Taking You Back in History: Serendipity's Roots

By Kathy Brown

Groveland Yosemite Gateway Museum/Southern Tuolumne County Historical Society


Did you know the Serendipity once housed a butcher shop?


In a previous newsletter, the STCHS historical spotlight was shown on Salvatore Ferretti's “in-town” house, now the home the The Trail Less Traveled Bike Shop. The story of Sal, a rancher and Groveland butcher, continues this week with the story of the building which housed his second butcher shop in downtown Groveland, The Tuolumne Meat Market. That building currently houses Serendipity Gifts and Antiques and the Groveland Veterinary Clinic.


After purchasing the 1400 acre James Ranch on Big Creek in 1898, Ferretti successfully established his first butcher shop in 1902 to sell the products of his ranch. Sal's first shop was in one of Groveland’s earliest buildings. That building is one of only four remaining adobe buildings in town and the current home of Firefall Coffee. In the 1850s the adobe was owned by Tannahill and Watts. It was separated by an empty lot from another store they owned -

The Granite Store, a general store then, but better known as the Iron Door Saloon today.


In 1920, just before Ferretti had his “in-town” house built, he had a new meat market constructed. This was, no doubt, to meet the increased business demand that occurred when Groveland experienced a major boom time during the Hetch Hetchy construction years. He located his new butcher shop in the center of town on an empty lot where the Schroeder Hotel once stood. The old hotel, which served miners and travelers, had occupied the approximate area where Serendipity, Groveland Veterinary Clinic and the parking lot next to them now stand.


The photo of the Garrote Pharmacy, 1970's, is of a pen and ink drawing by local artist Irene Clark.

That same year, one of Groveland's major fires destroyed several buildings on the northeast end of town including the Europa Hotel and Groveland's old Opera House - Dance Hall. The fire also scorched the front of the Groveland Hotel. The adobe building that housed Ferretti’s first meat market survived the fire, but a local newspaper reported that Sal’s new Tuolumne Meat Market had not yet opened so his equipment and merchandise had not been moved from the old one and were still inside the adobe building which was gutted by the fire. Its thick adobe walls helped save the building itself.


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