Monday, March 31, 2014

The Trees on Monterey Street

Dear Take 25 to Hollister Readers,

I bet you  didn't know we have sleepy octopussy trees hanging out in our sweet town.


Have a wonderful day!

Su-sieee! Mac

Sunday, March 30, 2014

It's Ours Now!

Yesterday, San Benito Street in downtown Hollister was closed for the first time without jumping through hoops with Caltrans. All because the street now belongs to the City of Hollister. Whoo-hooo!

A very big Thank You to Steve Rosati and Gordon Machado for their dedication and persistence to jump through many, many hoops over the last 30 years to get our main street to be truly ours.

And, yes, after the speeches and ribbon cutting, there was dancing in the street. It also rained while we were dancing.  Double whooo-hooo!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Main Street, Not a Highway

Many years from now, the future old fogeys of Hollister will tell the young'uns how Highway 25 ran through downtown Hollister. "It used to be," they would say, "You merged from Bolsa Road onto San Felipe Road near Tiffany Motors. San Felipe Road turned into San Benito Street at Santa Ana Road, and you drove it all the way through town. You turned left by the high school and when you reached Safeway, you turned right to connect with Airline Highway."


Until a few weeks ago, Highway 25 officially ran through downtown Hollister. The bypass was constructed with the intent that the ownership of the downtown section of the highway would be transferred to the City of Hollister when the bypass was completed.  It took a while for it to happen, but finally on March 7, 2014, the deed was done. Now, instead of a sign saying Highway 25 leading drivers through downtown Hollister, we'll be seeing signs (if they aren't up already), directing drivers to the highway.

So, what does this all mean? Hopefully wonderful things for us, citizens and businesses, of Hollister and San Benito County. Several years ago, the Hollister Downtown Strategy Plan was created to envision the possibilities for downtown Hollister. Be truly cool, if some, if not all, could become a reality. You can read the plan at this page at the Hollister Downtown Association web site.

By the way, this afternoon, the Hollister Downtown Association will be hosting a Downtown Street Transfer Party, from 2 to 5 PM, in the Veterans' Memorial Building Plaza. There will be dancing in the street. Rain or shine!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Ann Street

Does anyone know why Ann Street interrupts the flow of Briggs Alley?

Ann Street runs parallel to Fourth Street. It starts at West Street and ends at Winn Alley. It's less than half-a-block long. On the other side of Winn Alley is a parking lot. Directly across from Ann Street (at West Street) is Briggs Alley. This alley continues on the east side of Monterey Street.

I can't remember if someone told me or if I read that Ann Street was named for William Welles Hollister's wife. Anyone know for sure? And, for those who've forgotten or didn't know, Hollister was for whom our city was named, and the Hollisters lived where the court house stands today.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

From Steeple to Peak

Find the church steeple on the right. See it peeking over the trees?

That's Sacred Heart Church.

See the tower high up on the Gabilan Range to the left?

Yup. That's up on Fremont Peak.

This is the view from Vista Park Hill. Gorgeous!

Do you think Fremont Peak looks too close? An illusion, you say. Perhaps. Here's the original photo from which I cropped the above one.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Name the Highway

Have you seen the new road signs on Highway 25 yet?

The Husband and I saw one yesterday afternoon, as we waited for the light on Hillcrest Road. Were we surprised. We knew there was talk last year about naming Highway 25 to the Pinnacles National Park Highway, but many residents in the southern part of San Benito County were against it.

So, I looked it up. (Ah, sweet Internet, what did I ever do without you?) Turns out our State Senator Anthony Cannella sponsored a bill last year to designate specific sections of Highway 25 as the Pinnacles National Park Highway. According to the bill, which was adopted, the renamed highway runs from "San Benito/Monterey countyline to Sunnyslope Road in the City of Hollister and that portion of Route 25 from San Felipe Road in the City of Hollister to the San Benito/Santa Clara countyline. . . ."

I read that as meaning all of Highway 25. Doesn't the highway cross into Monterey County in the southern part of San Benito County? Something else to look up. I did notice the sign still says "Highway 25" at the intersection of Sunnyslope Road/Tres Pinos Road/25 (or as us old fogeys still call it --Airline Highway).

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Sun Patterns

Check out the shadows on the new courthouse.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Lovely Spring Day

Looking down from Vista Hill Park

Yesterday—Sunday—was a gorgeous day for being outside, whether it was working in the yard, walking about, pedaling around, or taking a Sunday drive. Hope you had a chance to get some sun bubbles.

We may be in luck and have rain come our way this week. Yay!

The view from the end of the paved Los Viboras Road

Sunday, March 23, 2014

There's a Fault?

I had no idea until this morning that the Union Road Bridge stands over a Calaveras Fault strand. However, according to this geologist at Geology, "There is no direct evidence of the fault in the river bed. . . ." I guess that's good to know.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Colonial Cleaners


I just had to take a photo of Colonial Cleaners' window when the Husband and I were taking a walk downtown the other day. The artwork made me smile. The character looked so charming and friendly, I wished I had something to drop off at the cleaners that moment.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Coming into Hollister from the North

The Gabilan Mountains that we see beyond San Benito Street never stops to amaze me. I love how they tower over the city. I took them for granted as a kid, but then what do kids know.

Thursday, March 20, 2014


The first moment of Spring starts at 9:57 AM today. So says the Old Farmer's Almanac.

The coming of Spring usually makes me go search for this song by Daniel Valdez, a local musician and one of the founding members of El Teatro CampesiƱo. It's a sweet song called "Primavera" from his 1973 record Mestizo.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Wizard's Cafe

When you're driving north on San Felipe Road, do you sometimes notice the Wizard's Cafe on the right as you're passing by the airport? If you're like me, you think, "Gee, I forget about the Wizard's Cafe." Or, if you haven't been there before, maybe, "I should try it some time."

The Wizard's Cafe is a neat diner run by Corbin for its employees and customers. It's also open to the public. According to Corbin's website, the cafe is open from Thursday to Saturday, 8:30 AM to 1:30 PM. 

And, yes, that's a mural of Marlon Brando's character from the movie, The Wild One.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Hollister Tamales and Tee-shirts!

Here's another local tee-shirt that outshines any fictional one! If you want one, head over to the Progresso Tamale Parlor on 230 Third Street.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Receding Fog

We've been getting a lot of fog lately. Have you ever noticed how on some days it makes its way back towards the west? This photo was taken a few days ago from Cienega Road, looking across the San Benito River by the Union Road bridge. 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

1439 San Benito Street

I've always thought of the two-story Spanish style house on the southeast corner of San Benito Street and Nash Road as the "Breen House" and that the Breen family lived there...since forever. When the house was for sale last year, I learned that the Breens were the third family to live there.

The original owners were Dr. L.C. and Mary Hull who built the house which was finished in 1926. Today,  the house features a library, formal dining room, breakfast room, wine cellar,  five bedrooms, and three bathrooms. In Dr. Hull's time,  the library was used as his office for seeing patients.

The Library

In 1938, the house was sold to Charles and Dora Hyman who established The Wardrobe, a men's clothing and shoe store. Remember The Wardrobe, you, old timers out there? And, Abe Hyman, the son? He, his wife Mabel, and their son David, lived at 1439 San Benito Street with Abe's parents.

So, when did the Jim and Betty Breen family move into this landmark? 1962.

The Dining Room

The house is back on the market. Renovations were made by the buyers who bought it in December. I think that's what the realtor, Robert Lintner, said at the open house yesterday. A lot of the time, my attention got distracted when my eyes saw another interesting aspect about the house -- the wooden floors, the built-in drawers, the window panes, the chandeliers, the French doors, and so on. Once upon a time, the large front room downstairs was known as the ballroom. It even has large insets in the walls for speakers.

The Kitchen

By the way, there's another open house today, until 5 PM. Thanks, Mr. Lintner, for the tour.

Note to FTC: Of course I am not being compensated for writing a post about this house. 

The Ballroom

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Tree Mushrooms

The other day, the Husband and I took a stroll on Monterey Street. We stopped for  a moment to admire an old house and as we turned, voila, we spied tree mushrooms.

It surprised to me see tree mushrooms in town. As a kid, I used to go mushroom hunting with my dad on Cienega Road. We found buckets full of delicious mushrooms that we picked from dead trees along a creek. My parents knew what are edible mushrooms, but they always threw a quarter in the pot as the mushrooms simmered. They told me that if the quarter turned black, we would not eat the mushrooms. The quarters never turned black. To this day, I don't know if they were kidding me.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Cruising on Cienega Road

It's supposed to be in the 70s or 80s this weekend, according to the weather forecasters. Perfect weather for checking out how Spring is popping in the Pinnacles National Park or just taking a drive in the country. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Hollister by Bill Sparling

Today, Dear Readers, you have a wonderful treat. Mr. Bill Sparling of Washington has kindly allowed me to post his story about his memories of visiting his family in Hollister when he was a child. Please, everyone, give him a big, warm welcoming Hi! Hello! and It's a pleasure to meet you.  Thank you, Bill! 

Bill Sparling 

Hollister -- I love the way that city name sort of rolls off the end of my tongue.  It is one of those words that almost say themselves -- like Montana and Cumberland.

It is also where I did a good bit of growing up.  My father was born in Panoche in 1894 and he had brothers and sisters all over that area and many in Hollister.  The family name, Sparling, is not unfamiliar to anyone who has lived in Hollister for more than say, 50 years.

I never actually lived in Hollister but since my dad had several brothers and sisters there, we made the trip from Cupertino (where we did live) to Hollister quite regularly.  I had herds of cousins there and many of them were my age and we all got along famously.

When I stumbled over this website (Take 25 to Hollister), I was really excited over all of the information and pictures I found on it.  The first time I hit it, I spent a couple of hours poking around town, checking out familiar old byways and enjoying “visiting” one of my favorite places.

One of the things that really got my memory juices flowing was a picture of a house that was used in the TV mini-series East of Eden.  This was no ordinary picture of an ordinary house.  This was a place that I had birthed many happy memories.  My Aunt Nada lived there with her husband Louis Mays who was President of the Hollister National Bank when I was a kid.  Their son, Tom, had some great electric trains and we played with them by the hour in his room and in the upstairs hallway.  We used to sneak down the “secret” back stairway that led into the kitchen and snitch cookies my Aunt Nada or Tom’s sister, Nancy, had made.  I’m sure they both knew who snagged the cookies but they never let on.

The house is on the southwest corner of Monterey and South Streets and is a beautiful old Victorian house with miles of wood trim as well as shiny mahogany banisters inside.  There was a big upright grand piano in the front parlor that I used to play when we visited.  The floors were waxed and shiny, and there was a huge stove in the kitchen where Aunt Nada used to turn out some amazing things to eat.


I bought a copy of East of Eden just so I could see that house “in action” again.  Much of the interior as shown in the movie was still familiar, even after 60 years.  Yes, 60 years.

The last time I really remember being at and in that house was Thanksgiving of 1949.  I was twelve years old.  There is a scene in the movie of the Trask family eating their Thanksgiving dinner in the dining room.  I, too, ate a Thanksgiving feast in that same dining room, only 32 years before the mini-series was made -- before some of the actors in the story were even born.  (Why do I suddenly feel so old?)  I have a family picture of our whole clan (ten sons and daughters and their spouses and all of their children), which was taken in the east side yard of that house after our Thanksgiving feast.

All of those Aunts and Uncles are gone now but there are a few cousins left scattered around the country.  My cousin Linda still lives on a ranch outside Hollister and my cousin Frank, whom I thought was living in the San Diego area, now lives in Redmond, Washington just 90 miles and a ferry boat ride from my wife and me.


Some of you who live in Hollister may be familiar with what is referred to by many as “The Birdcage House” on South and West Streets.  That used to be where my Uncle Brick (Earl) Sparling, his wife, my Aunt Jean (Hawkins) Sparling and their three children, Earl Jr. (Sonny), Tom and Linda lived.  It was just a block from their house to the house I previously described, and my cousin Frank taught me to roller skate on the sidewalk between the two houses.  I took many a nose dive on that sidewalk until I learned where all of the Calaveras fault line branches were.  

There are other memories I could write about like trips with my dad and mom out to the Las Viboras Ranch after Brick and Jean moved from the house in town; trips dad and I took out to the old ranch in Panoche where he grew up; and a trip from Panoche to Los Banos over a road cut with a bulldozer where we crossed a couple of bridges my grandfather built and where we had to ford the creek where there were no bridges.  I told you I am old.  Freeways were not even a thought in anyone’s mind when I was a kid but we got there just the same.  It just took longer and gave us more time for counting cows and carrying on conversations.  We had to talk to each other back then; we didn’t have any I-thingies.

To Su-sieee! Mac, the hostess of this amazing web site, I must say thanks for your amazing site and thanks for rewinding the tape of my life so I could play it again.

God bless you.

Bill Sparling
Sequim, Washington

©2014 Bill Sparling.  

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Past and Present: San Benito County Superior Court

The new Superior Court of the County of San Benito is situated on the residential site of William Welles Hollister, for whom the city of Hollister was named. I think Mr. Hollister's house eventually became a  hotel, then somewhere along the way, this property became the home of first the Hollister Grammar School and then Fremont School.

Lest we forget, the old courthouse is visible across the street.
That's the building in the middle.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Lovely Landscaping

When I look at the new courthouse grounds, I think how that would be a nice setting for a big outdoor party.   I also think that it would be a nice place to just hang out on a bench or at one of the red tables there and read a book or have a picnic. What do you think of the new courthouse grounds?

By the way, Cliff Lowe Associates was the landscape architect for the new courthouse grounds. Thanks for a beautiful design.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Opening Soon: The New Courthouse

If all goes well, the new courthouse of the Superior Court of California in San Benito County will be open for business next Monday, March 17, 2014. Construction on the $33 million building was completed a few months ago, but it could not open because the local officials had no funds to pay for the required security staff.

The new courthouse on the corner of Fourth and Monterey Streets  is a gorgeous building. The project was managed by the Kitchell Contractors. The building design was created by SmithGroup, the oldest continuously practicing architecture and engineering firm in the United States.

I don't know about you, dear Readers, but the Husband and I look forward to seeing what our new courthouse looks like on the inside.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

O'Neill Drive

This beautiful humongous tree is in the center of O'Neill Drive, which is in the residential section of historical downtown Hollister.

O'Neill Drive is a hidden gem, and I'm sure has some interesting history about it. It's not a thorough street in the sense that you enter at one spot and come out another. Nor is it a dead-end street because you drive in a circle around this tree and other trees. It's more like a private driveway, as there are several small homes on the street.

I wonder if the houses could've been built for Navy officers and their families who were based at the Naval Auxiliary Air Station in Hollister during World War II. I also wonder who O'Neill was.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Spring is Popping

This is somewhere along San Felipe Road. All of a sudden, the color just popped out at me as I was pedaling along on bicycle.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Muffler Art

This cute guy always makes me smile every time I pass by Hollister Muffler & Quick Lube on the corner of San Benito Street and South Street. Wouldn't you?

Two years ago, Hollister Muffler & Quick Lube
had this art work on display.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Unique Hollister Tees

I'm not talking about the Hollister tee-shirts made for wannabe imaginary Dudes and Bettys. Uh-uh. The tee-shirts in these photos are local products. They are designed by Dean Machado of Mandego Apparel and being sold at Muenzer's Keys & Teez on Fifth Street. Go check them out. You know you want to.

And, no, I'm not being paid for mentioning these tee-shirts.  They are just so cool I had to show and tell.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Cheap Seats Pub & Grub

"Hey, Husband! Did you know the awning is in the shape of a baseball hat?"

"Yes. You never noticed that?"

In the seven years or more that Cheap Seats Pub & Grub has been around, it never dawned on my that I have been looking at or walking under a very huge baseball cap. What it actually reminds me of are those nightclub awnings in the 1930s movies. Sometimes the obvious just goes over my head. I was in my 30s when I realized that the logo of the Shell Station is a shell. Duh.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Walking Under Fourth Street

Yesterday, the Husband and I decided to go underground to cross Fourth Street. Huh? you say.

Yup. For those who've forgotten, or who had no idea, a pedestrian tunnel runs under Fourth Street. The southern stairway is in front of the former County Jail. I think it was built in the 1920s to provide safe passage for children who walked to and from school.

The Hollister Downtown Association has plans to renovate the tunnel, which includes installing lights and a security system. The group also wants to paint a mural that depicts the buildings that once stood where the new Superior Court is today—the home of Colonel William Hollister, after whom the city was named, Hollister Grammar School, and Fremont School.

For a moment after walking out of the tunnel and looking skyward, I was reminded of how I felt when I used to come out of the Embaradero Bart Station in San Francisco. I'm having a great adventure.

The Northern Stairway

Monday, March 3, 2014

Dunneville Cafe & Market

Have you tried the tri-tip sandwich at the Dunneville Cafe & Market yet? Mine was very tender and oooh so very delicious. After the Husband took his first bite, he didn't think it was too far to drive for a take-out sandwich and fries.

The restaurant is on the northwest corner of San Felipe Road and Shore Road, about nine miles from downtown Hollister.  You can also eat there. It has both indoor and outdoor seating. The patio is lovely and relaxing. And, if you're into bocce ball, or want to try it out, regulation bocce courts are available.

Dunneville Cafe & Market opened in 1972, but a store has stood at that corner for many, many years. When I was a kid, I knew it as Dunneville Store. Our family lived behind it, and I remember going to the store a lot to purchase candy, Nehi soda, and comic books. In my mind's eye, I can see the  candy display around the cash register and the comic book stand in the front window on the left of the door. Ah, yes, nothing like good memories. If you'd like to read another one of mine about Dunneville Store, click here to go to my other blog, Don't Be a Hippie.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Dinosaurs in Hollister


Have you seen the four dinosaurs standing alongside the west side of San Felipe Road, next to the Swank Farms sign?


Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Magical Diablos

I was very fortunate the other morning as I was pedaling my bike up Meridian Street. I got to see the Diablos in a different lighting. The mountains seemed so much higher and the Three Sisters was transformed into a Hawaiian pali. I had to stop and enjoy the moment.



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