Mildred “Mid” Dornan

If you come to Point Richmond, there’s no doubt you will want to take a drive through one of California’s oldest tunnels, the Ferry Point (Dornan) Tunnel. And when you do, you will exit on to a road named Dornan Drive. The roadway is named after the in-laws of Mid Dornan, the guest in this episode of Stories from The Point. At a very healthy 90-years old, Mid is a beautiful example of living history. In the early 1900s, Mid’s father-in-law opened and ran one of Richmond’s first and most successful general stores. Moving to Point Richmond in 1946, Mid even spent some time behind the cash register at the once popular retailer.

There is no doubt that Mid has built a solid bank of knowledge about the area through her background and 67 years of residence in The Point. In addition to the many wonderful anecdotes that she shared, I was particularly touched by a more personal thread that she weaved within her recounting of The Point’s history.

In this audio postcard we are privileged to the story of how Mid met her husband and his ultimate, and very unfortunate, untimely death. I hope to be able to put together another postcard with some of Mid’s other stories. In the meantime, I think this one will give you a bit more pause as you drive through the Ferry Point Tunnel and on to Dornan Drive…it certainly does for me.

Please be sure to visit the Point Richmond History Association online (Mid is the President).  Also, I love to hear from you, so leave any comments that you may have about this episode of Stories from The Point.



Visit the Point Richmond History Association online:

Hugh Shurley

Image: Hugh ShurleyPoint Richmond has a strong and continually growing community of artists. While there are several noted photographers in town, Hugh Shurley’s work is really very unique. In a world where the digitally mastered image is taking over, Hugh’s artwork is painstakingly and passionately done in a manual tradition. As Hugh shares in this episode of Stories from The Point, he’s more of a photo-collagist than “just” a photographer. Instead of using digital layers, Hugh physically layers 4-8 images printed on Plexiglas on top of each other with bits of ephemera in-between. Looking at a digital scan of one of these pieces of art is impressive; however, the physical pieces hold a more profound and tactile experience that could never be duplicated digitally.

Hugh’s mantra could likely be summed up as: if you’re not creating art, you’re not living and if you’re only living to make a living then you aren’t living at all. It was those words of wisdom he shared with me during a New Year’s Day breakfast that got me going with the Stories from The Point project. Thanks, Hugh!

He and his partner Isidro are  also responsible for starting one of our blocks most cherished ad hoc block parties. Once a year nearby neighbors all get together for a potluck, live music and other entertainment. My wife and I had been to it before moving here and it was definitely one of the selling points. In regards to the annual block party Hugh shares, “I really get the feeling that when we first moved here everyone kind of stuck to themselves. And it didn’t take much to get people out and to relate to each other.”

What has developed is a much stronger cohesion amongst neighbors and a real sense of community. “I see how, given the opportunity, most people want to be part of community. And when people come together in a community, they may not all agree politically or any other wise, but if you can find some common thing that you can all share; it just makes your life richer,” says Hugh.

Give this episode of Stories from The Point a listen and please leave your comments. Also, be sure to check out Hugh’s artwork when you get a chance…even if it simply means stopping by his web site.



Hugh Shurley’s web site:

Music heard in this episode: