#Petaluma’s First Firefighter James Mott Not Forgotten

You may have seen some of the posts on James Mott and his memorial on October 23.  This led me to do a little more research on him.downloadThe first firefighter in Petaluma was 1873 but at that time there were no city employees and only volunteers.  James Mott was the first paid Petaluma firefighter for our city starting 1807 and became a part of the YOUNG AMERICA ENGINE COMPANY NO. 3, PETALUMA FIRE DEPARTMENT. He was also the city jailer and ambulance driver well-known for his special bond with his horse Black Bart. He is also the first Petaluma firefighter making the ultimate sacrifice while fighting a fire in the downtown who lost his life in the line of duty in a vehicle explosion on October 20,1912.   His life would end a few days later at the age of 57.


You can click on the photo of the newspaper to read the article of the story in the San Francisco Call.  I had not seen it mentioned anywhere else, but the Mayor of Petaluma, William H. Zartman, at that time also served as a volunteer firefighter and he was badly burned in this fire.  Additionally a former Petaluma Fire Chief Henry J. Myers working as a volunteer had both ears burned off. The article indicates Mott inhaled flames from the fire.  The force of the blast was taken directly by James Mott burning him severely. Despite being burned firefighter Mott assisted the injured bystanders to safety and helped extinguish the intense fire. This newspaper reported that over 25 people were seriously burned as a result of this explosion and fire.

VIDEO: “The Hole In The Head” by #Petaluma’s Elder Environmentalist Bill Kortum

     Sonoma County Library Photograph Collection, Bill Kortum, Petaluma, CA 1955

UPDATE: History lesson accompanies Coastal Cleanup Day September 20, 2014, BY GUY KOVNER THE PRESS DEMOCRAT – Bill is also featured in this recent article.

Petaluma Community Access released this May 2011 video on YouTube yesterday that chronicles Bill Kortum’s successfull campaign to stop the PG&E nuclear power plant at Bodega Bay. Bill is a retired veterinarian, former Sonoma County Supervisor and leader of the County’s environmental movement for more than 40 years.  He currently serves as a Board of Director for Sonoma County Conservation Action.  In this video he tells how different parties including local scientists and Petaluma Argus Courier played a role in the campaign.

In my other searches I found this other short video on the Forces Of Nature website, Environmental Elders Speak.

May 8, 2015 UPDATE: We lost Bill this year to a long battle to cancer.  The Petaluma Community Access did a video of his service, a celebration and tribute to his life’s work.

Click on Page 2 below to view the Bill Kortum Memorial that took place on January 24, 2015.

#Petaluma’s Riverfront Art Gallery Celebrates Their 7-Year Anniversary

Art In The Park
Art In The Park

Supported by volunteers and donations, the The Petaluma Arts Association helps attract local artists by providing a great venue for them to share their artwork.  One way is by hosting Art In The Park at Walnut Park in downtown Petaluma. In 2003 it attracted two very talented local photographers Lance Kuehne and Jerrie Jerné Morago who carted their art and booths around in vans and passenger cars to show at this event. These two artists came to know each other at Art In The Park and shared a vision of a true cooperative fine-art gallery.  Four years later that vision would become a reality when they opened the Riverfront Art Gallery.  It has since become a mainstay of Petaluma’s culture and downtown landscape. Frequented by locals and visitors this gallery has come to be voted “Best of the North Bay” for “Best Art Gallery in Sonoma County” by the readers of the Bohemian in 2013 (for 6 years in a row).  After surviving one of the worst recessions in decades they were also our 2012 Petaluma People’s Choice Award for Best Art Gallery. The gallery now has twelve regular member artists. If you include the Juried and Invitational artists the collection can contain as many as 25 to 30 artist’s work at a time. Some of the artists are Petalumans and many are from surrounding Marin and Sonoma Counties.

Jerrie Jerne Moraga
Jerrie Jerne Moraga
Lance Kuehne

Jerrie, originally from San Francisco and long-time resident of Petaluma, grew into art over the years from accounting work to some graphic design and eventually photography. Over the years her photography grew into natural abstract art that is really unique and eye catching. Lance, originally from Lodi, graduated from University of Santa Cruz studying the arts and photography and now lives in Petaluma with his wife.  As a college student he took photos of his empty college campus one summer and he thought they were strange without people in them. But his friends and peers liked them which shifted his focus to landscape photography. Both Jerrie and Lance consider themselves naturalize Petaluma citizens and love the town for its culture, scenery, and close proximity to so many great places.