Bull Roasts in Stolte Grove


October, 2001

Fred Stolte used to hold an annual party in Stolte Grove for his colleagues in the Advertising Display Department of the San Francisco Examiner. Three of the invitations to these affairs were recently discovered in the effects of his son, Frank.

One invitation “Dares You to be Present at the 3rd Annual Bull Roast for Sunday, June 5th” – no year given, but directions to Stolte Grove indicate it was in the thirties before the Golden Gate Bridge was constructed. The invitation list included 92 “Gentlemen of the Ensemble.” The site was “Camp Where The Road Turns Back [Montford and LaVerne], Fred Stolte’s Ranch, Mill Valley California.”

A second invitation, dated Sunday, June 7, 1936, was in the form of a newspaper called “The Stolte Roaster” which poked a lot of fun at various individuals and gave the following agenda for the “Bull Roast”:

  • 9:00 A.M. The Grand Jury is Polled.
  • 9:30 A.M. Lawyers, Statesmen, Members of the Jury, and Honored Guests depart for the trial from Hyde Street Ferry, by autos. Others that can walk like men will take the Northwestern Pacific boat at the Ferry Building.
  • 10:30 A.M. The Healthy Program; Volley Ball Tournament – Prizes!; Teams from each Department; 25 cents per man fee; WINNER Take ALL!; Horseshoe Tournament (for the elders); Prizes!
  • 11:30 A.M. Surprise . . . Sack Race . . . Prizes; Obstacle Races . . . Prizes
  • 12:00 Noon Egg and Spoon Race . . . Prizes
  • 12:30 The GRILLING – HULA LOU out Grills Cross Examiners; Your own pleasures ?????

The headline of the newspaper was “Lou Boone, Head of Bull Ring Called Back for Grilling.”

A third Bull Roast announcement reflected the war time mentality by inviting “All enlisted men to the Bull Roast at Stolte’s Redwood Grove in Mill Valley on Tuesday, September 28, 1943 at 1700 (that means 5:00 o’clock).” A map showed how to get there from the Golden Gate Bridge. The turn off from highway 101 after Marin City went under a “Redwood Bridge.” Landmarks were Tam High (the football field was across the road), the 2 AM Club and Homestead School. Stolte’s telephone number was listed as Mill Valley 329.

The Stolte Grove barbecue pit of Bull Roast days is still in use.

If you have comments or questions about this article or other topics
pertaining to the history of Homestead Valley,
please feel free to e-mail Chuck Oldenburg.