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Hooker House – what’s in a name?

Letter to the Editor

By

Editor, Index-Tribune:

I was a longtime resident in Sonoma – for 21 years – and left to move to a retirement community with extended family in West Seattle in 2007. For almost all the time I resided in Sonoma, I was an active member of the League for Historic Preservation, primarily as a weekend docent.

I left just about the time that the league decided to change the name of its headquarters from Vasquez House to the Gen. Joseph Hooker House. It seemed to me then – and through subsequent years – that that name, with its connation in subsequent travel down generations, would remind visitors to the city, and to the league headquarters, of Hooker’s reputation for attracting camp followers or, as they might have been called, ladies of the night.

I was then, and still am, wondering how this played out in local news coverage when the change in names occurred, and subsequently in the Index-Tribune. Anything like the attention a few years earlier to the belligerent chickens in the town’s central Plaza? Perhaps you have some news and/or headline quips from the Hooker House transition – and how league docents might have reacted to snickers among visitors.

Phil Gilpi

Seattle, Wash.