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Sonoma County Gazette
Pictures of Monte Rio in the early 1900s. (Sonoma County Library)
Pictures of Monte Rio in the early 1900s. (Sonoma County Library)

Wishing you a great New Year
Vacation Wonderland!

Dec 30, 2019
by Chuck Ramsey, Russian River Alliance


May the new year and new decade bring an end to the darkness we have been experiencing on many levels the past few years. I’m optimistic that changes this year will get us back on track to where we need to be. Adversity however does make us stronger and more determined. Monte Rio has such a rich history and so much potential. What will it take to get us there again? Who is committed to joining the effort? While Rio Nido and Villa Grande have strong neighborhood groups, Monte Rio needs your help. We need to re-energize this town while treating each other with respect and civility despite differences in opinion.

What would you like to see happen here? Maybe some thriving businesses, like the Pink reopened? More outdoor music concerts? Better and more responsive services from our county government? We are at a better place than we were a few years ago, but let’s put Monte Rio firmly back on the map for our residents, businesses, and tourists.

Fern’s Market is looking great. Having the Rio Café serving at Lucy’s will be awesome. Ed Brochu’s work on landscaping the Triangle is another example of what was needed and accomplished. These are people with the right vision and the determination to make it happen, and to make a difference.

Last month several people wondered why we have so little Christmas or Holiday lights here anymore. This is one small example of what can be done if people are committed to do it. Everyone has a passion for something. If that’s your passion join a committee, shed some light, and make the difference.

I’ve seen many pictures of Monte Rio in its heyday, but last month I saw some I hadn’t seen before. One was a Press Democrat article from May 1931 “Johnny’s Casino at Monte Rio Opens”. The article discussed the formal grand opening, the featured live musicians, the “dance and dine” club, and I counted 38 congratulatory ads from local businesses. Can you imagine? From Monte Rio hotels, to Monte Rio bakery, Monte Rio grocery stores, hardware stores, meat markets, Bartlett & Son General Merchandise (Monte Rio and Camp Meeker), and Ellen Starrett. Johnny’s Casino was located at the downtown end of the old Monte Rio bridge and later was known as the Beach Club.   North Shore Railroad had great ads for Monte Rio Park lots (1902) and The North Shore Land Co had ads for the Monte Rio Addition (1905), “Sunny Summer Homes, with pure, soft spring water piped to every lot“.

Love some of the quotes: Every lot faces the river and views therefrom are unsurpassed in the Russian River District. A project is now on foot to dam the river at Duncans Mills which will allow a steamboat to Guerneville. When this is accomplished no place in California will compare with the Russian River District as a place of summer residence. Lots sold for $50-$150 with homes valued from $150-$1,000, but most were valued around $300. A few homes have been built so substantially they would be available for use at all seasons (really?). And the best feature: In their interior arrangement special efforts have been made to secure convenience for the housewife! Yes, Monte Rio had it all and we can again. Thanks to Joe Maguire for finding and sharing this brochure.

Monte Rio Recreation and Parks Department currently has classes in yoga and sound healing. We are scheduling additional programs for the spring of 2020. If you have instructional skills in teaching meditation, tai chi, guitar, drawing, piano, after school arts & crafts, floral arrangement, sewing, or cooking classes, and are interested in a place to gather, email,

Free to the public events needs hosts for community activities in the amphitheater to showcase our summer vacation wonderland for the hundreds of guests visiting Monte  Rio weekly.  Call (707) 865-9956 or email us to schedule your event. 

Join the friends of Monte Rio for the monthly Supper club featuring a local chef or socialize at a game night. 

Ongoing venue rental for weddings and corporate events available year round. Check out the website at, f ollow us on instagram@monterioweddingsandevents    &   Facebook Monte Rio Parks.

Got any ideas or suggestions for the greater good of Monte Rio? Want to get involved in making a difference in Monte Rio? Send me an email at: 

Wishing you a great New Year!  

Vacation Wonderland, we just keep getting better.




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