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Wildwood Conservation Foundation & Retreat Center
PO Box 78, Guerneville, CA 95446

The Beginnings

Wildwood was homesteaded around 1900, twenty years after the first land deed was issued on October 9, 1880.   The original fence and an orchard yet remain down the hill from the main house.   The property was owned by the Purdy and then Grider families.  Widow Jesse Grider was sole owner of the property in 1946 when a mountaintop house was constructed (current area behind fireplace).  Grider sold to Juanita and Vernon Corley in 1954.

Chicken coops were built (the garden end of the current conference room) by the Corley’s, who owned the property from 1954 to 1968.   Juanita ran the chicken and egg business, while Vernon toiled in the Guerneville lumber mills.

1960s Guerneville was a fringe hangout for the hippie culture, but by the 1970s the town blossomed into the west coast’s premier gay vacation spot.  In summer, crowds packed the string of offbeat villages, cabins, cottages, resorts and bars along the Russian River.  In Guerneville, there was freedom to be without judgment, without hassle.

 

S5 Box

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