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Swiss immigrant Attilio Martinelli started the Inverness Store in 1900. He built a two-story mercantile with dwelling upstairs, facing Tomales Bay and the road to Point Reyes (Peninsula, not town). The store offered bulk food, clothing, supplies and equipment, catering to both ranchers and summer residents of the new resort town. Martinelli also built a cottage, seen north (to right) of the store, and in 1909, shortly before this photo was taken, a two-story candy store partly seen through the trees.
The April 1906 earthquake sent the upper floors of the store to ground level, crushing the store; Martinelli and his friends jacked up the remains, rebuilt the first floor and opened for business within a couple of months. He added an additional shed (on the far left) for mechanical supplies and oil products. On the north side of the store he built a false-front building to house the Inverness post office, once situated in a small log cabin which had been destroyed in the quake.
A display of bottles and hats appear in the windows. Also seen are signs for “Royal Soda," Lafargue French Laundry; the phone service; the Examiner, San Francisco Chronicle and San Francisco Call.
Pictured are two children who could be Martinelli’s, and perhaps Attilio himself talking to the unidentified occupant of the buggy.
The building and the cottage still stand. The store closed in the 1950s and a different Inverness Store operates across the street. Today, various operations are found here including a restaurant, café, and a law office. The post office remains in place as it has for 108 years. The paved road, Sir Francis Drake Highway, is a popular route to Point Reyes National Seashore.
(Item description courtesy Dewey Livingston)