Now that South Healdsburg is among the neighborhoods being considered for major redevelopment as part of the , it might be useful for posterity to know that the area was once the home of the longest running, unsuccessful presidential campaign in U.S. history.
Yes, it's true. Comic Pat Paulsen announced his presidency at a press conference in "Beautiful Downtown South Healdsburg" in the late 1960s on the TV variety show "Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In.
The press conference in "Beautiful Downtown South Healdsburg" was a takeoff from the beginning of the show, when they always announced that it was broadcast from "Beautiful Downtown Burbank."
Paulsen's appearance was the work of Tommy and Dick Smothers, regulars on the show who were always bringing in new talent that was unheard of. They had met Paulsen, then an up and coming comic, at The Purple Onion in San Francisco.
“We had to get Pat on the show -- and to convince the producer, we told him that we had a guy that was going to run for President,” Tom Smothers said.
The press conference was held at Lonnie’s Patio, where is today.
Every four years, they would come back so Paulsen could make his big campaign announcement. Lonnie’s was the home of the Healdsburger and they did have great burgers.
At the press conference, when Paulsen was asked, "What is your stand?" he would always look around and say, “Well, it is a hamburger stand, obviously."
The only remaining evidence today is a sign right outside Singletree on a fake outhouse that says, "South Healdsburg Chamber of Commerce."
Paulsen, Healdsburg's beloved comedian and former presidential candidate, lived in Asti near the end of his life and had a winery, Pat Paulsen Winery.
In the tasting room, was a lot of the memorabilia from his longest running losing presidential campaign in history. There is a great video about his take on the economy that was in the same condition at that time as it is now.