The Old Livery Stable
The Grimes Livery Stable
by Katherine J. Rinehart
Buildings associated with transportation come in all shapes and sizes and in some instances have occupied the same property as is the case with the livery stable that once stood at the corner of D and First Streets which was replaced by a parking garage in 2004..
The McKinney Livery Stable, a Petaluma landmark, represents an early 20th century false fronted building. Although simple in construction and design, the livery stable is significant for its ability to convey a sense of a bygone era when the horse was the primary form of transportation. Fortunately when plans to build a parking garage threatened its future, the City required that the building be moved rather than demolished.
Just who McKinney was remains a bit of a mystery. Despite having this name printed on the front of the structure, it is John Grimes and later, Dr. John E. Tierney who many associate this building with. John Grimes was an Englishman who built the structure around 1907. A 20’ x 24’ foot addition was constructed in 1915 by Jack Mallon of San Francisco.
Mr. Grimes conducted a livery, boarded and sold horses from this location until 1920 when he sold the property to George P. McNear. McNear leased the building to a veterinarian named John E. Tierney who many Petalumans still remember.
Originally from Contra Costa County, Dr. Tierney trained in San Francisco and then set up his practice in Petaluma during the teens and was operating out of the livery stable until his death in 1945. Following the death of Dr. Tierney, the building ceased being used for any animal related purpose, but continued to serve as a reminder of a time when livery stables were an integral part of a successful downtown.
Today, one can find this piece of Petaluma’s history just a few blocks away at the new Steamer Landing Park where it awaits conversion to an agriculture and river history museum.
Resolution of Cooperation with Friends of the Petaluma River to Renovate and Program the Historic Livery Stable as a River Heritage Center, and Directing Staff to Develop appropriate implementing Agreements.
The old barn, a work in progress