Article about Colonel William Kissane Rogers, second owner of Temelec Hall.

gt48_temelec_hallI recently received this very interesting letter from Joseph Kissane, who is a distant relative of Colonel William Kissane Rogers, second owner of Temelec Hall. Here is a link to the article that Mr. Kissane has very kindly shared with us. Please contact him if you have additional information about this fascinating man, or simply to thank him. Click on the link below to read the article, now with illustrations.

William Kissane Rogers Journal Version

To the Temelec Website: I came upon your newsletter as Temelec was witness to a significant part in the history of William Kissane Rogers, a man who is of great interest to me.  While the articles in the newsletter related to William Kissane Rogers are largely accurate in representing his character, I would like to offer this article I prepared on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the man’s death.  It is probably beyond the length that would be useful for your newsletter but it might be something to have if residents of the area are interested in the history of this remarkable person. I would also ask that you treat this article as my intellectual property, as I have invested a great deal of effort into the re-discovery of the life and times of William Kissane Rogers. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions in this regard.

Sincerely, Joseph Kissane Chicago, IL

Name Changes for Country Club & Smoke Signals

Screen Shot 2014-03-01 at 12.40.06 PMThe monthly meeting of the Country Club on Monday, March 3rd at 1.30pm will discuss proposed name changes for the Club and the Newsletter. Everyone is welcome to share their opinions, and refreshments will be served following the meeting.

One suggestion for a new club name is the Social Club. However, residents are encouraged to suggest and discuss alternative names.

Francesca has designed a new masthead for the Smoke Signals after several people suggested that it was time for a change in name and theme. The proposed masthead features a new name “Temelec Community News”. The font for Temelec reflects that used on our entry signs, and the font for Community News carries over that used in the current newsletter to give a sense of continuity. Another continuing feature is a picture of Temelec Hall on the right hand side. However, the drawing of the American Indian has been replaced by a line drawing of the Carriage House, used with the permission of prominent local artist, Barbara White-Perry. Both elements underscore the history of our community.

Here are the two designs, current and proposed. (The current one is always printed in black and white). Please come to the meeting to voice your opinion. If you cannot attend, please send an email to

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An Article on Our Carriage House in the Sonoma Sun

The Temelec Carriage House, 1860 – Temelec, Arnold Drive, Sonoma

  • by Creative Arts
  •  Sept. 12, 2013

“Temelec Carriage House” is part of Drawing Sonoma, a collection of ink and vine-charcoal drawings of historic sites by Barbara White Perry, Sonoma, California. © 2013. Barbara White Perry. All rights reserved.

Barbara White Perry

Captain Granville Perry Swift laid the cornerstone for Temelec Hall in 1858. A stone wall, part of which is still along Temelec Hall, went all the way from the mansion to the carriage house and was lined with trees. Those trees continued out toward the bay (some are still living along Watmaugh Road near Broadway intersection) to help guide visitors once off the boat from San Francisco to Temelec.

The barn is built of fieldstone, a two-story with a dovecote on top and a solid stone ramp up the second story on the west end. Carriages and buggies could then be stored on the second floor with horses on the first. Captain Swift and his family lost the property in 1863.

When Colonel William Kissane Rogers owned Temelec (1865 to 1892) he operated vineyards and a successful wine business. His winery produced 25,000 gallons of wine and 800 gallons of brandy. Rogers removed the driveway ramp and added a barn to the carriage house. Rogers lost Temelec in 1893; it was empty for many years and was known as the Haunted Farm.

In 1915, Lolita Schweitzer, a tobacco heiress, bought Temelec with 268 acres and restored the mansion. She married Cobby Coblentz, a close friend of William Randolph Hearst. Hearst gave Cobby and Lolita antique European doors as a wedding gift. The doors were installed in the east front of the carriage house, where they remain today.

Temelec’s barn has a long, active history. Although its main use today is storage, it stands with a quiet grace as a reminder of the past.

(This article was first published in the Sonoma Sun)

Billie Hobart’s “Who Lived in Temelec?”

Screen Shot 2013-07-02 at 1.57.01 PMBillie Hobart has been kind enough to write up her talk about the history of Temelec entitled “Who Lived on Temelec Land?” This is now on the website.

You can read her very interesting article by clicking the link below. Our thanks to you, Billie.

This is a reminder that all residents are welcome to submit content to the website. This could be in the form of articles, photographs, audio recordings and videos.

Please contact Francesca at if you have something you would like to share.

Article about Temelec in Local Paper

The following article appears in today’s Sonoma Index Tribune. It was written by Pat and Norm Brown, realtors and long-time Temelec owners.

Neighborhood Profile: Temelec (55+) Adult Community

If you are considering relocating to an adult community, Temelec may be the opportunity you are seeking.  The property which comprises one of California’s first adult communities has a colorful history which dates to the founding of the State of California back in the mid 1800’s. The first owner of the property in modern times was General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo who held the land as part of his huge Northern California land grant.

General Vallejo sold some several hundred acres in 1849 to General Persifer Fraser Smith who came to Sonoma in 1849 as head of the American military command for the Pacific Coast. General Smith ranched the land and built a small kit salt box home brought around Cape Horn to Sonoma.

When General Smith left the area for another assignment the property changed hands a few times before passing to Captain Granville Perry Swift, commander of Company D of the California Battalion near Stockton, CA. Captain Swift also holds a distinction of being one of the original Bear Flag Revolt members who helped in creating the new California Republic, later to be claimed by the United States. Captain Swift built the Mansion Temelec Hall and the adjoining carriage house 1n 1858.

Over the years the home changed owners as their fortunes or misfortunes changed in the turbulent booms and busts of succeeding decades. The home was severely damaged in the 1906 earthquake and was unoccupied, and fell further in disrepair due to neglect. In 1915, the property which included the hall, the carriage house, the saltbox house and 268 acres of the original 1640 acres were sold to a wealthy socialite, Lolita Schweitzer of Park Avenue, New York City, who began renovation efforts. She married a friend of William Randolf Hearst, the famous and wealthy newspaper baron, who contributed from his personal collection the ornate, Carriage House doors which remain in place to this day. The restoration efforts culminated with the designation of the property as being California Historic Landmark #237 on June 10, 1936. Recently, the Temelec Homeowners Association have  successfully obtained national historic recognition for this unique property.

In 1961 the property was sold for development with the requirement that the hall and surrounding grounds would be maintained and preserved as the community centerpiece of the development.  In 1964 the first homes offered by Temelec Inc., were occupied by new residents, with additional phases being developed by other builders over the years. The last phases were completed in 1974 and included the homes to the west of Temelec Hall, and the mixed density development on Vineyard Circle.

Initially there were 4 floor plan models from which to choose. All were designed as wood frame, single story homes which ranged from 1,000 to 1,500 square feet. The urban land use plan incorporated the use of greenbelts and walkways to the front and rear of homes located on cul-de-sacs providing street access. Landscape areas were protected by easements and were irrigated and maintained by the homeowners association. Some of the early plans for the community included a 9 hole golf course, a neighborhood serving commercial shopping center at Arnold and Watmaugh, and more extensive condominium development to the south of Mission Drive in what are now the communities of Creekside Village, Chantarelle, and Country Meadows. These plans were abandoned for financial or feasibility reasons with the land developed into residential housing.

Today you will find the traditions on which the community was established being preserved. The tree lined streets with center medians are a wonderful place to walk or drive. Residents enjoy the amenities of Temelec Hall, the reflecting pond, the manicured gardens, and the open space greenbelts.  The association continues its stewardship of the property with ongoing improvements to infrastructure with recent renovations to the community clubhouse and pond.  Landscape maintenance and irrigation upgrades are ongoing.  Community involvement in social activities is strong. Each year the community benefits from new arrivals, with new ideas and new energy to bring to community life.

There are few such developments in California.  It is a treasure.

Reprinted with permission.