Gene Paleno

Gene runs his life at a full sprint. In his ninety-three years he's dug ditches, painted signs, played semi-pro football, worked as a taxicab driver, an insurance agent, and a school teacher. He's been a technical artist, a marketing director, and a business owner. He served in World War II, raised four children, and was married to the love of his life for fifty years. He's an accomplished oil painter and skilled in ceramics. He's written fifteen books, including the definitive Lake County History, and doesn't show any signs of slowing down.

Lake County History, Chapter 101: The Bartlett Springs Fire, Part 1

20 September 1934, the Lake County Bee reported Bartlett Springs Resort was destroyed by fire. It was a bad fire. Fifty buildings were torched. Only the heroic efforts of hundreds of CCC boys, called to battle the blaze, kept the mountains around the Resort from burning.
The Resort was above Nice, northwest, and twelve miles from Clear Lake. The road to that forlorn memory twists and turns like a peripatetic snake. To reach Bartlett Springs, the intrepid traveler must climb into Lake County’s higher mountains to an altitude of nearly forty-five hundred feet. He must pass over Bartlett Mountain’s summit at about four thousand feet. He will pass Pinnacle Rock and then Little Pinnacle on his left; both also close to four thousand high. Finally, as the road runs beside the South Fork of Bartlett Creek, the traveler may heave a sigh of relief. The last stretch to the springs levels out.
Once there, the traveler will be in the center of what once were some of the most important mineral springs in Lake County.

Lake County History, Chapter 100: Aunt Hester’s “Medicine”

“The pools at Seigler Springs are inside a great building. There is a warm pool, a cool pool, and a hot. It is the fashion to enter the warm, then the hot, and finish up in the cold. Stone steps lead down into the water. Every person seems to be having a relaxing time. There is a group of men in one corner. They are discussing bear fighting and cockfighting. Another group is enthusiastically looking forward to a boxing exhibition to be given at Harbin Springs nearby. The ladies chat about needlepoint, babies, and the impossible task of keeping domestic servants. With the lowered voices, they talk about the interesting fact that the waters of Witter Springs are supposed to cure a social disease. ‘Well,’ I tell Aunt Hester, ‘When you consider that most of us know someone, who has gone there… Well, it certainly opens the room for conjecture.’ “

Lake County History, Chapter 96: Coming Home

Lilly’s tour through the West in America covered her with money, and Lake County was already becoming known as a good wine country. She met Freddie Gebbard, a wealthy American playboy and man about town. Handsome Freddie lavished the beautiful Lilly with attention. They wanted to be married, but divorce was not possible.
Unable to divorce Edward Gantry, a Belfast shipping merchant, Lilly purchased the Guenoc Ranch in Lake County to live with Freddie, her real love. She ignored the scandal, and since California was known for its liberal views, California is where Lilly set her sights.

Lake County History, Chapter 96: Coming Home

Lilly’s tour through the West in America covered her with money, and Lake County was already becoming known as a good wine country. She met Freddie Gebbard, a wealthy American playboy and man about town. Handsome Freddie lavished the beautiful Lilly with attention. They wanted to be married, but divorce was not possible.
Unable to divorce Edward Gantry, a Belfast shipping merchant, Lilly purchased the Guenoc Ranch in Lake County to live with Freddie, her real love. She ignored the scandal, and since California was known for its liberal views, California is where Lilly set her sights.

Lake County History Chapter 94: The Dashiell Affair

One story about a Confederate sympathizer is typical of the hard feelings that remained after the Civil War. The Santa Rosa Press-Democrat reported on what happened to southern sympathizers in Lake County.

On the 20th of April, 1865, six days after Lincoln was assassinated, a company of soldiers, dispatched from Fort Wright and under the command of Captain Charles Douglas, were given orders to arrest any ‘Johnny Rebs’ that expressed glee at the news of the assassination. They took the road into Potter Valley on 1 June, to receive written complaints from residents that heard any expressions of glee over the assassination. Ranchers, loyal to the Union, reported such expressions they heard from certain of their neighbors, and, upon receiving the report, the soldiers took off to arrest the culprits.’

Lake County History Chapter 89: Home is the Hero

“They kept us at the picket line all night. We were taken into the Union lines in the morning, and, to my great surprise and gratefulness, I knew the first man I met. He was a doctor that had been sent to the Confederate prison with my men and me. The doctor had been exchanged a short time before I escaped. We were sent to General Meade’s headquarters.”

Lake County History Chapter 88: Free at Last

“There was a house close by that was a poor man’s house. ‘Hide away,’ I told my friend. ‘I will go up to the house and find out where we are.’ I went to the fence and called the man up. He called back, ‘What do you want?’ I told him, ‘I am on leave, and I am lost. I belong to a South Carolina regiment, and I want to find a way back to camp.’ He asked, ‘What way are you traveling?’ I said, ‘I’m going north.’ He said, ‘If you go four miles farther in the direction you are heading, you will be in the Union lines. Davis’ brigade is three miles south of here.’ ‘Much obliged,’ I said ‘Good night.’”

Lake County History Chapter 86: The Tunnel

The second man with me was a Lieutenant. He and I stopped our escape and pulled out of the tunnel. We were ready to stampede up the stairs again to escape punishment for our attempt to escape. I told him, ‘I am going out no matter the outcry from the guards. Will you go with me?’ He said, ‘I have no food to take with us.’ I told him, ‘I have plenty, and I will give you half.’ Upon my saying this, instantly, he entered the tunnel and was gone.”

Lake County History Chapter 85: Rat Hell

My Company was surrendered to the Rebels by my Commander, Col. Strait. We had been fighting near Rome, Georgia, during the first part of 1863. For a short time after our capture, we were kept in Rome. Then, for another short period, we were marched to Atlanta. After this, we were taken to the large Confederate building where Union prisoners were kept. After being held for more than a year in Libby Prison, I made my escape on February 9, 1864.

Lake County History Chapter 84: Brazilian Stars and Bars

After arriving in Lake County in 1865, McLean went to South America with his wife and children, along with two other men. In 1866, they crossed the Andes Mountains and started up the ‘California Colony’ on the Parana River, seventy miles above Rosario, Cordoba, or what was known as the Entre Rios Province, in Argentina. McLean received $10,000 from the Argentine government along with a large section of land. He colonized the land by inducing fifty American copperhead families to join him.

Lake County History Chapter 82: A Wonderful Obsequy

In 1920, Barnfield died in Upper Lake at eighty-eight. In 1861 Tom Barnfield heard President Lincoln’s call and served through all four years of the War. Tom was part of Company K of the Fifth Illinois Cavalry. He had a meteoric rise in status during those bloody years. Tom Barnfield entered as a private and rose to be a Second Lieutenant. It was no political appointment; he earned his bars the hard way; on the field of battle.

Lake County History Chapter 80: A Sad Ending

The roster of men, who fought and died in the Civil War from Lake County, goes on for fifteen pages in the loose-leaf binder listing Lake County’s Civil War veterans in the Lakeport Library. There was no way to include all of the obituaries and their stories here, but the reader should have some idea of who they were and what they did. Not only were Lake County’s Civil War veterans a cut above the average, but their backgrounds and histories also reflect how unusual and famous many of them were; in life and in death.

The Whole is Greater: SIP and Community During COVID-19

When a catastrophe like COVID-19 strikes us all unaware and unprepared, along with, and far greater than, its evil, the people of our entire small County rise to the occasion to help. I’ve watched a hundred small and large instances when people reached out to strangers to help, to do something that makes the difficulty less. In no other place in this world does that principle take greater command, and make the travail a little less onerous to bear, than here in Lake County.

Lake County History Chapter 78: The Great Slavery Debate, Part 7

“Nearly eighty years ago, we declared that all men are created equal. From that beginning, we have run down to the other declaration, the declaration that it is a sacred right of self-government for some men to enslave others. These two principals cannot stand together. They are as opposite as God and Mammon. Whoever holds to one must despise the other. Judge Douglas believes that democracy means that the majority rights must always prevail. I tell you with all the force and conviction I possess that I believe that our democratic government is only… a…means…of…doing…what…is…RIGHT.”

Witter Springs Chronicles: Anxiety

Anxiety is another word for unnamed fears. When I heard a CBS News Caster say ‘Anxiety can be worse than death for people living alone than death,’ I decided to write down my thoughts. The odds are a bit greater for we oldsters to recover quickly from a bout of Covid-19 than it is for the kids. According to Monday’s CBS report, children recover at, or nearly, a hundred percent.

Lake County History Chapter 76: The Great Slavery Debate, Part 5

The day had become warmer still as each of the representatives spoke through the afternoon session in the Maryland Capitol House. From time to time, as Douglas and the others had their say, the Illinois politician looked up at some telling comment. Other times, all six feet four inches of his long body slumped in his chair, further wrinkling his newly pressed rumpled black frock suit.

w

Your Cart

Cart is empty.

Subtotal
$0.00
Shipping
Free!
Tax
$0.00
Total
$0.00
0
X
X