What an intriguing, energetic, inspiring and just plain fun bunch of entrepreneurs we’ve got right here in Pacific Grove! My team of volunteers—Phyllis Edwards, Nancy Cunningham, and Andrea Tavares—and I have just started to canvass the business community to request the contribution of not money, but stories, to “Life in Pacific Grove,” the book we’re publishing to benefit the PG library, and we are delighted with the shopkeepers and business owners that we’re privileged to meet.
Right from the start, my goal in publishing a book of Pacific Grove stories, by and for residents and visitors, has been to bring us together as a community. I’m confident the stories about our local businesses and the people who keep them running will support our “SHOP LOCAL” movement. Once we get to know the local people behind the counter, we’ll be inspired to spend our money with PG retailers, and thus increase the sales tax revenue coming into the city treasury, which will improve city services—and we all benefit.
‘The Whole Town Is Talking’
But the impact of this book goes even deeper. Recently one long-time resident told me, “Yes, I’ve heard about your book—and I started writing my story immediately. The whole town is talking about it and everyone is excited.”
The “Life in Pacific Grove” team will be visiting all of our merchants in the next three weeks. If you can’t wait for us to arrive at your door, download a quick and easy submission form at lifeinpacificgrove.com to tell your personal story.
Own a Piece of Local Theater History
Meanwhile, during my expeditions into our business community, I ran across a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for readers to own a piece of local theater history. Troopers of the Gold Coast, the theater company that staged melodramas for many years at California’s First Theater, is selling its costumes, props and memorabilia.
Despite what many newcomers would assume, the first venue in California to offer stage shows and entertainment was located not in Hollywood or San Francisco, but right next door in Monterey. The adobe at the corner of Pacific and Scott streets was built by Jack Swan in 1846-47 as a lodging house and tavern for sailors, and became a theater in 1850 when U.S. Army officers produced plays as a money-making venture. The theater fell into disrepair after Swan’s death in 1896, and was purchased in 1906 by the California Historic Landmarks League and donated to the state, where it is now part of the Monterey State Historic Park.
Troopers of the Gold Coast repertoire company was formed in 1937 by Dene Denny and Hazel Watrous, the two visionary Carmel art patrons who also founded the Bach Festival. The company staged old-time melodramas and variety acts in California’s First Theater, for many years under the leadership of two Pagrovians, Marabee Bush Boone and Laverne Seeman. Safety concerns in 2001 caused the state to declare the aging adobe off limits, sending the curtain down for good on the venerable theater company. Though renovations have been ongoing, the building is still closed to the public.
Marabee, with Laverne on hand, is now selling storage units full of theater memorabilia galore, including costumes, set pieces, art deco treasures, and furniture from beloved productions like “Tatters, the Pet of Squatters Gulch,” “The Drunkard,” and “Under the Gaslight.” Contact Marabee for sale location and dates at email@example.com. Put THEATER STUFF in the Subject field. Some items will be available later at Hambrook’s Auction Center and at Reincarnation Clothing and Accessories on 17th Street.
Please Tell Your Story!
Leave your mark on Pacific Grove history by contributing a true-life story to “Life in Pacific Grove.” Future generations will be fascinated by this chance to gaze back in time and savor a glimpse of your life in Pacific Grove in 2017. Please write frankly and honestly—everyone’s viewpoint and experiences are valued and respected. All stories will be edited for content and space – so don’t worry about anything.
Go to LifeinPacificGrove.com and follow writing prompts and the simple directions to submit your own story. If you’d like to help gather stories or want to invite Patricia Hamilton to make a presentation or conduct a class for your church, club or organization, contact her at 831-649-6640, firstname.lastname@example.org
Columnists Patricia Hamilton and Joyce Krieg offer professional book editing and publishing services through Park Place Publications in downtown Pacific Grove.