Features ~ Sonoma Valley Sun


Postmark: Boyes Hot Springs

Posted on July 7, 2011 by Sonoma Valley Sun
The Valley of the Moon Fire Station, built in 1936, is currently the home of Voltaire Electric. Photo courtesy of Marti Kramer.

Michael Acker | Special to The Sun

In July of 1911, the Sonoma Index Tribune reported that “A.D. Graham of Graham’s Cash Store received the appointment as post master of Boyes Springs. Located at his store.” The store, location of which is now not know exactly, was near the train depot at Boyes Blvd. and the Sonoma Highway (Hwy 12).

That building was lost, along with most of the town in the fire of 1923. After rapid rebuilding in 1923, the post office was located in the Woodleaf Store, where it stayed until 1951. The Woodleaf is now the Big Three Diner, part of the Sonoma Mission Inn. The post office relocated to the Plaza Center building, its current location, when it was built in 1951. The site had previously been known as the Boyes Springs Plaza and was the scene of street parties and fiestas.

During its heyday as the center of a great resort area, Boyes Hot Springs yearly hosted thousands of guests, mostly from the Bay Area. It was for many years a training ground for professional football and baseball teams, such as the Cleveland Browns and the San Francisco Seals. There were dozens of resorts, from the small motor courts to the grand Sonoma Mission Inn. The Boyes Bath House boasted the second largest indoor swimming pool in the country. After the demise of the passenger railroad, the area still thrived with the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge and the rise of the automobile. Boyes Springs real estate man L.E. “Bud” Castner was one of the first directors of the bridge district.
In the 1960’s the resorts faded and Boyes Hot Springs faded a bit as well. Community pride, however, never waned. The area became attractive in the 80’s and 90’s to homebuyers who were priced out of the Bay Area market. Its large stock of charming cottages was slowly bought and rehabilitated by newcomers. At the same time, the population of Mexican immigrants grew, attracted principally by the grape and wine businesses.

To old timers and new residents alike, the post office is the center of the community. Since many of the surrounding streets receive no mail delivery to the house, most of us go to the post office every day. The immigrant population relies on the post office for communication with their families back home. The postal workers are known and loved by everybody.

We celebrate the centennial of our post office in order to salute the past, show appreciation for service, and to look to the future with hope: Redevelopment plans include a public plaza in the surrounding space, reviving the old Boyes Springs Plaza as a place for celebration.

Centennial Celebration presented by the Springs Community Alliance.
PO Box 733, Boyes Hot Springs, 95416
Meetings the second Wednesday of each month, 9AM, La Luz Center.

The original Boyes Hot Springs Bath House was built in the 1890’s, rebuilt after the 1923 fire, and added on to until it encompassed some 24,000 square feet by the 1920’s. Located where Boyes Blvd. meets Sonoma Creek, it contained indoor tennis courts, a dance hall, two cafes, a bar and a huge swimming pool. The complex burned to the ground in 1969.
Captain Boyes built his first hotel on the present site of the Sonoma Mission Inn sometime between 1895 and 1900. It was destroyed in the great fire of 1923 and rebuilt in 1927.
A special postmark to commemorate the post office Centennial, designed Michael Acker, will be used to hand-cancel letters on Friday, July 8

One thought on “Postmark: Boyes Hot Springs

  1. Looking for a place to stay ONE NIGHT and enjoy the hot springs?
    any suggestions? can’t find any hotels nearby

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