Oct 23, 2019
by Eva Granahan
Give thanks every day for good health. Take regular inventory of your blessings and you will be a happier, more grateful person. Attitude is everything.
Stop in at the Artisans’ Co-op Gallery on November 30th, 11a.m.-5p.m., for the Harvest Celebration! 17175 Bodega Hwy. Enjoy demonstrations of traditional artisan techniques, a raffle of goods and the gallery wide sale. Everything is 10% off, so come for your seasonal gifts and locally crafted treasures.
As many of you know or have come to notice, the Freestone store has been closed for some time now - since the owner passed away last year. Bill Cantrell had operated the store for about 20 years and suddenly died on March 8, 2018, resulting in its immediate closure.
Speaking with Aron Parks, a longtime resident of Freestone, I learned about the late “Mom” of the town, Sandy Cantrell. Aron, whose original coffee shop “Java the Hut” was adjacent to the store 1996-2000, says that Sandy was “the heartbeat of the store.” She was a huge part of the store’s vibe (and made great sandwiches!), so everything changed when she died of cancer some years ago. Locals miss that country store.
I gathered valuable information from West County local attorney, Eric Koenigshofer, who was appointed by the court as Administrator of the Estate. He encourages everyone to write a will or trust for themselves. Since Bill died without a plan like that in place, his estate must go through the probate process, which should conclude in the next couple months.
The Sonoma County Landmarks Commission studied the history of each building in Freestone when the town was designated as the first Historic District of Sonoma County. The study discovered the store was built in the mid-1870’s. A special zoning category of the Historic District, intends to preserve and protect historic buildings and the overall history and rural character of towns and villages like Freestone. Thanks to the advocacy and diligence of residents Jim Kidder and the late Tom Golden, the historic preservation policies are in place. They both restored the impressive centerpiece of town, the Freestone Hotel, which they operated for years as the Wishing Well Nursery. Many things change over the years, but we have the power to hold on to treasures near and dear.
Eric anticipates that the Freestone Store property will be up for sale before the year’s over. It will be on the Multiple Listing Service, open by appointment for interested parties to inspect the premises. Offers for purchase will be accepted and one will be presented for approval. When this court hearing takes place, other parties can overbid the offer on the table. More details to come when the property is listed. Address: 500 Bohemian Hwy.
Many Freestone area residents and local passerby’s hope that the next owners will reopen another country store, with that familial hometown charm.
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