and St. Colman’s in Cazadero were full to capacity.
Traveling priests initiated outdoor churches to accommodate the overflow. One local tells the story of her husband’s grandfather not only handling the offering basket on Sunday at the Guernewood Village church but also going door-to-door after the mass to make sure that everyone had contributed their fair share. Also, horse riders had to take alternate routes so as not to disturb the worshipers.
For more, go to the bottom of this page and click on “Guernewood Park”. This resort was featured in Stumptown Daze. For a quick summary, chapter samples and reviews of this historical fiction book, go to “Novels” at the top. Have fun exploring.