Postcard view
POSTCARD A slanted view of downtown Healdsburg in 1922, looking east on Matheson Street toward Fitch Mountain and its summer resorts.

100 years ago – June 26, 1924

‘First Steamboat Navigates River’

The first steamboat ever on the Russian river, at least in this section, chug-chugged up and down the long deep pool between the river dam site and the railroad bridge Saturday. The boat did not frighten spectators, as did Fulton’s Clermont on the Hudson many years ago, but it excited no less curiosity than did the Clermont.

The boat, run by steam heated by a distillate burner, is the property of the Boy Scouts of Healdsburg. It was built at the high school by the high school troop, and is in the charge of the members of that troop. The craft was launched this morning, after having been hauled on a trailer from the high school machine shops Friday night.

75 years ago – June 24, 1949

Welcome Summer Residents’

Russian River
RIVER VIEW Looking upriver from the seasonal dam toward the Memorial Bridge, circa 1920.

New faces are seen about the city, new cars on the streets, activity in the Fitch Mountain area is increasing . . . which all points to the fact that summer residents are here again.

These people have made an investment in this area. Their interests and our interests become the same, not for the summer months alone, but for all the year around. The fact that they are here, and come back year after year, serves as a vote of confidence that this area has much to offer. We welcome them and hope they accept this community as their own, taking an active part in all things done.

50 years ago – June 27, 1974

Arsenic Danger Declared at Dam’

Ed Langhart
INSPECTION Ed Langhart, one of the founders of the Healdsburg Museum, examines quicksilver ore found at Skaggs Springs before the Warm Springs Dam was built.

Opponents of construction of the Warm Springs Dam have announced another reason why construction should be delayed until after further environmental tests have been conducted. The Warm Springs Dam Task Force reports that large amounts of potentially deadly arsenic have been discovered in assay tests of rock outcroppings in the Skaggs Springs mining area. Task Force attorney Paul Kayfetz reports the tests were conducted Monday by Sonoma State College geology professor W. H. Wright and an unidentified mineralogy specialist at the college. Samples were taken over a wide area near the former mercury mine Sunday after the son of its former owner expressed misgivings about the adequacy of tests conducted by the US Army Corps of Engineers.

Kayfetz said the samples contain large amounts of arsenic (70 percent) and sulfur in two forms, one of which is highly soluble in water. Wright feels a full geological survey of the area should be made before the $114 million flood control-recreation project is allowed to continue.

Public Affairs Officer Eugene Huggins reported Wednesday that as soon as the Corps receives Wright’s report it will study it and issue a reply. Huggins said the Corps had conducted tests in 1970 and 1971 on water and sediment in the Skaggs Springs area and found no trace of arsenic. 

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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