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The price for the day of walking and history includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Tee Shirt AND ONE YEAR’S MEMBERSHIP to the Sonoma County Historical Society. $75 ADULTS, $10 UNDER 18 INFORMATION AND ENROLLMENT FORM: SONOMACOUNTYHISTORY.ORG/Historywalk INFORMATION: RAY JOHNSON 707-535-6476
Sean Bressie | Sonoma County Historical Society

2018 SCHS Annual Banquet - March 11th

It’s getting closer to deadline time for the Sonoma County Historical Society’s annual banquet at the Flamingo Hotel in Santa Rosa Sunday, Mar. 11.
Coordinator Sharie Sbrazza says you can still sign up for the even online until Thursday, Mar. 8.


Author and columnist Gaye LeBaron will be the featured speaker.
Marking the City of Santa Rosa’s sesquicentennial (150th year), LeBaron will discuss: Santa Rosa Then and Now, the Pluckiest City in California—the “Before and After” of Natural Disasters. In addition to writing more than 8,000 entertaining columns for The Press Democrat over the years, she has also pioneered a number of major books on Sonoma County. Early on, she wrote the foreword for the pioneering work Wild Oats in Eden: Sonoma County in the 19th century. The collaborating group in the 1960s included Harvey Hansen, Jeanne Thurlow Miller, and photographers Ansel Adams, John LeBaron and Beth Winter. In 1985, LeBaron, Hansen, Dee Blackman and Joann Mitchell collaborated on Santa Rosa: a Nineteenth Century Town. In 1993, LeBaron joined with with Joann Mitchell on Santa Rosa: A Twentieth Century Town. After 42 fruitful years, she went into semi-retirement in 2001. She still writes at least twice a month in The Press Democrat and has been busy working on fire stories since the tragic events of October, 2017. LeBaron attended Sonoma Valley High School and then moved on to Santa Rosa Junior College, before earning a B.A. in English and History at UC, Berkeley. She interned three summers at the Press Democrat and took a full-time job in 1957.

She has done numerous interviews of local historians and has taught classes at Santa Rosa Jr. College and at the Lifelong Learning Center at Sonoma State University.

In 2001, LeBaron made gifts of her interview notes and research material to the Sonoma State University Library special collections department. The material later was added to the school’s online catalog and is available on a website for use by students, researchers and community organizations. She has been honored as grand marshal of the Luther Burbank Rose Parade and Festival (1984) and Sonoma County woman of the year in 2015 by Congressman Mike Thompson. She also received the California Community College Distinguished Alumni Award in 2016. Gaye and photographer/instructor John LeBaron were married in l958 and they had two children. He died in 2014.

The Banquet

Three items are on the Mar. 11 menu, Roasted Chicken Breast, Pacific Salmon and Pad Thai Noodles Vegetarian dish. Cost is $50 for members and $60 for non-members. Checks should be sent no later than Mar. 1 to Sharie Sbrazza at P.O. Box 406, Santa Rosa, 95402. Phone 707-546-6764 or email The Flamingo is located at 4th St. and Farmers Lane in Santa Rosa. Doors open at 11 a.m. and lunch starts at noon. There will be a presentation of history awards, part of our annual tradition, a report to members and board election and presentations by History Day students. There will also be a raffle.

For those desiring, board president Jeremy Nichols said the SCHS could use help in funding lunches for History Day Students as well as donations to help victims of the fire in October


Signup Flyer
Sean Bressie | Sonoma County Historical Society

Amazing Free Community Event - May 21st, 2017

Don’t miss the first annual Finding History in Sonoma County – A Day of Discovery on Sunday, May 21st, 2017! It is free and open to the public, and is being held at the historic DeTurk Round Barn on 919 Donahue St in Santa Rosa from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.

The purpose of the Finding History in Sonoma County event is to discover, celebrate and promote the historical records collections held by 34 Sonoma County based organizations. The event will include presentations by local authors and historians, book signings by nine local authors, a tour of the historic West End neighborhood and mini workshops focused on the preservation of archival materials. There will be special appearances by the Model A Ford Club and individuals in period costume.

Finding History in Sonoma County will serve as an opportunity to learn from other organizations and share valuable resources with the public, in what we hope will be the first of many such events that celebrates our county’s history.

Call 545-0831 ext 1562 for more information.


Fountaingrove / Museum Fundraiser

Sunday, September 11 / 4 PM – 7 PM
Paradise Ridge Winery
$35 Members/ $45 General
Appetizers, Cash Bar
Buy tickets here Fountaingrove Fundraiser

2016 Banquet, March 20th - How We Came to Make Such Fine Wines

Get your Tickets ONLINE
It’s no accident that the Sonoma County Historical Society modestly boasts of what we like to think is our skill at putting together interesting annual banquets. This year is no exception. The big show Sunday, Mar. 20 at the Flamingo Hotel includes a round-table discussion on wine, a fine luncheon, awards, raffles, a look at History Day activities, conversations with old friends, and who knows what else.

The program for this year’s annual luncheon is a panel discussion titled “How We Came to Make Such Fine Wines”. We hope to present a wide-ranging panel discussion, featuring distinctly different voices, to tell the grand and fascinating story of how— throughout our history— Sonoma County wines have become so well known throughout the world.

Five speakers are taking part, according to coordinator Jim Shere: Michael Topolos, who will speak on the history of winemaking in Sonoma County since its beginnings with the mission padres; John Burdick, who will speak about the evolution of the appellations, terroir, varietals, vintages, marketing and presentation of the fine wines of Sonoma County; Frank Pastori, who worked the vineyards and cellars near Geyserville since Prohibition, and will talk about the wines of the North County from a personal perspective; George MacLeod, who will talk about his personal experiences establishing and developing a quality vineyard and winery in Sonoma Valley; and special guest George Webber, impersonating Count Agoston Haraszthy de Mokesa, who will act as moderator.
Read more

Burbank Gardens seeking helpers

Calling all gardeners and garden lovers. The Luther Burbank Home and Gardens is looking for docents, gift shop works and gardeners, to work at the historic site on a volunteer basis.

Gardeners volunteer two morning shifts per month year-round while docents and gift shop workers commit to three shifts per month from April through October. Training begins Saturday, Feb. 27. No experience is necessary. To apply call 524-5445 or email

SCHS Board Vice President, Jeff Tobes dies of cancer at 68

Jeff Tobes, 1947-2015Sean Bressie
Jeff Tobes has left us at age 68, but he has also left us with a wonderful legacy.

Jeff had more energy than most of us could have ever imagined, and used it to make good things happen.

For many years, he was a key figure in building the History Day program in Sonoma County. He inspired his students to do research, work extra hard and even find financial sources to keep the program alive. Because of Jeff and others like him, Sonoma County's History Day people have left their mark at every level, from the local school to the national competitions.

When Jeff decided 10 years ago to take his loyal youngsters on long walks, they, and perhaps he, were not sure what they were getting into. More and more people joined up for 25-mile jaunts in Sonoma County and around San Francisco, starting in the very early morning and ending deep into the evening. More and more people got their exercise, learned their history and had a great time as Jeff set the pace. He even threw in an extra muscle-bender in 2011 in honor of Fred Wiseman, our favorite daring ex-pilot of the early 20th century.

Jeff was a fine teacher, a great treasurer for the Sonoma County Historical Society (the books are balanced), and a real contributor to the world in which we live. Read more

Gaye LeBaron: Old Courthouse Square has divided Santa | The Press Democrat

Old Courthouse Square, known as a plaza before the mall usurped the name, has long been a contentious place. It is still the object of not only disagreement but also widespread misunderstanding.
Source: Gaye LeBaron: Old Courthouse Square has divided Santa | The Press Democrat

Historic Old Courthouse Square building for sale

Empire Building - Photo © Sean Bressie

Change is coming to the historic, clock-capped Empire Building on Santa Rosa's Old Courthouse Square. It is up for sale and its primary tenant — … more Source:: PressDemo – Local News

Charlie Siebenthal presents expanded talk on the Sonoma Valley Railroad


The next program will be on Monday October 27, 2014

THE RAILROADS OF SONOMA VALLEY. NWPRRHS President Charlie Siebenthal will present a much expanded talk on the Sonoma Valley Railroad, its successor as the Sonoma Valley Branch of the NWP and the Sonoma Valley Branch of the Southern Pacific. Field work plus recently discovered maps and newspaper articles will be used to answer the many questions asked during his first talk on the railroads of Sonoma Valley.

Monroe Hall, 1400 West College Avenue, Santa Rosa. Parking in the rear of the building. Take 101 to the College Avenue exit. Turn west onto College Avenue. Monroe Hall is on the left just past the G&G Shopping Center. For further information please contact Charlie Siebenthal at 707-838-8882 or Please mark this date on your calendars. If you wish to receive an email reminder of each program please send an email entitled "WN list" to Charlie Siebenthal at your email address will be held confidential.