By Kathy Brown, Southern Tuolumne County Historical Society
The small house, tucked between two buildings across the street from the Charlotte Hotel in Groveland, has always been a source of curiosity for those interested in local history. It currently houses one of Groveland's newest businesses, Trail Less Traveled, but the house was originally built by Sal and Nona Ferretti in 1921.
Angelo Salvadore Ferretti (Sal) was born near Moccasin in 1871. Sal left the area for a while to work as a police officer in San Francisco where he met Nona Turley, born in Ireland in 1877. They married in 1896 and returned to live “on the hill” two years later. Sal purchased 1400 acres of the James Ranch situated on Big Creek about two miles east of downtown Groveland. That ranch land is now mostly under Pine Mountain Lake and the Ferretti Ranch barn was converted by Boise Cascade developers into the present day Lake Lodge. The Ferrettis raised hogs, sheep, and cattle on the ranch and had a slaughterhouse which supplied Sal's butcher shop in Groveland.
In 1902, Sal's first meat market was located in the adobe building which now houses FireFall Coffee. The interior of that building was destroyed in a fire on the east end of town, c. 1920. After the fire, Sal built and relocated his Tuolumne Meat Market to what is now Serendipity and the Veterinary Clinic. In 1921, he built a “town house” situated between his old and new meat markets for Nona and him to use when they chose to stay in town for business or social purposes. In addition to being a butcher, Sal became a Tuolumne County Supervisor in 1910. A couple years later, he convinced the county to approve the completion of the New Priest Grade for which private construction was already well underway by Groveland area citizens. Sal died in 1946 and Nona in 1945.
By the mid-1950s the Ferretti house was owned Bill and Georgia Gookin. Bill's mother, Rose Segale Gookin (1885-1978), lived in his home after her husband's death for the last 25 years of her 93 years of life. She was affectionately known as “Grandma Gookin” by townsfolk. When the house was renovated c. 1980s, it was reported that underneath the carpet, on the original floors, a worn pathway could be seen from the sink to the cooking stove, to the sideboard where it appeared that many a pie crust had been rolled creating a round worn indentation in the wood of the sideboard. From there the pathway led to the front room area which was used for sleeping. Grandma Gookin knew everyone in town and spent many an hour watching town activities go on from her front window or porch. The house was bordered by a picket fence, with an apple tree, lilacs and zinnias, Grandma's favorite flower, decorating the front yard.
A wide variety of small businesses have occupied this house through the last 30 plus years - beauty parlor, book store, gift shops, kitchen store and candy store among them. Now Trail Less Traveled calls this historic house their home.