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Monday, February 21, 2011

Stanly Lane Trees - Napa, California

Google Alerts can be an interesting internet tool.  I signed up for these alerts a number of months ago with one of my "alert" keywords as Stanly Ranch.  You'd probably be amazed at the number of precise hits and alerts I receive with just these words.  90% of the alerts that I receive are in fact related to the Stanly Ranch in Napa, California.  As you might guess, 90% of that 90% are related to wine.  Yes, lots of grapes continue to be grown on the Stanly Ranch in Napa and are not just used and supplied to the winery on the premises.  A few wineries use Stanly grapes.  I could probably list them off as I receive alerts about what red wine is being released next related to this location.

I love wine, especaily reds but my goal with reviewing alerts associated with the Stanly Ranch is not related to wine so much.  I seek historical information about the premises and try to keep up with the other "going's on" in Napa, California history. 

A recent alert was about those old trees that line Stanly Lane.  So instead of wine or grapes, I write about trees.  "Treehugger" you might want to call out?  Not exactly.  We are, however, in California after all and many jurisdictions work to save trees.  An article in the Napa Register from February 18, 2011 -  Three dozen ‘diseased trees’ taken down by Caltrans on Stanly Lane, talks about some of the old eucalyptus trees on part of Stanly Lane being removed by Caltrans.

After reading the article that I have linked into my post above you may still ask yourself the following:  What is the significance to this blog and family history in relationship to these trees?  And, who the heck is Caltrans?  If you live in California, you probably know that the State of California can pretty much do whatever it is they want and deem necessary.  Caltrans is the department of transportation who maintain our highways and state roads.  I must admit to being a little confused and leary of their involvement in removing these trees.  The state must own the intersection at HWY 12/121 at Stanly Lane on the Carneros/Sonoma Highway.  I wonder how much the state spent to remove 36 huge trees.  Where did that money come from?  Was it really money well spent?  Remember, the State of California does not have any money right now...... 

Ok, I completely digress.  In the name of public safety and pumpkin patches everywhere, we certainly don't want a diseased tree to fall on anyone.  The eucalyptus trees in this area are over 100 years old.  I can hear my great-great grandmother, Kate Flanagan, saying "those darn gum trees.....providing too much shade to my vineyard....and the roots of those trees!".  Those are not her exact words but she did complain to Michael Flanagan about the trees in one of her letters from Napa to Termonfechin. 

So what am I referring to when I include the Flanagan's, The Stanly Ranch, and those eucalyptus trees?  I am referring to the "legend".  Can I call Michael Flanagan, a legend?  He is in my family history.  He is, in fact, rumored to have been the person to plant the rows of eucalyptus trees on Stanly Lane to provide a wind break protection for the vineyard.  Is it true?  Well, a "legend" is defined as a narrative of human actions that are perceived both by teller and listeners to take place within human history and to possess certain qualities that give the tale a feel of reality and real possibility.

Many of you might think that these are just trees.  I agree.  However, there is more of a story that goes with them and I seek to find more about it.  It is too bad that the marks of history - those trees - seem to be disappearing before our eyes.  The historical stand of the eucalyptus trees on Stanly Lane is currently protected.

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