The historic Building

Boulder Creek Women’s Christian Temperance Union: 1892 - 1962

The Boulder Creek chapter of the Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) was founded in 1892. 

 

A two story building was built in 1893 for a little over $1,000 on a lot donated by the railroad.  The brave hard working ladies of the Union cooked and served meals to the people to pay off their construction loan.  The WCTU played a significant role in the tumultuous history of temperance and anti-temperance in the town through the early years of the twentieth century.  By way of funds from renting the upstairs unit, the WCTU opened up a free reading room downstairs.   The hope was that this would cure the loggers of their nefarious activities, including frequenting the towns many saloons and brothels.  Of course this did not work. However, the women were not done with the fight, and with the support of the town's churches they went to battle. Meanwhile an ordinance was passed on August 15, 1906 to establish the reading rooms as the first town public library which would be maintained by the WCTU (one employee and open daily from 2-5 and evenings)  Total Volunteers were 468 and registered card holders were 112.  The loggers were no match for the Christian Women's will, and in 1908 the women won when every saloon in town was shut down. However, the lumbermen were not pleased and fought back by burning down the Presbyterian and Methodist Churches to the ground! Interestingly enough, the WCTU building was not touched.

The WCTU Fountain of Boulder Creek, California

In 1908 the Boulder Creek WCTU was granted permission by the Boulder Creek Board of Trustees to erect a public drinking fountain. "A splendid dinner was served in the Commercial Hotel by the ladies, The proceeds of which will go to erect a drinking fountain in the public square." The fountain was to be dedicated in honor of two pioneer women, Mrs. Emma Dool and Mrs. Nellie Parker.

In 2007 Barbara Kennedy, Director and Historical Interpreter of the San Lorenzo Valley Museum, pointed out to me the remains of what appeared to be two water fountains in Boulder Creek. The one was a pedestal type near Junction Park, along the path which led to the former railroad station. It has evidently been moved a short distance to make room for new construction. The other, several blocks away, was built into a stone wall across the street from the former WCTU building. Local history sources have, so far, at least, little to say about these fountains, and neither bears any identification, but either or both could be relics of the WCTU in Boulder Creek.

 

Additional History

In 1921 the union had 8 members, but in 1940 it had 17. In 1948 the WCTU sold its building to the Locatelli Family and contributed $3000 derived from the sale of their building toward construction of the social hall wing of the Boulder Creek Community Methodist Church.”

The Boulder Creek WCTU reported disbanded in 1948 however the last Annual Report was for 1962-1963 (renamed the San Lorenzo Valley WCTU). The building has since been a number of businesses including a sporting goods store, soda fountain, and more notably and recently Steve Lanctot’s Art Services framing and restoration.

The Boulder Creek museum features several authentic artifacts from the original reading room; a banner which hung in the library (amazingly restored by Steve Lanctot), the original entrance door pediment of 1893 and a list of the founding members. The building was purchased from the Locatelli Family in 2012 and lovingly restored by it’s current owner who owns and operates the Swag shop currently.

© 2019 SWAG: the eclectic collective