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Sunday, February 01, 1998

Buildings turn into dwellings and barrooms

Kristin Delaplane

Military companies disbanded

Chrysler’s Empire Building on the corner of Solano and Suisun streets in Suisun City was turned into a dwelling.
In 1865, the I.O.G.T. had its rooms over the Empire Saloon. A. Chrysler, long associated with the Cosmopolitan Saloon, opened a new saloon in White’s building, calling it Chrysler’s Sample Rooms.

The Solano Lodge was building a new hall and county surveyor John Woolaver made two bronze columns for the building.

R.F. Knox of the Knoxville Quicksilver Mine arrived in Suisun from San Francisco. He placed his carpet sack in a private compartment at Roberts Hotel. On the following day, when ready to board the coach to Knoxville, the bag was missing. When it was found, it had been cut open and $30 in coin taken.

The following Solano County military companies were retained in the state service of the National Guard: The Suisun Light Dragoons, Maine Prairie Rifles and Vallejo’s Lincoln Artillery. All other companies were disbanded.

John Jackson purchased the horse and dray business of Charles S. Loomis.

Samuel Breck & Co. was prepared to deliver by express wagon all goods brought from him to any part of Fairfield or Suisun free of charge.

The Chinese junk belonging to Breck was demasted and driven ashore during a great storm in Suisun. During that storm, the Catholic church on the corner of Suisun and Line streets was blown down, the false fire wall of Roberts House was swept away, Dr. Baker’s barn in the valley was unroofed and D.J. Clayton’s barn was blown down, killing four horses.

On the Fourth of July the schoolchildren had their picnic at Clayton’s Grove in the Suisun Valley, and the event was celebrated with fireworks and a fireman’s ball.

The steamship Princess changed its days of operation so as to depart from Suisun on Tuesdays rather than Mondays. This was to accommodate those farmers in the Putah Creek and Pleasants Valley areas so they could rest and worship on Sundays.

Tom B. Roberts operated a restaurant and boarding house at Main and Solano. He advertised that meals could be had at all hours. In a plan to enlarge the hotel, he purchased a building formerly occupied as furniture store and was moving it to a vacant lot adjoining his hotel to replace two small buildings. Once enlarged, the hotel was now twice its original size with a bar and billiard room. Roberts then sold his hotel.

Marsten & Stockmon had plans for erecting a large warehouse, which would occupy the lot between the flour mill and Morris’ saddlery shop. Jerry H. Marsten was the brother-in-law to the late David E. Stockmon, drugstore owner. Since at least 1858, Marsten had operated a grocery and dry goods wholesale and retail business in a brick building.

Stockmon Bros. was also making news for sending its California Expectorant to various businesses in the state.

Coroner A.F. Knorp, wanting to quit the saloon business, had apparently sold the Cosmopolitan Saloon to Dr. McMahan. McMahan was fitting it up for a drugstore.

In 1863, Dr. McMahan, physician and surgeon, had his practice in Fairfield. He had attended the Eclectic-Medical Institute in Ohio and devoted his study to ‘‘old chronic diseases,” with particular attention to diseases afflicting women and children.

A young man by the name of Samuel Bullard, who was living with Joseph S. Page on Grizzly Island, met with the loss of three fingers in a gun accident while shooting geese. He and Page were hauling wood at the time and Page had to stay with the team while Bullard trekked to the Page home, 2 miles away. Mrs. Page took him by boat to the nearest neighbor and he was then brought to Suisun by buggy. Dr. McMahan sewed the skin over where there had been fingers.

Meanwhile, Knorp took over as proprietor of the Pacific House and invited a large circle of friends to participate in a housewarming of his hotel. At 9 p.m. they were served an elegant meal and at 9:30 the company went over to the Union Hall, where they spent the next two or three hours dancing.

Knorp accommodated transient traffic as well as regular boarders. Warm and cold baths could be had at all hours. There was a carriage always in readiness to convey passengers to and from the hotel. He had taken the billiard tables and fixtures from the Cosmopolitan Saloon for the Pacific House. He also had a reading room furnished with all the latest publications.

R.B. Cannon moved Anderson’s Stable from Solano Street and attached it to the rear of his stable, making his business one of the most spacious in the county. Robert B. Canon first made news in 1858, when he was listed as one of the partners in the Suisun Water Works. The first mention of Canon’s Stable was in 1863. In 1864, Canon purchased the Anderson Livery Stable for $1,500 and leased the business to a Wilson.

Dr. G.E. Morrill, a surgeon and mechanical dentist, was located in the Pacific House. Dr. P. Howe, electric physician and surgeon, was performing dental surgery upstairs in Capt. Nickerson’s building.

Dr. Brewer of Sacramento was going to be in Suisun to practice dentistry for 10 days.

Dr. S.S. Simmons was in Owen’s brick building at all hours of the day and night.

Dr. Wernicki set up a practice. He was particularly skillful in the treatment of women and children, and eye and skin diseases.

William Losh was the agent for the Mutual Insurance Co. P.J. Chrisler was the agent for the Traveler’s Insurance Co.

Attorney J.H. Thompson opened a practice in town.

M. Cutler was the proprietor of the new stageline from Vacaville to Suisun City. D.O. Williams was the driver.

Jacob Fitzgerald had purchased the fixtures of the barbershop adjoining the Pacific House for his location. There was almost a fire in his barbershop when the chain of a hanging coal oil lamp broke and the lamp and its contents fell to the floor. Twenty men responded to the call of fire and were able to put it out by smothering it with blankets.

Col. P. Reeves was holding an auction sale of dairy cows and working horses.

F. A. Recner, a barber, first located in McGarvey’s building upstairs and then he moved to the lower story of White’s brick building.

Asa Crocker purchased M. Van Owen’s saloon, Hole in the Wall. Owen moved the liquor and bar fixtures to James Temple’s old place opposite the Pacific House and named his new saloon Bon Vivant.

Crocker, at the Hole in the Wall, was serving lunch, fresh and canned oysters, lobster, crabs, etc. Everyone was invited to call Christmas morning for a drink at the proprietor’s expense.

Asa Crocker had long been associated with Suisun City. He was the pilot on the Ann Sophia, the first boat to ferry goods, and then he opened the first eatery in 1854. In the early 1870s, Crocker at ‘‘The Office” advertised he was carrying homemade Oregon cider that was ideal for mince pies for the holidays.The Suisun Restaurant and Lunch House was on Main Street north of the Pacific House. The proprietor was serving lunch at all hours featuring all the delicacies of the season. Meals were also served at private residences.

J.H. Roberts sold his variety store to Nathaniel Winn, but Roberts was going to continue the newspaper agency business. Winn moved the variety store to White’s new brick building. Shortly afterwards, Samuel G. Palmer purchased the Suisun Newspaper Agency, which carried the Daily and Weekly Union, the Alta California, The Evening Bulletin and the Golden Era as well as many periodicals from back East.

William T. Kennedy was operating a saloon at the old corner of Main and California. Apparently he had converted his confectioner and fruit store, which was at the same location in 1858. In addition to the saloon business, he was selling violins, violin and guitar strings, accordions. He also had cutlery, toys, canned oysters, pipes, tobacco, shot.

A debating club was formed with John Henry presiding. The chimney of Pearce’s millinery shop adjoining the Pacific House took fire one evening. Fortunately the roof was wet and the fire company responded immediately. Mrs. J.W. Peace announced she was selling her store and until the sale, she was disposing of her stock for cash only.

The year 1866 marked the fifth year of publication of the Solano Press and the paper was expanding, making it twice its original size.

When the Solano Press began publication in 1863 with Henry Hubbard & Co., its offices were established in the Wheaton building at Main and Solano streets.

William F. Halsey, former manager of the Pacific Hotel, had a store in this building and W. Owen’s saddler’s shop was also at this location.

Two attorneys had offices in the upstairs rooms, including M.H. Wheaton, whose law office was over Owen’s saddlery. The office for the justice of the peace was located in rooms over Halsey’s store.

In 1865, P.T. Gomer moved his law office from the courthouse in Fairfield to the Wheaton building. Meanwhile, M.A. Wheaton moved to San Francisco to engage in his law practice.

Corey’s Hardware Store was located in Cannon’s new brick building on the west side of the plaza. There you could purchase shotguns, shot, powder, etc. He also carried stoves, tin, copper, sheet iron, shelf-ware, cutlery, clothes wringers. J.W. Kerns, who was in charge in the tin and sheet iron department, did roofing and general jobbing.

R. Morgenstern’s auction store in Cannon’s building carried dried goods, groceries, crockery and clothing. In later years, Morgenstern opened a general merchandise store in Vacaville. His partner then was Milzner.