MONTCLARION: June 3, 2016
The little storybook firehouse: It was one of the first things that drew me to Montclair. Could there finally be some interest in fixing up this wonderful, whimsical structure that’s been closed since the Loma Prieta earthquake?
Rumors have been swirling about a restaurateur’s possible interest in the 1927 gem. But the city officials I’ve talked to say there’s nothing new to report. The building still needs major renovation and retrofitting — we’re talking $1 million or more — before it’s even inhabitable. And only someone with deep pockets would have that kind of money.
In the meantime, with each passing day, there’s a little more decay. It’s a sad state of affairs for an architectural landmark — certainly not the fairybook ending this Hansel and Gretel house deserves.
Email bag: Thanks to reader John Stickler for the reminder about this weekend’s massive Bay Area Book Festival in nine square blocks of downtown Berkeley around Civic Center Park. A whole section of the fair is just for kids — including a reading stage. Stickler and his wife are authors and will be part of a trade booth with their new book “Maya and the Turtle — A Korean Fairytale.”
Around town: My apologies for neglecting to mention bandleader, guitarist and vocalist Gary Bresee in last week’s column about the popular Montclair band called Highway 13. You can catch this talented group of seven Redwood Day School parents at Monaghans from 7 to 10 p.m. Aug. 27. You can also sign up for the band’s mailing list at highway13music.com.
Birthday bash: The Queen’s 90th Birthday Ball, complete with a Beatles tribute band, will bring some 500 revelers to San Francisco’s Fairmont Hotel on June 11. British transplant and Montclarion Susie Goodier remembers the excitement when the queen’s motorcade would pass near her childhood house. The subjects would shout, “God save the queen and long may she reign” as her majesty passed by. Looks like they got their wish.
Beer, wine fest: Feeling lucky? Then you might want to ‘like’ the Montclair Village facebook page (facebook.com/montclairvillage). Each time you do, you’ll be entered to win a gift certificate or a tasting package at the June 18 Montclair Beer and Wine Celebration. And while we’re on subject of the Beer and Wine Festival, I’ll be pouring that day, so stop by and say “hi.”
Animal tales: Speaking of luck … it’s ladybug season in the hills. I haven’t been down to Girl’s Camp in Redwood Regional Park, but this time of year, the grove can be thick with the spotted creatures. Want a colony to move into your garden? Plant cilantro, fennel, dill and geraniums. You can even build a ladybug feeder with bamboo, twine and raisins. Then put out the welcome mat.