SodaCanyonRoad | Oral history of Soda Canyon Road

Oral history of Soda Canyon Road

Bill Hocker | Apr 16, 2015 on: Soda Canyon Road

Glenn Schreuder writes:

I suspect the property in question [a potential house for sale] is on the part of Old Soda Springs road that is accessible from Atlas Peak road (approx. at the 90 degree bend at the end of the Silverado CC just before you start heading up the Atlas Peak grade).
I seem to recall that Old Soda Springs road is a single lane road on both the Soda Canyon and the Atlas Peak side so, if that is the case and access is rather limited, for public and fire safety reasons, it might be an unsuitable location for an entertainment facility that would be open to the public.
 Long ago Old Soda Springs Road was a stage coach road that ran over the ridge and connected lower Soda Canyon Road and lower Atlas Peak Road.
At that time, there was no road up the grade of Soda Canyon as we know it today.  I’m not sure which decade the steep part of Soda Canyon Road was blasted out to made room for a single lane road, but it would have been in the 1940s or before.
So in the olden days if you wanted to get to General O’Sullivan’s residence at 2750 Soda Canyon (Currently Martucci) one had to go all the way up Atlas Peak Road and cross Fosse Valley an continue along Soda Canyon Road down to the O’Sullivan estate.  You would have passed by a few ranches, including the Townsend property (Antica office and pond) the MacCabe property(ies), the Russells and Shorty Summer’s place (MPV/Hocker), the residence of Colonel Cox (2920 Casey & Devery Stockon) and the Yappert farm (2882 Soda Canyon - currently Schreuder)
Back then a “Cord of Wood” was considered a fair medium of exchange between parties who didn’t have regular cash on hand to transact business.
It was not uncommon for upper Soda Canyon – Atlas Peak to see a few feet of snow in a cold winter.  Last time I saw that was 1975.  I remember because dad didn’t make me go to school that week for which I am eternally grateful.


Amber Manfree adds:

There was also a wagon road connecting Yountville to the Pratt's property (now the Perri's and my grandmother's) which ran up from the valley, and past Debbs north of Rector canyon. Some parts have been revived - there is now a road from Silverado Trail at Rector Dam - and other parts are buried in the the brush. 

That road probably would have connected with the Atlas peak-upper Soda Canyon Road. There were homesteaders along what is now the road out to haystack at an early date, so they must have used one of these routes. 


Glenn Schreder adds:

Somewhere out on the Stage Coach property was a US Post Office branch. It’s too bad the original stone foundation got plowed under when Stagecoach vineyard was being developed. Had it been restored to its former glory, that could have bought some goodwill with the neighborhood and it would have been one heck of a marketing tool for the vineyard.

Last time I spent time with Glenn Salva he was asking if I could identify the original location of the old school house on the Antinori property. I could only give a general location due to all the changes from when it was a cattle ranch with a decent-sized oak forest in the middle.

Circa, late 1970’s my best friend and I used to sneak onto the Foss Valley cattle ranch to play around in the old school house in that forest and once we found a nearby honey bee hive. We spent part of the summer trying to figure out how to get the honey out safely without being stung to death. Our tools of choice for the operation were going to be a full wet-suit and mask, a cross-bow with an open-faced spinning (fishing) reel with heavy line attached to the bolt (crossbow arrow) and a big burlap sack. Our plan was to shoot the honey comb down with the bolt from the cross bow (yes a dramatic and daring approach I know) and then ‘reel’ the honey comb in and then make way to Townsend’s pond to stay submerged long enough for the bees to lose interest. Thankfully our discretion was greater than our valor and we chickened out in favor of a swim in Townsend pond and some last night frog catching.