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Colgan business collection, 1869-1935 (bulk, 1880-1906)
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The collection contains account books and different types of invoices and receipts of businesses operated by three generations of Colgan family members: The Pioneer Hotel, the Colgan Bros. Blacksmithing and Horseshoeing Company, and Colgan's Super Service Station. All businesses were located on the same site at the corner of First and Main Streets in Santa Rosa.
The Pioneer Hotel was founded as the Colgan House by pioneer Edward P. Colgan in 1853. It was Santa Rosa's first hotel and fourth building to be raised in the new downtown area. Also known as the Santa Rosa House and the Colgan Hotel, it located the first office of the Wells-Fargo Express. After Edward P. Colgan's untimely death in 1873, his widow Elizabeth, a native of Baden, Germany, took over the proprietorship, renamed the hotel and continued its operation for another ten years. Some years after Colgan's death Elizabeth was married to Peter Johnson, according to many reports an excellent step-father to her five sons and an active inn-keeper; in 1880 however it fell to her lot to wear the "weeds of widowhood again," her obituary states. The hotel was rented out to a Peter Dolan in 1884 and to a Mr. Richardson in 1885. A year later hotel operations seemed to have come to a halt when the Pioneer Laundry, one of two "White Laundry" businesses in Santa Rosa moved in, which, at the height of the anti-Chinese movement, ran the ad "No Chinese Employed. Strictly White Labor" in one of the 1888 local business directories. At the end of the century two of Elizabeth's sons George W. and Abe L. Colgan reclaimed the building and converted it into a blacksmith shop-- a business that continued well into the 1940's-- albeit not under Colgan ownership. The building itself was moved around the corner on to First Street in the early 1930's to make room for a service station operated by Wesley Colgan, son of George W. and grandson of Edward P. Colgan.
1.2 linear feet 3 document boxes
Collection does not circulate and may be photocopied or photographed by arrangement only.
Conditions Governing Access: This collection is partially processed. Please contact the Sonoma County History and Genealogy Library for access; for contact info and current hours, see