Monday, December 15, 2008

THE PORTER MEMORIAL PUBLIC LIBRARY - SOQUEL, CA

"Our Gang" - Bonny Doon (c. 1938) - Left to Right: Gianni Comelli, Guiliano Dughi, Reno Cantarutti, Felicino Taurian and Freddie Moro. In front (as always) "Il Diavolino" (Ivano).


IVANO SAYS: "THE OLD RANCERE" WILL BE MAKING A PRESENTATION AT THE PORTER MEMORIAL LIBRARY ON JANUARY 14, 2009 AT 10:30 AM.

Below is a bit of history relating to the Library which is posted on its website:


Brief History of the Porter Memorial Public Library
The story of the Porter Memorial Library begins in the year 1912. A group of Soquel women, calling themselves the Soquel Ladies Improvement Club, decided that the town needed a public library. They approached William and Mary Porter Sesnon, long time residents of the area, to donate a piece of land in Soquel for the library. An agreement was reached that the ladies would raise the money for the building and the Sesnons would donate the land and their own architects (Ward and Bome of San Francisco, who had designed the Sesnon house now on the campus of Cabrillo College) to design the building.
The money was raised, the land was donated and the building began. On October 19, 1912, the cornerstone was laid, and in January 1913, the doors of the Soquel Memorial Public Library opened to the public. The building was named the Porter Memorial Public Library in honor of Benjamin and Kate Porter, the parents of Mary Porter Sesnon.
The building was truly a community effort. Even children helped. All of the stones for the large stone fireplace were carried from Soquel Creek by the Soquel Elementary School children.
The flagpole that stands in front of the ibrary bears a plaque dedicated to Nora Angell, the secretary of the Ladies Improvement Club who was the driving force behind the movement to build the Library.
The Library has remained open since its beginning in 1913, except for brief periods following the floods of 1955 and 1982 and the earthquake of 1989. But something very important happened in 1978. With the passage of Proposition 13, the County decided it could no longer afford to offer library services in Soquel. Mona Blackholm, a Soquel resident, approached County officials with the 1912 agreement between the Sesnons and Santa Cruz County. It stated that that the land and building were being given to the County only to be operated as a Public Library. Armed with this agreement and backed by a group of volunteers, Mona convinced the County to turn the operation of the Library over to the volunteers, now known as the Porter Memorial Library Board. Many people offered their time to serve as librarians or help in other ways with Library operation. The result is that the Library is open and flourishing today due to the same kind of community spirit that built it in 1912.
In 1992, the Santa Cruz County Historical Trust awarded the building landmark status and the blue oval plaque stating this is proudly displayed next to the entrance.
In 1996, Norman Angell, Nora’s son, willed monies from his estate to the Porter Memorial Library and to the Soquel Historical Society with the hope that together these two groups could develop a Soquel Museum. With this money, the Library has been refurbished to allow a room for a display of Soquel’s history. We have Mr. Angell to thank for the new, fresh look and for the beautiful furnishings we have in the Library today.
When looking back at its history, people have often called this building “The Little Library That Could.” It is because of the many people who wished to see a library built and to continue offering library services to the many people of Soquel, that the Porter Memorial Library is here and serving us today.

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The Library is located at 3050 Porter Street in downtown Soquel (across the street from the U.S. Post Office). The telephone number for the Library is 831-475-3326.


MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR A TUTTI!






7 comments:

gino campioni said...

Ciao Ivano,

On this "aisse bocchise" of a day here in Monmouth, (all white with 3 inches of snow, and 20 degrees F.) it is great to see your photo of the gang.

I think I knew all except the Cantarutti and Taurian boys. Baffi and I sometimes fished on the wharf with Giuliano Dughi's father. (note spelling corrections) I have a photo of Mr. Dughi with fishing pole and fish in hand.

Speaking of the Porter Memorial Library reminds me of the Santa Cruz Art Museum which I visited several times. I wonder if it still exists.
In the early 1950s our teachers at Holy Cross treated us with a visit to a local artist whose name I have forgotten. He had made 13 life-size wax figures in the form of DaVinci's famous Last Supper, which is painted on a wall of a church in Milano. I saw that for myself in 1968.

When we entered into the studio of the artist, the scene of The Lord and the apostles just took our breath away! The figures seemed almost to be alive. At first I thought they were actors. In each figure the artist had implanted real human hair into the head of the figure, which must have taken months for each one.
I last saw this amazing work of art in the museum, which I believe was on Broadway between Ocean St. and Seabright Ave. Looking in my latest Santa Cruz phone book,
(1995) I see no reference to it. Perhaps you know if those things still exist.

After all that, I came to my senses, and checked on the Internet. The arrangement of the figures has been moved to a funeral home, after extensive restoration. I'm glad to know that it still exists. It is an amazing labor of love, and a tedious work which must have taken years to render.

Buon Natale e felice anno nuovo for you and all your family.

Gino

Ivano Franco Comelli said...

Thanks Gino. Giuliano Dughi's father's first name was Silvio. He used to work at the Salz Tannery with my father. Guiliano's mother was named Catherina. Both are "buried" at Holy Cross Cemetary in Santa Cruz.

Canadian Furlan said...

Hey Ivano and Gino... up here in Niagara Falls Canada we are going through a roller coaster weather. A few weeks ago we received about 12" of snow, -25C (-13F) cold very cold molto freddo !! and yesterday we received rain taking all the snow away and it's about 10C (50F.It is somewhat sad to see all the snow leave us. And now they are predicting a snow storm for tomorrow we should receive about 6" of snow... just as long as we have a white Christmas. The photos Ivano are great, they provide an excellent back ground of life Su per La Costa, La Vostra Costa!! Good memories keep the photos and the "Blogga" going. I feel as if I lived along the Costa with all of you Paesanos. My next trip to Northern California will definitely include a visit to all the spots mentioned by Ivano!! I will need at least a week to meet all of you and few bottles of wine and of course the Grappa!!! I wish to extend a Very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of you. Buon Natale e Anno Nuovo.. and in Friulano.. Bon Nadal e Prinzipi!!!

Take care from the Canadian Furlan
Doriano

Ken Culwell said...

Ivan:

I just finished the book; I could not put it down once I got into it. I will explain.

Near the end of the book, you indicate that you presently reside in Monterey County. I was born in Salinas and lived behind Fort Ord on San Benancio Road until high school at which time we moved to Gilroy. While I am not at all Italian, I knew many Italian families in the Gilroy years. I still have close Italian friends from that area. Next, I went to San Jose State College and graduated in 1964 after which I was employed by the SJPD until 1968. I rode a motorcycle for a while when Rolly Miller and Bill Kinney were the supervisors. I was a member of the first SJPD academy (probably 1965) where we worked 1/2 day and went to class at SJCC in the afternoons. Bob Allen and John Jaeger did most of the instructing. I have seen Bob in the last several years but lost track of John after he left SJPD in the late 60's. I did see John in 1978 at Fort Leavenworth and have not heard from him since.

After SJPD, I went to army flight school and after Viet Nam, Korea and twice to Germany, had two tours in Italy. They were the best assignments of my career. Also late in your book, you talk about Bassano. While posted in Vicenza, we often visited Bassano del Grappa and always ate at a restaurant which specialized in the preparation of fungi. A great place! My other tour in Italy was as the Commander of Camp Darby near Pisa.

I remember your name from the police years but I suspect we never met. I also remember Richard Huerta and rode with him a few times in my early days. A good guy but I did not know of his musical expertise.

I finally retired as a Colonel at the end of 1991. We live in western Kentucky near Lake Barkley and still love motorcycling. The rest of the time is taken up with boating and other travels.

My family came to California from Texas and Oklahoma during the "Grapes of Wrath" days so the Steinbeck books of the Salinas valley are also impossible for me to put down. I have no idea how many times I have read "East of Eden".

Anyhow, an outstanding book, especially for one who is familiar with the area and a bit of the Italo-American culture. I admire your close family ties and only wish that mine was that tightly knit.

Ken Culwell

ivan said...

Thanks Ken. I am glad that you enjoyed the book. One of my goals was to tell the "La Nostra Costa" story to the non-Italian public.
I think I have mentioned this before, however; it is worth mentioning again. In my presentations I have found that non-Italians have shown a great interest in our history. This has been most gratifying to me. Sempre Avanti ivn

Dave said...

I was happy to learn of your book about the Furlan immigrants. My father, a furlan from Zoppola,spent some time between 1925 and 1928 (not sure when)as a live in worker on some ranch in Davenport. He always mentioned how well they were treated by the Italian owners.He mentioned that the wife made cakes for their birthdays and she made sure that the married workers wrote to their wives in Italy.He implied that not all the owners were so considerate. I don't know the name of the owners but they later moved to the Fresno area. My father's name was Pietro but was called Pieri.He later returned to Italy, got married and I was born. He returned to San Francisco in 1930. My mother and I joined him in 1934. I have not read your book but I will and I will be trying to find the feelings my father experienced.
Thanks for writing your book.

IVANO said...

DAVE: THANKS FOR YOU COMMENT AND WELCOME ABOARD THE LNOSTRA-COSTA BLAGGA TRAIN. YOU DO NOT MENTION YOUR FATHER'S LAST NAME SO I AM NOT REALLY SURE THAT I KNEW MUCH ABOUT HIM. HOWEVER, IF HE WAS A FURLAN FROM ZOPPALA 'SU PER LA COSTA' DURING THE TIME PERIOD YOU MENTIONED, I AM SURE HE KNEW MY FATHER GERVASIO 'BRONCO' COMELLI, THE MICOSSI'S WHO RAN THE hOTEL d'ITALIA IN DAVENPORT AND FRANCESCO BRAGAZZI (CARABINIERE) WHO HELPED THEM. THEY WERE ALL FROM THE FRIULI REGION AND THEY ALL KNEW ONE ANOTHER. MARIO TAURIAN WAS ALSO FROM ZOPPALA AND PROBABLY KNEW YOUR DAD QUITE WELL.
AGAIN THANKS FOR YOUR COMMENTS AND KEEP IN TOUCH. SEMPRE AVANTI IVANO