Still on track with Kidder ‘dream’ |

Still on track with Kidder ‘dream’

I realize my “dream” for the property at Kidder and Bennett is pretty much just that.

I realize that there are other public works projects that need funding, and justifiably so, that freeway offramp at Dorsey Drive makes a lot of sense to me.

Kidder Park, and I’ll call it that for brevity, wouldn’t have to happen overnight. At least secure the rights to the property while it is available. Maybe a deal would be struck with the owner in the form of interest-bearing, tax free bonds.

The city of Capitola had a similar development, when it condemned the Rispin Estate, which was an abandoned Catholic nunnery, and made it into a public museum and art gallery.

A simple park with some walking trails would be nice for a start. Later on the Historical Society could become involved.

Sarah Kidder was and probably still is the only woman in the world to own and operate her own railroad. She made modern improvements, she paid dividends, according to Bob Wyckoff, and she only asked that the letterhead be changed on company stationery to read Sarah Kidder, C.E.O.

That’s our culture in this area and one you should all feel proud of. Kidder Mansion, the original, was too far gone to save anyway.

If miraculously Kidder Park was to happen, Kidder Mansion could be rebuilt a in style that would make another great woman smile, Julia Morgan.

Hearst chose Julia because after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, she became familiar with and used reinforced concrete construction. Hearst Castle is literally a concrete-reinforced bomb shelter. Julia Morgan helped design and supervised the construction for at least 10 or 12 years.

Rebuild Kidder Mansion using the new foam block concrete poured method. A fireproof vault, for safe record-keeping. Done simplistic, Hearst Castle-style, get a block structure up, covered, main floors in, and fancy Victorian embellishments added later. Walls and petitions added later. Downstairs first floor could be made a police substation for additional office space and maybe a police presence in a “troublesome” area.

And lastly, great architect, rest his soul Utah Phillips. What better fitting place for a monument, a small band shell, stage, backlot corner in the railroad yard, a place for others to share music done in a way that Utah would approve of. I doubt J.F.K. would have allowed a singing hobo in his yard but maybe he’d allow it, as times have changed.

What a tourist boom to the city. Next I’ll try to convince the president that a big pork barrel project is in order. Do some good for this country. Spend some money on our people, build a modern high-speed magnetic levitation passenger railroad across America. Get some of the cars of the road and ease the plane traffic congestion. Ten or 12 years of peace and prosperity, Eisenhower saw the need for the interstate Freeway system, I call on all Republican Democratic candidates, stop sticking your head in the sand.

The first one who even suggests a high speed railroad project, massive public works project for this country, gets my vote.


Russell Bessonette lives in Grass Valley.

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