From the 1930s to the 1960s, the Homestead Valley Riding Club used a horse ring, stable and tack room on the property at 315 Montford Ave. Nearby residents E. Carol Jackson and his daughter Peggy Adams taught riding lessons. In 1922, a small house had been built on the 1.13-acre property close to the street, separated from the horse ring by trees.
In 1950, Hughes Call, his wife, Volinda, and their four children were residents of Kent Woodlands. In April, he took their son Lewis, age 7, and their daughter Phoebe, age 6, to the Cow Palace to see the Grand National Rodeo, Horse and Stock Show. Hughes put their ticket stubs into a large wire drum for a raffle. The next day he was informed by telephone that one of the tickets had won the raffle. The prize was Hopalong Cassidy’s Shetland pony named “Little Topper”, plus complete riding tack and a cowboy outfit.
The children must have put quite a bit of pressure on their father to accept this prize. He met the challenge by buying the property used by the Homestead Valley Riding Club. He had the small house enlarged and they moved in.
Early on, the children learned from experience that Little Topper was a well traveled professional who knew every trick. He did lots of moves on Lewis, and threw him off several times. When Phoebe got a concussion from being thrown off, it was goodbye to “nasty” Little Topper. The children rode other horses stabled at the horse ring. Five years later when Phoebe was 11, her father bought Bobby, a “gentle child’s horse”. But it soon became evident that Bobby had never been broken. Bobby threw Phoebe off right away. Peggy Adams solved the problem by instructing both Bobby and Phoebe. On how to behave. Bobby became a gentle child’s horse which both Lewis and Phoebe came to love.
The Homestead Valley Riding Club, horse ring, stable and tack room were gone by the late 1960s. Hughes Call sold the property to the community in the 1970s. The house after renovation became the Homestead Valley Community Center. The horse ring area now known as “The Meadow” is used for various outdoor community activities including an annual fall music festival.
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.