The building that housed the former Le Virage Restaurant, which was heavily damaged in a Aug. 25 fire, has a long history in Walnut Creek.
It was a stagecoach stop in the 1880s on the route from Martinez to Lafayette, passing through "the Corners," now called Walnut Creek. The property is now at the intersection of North Main Street and North California Boulevard; back then, it was by the intersection of North Main Street and Oakland Boulevard, which extended further east than it does now, said Sheila Rogstad of the Walnut Creek Historical Society.
A half-century later it was the Richfield Garage a half-century later, reported Rogstad. The featured photo with this story is believed to be in the 1930s, showing the Richfield Garage; the car parked on the road was apparently in an accident. You can see a railroad sign in the picture — the Southern Pacific Railroad ran up what is now California Boulevard.
Le Virage Restaurant was open from 1971 to 2005. The name means "bend in the road" in French, according to owner Lolek Jasinski and his wife Andreina, said Rogstad.
The following details came from a historical site report done on the property five years ago by Valerie Nagel:
- 1912 — Lot was part of the Pringle Addition.
- 1924 — Mercantile Trust Co. owned most of the lots.
- 1924 — a two-story brick structure built per Tax Assessor's office.
- 1926 — Richard Kirbyson purchased the property; improvements listed in tax records at $1,500.
- Early 1930s — Richfield Wrecking.
- 1934 — building upgrade, maybe to a restaurant.
- 1936 — Ad for Stan's Brick House.
- 1945 — show improvements of $3,000.
- 1946/7 — Stan N and Clara Parsens owners and another $3,000 improvements and south addition.
- 1960 — more additions
- 1971 Le Virage opens.
- 1975 — Second-story addition on west for storage.
- July 1978 — Robert Nootbarr and Michael Carney granted the property to Robert and Bev Goodwin, Lolek and Andreina Jasinski, and George and Irma Mauricio (one-third ownership).