Fruit box label
LOCAL APPLES Labels from the apple farm Miller & Sons of Sebastopol were affixed to boxes sent around the country 100 years ago.
100 years ago – July 10, 1924

‘First Apple Car from County Leaves Here’

The first carload of Gravenstein apples from Sonoma county moved out of Healdsburg Tuesday. The fruit was shipped by J. F. Miller & Sons, and was destined for Texas. The pear season is already well under way. Miller & Sons shipped the season’s first car of pears Saturday, the fruit going to Texas. A mixed car of pears and apples moved Monday for the New York market. The shipment Tuesday, however, was the first full car of Gravensteins.

Miller & Sons report the apple crop in this section to be smaller than last year and the fruit of smaller size. It was estimated that the crop will run 50 per cent small sizes. The pear crop will be fair, but fruit sizes are small, the crop, according to the estimate, running about 35 per cent small fruit. The dry winter season is blamed for the undersized fruit. Good prices are indicated for early stuff from California and the Gravensteins and pears from the Healdsburg section should get the top of the market prices, due to the early shipping season.

75 years ago – July 8, 1949

‘Crowd of 2,500 Throngs Del Rio for Holiday Fest’

Historic river beach
SUMMER IDYL A family gathers for summer fun at Del Rio Woods on the Russian River, circa 1928.

Over 2,500 children and their parents swarmed into the beach at Del Rio Woods Sunday for one of the biggest and most successful Fourth of July celebrations ever held by the Del Rio Woods Home Owners Association. In the crowd were summer residents of Fitch Mountain and a large representation of Healdsburg young people.

Throughout the day swimming races, pie and watermelon eating contests, rowing races, a basketball game and novelty stunts kept the energetic throng on the move and whetted appetites for the stacks of hot dogs served with ice cream and soft drinks late in the afternoon.

Shortly after dusk, fireworks were set off at the river’s edge as the tired and happy crowd sat on the beach to watch. The tremendous success of the picnic was made possible by the wholehearted and generous cooperation of the Chamber of Commerce, merchants, businessmen, the Fire Department, and the Police Department of the City of Healdsburg.

50 years ago – July 11, 1974

‘Rain in July – What will we tell tourists now?’

Clown poster
POSTER CHILD Displaying a poster of a clown to advertise the St. John’s Fair in the 1950s.

Unseasonal rains which ended the holiday weekend set new records all over the county, but apparently caused minimal damage to crops. Healdsburg Fire Department recorded 1.71 inches between Sunday and Monday nights. The previous high for the month of July was .18 inches.

The rain soaked picnickers and drove crowds away from Memorial Beach, an unusual sight over the Fourth of July weekend. Sunny skies were generally the rule for the annual St. John’s Country Fair, until late Sunday afternoon when the first drops began to fall, putting a damper on some activities.

While those on vacation may not have liked the storm, the California Division of Forestry didn’t mind it at all. Activity slowed to a crawl at the Lytton station, giving firemen a chance to catch a breath. They don’t expect the storm to have a beneficial long-range effect, however.

The Flashbackers are volunteers for the Healdsburg Museum and Historical Society. The museum is currently closed, preparing for its next exhibition on the history of Fitch Mountain. It will reopen in early August. For information, visit

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