|The Elk Garage Story as told by Bob Matson.
The Elk Garage was established in 1901 by my grandfather, John Matson.
He was 18 years old, a Swedish immigrant and a blacksmith. Originally the
Elk Garage was a blacksmith shop and a livery stable. Eventually
blacksmithing gave way to auto repair.
In a devastating fire in 1924
the original blacksmith shop and the livery stable burned down giving
way to the new Elk Garage at its present site.
Through the years, in
addition to general auto repair the Elk Garage has been a dealership for
Ford, Plymouth, Maxwell, and Studebaker cars, as well as John Deere
tractors and General Electric appliances. Also in 1924 the California
State Automobile Association contract was awarded to the Elk Garage which
carries through to the present day, making us the second oldest contract
station in CA.
The Elk Garage survived the Great Depression of the 1930's
in spite of the fact that the large redwood mill closed in 1929.
In 1939 John's son, Melvin graduated from the University of CA and came
back to join John in the business. After a 4-year absence in the Richmond
Shipyards during WWII, Melvin came back to run the Elk Garage full time.
The Studebaker dealership was given up in 1953 and the Elk Garage
continued on as a auto repair shop and Shell service station. Also in
1953 the second sawmill was built in Elk which bolstered the town's
economy through the 1950's and 60's.
In 1971, after graduating from
Sonoma State University, Melvin's son Bob (pictured at right) joined him in the business.
second lumber mill closed in 1968 and Elk was carried forth by a large
population of young urbanites seeking to get back to the earth. Through
the 70's and onto the present day we have been able to maintain a local
coastal customer base that has sustained us.