Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Newman Lee Fitzhenry and Stinson Beach, California

Apologies to all our new subscribers who signed up while I was away on my jollies and then had three weeks of Blogging silence. However my "behind the scenes" correspondents will know that I was collecting new stories and over the next few nights there will be two new British Army records and then a three-part essay from Mrs Josephine Fitzhenry Hodge, her life's work on the family of Enoch Fitzhenry in the United States.

Tonight's post is pertinent as we were holidaying in California. We were driving on Highway 1 just north of San Francisco when the sign for Stinson Beach caused a small flicker of recognition. We made an unscheduled stop at the beach, fired up the laptop and there in the database was the story of Stinson beach and Newman Lee Fitzhenry.

Stinson beach is a quiet town, but in his day Newman Fitzhenry had much bigger plans for the place. The beach was named for the owner of the beach and Newman married Eva Stinson. Here's his biography from his obituary:
Mr. Fitzhenry was born in Illinois in 1881, and had operated the Beach properties for 24 years with his wife, Mrs. Eva Stinson Fitzhenry, daughter of the former owner of the Stinson Beach holdings. He was a graduate of the University of Chicago, and a member of Beta Theta Pi fraternity. He was also a member of the San Rafael Elks Club, and was considered one of the authorities on bridge in the Bay region. He was also a member of the San Francisco Press Club.

Fitzhenry’s chief ambition was for wide development of Stinson Beach, as one of the world playgrounds, but he lacked sufficient capital to carry out his dream. He was always interested in promotional work in the county, but never overlooked an opportunity to let the world know that there was a beautiful beach close by, and that any large development project should not overlook Stinson Beach. He frequently appeared before the Board of Supervisors fighting for better roads to the Beach, and at one time offered the Beach properties to the county, under a long term lease.
He died by his own hand in 1938 on his beloved beach.

There is a small creek named after him which is one of the three creeks which flow through the town and into the sea via the Easkoot creek. This makes a total of three Fitzhenry Creeks which I've found now - this one at Stinson Beach, another in Washington State flowing down the previously featured Mount Fitzhenry, and a third Fitzhenry Creek in British Columbia.
You can have a look at Stinson Beach yourself on Googlemaps, as there is the streetview function enabled on this map and also some attached photos.

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