The Beginning

The San Antonio Valley Historical Association (SAVHA) was started in 1968 with the goal of saving the Dutton Hotel in Jolon, California. The hotel started as a one-story adobe, built by Antonio Ramirez in 1849 as a home and an inn for miners and travelers. The building changed owners several times before 1876 when Lt. George Dutton took sole ownership. Dutton added a second adobe story and wood frame structures at either end.

The Dutton Hotel was a major stagecoach stop for travelers between San Francisco and San Diego in the late 19th century as it was located on the original El Camino Real (the trail of the Portolá expedition of 1769) Located just five miles to the East of Mission San Antonio de Padua, the town of Jolon prospered between 1875 and 1910. The coming of the railroad to King City in 1886 followed by the highway bypassing the old El Camino Real in 1910 doomed Jolon, the popular social center of the San Antonio Valley, to decline and obscurity. The site of the former hotel is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Association

The founding members of the association were Rachel Gillett and Cathrine Frudden. SAVHA was incorporated as a 501(C)3 in 1971 with the primary goal of preserving the history of the San Antonio Valley and Southern Monterey County. Charter members of the association were Catherine Frudden, Rachel Gillette, Kathleen Andrus, Olive Wollesen, Alvin Davis, Stephen James, Edward Foley, Dan Hayes, Ramona Sutfin, Lila Roth, Rudolph Gil and Sally Martinus.

Renewed Focus

After it became evident the Dutton Hotel was lost to the elements the association turned to saving the Tidball Store and Hotel. (located across the road from the Dutton Hotel site) The Tidball Store (also known as the Duck’s Store) is a wood frame structure constructed by Captain Thomas Tidball in 1878 around the remains of the original adobe overnight house built in 1868 by Flint & Bixby Stage Lines as a stopover for their stage drivers. The redwood framing was added in 1890, at the hayday of commercial activities in Jolon. Except for minor alterations, the building looks as it did in 1890 when it was converted from an adobe way station to a proper retail store and hotel. SAVHA purchased the store and deeded it to Monterey County, it was added to the National Register in 1976.


SAVHA has continued the oral history project which began in the 1970’s under the leadership of John and Karen Jernigan. In fact a large part of the current board of directors motivation to publish a website was to share with the public the extensive catalog of oral histories we have in our archives. Our plan is to also make available to the public our photo archives.

Oral Histories