Sep 17, 2013 12:23 AM by Jeanette Trompeter
Back when stagecoaches and trains were the main modes of transportation, town sites grew up around them. And one of them was right along what is now Highway 227, at the intersection of Price Canyon Road in the Edna Valley. It's history and it's existence today provide yet more proof There's No Place Like Home. Long before there were acres of vineyards, sprawling homes and ranches in Edna Valley, there was a community here known simply as Edna. "Back in the day this was the town. This was the town of Edna, and everything surrounding it was part of this original town site." says Amy Griffith of Sextant Wines. The tasting room for Sextant is in the old tin building you can see from highway 227. John Tognazzini built the building in 1906. It was once a general mercantile downstairs, a hotel and dance hall upstairs. . The bones of the old stage still exist in what is now office space. He built the old farm house that still stands two years later. Today it is a place travelers come for escapes to the Central Coast or back in time. There is also a little cabin on the property that has quite a history. "Oh goodness!" giggles Amy. "Well, we call it the crib. The children of the Tognazzinis actually slept in there and the parents slept in the back of the general store. But as it evolved and moved on, it was taken over by the ladies of the evening." she explains. Who, or what Edna inspired the name of the community is kind of a mystery. "Edna is kind of illusive." says Amy. "Edna may be the woman on the painting in the house. Or she could be a race horse or she could be someone's daughter, someone's mother, a nun.... We have no idea actually where that came from." The most likely Edna was the granddaughter of the original owner of this town-site, Lynford Maxwell, a farmer from Pennsylvania who founded Edna in 1894. Edna thrives today largely because it was discovered by a man in the 1970's who loved it's history and it's potential as a being hub of activity again. It's his daughter, Pattea Torrance, who made it her mission in the late 90's to restore the whole place. "This riding wheel was built by my father, 'The Duke', in the 70's for my mother because she wanted to get away from all these kids she had.!" Pattea laughs as she takes me inside the traveling wagon. It looks like something gypsies would have traveled from town to town in. "She needed a little place she could go to write poetry, sing songs, and watch the moon go both up and down. She wanted to get away from it all. My father built this within a day after seeing gypsies down in Pismo Beach." she says. Pattea's dad was intrigued with artists, musicians and wanderers. She is intrigued with preserving memories of the past through restoring it's remnants and giving them new life.There are remnants of the area's past and Pattea's all over the place. Old Edna today is a resurrection of, and a tribute to the days when this area was just being discovered, the hey-days of the wild west that existed right here, and the free-spirited characters who found it worthy of spending some of their days. It is about kicking back here now, and slowing down enough to absorb the magic of the place that put this lovely corner of the world on the map. And it's right in our own backyard. "Those were Edna days then. These are Edna days now." says Pattea. "It's a happy place to be." That it is indeed. Old Edna will be hosting free, self guided walking tours beginning the end of this month. There are signs and Town-site maps that will help you discover hidden historical artifacts and treasures.