gmhTODAY 12 gmhToday Jan Feb 2017 - Page 76

THEN AND NOW The Transition of a Downtown Corner Written By Mike Monroe Dan McCranie at the site of his Second and Monterey Development Project. Lower opposite page: Conceptual image of the project slated for completion in late 2017. As an owner of a small family business for many years, I always have a touch of nostalgia when I look at an older commercial building and think of all the people who have worked there and relied upon it to shelter their livelihoods. It’s much more than just a structure. Maybe an owner or an employee learned of the end of World War II while there on the job, or the success of the operations provided the needed funds for a college education or the purchase of a home. For many family business owners, their old addresses carry many memories. One such building was located at the southwest corner of 2nd and Monterey in downtown Morgan Hill. Dan McCranie, owner of Morgan Hill’s popular Ladera Grill restaurant (in the Skeels Building), purchased the property in 2012. The shell of the circa 1900 building was demolished in 2016 and a “pop-up” park was installed while the land, which for most of its commercial life supported different retail establishments, awaited redevelopment. At a downtown visioning summit in 2016, Dan McCranie unveiled plans for a new three-story, mixed-use building on the site. The new establishment will include office space, an art gallery, a wine bar, a restaurant, and Morgan Hill’s first rooftop dining/lounge area. It’s slated for completion in late 2017. Historically speaking, details about the construction date and first occupant of the original wood framed structure are uncertain. My best hunch is that it was built sometime after 1902, shortly after the Mason General Merchandise store went in across the street. The little community of Morgan Hill (estimated population 250) began to experience its first growth spurt before becoming an official city in 1906. It had been about a decade since Hiram Morgan Hill and his wife Diana Murphy Hill began to sell most of her inheritance of the Rancho Ojo de Agua de la Coche property totaling nearly 4,500 acres to a real estate developer named Chauncey Hatch Phillips. The Hill’s retained their summer home property, Villa Mira Monte on Monterey Road and maybe (now owned and maintained by the Morgan Hill Historical Society). All the land south of Dunne Avenue was controlled by Diana’s aunt, Catherine Murphy Dunne, as the massive landholdings acquired by the Murphy family since 1845 were just beginning to be sub-divided. Several families from South Dakota made their way to California at this time, including the Edes and the Stone families. Charles Willis Stone (1857 -1940) and his wife Catherine Walwarth Stone were married in 1883. They moved to Iowa in 1885 where their son Fred was born. A younger son died at age 7 months of malaria. The cold weather motivated the Stone’s seek the California climate and they settled Morgan Hill in 1893, the same year the Southern Pacific Railroad established a train depot in town. It was a tiny town with graded dirt roads and only a few short blocks running off the old State Highway, now Monterey Road. At first, Charlie Stone obtained a contract with the San Francisco Examiner to establish an orchard in San Martin. He also worked for the real estate company of Burbank and Devendorf (agents for the Catherine Dunne Ranch), driving a team of horses to show prospective settlers around the area. An historic print from the “Images of America” series about Morgan Hill depicts Charles Stone and his son Fred hauling packed prunes in the early 1900’s. In 1905, Charles and Fred decided to try their hand at retail merchandising, opening a small store at the corner of 2nd and Monterey. The exterior building wall along Second Street (formerly Hatzfield Street) boldly proclaimed “C.W. Stone and Son - Groceries and Provisions,” along with a vintage 1900s advertisement for “Drifted Snow Flour - Best By Every Test.” They sold flour, feed, hay, glassware and groceries. In 1910, the Stones sold their property to George Estes, a local realtor, and A.B. Imus took over the business. Imus also operated a hardware store and sold gasoline to the automobile owners in town. You could say that George A. Edes (1840-1909) had printer’s ink flowing in his veins. His ancestors were newspapermen going back to the 1700s, the Boston Gazette, and a significant Tea Party enjoyed by the colonists of Massachusetts. In 1876, he married Nettie Englesby and they had two sons, Verti and Clyde, while living in Watertown, South Dakota. He was a bit of a rolling stone—always looking for new ventures—and when C.H. Phillips advertised for a newspaper publisher in Morgan Hill, he jumped at the opportunity. He established the Morgan Hill Sun and printed the first 76 GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017 gmhtoday.com THEN AND NOW The Transition of a Downtown Corner Written By Mike Monroe Dan McCranie at the site of his Second and Monterey Development Project. Lower opposite page: Conceptual image of the project slated for completion in late 2017. A s an owner of a small family business for many years, I always have a touch of nostalgia when I look at an older commercial building and think of all the people who have worked there and relied upon it to shelter their livelihoods. It’s much more than just a structure. Maybe an owner or an employee learned of the end of World War II while there on the job, or the success of the operations provided the needed funds for a college education or the purchase of a home. For many family business owners, their old addresses carry many memories. One such building was located at the southwest corner of 2nd and Monterey in downtown Morgan Hill. 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