Retiring from the railroad service in 1888 and locating in Santa Paula, he operated a planing mill for one year, and then erected a one-story building on Main Street and was proprietor of a billiard hall. In 1910 he retired from business, and lived in Santa Paula until his death on June 17, 1916.
According to the Index to Business and Credit Directory for Ventura County, 1920…The following were proprietors of Billiard Halls and Cigars in Santa Paula: W.P. Fields, O.E. Gaertner, John F. Kuenstler, N. Taketa and R. Yokota.
While the founding proprietor of the hall located at 932 E. Main Street, named Santa Paula Billiards is thus far unknown. By all accounts the building was always split into two storefronts. At 934 E. Main, a barbershop where one of the only black men in town shinned shoes out front. Next door at 932 E. Main, a bar with billiards, snooker and pocket pool tables in the back.
The tables in the hall were typical for early 1900s. Heavy commercial Brunswick-Balke-Collender tables. Rumor has it that the Victorian Backbar made its way to Santa Paula from Europe around the tip of South America prior to the Panama Canal being built. The original front bar was taken from a soda fountain shoppe as did the original bar seats.
According to Mike Skaggs, a long time resident, as a youngster he would play pool in the back while his dad got a hair cut and a beer afterward. According to Mike, a rack of balls was .15 cents, and for a new rack one would bang a cue stick on the floor. The noise would bring the barkeep, rack in hand, who would collect the fee for the next game.
From the 1970’s on the stories we’ve heard become more and more sorted. Tales of drugs, fights, murder and prostitution are among them. While some are probably true, former chief of police Bob Gonzales did not recall ever hearing of a death related to the hall.
In early 2007 David & Tracy Lippert had plans to purchase the building, in hopes of restoring and reopening the historic Santa Paula Billiards. As time went on, it became clear that the venture was not to be, and attention was turned away for a time.
Come 2008, the real estate market was declining and escrow was opened by the Lipperts. Soon after, the successful transfer of ownership from the Morales family concluded. The building has undergone extensive restoration, and awaits the opening of it’s tenant Garman’s Restaurant and Irish Pub.
Some of the notable items through the restoration have been:
Only billiard and snooker tables remained in 2008 so the slate was used for the front bar, and the opening to the lounge (formerly barber shop). The rails and frame from the tables were used extensively throughout the building.
Antique doors found in the basement were used as dividers for table in the dining room. David’s favorite being the furthest door as it sports an antique Copenhagen lid cutter.
After the layers of linoleum tile were removed, Douglas Fir sub-flooring was exposed and refinished.
Approximately 20 rusted ceiling tiles were removed and replaced with new tiles shipped from Ohio. The ceiling was then primed and painted deep green.
The skylights were reconstructed; the insides primed and painted deep gold.
Openings and walk ways were created between 932 and 934 E. Main. Brick was exposed, cleaned and sealed on two of the walls. The balance of the walls had the plaster repaired and painted.
The original alcove at the front of the barbershop became a solid front with street view bar seating. The bar at this spot is the original soda fountain bar top which used to be next door at 932 E. Main.
This is an ongoing historical account, and will continue to develop as new information is found. To the best of our knowledge, the only remains of the Historic Santa Paula Billiards are the brick walls, the legends, this documentation and the two tables inside Garman’s Pub. Our hope is that they will be enjoyed and continue to make stories for generations to come.
The Lippert Family – Lippertland, LLC
Owners 932 E. Main Street – Formerly known as Santa Paula Billiards