Meet Ted Calvert
Ted Calvert, a 37-year resident of Healdsburg, recently published his book, “Healdsburg Chronicles”. One of his favorite features of Healdsburg is the plaza, which Calvert credits with bringing the community together. (PD photo)
Ted Calvert is open about his love affair with the city he adopted 31 years ago. He chose Healdsburg as the place to raise his family and, at 70, is still one of its biggest fans.
In “Healdsburg Chronicles,” the latest of two books he has written about the city, he honors its past and celebrates those who are creating its future.
Q: How did you end up in Healdsburg?
A: In 1980, AT&T transferred me, so I had to pick a place to grow my family. I got off at the first exit, ended up in Camp Rose and said, this looks like a pretty good place to raise 7- and 13-year-old boys.
Since then I’ve lived on Sherman and Fitch streets, on Fitch Mountain and on the river at Del Rio Woods.
Q: Where would you be if you could live anywhere?
A: High up on Fitch Mountain. When you get up high, the fog lays low to the ground, and it makes the mountaintops look like islands floating in Lake Healdsburg. Not on top, though. I have to draw the line somewhere.
Q: What is it about the place that keeps you here?
A: There’s a strong sense of community, a selfless volunteer spirit, and a good design by Harmon Heald. It’s a comfortable place to be.
Q: How would you describe the other people who also have chosen it?
A: People who like to be themselves and seek a small town identity, and families that have local third- or fourth-generation heritage, or even more.
When I came here people told me that if you weren’t born here and weren’t of Italian descent, you’d always be an outsider. The fact that families have been around for many years bespeaks the careful handling of Healdsburg.
Q: What is the town’s most distinctive feature?
A: The plaza, and the natural boundaries. The Russian River and Fitch Mountain have preserved its agricultural base.
Q: What’s the thing you dislike about it?
A: There should be some more bike lanes. There are no shoulders on Alexander Valley Road, Westside Road or, even places to park your bike in Healdsburg.
Q: What is its greatest achievement?
A: The original Mexican plaza design and street layout, which was good planning. That and an unselfish commitment to caring for our community, the willingness of people to volunteer. The city oozes caring.
Q: If you could give the town a motto, what would it be?
A: “Healdsburg, you can still get your arms around it.” Or “A small town growing up – carefully.”
Q: What historical figures do you most identify with?
A: Pomo Chief Soto, because he had it right about where to live. Harmon Heald, because he had it right in designing the town. And Zelma Ratchford, who ownedFitch Mountain. She had a lot of moxie and broke that glass ceiling.
Q: What are your favorite places?
A: Fitch Mountain, which is nature’s classroom. Tayman Park, where many community celebrations are held.
Villa Chanticleer, which is Healdsburg’s church. Everyone comes there with that community spirit. Frank & Ernie’s Restaurant. It’s personable, off the beaten track, and not a lot of tourists will stumble onto it.
The Russian River. I walk down to Del Rio Woods, which is so serene. Much has changed there, but much remains the same.
Big John’s Market. It’s the independent market, first class, caring. Garrett’s Hardware has the independent spirit, too. It’s vital to our health that we have a place like this.
Flaky Cream, for donuts, breakfast and lunch. Costeaux’s Bakery, which was the meeting place in 1950s. I remember lining up to get that bread on Sunday mornings.
Downtown Creamery. The Bench Bunch, a group of new and older people, meet there.
John & Zeke’s. The Cheers bar of Healdsburg. And coffee houses like the Bean Affair north of town and the (Flying) Goat.
Q: What do you brag about?
A: As president of the board, I helped build the Boys and Girls Club a 5,000-square-foot clubhouse in a time when people said it could not be done, with no city, county, state or federal monies.