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Thanks to Lee Torliatt, we present to you the

Sonoma County Timeline

StartEndDecription
01540Over thousands of years, Pomo, Wappo, Miwok tribes settle in villages in a land of abundance; Pomos known for basket-weaving skills.
14001540Coast Miwok Indians, the Kota'ti, provide name for Cotati.
14001540California Natives of Pomo-speaking groups occupy Kalé near the Healdsburg Plaza at the confluence of the Russian River (Ashokawna) and Dry Creek (Mihilakawna), and many outlying villages along both waterways.
1543Bartolome Ferrelo assumes command of two-ship Portuguese expedition after the death of Juan Rodriguez de Cabrillo, sails north near Cape Mendocino, then follows California coast south to Navidad, Mexico.
1579English seadog Sir Francis Drake makes five-week stop at Drake's Bay in present-day Marin County in vessel Golden Hind.
1584On a return trip from the Philippines, Spaniard Francisco Gali sights land in the vicinity of Cape Mendocino while searching Pacific coastline for a port.
1595Returning from the Philippines, Sebastian Rodriguez Cermeno, commanding the galleon San Augustin, surveys the Pacific coast, spotting land north of Cape Mendocino and a large bay, present-day Drake's Bay, farthersouth.
1602Sebastian Viscaino explores Pacific coast with four ships and, in spite of sickness and storms, passes Drake's Bay and spots Cape Mendocino.
1774Ensign Juan Perez sails past the Sonoma Coast in August on way to Monterey to seek medical help for his scurvy-stricken crew.
1775Spaniard Juan Francisco Bodega y Quadra discovers Bodega Bay and harbor.
1792Englishman George Vancouver surveys Bodega Bay.
180818121808-1812 - Russian ship Kadiak, commanded by Ivan Kuskoff, sails into Bodega Bay looking for a trading base; sets up colony at Ft. Ross on Sonoma coast in 1812, hoping to prosper with sea otter trade. Chapel at Fort Ross is first church in county.
1821Mexico gains independence from Spain.
1823Mexican mission, San Francisco Solano de Sonoma, established in Sonoma.
1824Santa Rosa is apparently named following baptisms on the feast day of St. Rose de Lima. Earlier theory told of priest who baptized kidnapped young girl in 1829.
1826First English-speaking settler Thomas Reid arrives in Cotati.
1833Mariano Vallejo, "the last of the Conquistadores," arrives, becomes dominant landholder and political leader through most of the 19th century, with up to 50,000 head of cattle; first home built on Petaluma Rancho 1834-36; Vallejo leads assaults, takes control over rebellious Indians in 1830s; creates a pueblo with a large plaza in Sonoma in 1835.
1833Mexican law requires secularization of the California Missions.
1834Sonoma Mission becomes major agricultural center--3,000 horned cattle, 700 horses, 4,000 sheep, 3,000 bushels of grain.
1834Lumber pioneer James Dawson cuts large load of redwoods near Freestone for General Vallejo; Capt. John B.R. Cooper erects sawmill run by water power--destroyed by flood a few years later.
1837Maria Ignacia Lopez Carrillo builds first permanent residence in Santa Rosa valley, settles near son-in-law Vallejo on Rancho Cabeza de Santa Rosa, the only woman to be directly given a Mexican land grant.
1837Population of Sotoyome and other bands of Indians depleted by smallpox in 1830s and 1850s. Up to 75,000 may have died.
1838Smallpox epidemic takes heavy toll, killing thousands of Indians.
18401849Cyrus Alexander settles on land north of Healdsburg in the valley that bears his name.
18401849In Sonoma, James Cooper operates Blue Wing Hotel, buys land from Mariano Vallejo, builds first large frame house north of San Francisco Bay.
18401849Diseases, other factors drop Native-American population from 8,500 in 1840s to 100 in 1916. 1841
18401849Russians return to homeland from Fort Ross colony, selling to Capt. John Sutter.
18401849Henry D. Fitch of San Diego wins claim to Sotoyome Rancho (Healdsburg); at his death in 1849, wife Josefa Carrillo moves family to the rural northern California location.
18401849Steamers from San Francisco dock south of Petaluma; stagecoaches carry riders overland as far as the Geysers.
1842Capt. Stephen Smith brings first steam-powered sawmill to Bodega by ship, opens first commercial sawmill.
1843Jasper O'Farrell arrives in San Francisco, eventually acquires Estero Americano and Canada de Jonive, some of best land in Sonoma County; area in west part of county is later known as Analy Township.
1844Joaquin Carrillo is first settler in Analy township, residing in what is now Sebastopol.
1844Fitch adobe built by Cyrus Alexander and native laborers.
1845Frederick Starke is first American settler in Vallejo township (Penngrove.)
1845Mexican Congress grants Bodega Bay Harbor to Capt. Stephen Smith.
1846Defying Mexican rule, American frontiersmen stage the Bear Flag revolt with an attack on the city of Sonoma.
1846Mexican War begins, ending in victory for Americans; Sonoma remains a military post, manned by First New York volunteers.
1846Donner Party wagon train trapped in Sierra snow amid charges of cannibalism. Some survivors settle in Sonoma County.
1846Ernest Rufus receives land grant from Mexican government, acquires 17,580 acres called Gualala Ranchon German Rancho. In 20th century, much of area turns into Sea Ranch resort development. Logging and shipping become major activities in the 19th century as mill products are sent south by schooners.
1847Mineral springs become tourist attraction in Sonoma area.
1847A group of U.S. soldiers in Sonoma organize first amateur theater, perform The Golden Farmer.
1847Geysers Canyon, with boiling minerals and steam power, is discovered by trapper W.B. Elliott, turns into resort area served by legendary stagecoach driver Clark Foss.
1847Mormons build short-lived fort near Skaggs Springs.
1848James Marshall discovers gold on the South Fork of the American River, triggering rush to California.
1848Jasper O'Farrell buys Jonive Rancho (Sebastopol.) He names his holdings the Annaly Rancho, eventually turned into Analy. O'Farrell provides for the building of the first Catholic church, with Father Rossi in charge, andlays out a general merchandise store operated by Bodega's McCaughey brothers.
1848Levi Slusser arrives in Russian River township, builds spacious home. Much of Slusser land is used as military airfield in World War II, and later as Sonoma County Airport north of Santa Rosa.
1849Hunters set up winter camp on Petaluma Creek, provide game for urban areas; trading post, towndevelop.
1849Dr. Thomas Page buys Rancho Cotate land grant.
1849Future plant-breeder Luther Burbank born in Lancaster, Mass.
1849"Dutch Bill" Howard, aka Christopher T. Folkmann, arrives in Occidental area.
1849First Protestant service (Methodist/Episcopal) held in Sonoma.
18501859Stagecoaches expand operations, run routes to Gualala and Cloverdale. Clark Foss and Wash Gilham are famous drivers.
18501859As California is admitted as 31st state, settlers move into Sonoma County--"land wars" intensify between landowners and squatters.
18501859Potatoes are dominant crop. Squatters John Keyes and Mr. Noble credited with planting first crops.
18501859Water access to San Francisco, potato warehouses and grain mills give Petaluma reputation as the county's "market town."
18501859Civil War hero Gen. Joseph Hooker lives in Sonoma area for several years, becomes road overseer, butfails in State Assembly election bid.
18501859Split over slavery causes construction of two Methodist churches in Healdsburg, "North" and "South."
18501859Dunbar, Los Guilucos and Ash Creek (later Oak Grove) are first public schools in county.
18501859Lawlessness and vigilante justice produce numerous lynchings.
18501859Stephen Smith holds Rancho Bodega land grant.
18501859Jasper O'Farrell builds 32-room home on Analy farm.
18501859Duncan brothers set up mill on Russian River, ship lumber by water to San Francisco from Duncan'sMills.
18501859E. P. Colgan opens Santa Rosa House, first hotel and stage stop in the county seat.
18501859Dr. John Boyes is Santa Rosa's first doctor.
18501859Settlers set up commercial center east of Healdsburg-Santa Rosa road. Train expansion moves morepopulation west, creating East Windsor and West Windsor.
18501859Captain Armstrong organizes Petaluma's first militia or guard.
18501859Pomo Indians rounded up, forcibly removed to reservations in Mendocino and Round Valley.
1850California admitted into the union on Sept. 9.
1850County population 560, mostly in Sonoma.
1850Ex-miners make up much of population of Petaluma--major names include William Zartman, John Cavanagh, Samuel Kennedy, Henry Weston, and Ezekiel Denman.
1850Gen. Mariano Vallejo elected Sonoma district's first state senator (district includes Mendocino County until 1859.) Numerous squabbles over land, including cost of court battles, cause major economic losses for Vallejoover a number of years.
1850Josefa Carrillo de Fitch brings her family to Healdsburg to live; sells land at auction in 1856.
1851Sonoma selected as county seat (until 1854). County is organized with judicial support for Marin andMendocino counties.
1851William McReynolds/James Hudspeth build warehouse in Petaluma, export game, potatoes and hay toSan Francisco.
1851Fruit orchards planted in Green Valley west of Sebastopol.
1851Bear Flagger Granville Swift settles in Sonoma Valley, builds Temelec Mansion in 1858.
1852Harmon Heald establishes trading post at future site of Healdsburg (1857.)
1852Berthold "Barney" Hoen and "Ted" Hahman become leading Santa Rosa businessmen, succeed inshifting county seat and courthouse to Santa Rosa in 1854.
1852Hahman and Korbel Brothers are among leaders of Santa Rosa's socially-active German community.
1852Settler David Wharff arrives in Penngrove, bringing first chickens to county.
1852Many Missourians populate Santa Rosa area, including Robert and Richard Crane, who raise cattle. Family later becomes known for world-famous Crane melons, grown near Cotati.
1852Petaluma opens county's first postoffice; Garrett Keller is postmaster.
1852Sonoma Bulletin in Sonoma is believed to be county's first newspaper (some sources date its opening as 1857.)
1852250 students attend 5 schools in county.
1852Lebanon Baptist Church members meet in Santa Rosa.
1852Real estate man Garrett Keller lays out town of Petaluma.
1852Henry Bell, carpenter, farmer, merchant, dairyman and undertaker, arrives in Windsor.
1853Main party of Hagins-Cockrill wagon train of settlers arrive in county.
1853First commercial fruit orchards are planted in Green Valley, Petaluma and Santa Rosa.
1853Parson Cox establishes first Windsor place of worship, Shiloh Church (South Methodist.)
1853Prewett or Shiloh School is built with John Prewett teaching in log structure. New school built in 1863.
1853Forestville is named after Andrew Jackson Forrister.
1854Santa Rosa becomes county seat.
1854Cloverdale trading post expands in town and rail terminus; Geysers Resort Hotel constructed.
1854Potatoes are leading agricultural product but overproduction causes price fluctuations. "Bodega Reds" arethe popular spud.
1854Sons of Temperance operate in Santa Rosa.
1854First stage line established between Petaluma and Sonoma.
1855Capt. Stephen Smith of Bodega dies.
1855There are 1,253 children in 23 Sonoma County schools.
1855Petaluma Journal, owned by Thomas L. Thompson/H.L. Weston, publishes Aug. 18; Petaluma Argusappears 1859; Samuel Cassidy owner in 1860.
1855Sebastopol, originally called Pine Grove, founded by J.H.P. Morris. Fist fight credited for naming of town.
1855Windsor is a small town with a post office, cattle ranching and farms.
1855First "county fair," a one-day event, is held in front of the courthouse in Santa Rosa.
1856First courthouse constructed in Santa Rosa.
1856John A. and Clara McNear arrive in Petaluma, operate livery stable and get into river shipping; familybecomes major economic force.
1856Sevier Lewis opens first Windsor hotel; facility destroyed in 1911 fire.
1856Rawena Granice Steele, state's first woman novelist and frequent visitor to Sonoma, begins literarycareer.
1857Hungarian nobleman Count Agoston Haraszthy brings cuttings of European varietal grape vines toSonoma, creating wine industry. Barney Hoen credited with being Santa Rosa's first winemaker.
1857Sonoma Democrat prints first issue in Santa Rosa. Thomas L. Thompson/brothers control the newspaperthrough 1897.
1857First religious camp meeting takes place at Kelsey Gardens near Sonoma.
1857Santa Rosa boasts horse racing track; covered grandstand added in 1880. Jockey Club formed in 1860.
1857Harmon Heald lays out Healdsburg Plaza on a town map. Population 300.
1857Vallejo sells Petaluma adobe and surrounding land.
1857William Thomas Ross grows fruit and hops on one of the first farms near Forestville.
1858Green Valley rancher Amasa Bushnell brings first hop vines to county.
1858Healdsburg holds first agricultural fair.
1858First volunteer fire department forms in Santa Rosa, fails; new hook and ladder brigade forms in 1862.
1858Petaluma incorporates.
1859Washoe House opens north of Petaluma as a stage stop offering food and lodging.
1859Serious conflict avoided as Sonoma supporters of squatters face off against Bodega group led by landowner Tyler Curtis in so-called "Bodega War." Curtis, married to the widow of Stephen Smith, moves to SanFrancisco.
1859Ella Barrett is Healdsburg's first woman doctor.
1859J.B. and Kate Warfield plant their first grapes in Glen Ellen.
1859Santa Rosa opens first public school; Court House School opens in 1866.
1859Cornerstone laid for two-story brick schoolhouse at 5th and B Sts. in Petaluma.
1859First lumber mill opens near Occidental, others added shortly thereafter.
1859James Kleiser recognized as founder of Cloverdale.
18601869Large landholders Hollis Hitchcock and Tom Hopper become major county financiers.
18601869County divides on Civil War, Santa Rosa sympathizing with the south and Petaluma with the north.
18601869Thomas L. Thompson, pro-south editor of the Santa Rosa newspaper verbally duels pro-Union editor Sam Cassidy of the Petaluma Argus.
18601869Petaluma's Emmett Rifles militia supposedly marches on Santa Rosa but stops halfway at the WashoeHouse for "refreshments," then goes back to Petaluma.
18601869Petaluma Temperance leader Lorenzo Waugh travels to tell of evils of alcoholic beverages.
18601869County population 11,867.
18601869North of Cloverdale lies legendary Indian site known as Squaw Rock; later a memorial to Korean Warveterans.
1860County population 11,867 compared to 3,334 in Marin.
1860Thomas Heald, George Guerne harvest redwoods, begin lumber operations at Guerneville.
1860Quicksilver mining is sporadically successful in Russian River and Pine Flat areas through much of the19th century.
186051 Chinese in county, mostly in lumber camps.
1860Excluding Sonoma Mission, St. Teresa's at Bodega is the first Catholic Church built in Sonoma County;first Mass celebrated by Father Rossi.
1860Robert Cunningham acquires large land holdings in west Windsor, builds historic house.
1861Driver Clark Foss leads first double team horse and buggy over perilous road to the Geysers in northeastcounty.
1861Santa Rosa forms first volunteer fire department Feb. 9.
1861First baseball team plays in Santa Rosa.
1861M.C. Meeker arrives in Sonoma County, sets up sawmill near Occidental in 1866.
1861Kate Warfield, Ellen Mary Stuart and Eliza Shaw Hood, living in the Valley of the Moon, are first women toenter winemaking world.
1862Effort to dispossess squatter Cornelius Rice in Healdsburg leaves one dead; sheriff Campbell killed inseparate struggle.
1862Isaac De Turk establishes Belle Mount Vineyards in Bennett Valley near Santa Rosa; Sonoma becomesone of largest wine-growing counties in state.
1862Sonoma Bulletin is published June 12, A.J. Cox, founder.
1862George Miller is first winemaker in the Healdsburg area.
1862Gould-Shaw House is oldest in Cloverdale, later becomes home of the town's History Society andMuseum.
1863Johnny Lazarus and Peter Daley hold boxing match on banks of the Petaluma River.
1864McNears build riverside warehouse in Petaluma, biggest in state; family also has major interest inbanking.
1864Numerous earthquakes shake Sonoma County in 1864-5 and beyond.
1864Occidental District School built on Harrison Grade Road.
1865I.G. Wickersham & Co. of Petaluma operates as "private bank."
1865Biggest lower Russian River mill started in Guerneville by J.W. Bagley, George Guerne, Tom Heald andW.H. Willets. Mill closes in 1901.
1865Rosenberg & Bush Department Store founded in Healdsburg by Wolfe Rosenberg.
1866Bank of Sonoma County opens in Petaluma.
1866Mark Twain lectures in Petaluma; Mr. and Mrs. Tom Thumb draw large crowds in 1869 visit.
1866McCaughey Brothers open general store in Bodega; doors close 119 years later in 1985.
1867Santa Rosa and Healdsburg incorporate; state confirmation comes in 1868.
1867Edward S. Lippett opens private high school on D St. in Petaluma.
1868Squatters build shanties on Courthouse Square land in Santa Rosa (2nd effort follows in 1870.)
1868Stagecoach robberies occur regularly for 20 years, including four or more in Sonoma County bylegendary poet-robber Black Bart.
1868Jerome Smith opens Smith Bank, first such facility in Healdsburg.
1869Dr. R. Press Smith becomes first county physician.
1869A one-mile horse course is built on the Bailache Ranch near Healdsburg.
1869William J. Hunt introduces Gravenstein apples in Sebastopol area.
18701879Dairy industry on Bodega Coast expands butter/milk markets.
18701879Grain crop production hits peak; supply of tan oak trees triggers growth of leather glove industry.
18701879Refrigerated rail cars, drying machines spur fruit production.
18701879Census shows only 85 Indians living in county.
18701879Silas Ingrams open resort for hunters in Cazadero area. Trosper family and others take part.
18701879Utopian communities spring up--Fountaingrove near Santa Rosa, Icaria Speranza and Madame Preston'sgroup near Cloverdale and Altruria on Mark West Creek.
18701879Continental Hotel, originally built in Chile, reassembled in downtown Petaluma; destroyed by fire in 1968.
18701879Population in Sonoma includes several hundred Chinese, typically paid $1 for 11-hour work day.
18701879Railroads replace wagons in moving lumber.
18701879Occidental's first school district called "Narrow Gauge School District," later changed to Meeker District.
18701879Santa Rosa Olympics baseball team edges Petaluma 57-46.
1870Peter Donahue builds rail line from Petaluma to Santa Rosa, expands to Windsor, Fulton and Cloverdaleby 1872. Santa Rosa business climate expands.
1870Sonoma 6th most populous county in California, larger than Los Angeles. Santa Rosa population reaches900. Irish are main immigrants in 1870/1880. Italians come to Occidental, other areas, work in lumber mills,tanneries and quarries.
1870Petaluma boasts 7 hotels, 2 banks, 2 breweries, 27 saloons, 10 doctors, 18 school teachers, 8 lawyersand 7 clergymen. Saloon total rises to 42 by 1886.
1870E.T. Farmer opens Santa Rosa Bank, city's first.
1870Pacific Methodist College opens in Santa Rosa.
1870H.A. and Althea Richardson arrive at Stewart's Point, establish family business tradition. operating thegeneral store.
1870The Guerneville post office is established and gives town its name.
1871First roller rink opens in Santa Rosa.
1871First public school built on Tucker St. in Healdsburg.
1871Arrival of railroad expands market for Healdsburg area redwood lumber.
1872The Korbel brothers, Francis, Anton and Joseph, make money in lumbering/shipping in San Francisco,move to Russian River area in 1872, build wine cellars in 1880s, produce champagne by a special French methodin 1890s.
1872Cloverdale incorporates. S.F. and NWP railroad reaches town.
1872Train tracks laid through Windsor.
1873Dec. 4, first Grange forms at Strawberry schoolhouse in Bennett Valley (near Santa Rosa.)
1873Grand Hotel, with 40 rooms, opens in Santa Rosa.
1873First Baptist Church is built from one tree, a redwood donated by a Guerneville lumberman.
1873Petaluma D St. School of Prof. E.S. Lippitt bought for use as public high school. A separate school is setup for colored children.
1873Bodega's Potter School opens, operates until 1961, serving as setting for Alfred Hitchcock movie thrillerThe Birds, released in 1963.
1873George W. Call buys much land around Ft. Ross for ranching purposes. So-called Dog-hole schoonerstake lumber, other products to San Francisco.
1874Settlement of Mercuryville founded as miners seek finds in area northwest of Healdsburg.
1874Phylloxera infects grapevines, but vineyardists recover by 1880.
1874Three/fourths of Santa Rosa residents label themselves farmers.
1874First high school opens in Petaluma.
1875Innovative horticulturalist Luther Burbank arrives, sets up experimental gardens in Santa Rosa. Major findsinclude spineless cactus, Santa Rosa plums, Shasta daisy and Burbank potato.
1875Thomas Lake Harris brings his Brotherhood of New Life to Fountaingrove in Santa Rosa with KanayeNagasawa second in command. Major winery operation set up at Fountaingrove.
1875Businessman Mark McDonald comes to Santa Rosa, buys water company, invests in real estate. In 1877,he builds horse-drawn Santa Rosa Street Railway. His elegant Mableton Mansion is completed in 1879.
1875Davis Burris founds Sonoma Valley Bank.
1875Charles Juilliard plants first commercial orchard of prunes.
1876Narrow gauge railway extends from Marin County to Valley Ford, Freestone, Occidental, Monte Rio,Duncan's Mills, terminating in Cazadero. Brown's Canyon Bridge, later a trestle, is tallest west of Mississippi. Railexpansion opens up Russian River area to Bay Area tourism.
1876George P. McNear, 19, joins father John in grain and feed business; expands into growing egg industry.
1876Edward Neblett is Santa Rosa's first mayor.
1876C.F. Juilliard plants orchards in Santa Rosa.
1876Occidental Hotel reopens in Santa Rosa, serves area for 100 years.
1876125-foot bridge over Santa Rosa Creek completed.
1876Construction begins on Lake Ralphine.
1876M.C. "Boss" Meeker founds Occidental.
1876Conflict of neighbors near Windsor leads to shotgun killing of James Rowland by Charles Henley May 9;50-75 men participate in lynching of Henley June 10.
1877County boasts between 43 and 60 churches, more than any other county except San Francisco.
1877Duncan's Mills established by A. Duncan.
1877Robert A. Thompson publishes first county history, Historical Atlas of Sonoma County.
1877David Hetzel plants tobacco in west county, mainly for cigars.
1877Occidental population hits 50, rises to 97 in 1880, including 10 Chinese.
1877Forestville boasts first manufacturing plant in county, the chair factory of Isaac Sullivan. Later, the durablechairs produced by Stewart Faudre became a major success. 1878
1877Lyman Byce and Isaac Dias invent artificial egg incubator, lay groundwork for poultry industry in southernSonoma County.
1877Isaac Shaw and John Bowman open Cloverdale mercantile store.
1877Trial phone connection between Santa Rosa/Petaluma succeeds; regular phone service begins in 1884.
1879Great Register shows 5,774 county voters; 1,500 are naturalized foreigners.
1879Major flooding occurs on Lower Russian River, cresting at record 41 feet, 11 inches. (Other major floodyears include 1914, 1937, 1940, 1955, 1964, 1986.)
1879Town of Howards created by "Dutch Bill" Howard; survives to late 1890s.
1879Petaluma forms Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) to fight alcohol abuse.
1879Sonoma Index-Tribune newspaper founded; taken over by Granice/Murphy/Lynch family in 1884.
1879W.J. Bowman founds Cloverdale Reveille newspaper.
1879There are at least 17 cigarmakers in county.
18801889Anti-immigrant pressure ends in departure of most Chinese from county.
18801889With influx of Italian workers, stones from Annadel and other quarries are used in street paving andconstruction projects, including St. Rose Catholic Church, Western and LaRose Hotels, Carnegie Library, JackLondon's Wolfhouse and wineries. Quarries become third largest industry after wine and dairying. SolomonSchocker and Agostino Pinelli are pioneers.
18801889Santa Rosa becomes major shipping center, moving livestock, fruit, hops and paving rocks from local quarries. Prunes become a major crop; canneries and food packing plants around Healdsburg provide many jobs, especially for women.
18801889Madame Preston dispenses physical and spiritual remedies, maintains colony near Cloverdale until herdeath in 1909.
18801889Luther Burbank helps build Gravenstein apple industry.
18801889Bohemian Club holds picnic at Duncan's Mills/becomes known as "world's most exclusive men's club,"purchases west county campsite in 1898.
18801889Newspaper reports claim Petaluma has one bar for every 15 voters; WCTU, other groups criticize easy access to "tangle-leg" and "red-eye."
18801889Max Rosenberg goes into business in Healdsburg, opens Red Front Store (later Rosenberg's Department Store) in Santa Rosa in 1896.
18801889Chain gangs do road work in Sonoma County.
18801889Kroncke's Park and its beer garden become major Santa Rosa recreation areas.
18801889Prunes grown on Dutton Ranch.
18801889A.P. (Boss) Overton is dominant politician, serves as Santa Rosa mayor, district attorney, judge and bankpresident.
18801889Giuseppe and Pietro Simi of Healdsburg produce large quantities of wine for the San Francisco market.
18801889Some telephones operating in county early in decade.
18801889Train depot built in late 1880s turns El Verano into temporary boom town.
18801889Santa Rosa fields football team at Pacific Methodist College early in the decade.
18801889Harrison Mecham believed to have planted more than 90, 000 eucalyptus trees on his property nearPetaluma.
18801889First of several "Chinatowns" operates on North Main St. in Sebastopol.
18801889William Hill founds small town of Trenton, plants vineyards.
1880Fear of Chinese immigrants grow, although numbers are small (125 in Santa Rosa in 1880.)
1880Italian immigrants move into Occidental area, doing timber and railroad work.
1880Wheelmen organize Santa Rosa's first cycling club.
1880Santa Rosa Medical Assn. established.
188025 young ladies from the Albanian Literary and Military Society meet weekly to discuss authors andmusicians.
1880General Sherman and ex-President Rutherford B. Hayes, former colleagues of E.S. Lippitt, visitPetaluma.
1880Hallberg family arrives in county, plays role in apple processing for many years, including canning ofapplesauce in 1930s.
1881Andrew Sbarbora founds Italian Swiss Colony at Asti.
1881Icaria Speranza colony, limited to French speakers, lasts 6 years.
1881Luther Burbank establishes reputation as "wizard" by furnishing 20,000 fruit trees in a matter of months,as ordered by banker/grower Warren Dutton of Tomales.
1881Pacific Methodist College fields football team.
1882Stagecoach driver "Wash" Gilham dies in the saddle.
1882Influential Seventh Day Adventist Church activist Ellen G. White helps create Healdsburg Adventistcollege.
1882Korbel begins winemaking in west county, with output of 20,000 to 30,000 gallons a year.
1882Natale Bacigalupi arrives in Santa Rosa, becomes unofficial mayor of "Little Italy." He runs a grocery store and makes "seed money" loans to immigrants. Traverso and Arrigoni families start as clerks in his store.
1883Steamer Gold carries freight, passengers between San Francisco and Petaluma until it burns in 1920.
1883First D St. bridge built in Petaluma to provide access to train depot on east side of river. New steel bridgeopens in 1933.
1883G.P. McNear loses wife Jennie when steamer boiler explodes; 8 others die. McNear marries Ida BelleDenman in 1887.
1883Ellen Colton's $4 million lawsuit against California's Big Four reveals corrupt tactics of Southern PacificRailways.
1883Anteeo, a trotting stallion owned by breeder Isaac DeTurk, wins race, becomes valuable stud.
1883Sonoma reincorporates as a city.
1883Cloverdale gets first phone, located in a bakery.
1883Charles Bolen, also known as stagecoach robber Black Bart, captured, serves 4 years in San Quentin.
1884Cornerstone for new courthouse and city hall laid in Santa Rosa.
1884Harry Granice, son of author Rawena Granice, serves as publisher of Sonoma Index-Tribune to his deathin 1915.
1885Santa Rosa's Atheneum Theater is "largest and most magnificent" theater building outside San Francisco,seating 2,000 at 4th and D Sts.; building falls in 1906 quake.
1885Luther Burbank buys 18 acres in Sebastopol to expand botanical experiments at Gold Ridge Farm.
1886Anti-Chinese League seeks removal of Chinese from Santa Rosa; "white laundries" set up, opium densraided.
1886Shooting deaths of Jesse Wickersham and wife at home west of Healdsburg blamed on missing Chinesecook, inflaming anti-Oriental sentiment.
1886A.P. (Boss) Overton, formerly Petaluma constable, county district attorney and judge, becomes SantaRosa mayor.
1886Santa Rosa constructs sewer system.
1886Frances McCaughey Martin becomes first female school superintendent in county; Minnie Coulter issecond in 1898.
1886Santa Rosa buys powerful steam engine for fire volunteers.
1886Healdsburg's first city hall costs $12,500; demolished in 1960.
1886Healdsburg public high school opens, graduates eight girls and one boy in 1891.
1886John Hallberg and his son Oscar use innovative techniques to build an apple-growing empire in westSonoma County.
1887Stately Petaluma City Hall built for $16,000, demolished in 1955.
1887Sonoma Valley produces $1.5 million gallons of wine, quantity larger than all U.S. wine produced in1850s.
1887Railroad reaches Guerneville.
1887Estimated 136 million paving blocks headed to San Francisco and elsewhere, valued at $5,712,000, areproduced at quarries in Sonoma, Marin, Napa and Solano counties.
1888Truitt's Theater in Healdsburg offers dances, dramas, musical concerts and lectures.
1888In spite of ineffective water system, Sonoma forms volunteer fire department.
1889Boyes Hot Springs in Sonoma area becomes popular resort.
1889Samuel Cassidy's "Pen Pictures of the Garden of the World" (Sonoma County) published.
1889Anabel McCaughey Stuart is Santa Rosa's first woman doctor.
1889Pioneer Julio Carrillo dies; once a man of great wealth and large land holdings, but gambling and excessgenerosity left him poor at death; his funeral procession was "largest ever seen in Santa Rosa."
18901899Despite lawsuits and suggestions of corruption, Santa Rosa sets up city water system to compete withMark McDonald's water company.
18901899Santa Rosa holds first agricultural fair.
18901899Page family lays out town of Cotati with plaza and lots for homes and small farms north of Petaluma.
18901899Chris Nisson of Petaluma's Pioneer Hatchery builds brooder house; hatchery one of largest in world.
18901899Numerous adventurers join late-decade rush to Klondike goldfields.
18901899Clement Bruner runs art store, acts as agent for famed Ukiah painter Grace Hudson.
18901899W.J. (Joe) Hotchkiss and James Miller develop winery & prune packing operations. Hotchkiss, a majorsupporter of the building of the Golden Gate Bridge, is father of tennis star Hazel Hotchkiss Wightman. Windsor-
18901899Trenton Winery is largest of seven they own.
18901899With Windsor population shift west, 2nd Methodist Episcopal Church is built.
18901899Sonoma High School opens, graduates 5 in 1899.
18901899Richard Lewis operates Great Eastern Quicksilver Mine near Guerneville, spurs growth of nearby town ofMercury.
18901899Tanbark and charcoal industries thrive around Occidental.
18901899Hot springs attract vacationers to Geysers.
1890General Mariano Vallejo dies Jan. 18.
1890Manville and Frank Doyle, Hollis Hitchcock, William Hill and Henry E. Lawrence set up Exchange Bank ofSanta Rosa.
1890When Donahue dies, new owners extend rail branch to west county lumber areas. Russian River emergesas tourist area.
1890Ornate jail/office building built at corner of 3rd and Hinton in Santa Rosa.
1890Rainfall totals in Sonoma Valley hit 54 to 70 inches; winds destroy new Los Guilicos hotel.
1890Nathaniel A. Griffith plants first commercial Gravenstein apple orchard in Vine Hill area near Sebastopol.
1891Healdsburg graduates first high school class.
1891Gustav Adolph Weske, wealthy San Franciscan, builds octagonal round barn north of Santa Rosa, lays outtrack to watch horses train.
1891Sonoma Developmental Center at Eldridge opens.
1891Occidental's Union Hotel opens as Italian Boarding House and Restaurant, run by the John Gobettis.
1892Congressman Thomas J. Geary of Santa Rosa authors extension of Chinese Exclusion Act.
1892Thomas Lake Harris leaves Fountaingrove, is succeeded by Japanese Wine Baron Kanaye Nagasawa,who runs operation until his death in 1934.
1892Petaluma/Santa Rosa High Schools play a series of football games.
1892Carlson-Currier establishes only silk mill in western U.S.; business survives more than 100 years.
1892Penngrove's first postoffice opens in Ronsheimer building.
1892Thomas Barlow Ranch near Sebastopol leads in planting of numerous berries, including blackberries. 1893
1892Dairyman's Bank opens in Valley Ford.
1892Petaluma High School football team beats Santa Rosa 24-0.
1892Borba family settles in Sebastopol; children of Manuel and Jennie become prominent in localbusinesses.
1892Citrus Fair becomes annual event in Cloverdale.
1894One of numerous early blazes, fire destroys much of Guerneville.
1894Female community leaders form Saturday Afternoon Women's Club in Santa Rosa; by 1919, it has 300members and a paid mortgage.
1894Altruria colony opens on Mark West Creek, closes 2 years later.
1894Santa Rosa forms paid fire department.
1894Santa Rosa holds first Rose Carnival and Parade.
1895Santa Rosa's first high school building completed on Humboldt St.; older students earlier shared facilitieswith younger students.
1895Sebastopol Grammar School opens with enrollment of more than 100.
1895Capt. H.E. Boyes strikes well of hot water, later known as Boyes Hot Springs near Sonoma.
1896Dr. W.P. Burke moves his sanitorium with wealthy Bay Area patients from Oakland to the Santa Rosaarea.
1896R. A. Thompson, credited as county's first historian, writes story of departure of Russians from Fort Ross.
1896Sonoma Valley holds first Vintage Festival.
1896Santa Rosa Tennis Club organizes.
1896Women form basketball teams in county.
1897Santa Rosa newspaper editor E.L. Finley merges Democrat and Evening Press into a single paper,publishes first Press Democrat Oct. 9.
1897Santa Rosa's Grace Brothers buy Metzger Brewery, operate into the 1960s.
1897Samuele Sebastiani arrives in Sonoma; over the years, builds valley's leading winery and numerousstructures in community. Son August continues family's vineyard tradition.
1897Healdsburg Plaza develops with bandstand, plantings.
1897Ermenegildo and Dionisio Gonnella of Occidental turn redwood Christmas wreaths into major seasonalbusiness.
1897Major high school track meet held in Santa Rosa in June.
1897Winemaker Hans Frederick Albertz generates first electric streetllghts in Cloverdale.
1898Windsor grows much of county hay on fields covering 39,850 acres.
1898Sonoma's first electric light plant opens.
1898Numerous prospectors from county seek fortunes in Klondike Gold Rush; author Jack London gathersmaterial for books and stories.
1898M.C. Meeker lays out Camp Meeker in west county for summer homes.
1899Bicyclist Ben Noonan races train from Santa Rosa to Sebastopol, wins in 16 minutes.
1899Dr. James Jesse owns first auto in Santa Rosa, a Schelling built in a bicycle shop by George and AlexSchelling. George becomes Santa Rosa's first auto dealer in 1901.
1899"Dutch Bill" Howard of Occidental dies.
1899Elsie Allen born, lives in Sonoma and Mendocino Counties, known as legendary Pomo basket weaver;Elsie Allen High School in Santa Rosa named in her honor.
19001909Petaluma's Hill Opera House competes with Atheneum as culture center.
19001909Pressure on Chinese eases; Tom Wing becomes unofficial "mayor" and community spokesman until hisdeath in 1918; family also operates popular restaurant; daughter Song Wong Bourbeau (1909-96) plays active rolein community.
19001909Trains dominate county travel; Petaluma and Santa Rosa Electric Railway, the "juice line," ships local farmgoods.
19001909Era of hot springs and resorts (Boyes, Fetters, Aqua Caliente) begins in Sonoma Valley, with heavy use ofrailroad promotions. Prohibition curbs boom in 1920s.
19001909Healdsburg's Spanish Kitty, aka Kate Lombard, leaves San Francisco, sets up brothel in El Verano in1913, remains dominant figure for 30 years.
19001909Boaters, anglers, other vacationers trek to Russian River retreats in Healdsburg area, including FitchMountain.
19001909Healdsburg's main money crops are grapes, hops and prunes.
19001909Gravel mining develops in Russian River with John P. Grant as pioneer operator. Demand grows duringbuilding of Golden Gate Bridge in 1930s and during post-World War II construction boom.
19001909Budget-minded campers set up tent campgrounds each summer for Russian River vacations.
19001909Olmsted family takes over Petaluma Argus newspaper.
19001909Petaluman Brainerd Jones becomes a leading county architect for more than 40 years, blending styles oflate 19th and early 20th century. He builds Carnegie libraries and prestige homes in Petaluma and Santa Rosa.
19001909Constable named Shane provides protection of law in Windsor.
19001909Mill work draws residents to Jenner.
19001909Louvre Saloon becomes favorite Guerneville watering hole.
19001909All-male San Francisco Bohemian Club acquires property on south side of Russian River to hold two-week summer camps for members. Group, originally for artists and writers, later adds power brokers.
19001909"Boss" Meeker uses 7 tall redwood trees to build 7-story "Living Tower" with view of 5 counties from west Sonoma County. Tower destroyed by fire in 1947.
19001909Hop picking builds at sites such as Wolher Ranch northwest of Santa Rosa, continues into 1940s.
1900Sonoma County, with 69 wineries, leads state in wine production.
1900Sonoma County population 38,480--Santa Rosa 6,673; Petaluma 3,871; Healdsburg 1,869; Sonoma 652.
1900School enrollment 9,800, including 7,500 in public facilities. Petaluma and Santa Rosa have separatehigh school buildings; There are 73 districts, compared to 5 in 1851.
1900Walter Nagle, later a major leaguer, helps organize Central California Baseball League.
1900Pastor John Cassin (1847-1932) oversees building of historic St. RoseCatholic Church. The facility, using stone from local quarries, withstands the 1906 earthquake.
1900Cost of 24-hour stay in Sonoma County Hospital: 34 cents.
1900Frank J. Pool operates store, helps establish first Exchange Bank Branch in Windsor in 1925.
1900Wohler Ranch and other hop kilns process crops grown at 10 or more hop ranches.
19001900 Oldsmobile appears in Windsor, operated by Jack Arata.
1900Petaluma Creek noted as third busiest waterway in the state.
1900January report in Petaluma Argus newspaper indicates Sonoma County man develops airship 3 yearsbefore Wright Brothers' famed 1903 flight.
1900Dance hall built at Mirabel Park; arena hosts Benny Goodman, other big bands in 1930s-40s.
1901Congregational Church forms in Cotati with 13 members.
1901Santa Rosa Junior College teacher/botanist Milo Baker comes to county, lists north coast plants, includingendangered wildflowers.
1901Monte Rio Hotel, ultimately 7 stories, is built; boasts first elevator in county; torn down in 1935.
1902Grace Bros. brewery workers unionize; Santa Rosa Labor Council organizes.
1902Basket weaver Essie Parrish born, becomes spiritual leader of Pomo Indians, preserving language andculture.
1902Nickelodeon opens as first motion picture theater in Santa Rosa.
1902Locomobile makes appearance in Healdsburg, features tiller steering.
1902Middleweight boxer Jimmy Britt has impressive boxing career, later becomes host at cocktail lounge inGuerneville.
1902Sebastopol incorporates to solve sewer problems, contaminates Laguna area in the process.
1903Trotter Lou Dillon sets records in 1903-4, brings worldwide attention to horsebreeding activities in SantaRosa.
1903Petaluma & Santa Rosa Railroad incorporates June 20, 1903.
1904Salvation Army opens orphanage at Lytton Springs; by 1937, it houses220 young people with a staff of 33. Operation includes 800-acre farm in the 1930s. Facility closes in 1958.
1904Electric rail line from Petaluma to Sebastopol, Forestville and Santa Rosa opens way for transport ofGravenstein apples/expansion of poultry industry. First spike driven in Petaluma Apr. 5. Sebastopol train depotbuilt, now home of West County Museum.
1904John P. Overton, son of mayor elected in 1886, elected Santa Rosa mayor in 1904 and 1906.
1904Santa Rosa dedicates Carnegie Library; stone structure collapses in 1906 quake; Petaluma's CarnegieLibrary opens, survives quake, later becomes Petaluma Museum.
1904Samuele Sebastiani founds Sebastiani Winery in Sonoma.
1904Mail service expands to coastal town of Jenner.
1904Ralph Rose of Healdsburg wins 3 Olympic medals in St. Louis; wins total of 6 medals in three differentOlympics (1904, 1908, 1912.)
1905"Battle of Sebastopol Avenue" in Santa Rosa pits steam train supporters against backers of new electrictrain. Hundreds of backers of both sides seek to dominate in Mar. 1 showdown as thousands of spectators watch. After court intervention, the electric line is allowed over the crossing on Mar. 2.
1905Santa Rosa street railways convert to electricity.
1905Banker John P. Overton, son of "Boss" Overton, is mayor during the 1906 quake.
1905World-famous author Jack London moves to Glen Ellen, buys "Beauty Ranch," experiments withinnovative farming methods.
1905Santa Rosa pitcher Walter Nagle signs with Los Angeles Angels baseball team, stars for several years,goes on to career as Sonoma County Clerk and Chamber of Commerce Manager.
1905Healdsburg holds first water carnival.
1905Rural Free Delivery established in Windsor, covering six square miles. W.C. Lindsay is postmaster.
1905Docia Murphy runs Murphy's Resort through much of the 20th century; renamed Fife's, it becomes amajor gay resort in 2nd half of century.
1905The "big mill" in Guerneville, later the site of a Safeway grocery store, closes.
1906Giant San Francisco quake causes heavy damage in Sonoma County, especially in Santa Rosa areawhere more than 100 die; three miners die in Rujssian River area; courthouse, Press Democrat Building,Antheneum and many other buildings destroyed; only 2 chimneys remain in Occidental area; Sebastopol buildingssuffer severe damage but there are no major injuries.
1906Max Rosenberg's Red Front Store destroyed in quake, reopens as Rosenberg's Department Store at 4thand B Sts.
1906First called Gray's town, name is shortened to Graton; postoffice opens.
1906Ft. Ross becomes State Historic Park.
1907Northwestern Pacific Railroad created as partnership between Southern Pacific and Santa Fe, excels inhandling freight traffic; SP becomes sole owner in 1929.
190784 cars enter endurance race from San Francisco to Lakeport; 27 actually take part and 23 finish.
1907Sonoma passes anti-liquor ordinance despite protests from liquor-related businesses.
1907Norm Maroni born, becomes Mr. Baseball of Santa Rosa as player and manager of Santa Rosa Rosebudssemi-pro team.
1907Tiny, colorful El Carmelo church serves Italian-Swiss communities near Cloverdale.
1908Teacher Frances Louise O'Meara (self-appointed Funny Little Old Maid) inspires young Robert Ripley atSanta Rosa High School; Ripley goes on to international fame with his "Believe It Or Not" cartoons.
1908Elva Beeson stars as Healdsburg's girl's basketball team wins Academic Athletic League title; five teams,mostly from Sonoma County, form basketball league.
1908Analy Union High School opens in Sebastopol; Building completed in 1909; new school built on same site in 1935.
1908Sonoma city hall opens.
190914 entrants compete in May 9 Grand Prize auto race, 52-mile endurance test through Sonoma County.
1909Ben Noonan wins, one of six cars to finish.
1909Farmers and Mechanics Bank opens in Healdsburg, first bank in county to use a time lock on its safe.
1909Helen Hotchkiss Wightman wins 4 national women's singles tennis titles, numerous other honors; polevaulter Fred Young leads Healdsburg track team, wins championship at UC, Berkeley.
1909Northwestern Pacific's standard gauge railroad reaches Monte Rio, bringing upsurge in tourist traffic; up to15,000 crowd area in summer.
19101919Group of Jewish migrants, refugees from eastern Europe and urban labor struggles in the eastern U.S.,start a new life as chicken ranchers in and around Petaluma. South county becomes major Yiddish cultural center.
19101919Herbert Slater becomes State Assemblyman, moves up to State Senate in 1914, serves until his death in1947; Slater writes for the Santa Rosa newspaper while in the legislature and is known as "the blind senator"because of eyesight problems; his legislative interests include fish and game and education.
19101919Joseph Grace, Frank Doyle and E.L. Finley are called Santa Rosa's "power trio." Grace opens Grace Bros.
19101919Brewery in 1890s, revives county fair in 1930s, expands company holdings in various agricultural products andreal estate and brings in ice hockey team before World War II. Brewery is sold in 1966.
19101919Seasonal bridges and dams spur tourism on lower Russian River each summer. Name of Rio Nidoreplaces Eaglesnest.
1910Sonoma County population 48,000.
1910Press Democrat columnist Herbert Slater serves 37 years after election to State Assembly.
1910"Worst accident" train collision in August, involving many Sonoma County travelers, kills 12 at Nicasio inMarin County.
1910Occidental and Overton Hotels survive as many smaller hotels disappear.
1910Sebastopol holds first Gravenstein apple show.
1910Fire at the Del Mar Mill (Sea Ranch) devestates area's economy.
1911Fred Wiseman makes first air mail flight, a two-day jaunt from Petaluma to Santa Rosa.
1911John Lopus builds Cotati Hotel.
1911"Uptown" hotels in Santa Rosa, the Overton (later Santa Rosa Hotel) and Occidental, are operated by theBane Brothers on opposite corners of 4th and B Sts.
1911Thomas Gregory (1911), Honoria Tuomey (1926) and Ernest L. Finley (1937) write major histories ofSonoma County.
1911Healdsburg opens Carnegie Library.
1911Silent films play at McNear-owned Majestic Theater in commercial building off Main St. in Petaluma.
1911Winemaker Agostino Pinelli uses 1,000 gallon tank of wine to douse major downtown Sonoma fire inSeptember.
1912Santa Rosa builds new city hall on Hinton Ave. near the county courthouse.
1912Pilot Weldon Cooke makes successful flight over Santa Rosa, soars to 2,500 feet.
1912Sonoma opens Carnegie Library with major support from Sonoma Women's Club.
1912Jennie Colvin becomes first woman to register to vote in county; women vote in Santa Rosa city election inApril; Atty. Francis McCaughey Martin and Sarah Latimer Finley, mother of editor Ernest Finley, lead the suffragefight.
1912Explosion from automobile fire on Main St. kills James Mott, Petaluma's first paid fireman.
1912Immigrant Russian Baptists, known as the Noshkin family, arrive in San Francisco. buy land from WalterFrick and create a 500-person settlement on the Del Mar Ranch (Sea Ranch). Group is unable to make landpayments, and foreclosure forces them to leave the area.
1912First Russian River water carnival held.
1913Cooperative Creamery begins operation in Petaluma.
1913By emergency ordinance, Petaluma City Council unanimously outlaws dancing the Rag, Tango, TurkeyTrot, Texas Tommy, Grizzly Bear, Bunny Hug or Walkback in public.
1913Healdsburg/Olympic track star Ralph Rose dies at age 29.
1913Pilot Grover Bell is first county air fatality, dying in Petaluma plane crash.
1914Sonoma County Good Roads Club forms to promote better rural roads.
1914Santa Rosa-Healdsburg road paving completed; Petaluma-Santa Rosa link done in 1918.
1914H.N. Blakely flies at 6,500 feet from San Francisco to Cloverdale at "almost a mile a minute" for the CitrusFair.
1914Ed Beeson of Healdsburg sets world high jump record at UC, Berkeley. 1915
1914Luther Burbank hosts visit by Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone.
1914Main auto highway through Cotati Boulevard connects Petaluma and Santa Rosa, boosts economy.
1914Petaluma firehorse Black Bart, put out of business by mechanization, retires to Penngrove ranch.
1914M.C. Meeker, major figure in west Sonoma County, dies.
1914Three die in major Cloverdale fire Oct. 15.
1916Author Jack London dies at his Kenwood ranch, age 40.
1916Clarence Lea of Santa Rosa, former District Attorney, elected to U.S. House of Representatives, servesmore than 30 years with bipartisan support. He builds strong conservation record, supports aviation-related bills.
1916Frank Doyle replaces his deceased father, Exchange Bank founder Manville Doyle.
1916Santa Rosa unit of state militia sent to Arizona June 25, 1916, to fight Mexico's Pancho Villa; later called toservice in World War I.
1917Santa Rosa Co. E, led by Capt. Hilliard Comstock, and Petaluma's Co. K are called to duty in World War I.
1917Santa Rosa General Hospital opens, becomes main "for pay" facility until Memorial opens in 1950.
1917Farm Bureau formed.
1917During World War I, government buys large quantities of prunes for dried fruit, big boon to industry.
1918Santa Rosa Jr. College opens its doors on Santa Rosa High School campus, offers 2-year AA degree,attracts 32 students.
1918Spanish flu epidimic hits, leaves 175 dead by early 1919; 160 children ill at Lytton home north ofHealdsburg (Oct., 1918); residents urged to wear masks; schools and theaters closed; heavy death toll at SonomaState Hosp.
1918James Armstrong's heirs sell family property to county; in 1934, state creates Armstrong Woods StatePark.
1918Quicksilver from Culver-Baer Mining Co. used in manufacture of ammunition in World War I.
1919Petaluma seeks to secede and set up own county; effort foiled by state legislature in 1921.
1919Lt. Fred Young, a World War I pilot, makes first landing of plane in Healdsburg July 5, crashes on takeoffJuly 7, survives.
1919Pilot Sam Purcell flies biplane from Santa Rosa to Petaluma in 11 minutes.
19201929Bootleggers, rumrunners become part of the scene as Prohibition era arrives across U.S. Speakeasies abound, with much smuggling activity allegedly going through the coastal town of Tomales. Federal agents seizedozens of barrels of wine in trucks between Santa Rosa and Petaluma, confiscate more liquid in the Dry Creekarea.
19201929During Prohibition hot claret wine gargle becomes popular "cure" for sore throats.
19201929Banker Frank Doyle calls meeting to study building of Golden Gate Bridge to link San Francisco and Marin County.
19201929John Grant forms company to generate electric power at the Big Geysers in northeast part of county.
19201929Technical problems complicate the process; giant McCrays Resort hosts tourists.
19201929Rosenberg family constructs tallest building between San Francisco and Portland at the corner of 4th St. and Mendocino Ave.
19201929
19201929H.W. (Bert) Kerrigan promotes Petaluma as World's Egg Basket.
19201929Aerial shows become popular. Pilot Leon Ferguson killed at Sonoma County Fair doing "daredevil tricks"as his father watches.
19201929Sebastopol opens Cnopius Field airport; facility becomes home to numerous barnstormer pilots.
19201929Paving block industry diminishes as auto owners demand more comfortable surfaces.
19201929Grace Brothers Frank and Joe close brewery during Prohibition, turn to other operations such as butterand ice cream.
19201929Partly because of legal loopholes, demand for wine grapes remains strong until 1925.
19201929Paris-born Alphonse Sondag paints scenes of California missions, Sonoma County sites.
19201929Healdsburg Prunepackers form strong semi-pro baseball team, disband late in the decade, reappear in1950s.
19201929Radio listeners get San Francisco programs, including one featuring a singing Boston Terrier from aPetaluma kennel.
19201929Mario (Moch) Lucchesi stars as player, coach, motivator for Petaluma semi-pro baseball.
19201929Jenner-Gualala coastal road link opens.
19201929Reed & Bell Root Beer Stand opens in Cloverdale.
1920Expanding farm exports to Europe, Sonoma County ranks 8th in nation in farm production. Crops includewine, eggs, prunes, hops, apples, dairying, livestock.
1920Sonoma County population 52,000, Petaluma population 6,266.
1920Vigilantes, apparently from Healdsburg, hang 3 men involved in killing of sheriff Jim Petray at the SantaRosa Rural Cemetery on Franklin Ave.
1920Grape acreage climbs from 21,000 to 42,000 between 1900 and 1920, with 250 wineries; Prohibitionundermines the boom. Major wineries include DeTurk, Fountain Grove, Korbel and Italian Swiss Colony. Smallerwineries produce "Dago Red." Sea Ranch area becomes a favorite hideaway for contraband liquor.
1920Crane family gains attention with sweet, distinctive Crane melons.
1920Ernie Nevers leads Santa Rosa High School football team to championship, puts American-style footballon the North Bay map. He also stars in basketball before returning to finish high school in the midwest.
1920Santa Rosa hires motorcycle policeman to chase speeding motorists.
1920Sonoma County Teachers Assn. organizes.
1920Santa Rosa High School's agricultural education program gains national recognition.
1921Santa Rosa High School, on Humboldt St., burns down Nov. 15, sending students to temporaryclassrooms around the city. New school opens on Mendocino Ave. in 1924.
1921Floyd Bailey becomes SRJC dean, serves 36 years, mostly as president, retiring in 1957. Clarence (Red)Tauzer volunteers as football/basketball coach in 1923.
1921Promoter Jack Prince opens Cotati Speedway auto race track to crowd of 20,000; Speedway closes in1922.
1921Cotati School, built in 1913, destroyed by fire. New school opens 1922.
1921Radio emerges as Press Democrat editor Ernest L. Finley arranges for Armand Saare to set up antennaand bring in first radio-communicated opera to a crowd on streets of Santa Rosa.
1921Egg Day wedding, brainchild of Petaluma promoter H. W. (Bert) Kerrigan, unites Murray Gow and LenaSpaich.
1921Officer Ernie Roberts makes "do or die" shot to save Petaluma Police Chief Mike Flohr during chase withwounded burglar.
1921Film The Moneymaker made near the Russian River.
1921Max and son Fred combine to construct Rosenberg Building at northeast corner of 4th and MendocinoAves. Tallest building between San Francisco and Portland, five stories tall, is completed in 1922.
1921First woman appointed to Santa Rosa police force; budget problems limit her stay to less than a year.
1921Petaluma successfully lobbies the federal government for tariffs to keep cheaper Chinese eggs fromundermining prices.
1921The Bauer and Baugh Co. pipes in orchestra music by wireless telephone from the Fairmont Hotel in SanFrancisco.
1921Windy winter storm puts ship Klamath on the rocks in Sea Ranch area, jeopardizing more than 50 people. Passengers and crew, including a baby, escape without harm.
1921Women's Improvement Club builds Cloverdale's first library.
1922Klu Klux Klan holds meetings, demonstrations and initiations in Sonoma County, mainly near Santa Rosaand Petaluma into 1925.
19222,000 gallons of seized wine poured into Petaluma sewer system, blocking a vent, "overflowing" city halland creating an unmistakable odor all over town.
1922Santa Rosa voters approve city manager form of government.
1922Angelo Rossi opens motorcyle shop in Santa Rosa, becomes sales pioneer.
1922Edson Merritt becomes manager of Sebastopol Apple Growers Union, establishes nationwide market forGravensteins.
1922Newspapers report October "race riot" between Japanese and Caucasian cannery workers in Graton.
1922Women included for first time on Superior Court jury.
1922Golden Gate Ferry Co. begins popular service to San Francisco May 28.
1923J.E. Keyes opens Chicken Pharmacy in Petaluma; operates into 1950s.
1923Speaking to WCTU in Healdsburg, a state legislator calls Sonoma and Napa Counties the greatestbootlegging counties in the state. Grappa, also known as jackass brandy, becomes a popular commodity.
1923Ku Klux Klan activity picks up with meetings at Lake Ralphine in Santa Rosa and on Petaluma Hill Rd;white robes and burning crosses included; activity diminishes by 1925.
1923Kawaoka family of Penngrove challenges 1913 California Alien Land Law, designed to discourageOrientals from passing land to children. Judge rules against Kawaokas but T. Fujita gets favorable ruling circa1928.
1923Judge Ross Campbell rules apartment house owners can refuse to rent to blacks, a first-of-its-kind rulingin California.
1923Doyle family donates money, land for Doyle Park in Santa Rosa.
1923Cline Theater in Santa Rosa offers many live performances, including violinist Efrem Zimbalist.
1923Healdsburg Prune Packers baseball team begins play at Matheson Field.
1923Sonoma opens new high school as city marks Mission centennial.
1923San Francisco Seals baseball team trains at Boyes Hot Springs most years into the 1940s. Oakland Oaksalso train in the area.
1923Giant fire wipes out much of Boyes Springs, nearby areas.
1923California Theater, with its mighty Wurlitzer organ, opens on B St. in Santa Rosa.
1924New north-south highway opens; Redwood Empire Assn. promotes area attractions.
192420 gas stations in operation in Santa Rosa.
1924Carithers family operates White House Department store before and after the ë06 quake; incorporationcreates Carithers & Sons in 1924.
1924Strike by carpenters working on Santa Rosa Schools lasts three months, includes attack on non-unionworkers with steel pipes.
1924Charles Dunbar elected to Santa Rosa City Council, becomes mayor and political power, including 7years as city manager.
1924Builder Walter Proctor offers "upper class" Proctor Terrace residential subdivision homes on/near BrydenLane.
1924Fishermen hook 40 cases of liquor dumped by rum-runners in Tomales Bay in July. Many hangoversreported.
1925Sonoma County has 141 grammar schools, 7 high schools and 8,132 enrollees: Analy 375; Cloverdale66; Geyserville 56; Healdsburg 282; Petaluma 575, Santa Rosa 697 and Sonoma Valley 156.
1925Santa Rosa paves 18 plus miles of street.
1925Sebastopol insurance man, Republican Herbert Scudder, holds state assembly seat until 1940.
1925To lure tourists, investors pledge money and build new Hotel Petaluma;
1925Jewish Community Center opens in Petaluma.
1925In the middle of Prohibition, Silvio Volpi takes over operation of historic Volpi's Italian Market onWashington St. in Petaluma; restaurant/bar are still operated by Volpi family.
1925Sonoma's Joe Ryan, "terror of bootleggers," becomes sheriff but dies of heart attack in 1926.
1925Panizzera family takes over Union Hotel in Occidental; hotel closes in 1930 but restaurant/saloon remain;Gonnella family takes over operation.
1926Luther Burbank's comments on "life in the hereafter" draw international criticism; he dies Apr. 10 of heartattack.
1926In perhaps the closest major race ever, Douglas Bills beats Petaluma Police Chief Mike Flohr by less than20 votes in election for sheriff. Flohr wins rematch in 1930.
1926McNear family gifts include land for McNear Park in Petaluma, a fire station and Petaluma Golf Club.
1926Petaluma population at 7,000; 2,000 chicken farms operate in or near the Egg city.
1926Al Hermann, noted for ability to do variety of chicken calls, builds Penngrove School.
1926Cries of outrage come from farmers as U.S. Army plane flies low over Sebastopol and Petaluma,"buzzing" frightened chickens.
1926Highway 101 reaches Cloverdale.
1927Giacondo Benedetti family moves from Italy to Sonoma, Santa Rosa and Cotati. Son Gene becomesmajor figure in sports and dairy business after World War II.
1927Promoter Charles Pyle organizes 480-mile "Indian Marathon" running event from San Francisco to GrantsPass, Ore., on Hwy. 101 in 1927-28. Mad Bull, aka John Southard, wins 1927 race in 7 days, 12 hours, 34 minutes;Flying Cloud wins in 1928, covering the distance in 7 days and winning by 17 miles.
1927Auto dealers hold 120-mile Sonoma County run in a White Ford. Three drivers log 2,813 miles, average43.5 miles per gallon at speed of 25 mph.
192724,000 vehicles operate in Sonoma County, including 19,000 autos.
1927Cotati organizes volunteer fire department.
1927P&SR railway opens mission-style depot at 4th and Wilson Sts. in Santa Rosa.
1927Six women including poet Eugenia T. Finn and Nell Griffith Wilson form Sonoma County branch ofAmerican Pen Women.
1928John Greeott buys large ranch on Chalk Hill Rd. Son George buys ranch, grows grapes, becomes folkartist and invents horseshoe known as the Greeott Grabber.
1928Gravenstein apple boom sees 1,800 carloads of fruit go to eastern and southern markets.
1928Star running back Ernie Nevers helps semi-pro Santa Rosa Bonecrushers football team win three straightstate titles (1928-30.)
1928Conductor George Trombley arrives, forms Santa Rosa Symphony; 1st concert is held April, 1928, at ElksClub. He conducts for 30 years, building group into 60-piece professional orchestra.
1928Sonoma Mission Inn Golf and Country Club course opens, takes heavy losses in Depression but surviveswhen purchased by Alma Spreckels.
1928Penngrove organizes volunteer fire department.
1929Santa Rosa Municipal Airport is dedicated north of city May 18. Richfield Oil Co. adds 125-foot steeltower.
1929Hilliard Comstock, president of Santa Rosa school board, is appointed to Sonoma County Superior Court,serves for record 34 years, later joined by Donald Geary, son of Congressman Thomas Geary.
1929First of many annual rodeos take place at the Millerick Ranch in Schellville.
19301939Noted winemaker Julio Gallo begins buying grapes in county; company eventually becomes 2nd largestvineyard owner in county, behind Kendall-Jackson. Son Bob Gallo produces high-end wines at Gallo Sonoma inHealdsburg.
19301939Press Democrat publisher E.L. Finley rallies support for building of the Golden Gate Bridge, opens radiostation KSRO in 1937 and writes major history of Sonoma County. Facing boycott for supporting the bridge, he isalleged to have said, "Damn the circulation! The bridge must be built."
19301939Numerous railroad lines discontinue service.
19301939Tin Lizzie Derby at Sonoma County Fairgrounds in late 1930s ends up with 22 of 50 cars in a huge pileup. Only injury: a broken arm.
19301939Marguerite Hahn moves to Cotati, becomes town librarian and newspaper correspondent.
19301939As Depression deepens, growth is reported in number of "hoboes," soup kitchen activity and assistanceefforts for the poor. Number of retail stores in county drops from 1,948 to 1,298 by 1935. California ConservationCorps and WPA hospital, school and other projects help county survive.
19301939Dance palaces such as the Grove and Rio Nido Lodge attract vacationers to the Russian River. Well-known bands appear, including Horace Heidt, Harry Owens and His Royal Hawaiians, Harry James, Phil Harrisand Glenn Miller. Harry Harris family sells Rio Nido resort in 1953.
19301939Industrialist Leonard Howarth leaves funds for parks, including Howarth Park and Lake Ralphine, heavilyused since the 1950s.
19301939Lawyer/judge/school board president Hilliard Comstock becomes a major figure in county politics into the1960s. Many political hopefuls seek his blessing before running for office. In 1930s during the Depression, heslows efforts to foreclose on delinquent farmers.
19301939Guerneville realtor E.J. (Nin) Guidotti spends 23 years on the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors,modernizing the board and winning friends and enemies before retiring in 1964.
19301939Incidents pit Caucasians against Filipino workers in west county apple orchards.
19301939Improved fruit drying methods spur apple industry.
19301939With help from market owners and butchers, Santa Rosa's "Dad" Burchell sets up soup kitchen on emptylot in depths of the Depression.
19301939Softball becomes a popular community sport in county.
19301939Petaluma's George Duke becomes prominent boxer, makes Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame.
19301939Redwood Players become popular theater group in Cloverdale.
19301939Mirabel Park draws San Francisco vacationers for dancing, fun at the beach and skating; includes parkinglot for 2,000 cars.
1930Sonoma County population 62,000. Farms total 5,700 in 1920, increase to 6,500 in 1930; number ofchickens: 3 million in 1920 up to 4.3 million in 1930.
1930Annual total of hops grown rises to 3 million pounds; main hop years 1880-1950.
1930Eleven Santa Rosa doctors and a druggist are arrested on charges of writing fraudulent prescriptions for"hot claret wine gargle."
1930Wesley Jamison leads agricultural education program at Santa Rosa High School until 1968, producingleaders of agricultural programs throughout the U.S.
1930Direct phone calls begin to London, Australia and elsewhere at a high cost.
1931First SRJC campus building opens on new site near SRHS.
1931Juilliard Park on Santa Rosa Ave. develops during the Depression.
1931Beautification projects begin to upgrade Sonoma Plaza, end in 1935.
1932Public agencies in county cut budgets and pay; hobo jungles appear on the Petaluma River andelsewhere; conflicts between banks and farmers in debt raise tensions. Petaluma voters approve funds for new DSt. bridge, hoping to put more people to work. Catholic priest Charlie Phillips of Sebastopol works to mediatetensions.
1932Cotati Inn built near Plaza, considered the ultimate in elegance for its time.
1932NWP buys Petaluma&Santa Rosa Electric Railway; passenger service ends.
1932Traverso and Arrigoni Market opens. Arrigonis set up their own market in 1937, introducting area to Italianfood specialities.
1932Cartoonist Robert Ripley returns to Santa Rosa, visits with favorite teacher Frances O'Meara.
1932Future baseball star Joe DiMaggio plays semi-pro baseball in Sonoma County through 1933.
1932Communist Party seek inclusion on ballot, present disputed signatures on petition. Most signaturesdeclared invalid.
1933Forestville minister James Case is threatened with foreclosure on his apple orchard. More than 2,000show up to support him. Judge Hilliard Comstock temporarily halts bank action. Case wins a reprieve but otherfarmers face foreclosure action.
1933As Prohibition ends in December. Italian Swiss Colony holds huge party to celebrate end of era; numberof wineries down to 70; decline carries into the 1960s.
1933Petaluma postoffice built at 4th and D Sts.
1933When his father dies shortly before the game Oct. 27, Santa Rosa High School football center Joe Kellypledges to "win one for my dad." Santa Rosa beats Analy 12-7.
1933Enmanji Buddhist Temple, building brought from Chicago World's Fair, is reconstructed without nails inSebastopol. Dedication Apr. 15, 1934.
1934As tensions between business, farmers and laborers intensifies, Harry Patteson becomes sheriff.
1934A Cotati poultry rancher and his wife register as Communists, a county first.
1934Socialist Upton Sinclair appears in Santa Rosa in July to promote his controversial End Poverty inCalifornia (EPIC) program.
1934Government sets up programs to provide projects, jobs; state labor camp opens at Armstrong Grove.
1934Sonoma County club formed to support Townsend old-age pension plan; Petaluma event draws 3,500 in1935.
1934Gentleman rancher John Rosseter raises greyhounds and horses, holds grand party to honor sire stallionDisguise. Disguise's colts become major winner for the Rosseter stable.
1934Sebastiani Theater opens on First St. East in Sonoma.
1934Goat Rock Beach on Pacific Coast becomes state park.
1934Petaluma Spartans organize first full-fledged marathon run west of the Mississippi; event continues into1950s.
1934Entrepreneur Joseph Coney buys Annadel properties east of Santa Rosa.
1934Amelia Mihan operates Hillside Hospital, first facility of its type in Sebastopol, until 1942.
1934Forestville School, built in 1899, destroyed by fire; classes held in church.
1934Floyd Bailey appointed first SRJC president.
1935El Molino High School is built as part of the Analy school district in Forestville. Opening enrollment was 300, leaving Analy with 1,550 students.
1935Eccentric cowboy Al Chamberlain fatally wounds Santa Rosa Police Chief Charlie O'Neal July 15. He isconvicted and dies in San Quentin Prison.
1935Crop and livestock value rises from $17.5 million in 1934 to $22 million. Poultry, dairying lead the way.
1935Sheriff Harry Patteson sets up "Army of Peace" to confront Depression-era protestors. Patteson punchesone striker in the face in his office.
1935Vigilantes, including well-known county personages, tar and feather protestors Jack Green and SolNitzberg as tensions rise throughout the summer. Farmer-dominated jury quickly acquits the accused.
1935Lena Bonfigli opens town's only nightclub on west side of town; Lena's becomes favored stop for WWIIservicemen.
1935Last NWP train leaves Duncans Mills Depot.
1935Petaluma holds first marathon run west of the Mississippi.
1936Fire destroys Rosenbergs Store May 8; rebuilt store opens at 4th and D Sts.
1936Guerneville realtor and justice of the peace E.J. (Nin) Guidotti serves 22 years on the county board ofsupervisors between 1936 and 1964, becomes board power.
1936Santa Rosa Fair Assn. forms, features horse racing, agricultural events. Purses of $7,400 in 1936 swell to$54,200 in 1950.
1936San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge opens in November.
1937Golden Gate Bridge opens in spring, much credit going to Exchange Bank's Frank Doyle. Project expectedto expand county economy.
1937Italian Swiss Colony recognized as world's largest winery.
1937E.L. Finley puts radio station KSRO, Santa Rosa, on the air.
1937Sonoma County Hospital opens with daily cost of $2 for each bed patient, only half of bay area tab.
1937Major flood hits Russian River in December; idea for Warm Springs Dam northwest of Healdsburg issuggested.
1937Sonoma Valley Historical Society being formed.
1937Glen Guymon becomes Santa Rosa High School drama teacher, builds on Hollywood connections andwidespread community support to develop acclaimed program.
1937Pasture of Paul Rued's ranch near Healdsburg becomes Alexander Valley Airport.
1938Sonoma population 1,050.
1938Santa Rosa Jr. College Bear Cubs win first conference football title; stars include Gene Benedetti, BobAcorne and Ken Battaglia.
1938John Frankfurter's Pioneer Motel south of Cotati serves as swim center for more than 30 years.
1939Santa Rosan Florian Dauenhauer invents hop-picking machine, minimizing the need for hop pickers.
1939Warehouse filled with dried prunes collapses in Santa Rosa, killing 11 men.
1939"Imported" Santa Rosa Jr. College ice hockey team draws large crowd, beats college teams, playing atGrace Bros. Brewery site in 1939-40.
1939County sets up major tubercular hospital near Community Hospital in Santa Rosa.
1939Sonoma County residents rush to attend World's Fair at Treasure Island through 1940.
1939"Ultra-modern" Tower Theater opens in October on Fourth St. in Santa Rosa.
19401949Elegant Topaz Room restaurant opens during WWII, "for officers only."
19401949Polio takes heavy toll in county.
19401949Sunset Line & Twine takes over Carlson-Currier silk mill.
19401949D-Day war hero Gene Benedetti comes home to coach Petaluma Leghorns semi-pro football team anddevelop the Clover-Stornetta Farms dairy operation. In 1948, Benedetti's Leghorn team scores 398 points in 12 games. Clover-Stornetta introduces "Clo the Cow" billboard advertising.
19401949Joe Vercelli, a 30-year employee, builds Italian Swiss Colony Winery at Asti with his publicity campaigns,also chronicles on paper and tape the history of the $2 billion (1999 figure) wine industry in the county.
19401949Louis J. Foppiano of Healdsburg's Foppiano Winery leads formation of Sonoma County Wine GrowersAssn., promoting county wines with a wine map and other innovations. Winery more than 100 years old.
19401949Cloverdale lumber industry flourishes.
194019499,000-plus acres of Gravenstein apples planted around Sebastopol.
19401949Melvin (Dutch) Flohr becomes a legend as Santa Rosa police chief, retiring in 1974.
19401949Clarence Ruonavaara emerges as pitching star at Healsburg High School, Santa Rosa Jr. College, UCBerkeley and with semi-pro Healdsburg Prunepackers.
19401949Dick Gray of Petaluma and Don Higgins of Sebastopol are dominant softball pitchers.
1940Sonoma County population 69,052; Santa Rosa 12,605.
1940On Oct. 16, 10,000 are expected to take part in county military draft signup.
1940In spite of Depression, almost 30 million dozen eggs are shipped from Petaluma area; peak comes in1945 at 51 million dozen.
1940Cotati's St. Joseph Church holds barbecue, which becomes annual community event.
1940Less than 10,000 acres of vineyards planted compared to 42,000 before World War I.
1940Santa Rosa gets first ambulance service.
1941Sonoma County has 35,000 population.
1941Navy man Bill Montgomery dies Dec. 7 at Pearl Harbor, first Santa Rosa casualty. High school andshopping center named in his honor.
1941Japanese in county number 758, 209 aliens and 549 citizens.
1941As war starts, 2 airfields and military camps open in Sonoma County; Army airfield is north of Santa Rosa,navy facilities west of town and in Cotati.
1941Government bonds, including popular $18.75 ($25 maturity) E Bonds, go on sale on May Day.
1941Blackouts begin in December, including one that lasts 3 hours five days after the start of World War II.
1941Football coach Bill Abbey comes to Petaluma High School, introduces the T-formation, and rolls up 5 titlesby 1959. His 1952 team is No. 1 in northern California.
1941Edward G. Robinson and John Garfield arrive in Sonoma Valley Mar. 22 to mark opening of movie TheSea Wolf, based on a Jack London story.
1941Ohlson family buys Del Mar Ranch, sets up sheep operation until 1965.
1941Civilians commute to Mare Island, Marinship and Hamilton Air Base to work and support war effort.
1942County Japanese-Americans and non-citizens are rounded up, sent to relocation camps during World WarII. Japanese-American volunteers join famed 442nd Regimental Combat Team. Members include Analy HighSchool graduates Leo Kikuchi and Peter Masuoka, both killed in combat in Europe.
1942School delayed, Bay Area youth brought in to do agriculture picking during war year.
1942Students at Santa Rosa High School rally in behalf of young teacher fired for being married to aserviceman. Dismissal deferred, but she resigns at the end of the school year.
1942Ernest L. Finley dies; in 1948, Bill Townes is hired to modernize paper, increase circulation.
1942U.S. Army leases Petaluma fairgrounds for duration of the war.
1942Lim Eng, head of the only Asian family in Cloverdale, creates distinctive wine bottles for Italian SwissColony Tipo Chianti.
1943New Santa Rosa Army air field north of Santa Rosa opens in January as training base for P-38 and otherpilots; naval base opens in June in southwest Santa Rosa.
1943U.S. Navy sets up auxiliary air station in Cotati for aircraft carrier landing practice. Other troops assignedaround city, county.
1943Moviemaker Alfred Hitchcock shoots "Shadow of a Doubt" in Santa Rosa, featuring local girl Edna MayWonacott as the "kid sister." Other movies made in Sonoma County include Happy Land (first movie for youngNatalie Wood), The Fighting Sullivans, the Farmer's Daughter and All My Sons.
1943More than 30 polio cases are reported in county.
1943California Youth Authority acquires property, builds Los Guilicos, a school for delinquent girls thatoperates for almost 30 years. Four-day riot put down in March, 1953.
1943Petaluma fire trucks are called out to break up post-football game riot after Santa Rosa-Petaluma footballgame in the fall.
1943First braceros come from Mexico as part of temporary farm labor force.
1943U.S. government builds German Prisoner of War camp at closed migrant labor camp in Windsor. Localfarmers hire POWs to work in the fields, helping solve wartime labor shortage.
1943Luisa Vallejo Emparan, last of Mariano Vallejo's 16 children, dies July 30 at 87.
1943Buyers of war bonds in Santa Rosa and Petaluma earmark funds to buy military aircraft.
1944Although not revealed until war ends, Japan launches balloon bombs, at least six of which land in countyfrom Dec., 1944 until mid-1945. There is no damage.
1944Port Chicago munitions explosion shakes Sonoma County.
1944E.A. (Colonel) Little establishes weekly newspaper The Cotatian; later owners are Ed/Helen Runyon andLloyd/Pru Draper.
1944"Miracle drug" penicillin is used for first time in county in March for woman suffering from pneumonia.
1944When winemaker Samuele Sebastiani dies, son August and wife Sylvia take over winery and expandoperation hundredfold.
1944Sun-O-Ma nudist colony flourishes near Sonoma until road access problems trigger legal problems.
1945Evert Person, son-in-law of E.L. Finley, joins Press Democrat staff. As publisher he sells paper to NewYork Times in 1985, does major philanthropic work in community, focusing on music, art and education, includingFinley Center, Luther Burbank Center for the Arts and Sonoma State University.
1945Parking meters come to Santa Rosa.
1945George Justman opens east Petaluma airport in December.
1946Petaluma Leghorns semi-pro football team plays first game against USF Frosh on Armistice Day. Teamcontinues with full seasons through 1958.
1946Benny Friedman opens hardware store in Petaluma, moves to large facility in Santa Rosa in 1970;Friedman is major contributor to saving of Christian Life Center building and builds Friedman Center for theJewish community in 1990.
1946Santa Rosa City Council, works on traffic, sewer, water issues; labels Santa Rosa "The City Designed forLiving."
1946Army air base north of Santa Rosa to become Sonoma County Airport.
1946Until 1972, Guerneville Stumptown Daze hails arrival of tourist season.
1946With long history of major fires, Occidental organizes volunteer fire department.
1947Chicago gangster Nick DeJohn, using the name Vincent Rossi and living in Santa Rosa, is found dead inthe trunk of his car in San Francisco. The death halts work on Villa Chanticlerc resort near Healdsburg, allegedly acenter of gangster influence.
1947C.J. (Red) Tauzer, early coach of Santa Rosa Jr. College sports teams, and major supporter of the school,replaces Herbert Slater as state senator.
1947Developer Hugh Codding constructs Quinley's Drive-In restaurant at College Ave. and 4th Sts. Al Quinleyalso operates Petaluma Drive-In.
1947Loretta Young and Joseph Cotton make movie The Farmer's Daughter near Petaluma.
1947Miniature chest X-rays used to screen people with tuberculosis, related problems.
1947Sonoma holds first modern Vintage Festival.
1948Banker Frank Doyle dies, sets up extensive Doyle Scholarship program at Santa Rosa Jr. College. By endof 20th century, $30 million is donated, affecting 55,000 recipients.
1948Pittsburgh Pirates set up Santa Rosa baseball farm team featuring young star pitcher Vernon Law. Teamfolds in 1950.
1948Switching chickens to wire cages and various automatic processes in late 1940s undercuts Petaluma's"family-farm" industry.
1948Art Volkerts joins Press Democrat staff, becomes editor and ardent advocate for growing county, includingWarm Springs Dam, earning enmity of environmental community that fears excessive growth. Volkerts editoriallybacks pro-dam votes in 1974 and 1979.
1948Hubert Scudder of Sebastopol is elected to U.S. House of Representatives, serves 5 terms.
1948Max Kortum holds "revolt" to protest construction of freeway through Petaluma.
1948County population rises to 98,100.
1948Petaluma's crime rate lowest per capita in nation.
1948Joe Negri Sr. opens Negri's Restaurant, offering family-style dinners.
1948Gladys Barnes and husband Ben do first of county's "biggest Halloween parties" as "Mother Witch" and"Father Witch." Annual parties continue until 1975.
1948Analy Theater opens in Sebastopol, operates until 1974.
1948Oscar Ludoff is first chief of new Forestville Fire Department.
1949Petaluma ships 48 million dozen eggs before downhill slide of poultry industry begins.
1949In spite of heavy criticism, new 4-lane highway built through Santa Rosa opens in May; critics point upnumber of deaths and injuries.
1949Sears-Roebuck opens largest retail store in Redwood Empire Sept. 15.
1949Under community pressure, Santa Rosa Jr. College board cancels speech by Washington State teacherfired as alleged Communist.
1949Tuberculosis specialist Dr. Robert Quinn hails drop in TB deaths to 12 as major improvement.
1949Catholic Hanna Center for neglected boys opens near Sonoma.
1949Sonoma Mountain area near Penngrove gets electricity; phone service comes 5 years later.
1949Two Santa Rosa Junior College football teams of Coach Bill Neel excel, winning 1949-1950 titles andGold Dust Bowl game.
19501959Bill Kortum opens veterinary practice, leads drive to locate Sonoma State College in Cotati/Rohnert Parkarea, becomes county supervisor and leader in statewide conservation movements, especially on the Sonomacoast.
19501959As Soviet-U.S. Cold War heats up, residents build backyard bomb shelters.
19501959Developer Hugh Codding turns orchards into suburbs, building Town and Country, his first shoppingcenter, and Montgomery Village. As promotion, he builds one home in Montgomery Village area in less than 4hours. Codding Enterprises becomes largest real estate firm north of San Francisco.
19501959In new era of "bankers and developers," major names include Codding, Henry Trione, Charles Reinking,J. Ralph Stone and Elie Destruel. Mortgage banker and financier Trione invests in timber and wine and contributesto community causes, including creation of Annadel State Park and Burbank Center for the Arts. He operatesGeyser Peak Winery until 1998.
19501959Banker James B. Keegan serves as Santa Rosa School Board member, fund-raiser for many causes.
19501959Drive-ins open--drive-in restaurants and drive-in movie theaters.
19501959Hardtop racers, led by Rod Zanoline, compete at tracks in Santa Rosa, Petaluma, and other bay areasites.
19501959Petaluma egg industry begins downturn.
19501959W. C. (Bob) Trowbridge builds canoe rental fleet on the Russian River and reigns as "Mr. Democrat,"building influence of party in second half of the 20th century.
19501959War hero general Henry "Hap" Arnold dies in mid-January.
1950Santa Rosa Memorial (Catholic) Hospital opens Jan. 1 with 90 beds, 93 staff. Fees are $10.50 a day forward bed, $15 for private room/bath.
1950Sonoma County population 103,405; Santa Rosa 17,900; Petaluma 10,300.
1950Sam Hood becomes city manager, guides growth of Santa Rosa as city nearly doubles in size asassessed valuation triples.
1950Press Democrat publishes morning, noon, afternoon editions for first time Feb. 6.
1950Rolf Illsley brings Optical Coating Lab (OCLI) to Santa Rosa, the first major high-tech firm in the county. In1998, company has 1,500 employees and revenues of $250 million. Major products are thin-film coatings andpigments that make ink counterfeit-proof.
1950Last steamboat, Petaluma, makes final run.
1950Lumber/housing boom raises Cloverdale population to 1,300.
1950Orchards in the area become available for development.
1951
1952First atomic-era civil defense drill Feb. 20 tests students' ability to "duck and cover."
1952Presbyterian Church of the Roses in new Montgomery Village area is built by 200 workers in 5 hours, 16minutes.
1952First wrist-wrestling competition held at Gilardi's Bar in Petaluma, turns into major TV event.
1952Arnold Sports Field, named after war hero General "Hap" Arnold, dedicated.
1952Teacher Joan McGrath becomes Sonoma's first woman mayor.
1952Petaluma High School football team beats Santa Rosa High 19-0 in showdown of undefeated teams inPetaluma mud at Durst Field.
1952With ex-major league star Dolph Camilli as coach, Santa Rosa Jr. College wins state baseballchampionship.
1953Inmates at Los Guilicos School for Girls east of Santa Rosa riot Mar. 23 after young women from southernCalifornia get transferred to the facility.
1953Karen Valentine, later to become a major television star, is Sebastopol Apple Princess.
1953Coney family builds Lake Ilsanjo, stocks it with fish.
1954Black activist Gilbert Gray helps form Sonoma County NAACP, with wife Alice sets up Gray Foundation tohelp minority youth.
1954Adolph Heck and family take over Korbel Winery.
1954Healdsburg opens new high school.
1954Adventurer Devere Baker builds 4 rafts, floats successfully to Hawaii with a small crew in 1958 on Lehi IV;trip takes 69 days.
1954George Smith and wife Joyce create Georgetown, a movie and family memorabilia center, on 30 acreswest of Santa Rosa.
1955Montgomery Village annexed to Santa Rosa, causing jump in city population from 18,000 to 30,000.
1955Developers close deal with Fred Rohnert and his sister July 12 for land near Cotati. First phase of newRohnert Park community starts in 1956.
1955New 101 Highway goes west of Cotati.
1955Actress Bette Davis plays librarian in movie "Storm Center," shot in Santa Rosa.
1955Writer Gaye LeBaron joins staff of Santa Rosa Press Democrat, with collaborators writes two definitivehistories of Santa Rosa and establishes herself as main historic voice in the county.
1956First free Salk polio vaccine shots given July 20 to 500 plus children.
1956PG&E makes plans to build power plant at Bodega Head.
1957Merchant and "hometown boy" Corrick Brown builds small-town orchestra into professional symphonyduring 38 years as conductor after replacing George Trombley. Brown brings in talented young artists for localaudience.
1958Democrat Joseph Rattigan becomes youngest Sonoma County State Senator, works for creation ofSonoma State University, senior health care and fair housing. In 1966, he becomes appeals court judge, noted foropinions on Bill of Rights issues.
1958Petaluma's first hatchery, The Pioneer, closes.
1958Peanuts cartoonist Charles Schulz and family live 10 years in Sebastopol before moving to Santa Rosa.
1959Coyote Dam at Lake Mendocino near Ukiah is built/dedicated in June.
1959Historian/reporter Gaye LeBaron's column appears for first time in Press Democrat Nov. 25.
1959The Santa Rosa Junior Symphony is formed under the direction of Eugene Shepherd.
1959Sonoma Valley Unified School District formed.
1959Mary Fazio opens tiny pizza shack, expands Mary's Pizza Shacks from Sonoma area to other parts of thecounty and beyond.
19601969Cartoonist Charles M. Schulz, creator of Peanuts strip, moves to Sebastopol and later Santa Rosa, builds Redwood Empire Ice Arena, holds annual senior ice hockey tournament. Strip is read by estimated 350 millionpeople.
19601969Environmentalists battle Pacific Gas and Electric Company over plan to build atomic power plant atBodega Head on the Sonoma coast.
19601969Petaluma initiates housing growth limits; city wins challenge to law in U.S. Supreme Court.
19601969Coddingtown Mall opens, one of the first modern facilties on the west coast.
19601969Breeder George Nicholas creates heftier turkey and major new industry.
19601969George Ortiz founds California Human Development Corp. as pioneering social services organization in32 California counties and 3 western states. Main goal is jobs and other types of training for the poor.
19601969Many Russian River summer cottages converted for year-around use; counter-culture people with arts andcrafts interests move into Russian River area.
19601969Financier Henry Trione and Santa Rosa City Manager Ken Blackman engineer creation of Annadel areahillside as a state park.
1960County population is 147,000; building of several mobile home parks spurs growth in Sonoma Valley;Sonoma City population 3,000, Sonoma Valley 20,000.
1960Joe Belluzzo founds first soccer league in Sonoma County.
1960Willard Libby grows up in Sebastopol, graduates from Analy High School, wins 1960 Nobel Prize forchemistry for discovery of Carbon 14 dating process, is strong advocate for use of nuclear power.
1960Jack London Park opens near Glen Ellen; 700 acres added in 1979.
1961Sonoma State University College (later University) opens in Rohnert Park in temporary quarters with 272students. Ambrose Nichols serves as president until 1970. Students from SSC create demand for living space inconverted Cotati chicken houses.
1961Sonoma Plaza is declared national historic landmark.
1962Sonoma County Historical Society organizes with 8 members.
1962"Hippie" revolution centers in west Sonoma County. Musician Lou Gottlieb opens Morningstar Ranch westof Sebastopol; others flock to Wheeler Ranch and turn summer cabins into year-around residences. Gay groupsalso move into west county.
1962Forestville builds its first park.
1962Incorporation of Waldo Rohnert Seed Farm into Rohnert Park, the brainchild of developer Paul Golis,takes place. By 2000, population reaches 40,000.
1962Civil rights becomes a public issue with sit-in at Silver Dollar Saloon May 20.
1962Phyllis Cantrell of Santa Rosa flies in four Powder Puff Derbies in 1960s.
1962Cotati's new, expanded hillside St. Joseph's Catholic Church looks out on Hwy. 101.
1963Cotati incorporates July 2, 1963.
1964Major fire threatens Santa Rosa, east county from Sept. 22-27; 30 Sonoma Valley homes destroyed;huge floods occur around Christmas.
1964Poultry Producers Cooperative, active since 1916, files for bankruptcy.
1964Sonoma County Planning Commission approves rezoning for upscale Sea Ranch development onnorthwest Sonoma County coast June 18. Plans call for 5,000-acre planned community. Environmentalists battleSea Ranch developers over beach access. Coastal Commission created and access compromise is worked outearly in the 1980s.
1964PG&E withdraws application to build nuclear power plant at Bodega Head on Oct. 30.
1964Hwy. 101 freeway opens through Healdsburg.
1964Ignacio (Ig) Vella, of Sonoma's cheese-making company, becomes "larger than life" member of theSonoma County Board of Supervisors until 1975.
1964Fairfield Homes begins construction of Oakmont senior housing development between Santa Rosa andSonoma. The project is annexed to the city of Santa Rosa.
1965Helen Putnam becomes Petaluma mayor, serves for 13 years, is key figure in taking Petaluma's slowgrowth ordinance to U.S. Supreme Court victory. She becomes county supervisor in 1978, dies in 1984.
1965Cotati's Tradewinds Tavern becomes major gathering spot for SSC students, some of whom plot drive toremove three veteran city councilmen. Two young councilmen later hatch plot to steal marijuana from the city'sevidence locker, which ends in their resignations.
1965El Molino High School opens in west Sonoma County, with 300 students, compared to 1,550 enrolled atAnaly High School.
1965Oceanic Properties buys Del Mar Ranch from Ohlson family, makes plans to built upscale resortdevelopment.
1966Sonoma County's much-loved courthouse in downtown Santa Rosa is demolished; major party marks itsdemise.
1966Kenwood holds World Champion Pillow Fights, turns it into July 4 event. Run ends 40 years later in 2006.
1966Fireman John Hurt dies June 29 fighting building blaze; first fatality in department.
1967Musician/philosopher Lou Gottlieb opens Morningstar Ranch in west county, attracts many counter-culturevisitors/residents in his "back to the land movement." Nudity, free love and drug use are images conjured up byfriends and foes.
1968Inn of the Beginning, located in the old Cotati Inn building, draws the Grateful Dead and other modernmusical groups.
1968Press Democrat circulation jumps from 22,400 in 1950 to 48,000 in 1968.
1968Sears Point Investment Co. constructs a multi-purpose auto raceway at Sears Point in southeastern part ofcounty. NASCAR events draw large crowds to facility, later known as Infineon.
1968Cardinal Newman High School football coach Ed Lloyd leads team to a record 47 straight wins starting in1968.
1968Petaluma's historic Continental Hotel, a downtown fixture on Western Ave., is destroyed by fire in May,1968.
1968Sonoma High School officials send controversial letter to some parents saying their children wererumored to be using drugs, triggering public debate on use of marijuana and lifestyle issues.
1969Major quakes rip downtown Santa Rosa Oct. 1.
1969Lou Gottlieb deeds Morningstar Ranch commune to God May 6, in effort to avoid fines imposed by localagencies.
1969Counter-culture becomes main part of the Cotati scene, led by artist and performer Vito Paulekas, whocreates a 9-foot tall statue of Indian Chief Cotate in the Cotati Plaza; Cotati Free Store performs as street theatergroup; Cotati Co-Op opens as health food store; student protests are common.
1969Fire destroys Boyes Hot Springs bathhouse in April. Resort dates back to 1880s.
1969Sis-Q Flying Service sets up aerial tanker fire-fighting operation in Santa Rosa.
19701979Voters approve severe state tax-limit measure known as Prop. 13.
19701979State Coastal Commission approved to control planning in areas near the Pacific Ocean.
19701979Voters twice approve long-delayed Warm Springs Dam project north of Healdsburg.
19701979Spring Lake/Annadel Parks east of Santa Rosa expand recreation activities in Santa Rosa.
19701979Hewlett-Packard agrees to buy 200 acres of Fountaingrove area for plant site, opens large high-techoperation in Santa Rosa.
19701979Guerneville called county's "gay boom town."
19701979Wine country prosperity grows.
19701979Tom McGrath becomes Sonoma State College president.
19701979Farm Trails Assn. forms to promote county agricultural products.
19701979Iva Warner becomes major environmental voice in 1970s and ë80s.
1970County population 205,000; Santa Rosa population 48,000
1970Ken Blackman, known for strong leadership, becomes City Manager of Santa Rosa, guides building ofSanta Rosa Plaza.
1970In county's "worst air disaster," Air Force transport crashes on ranch near Sears Point on May 5, killing 13.
1970First public employee strike in Santa Rosa lasts one and a half days.
1970Don Striepeke wins sheriff's race, holds office for 8 years.
1970Ann Neel teaches first women's studies class at Santa Rosa Jr. College.
197175 lawmen raid Wheeler Ranch, a "hippie commune" west of Occidental. 25 arrested but courts rulewarrant is too broad to be legal.
1971Roy Mikalson becomes Santa Rosa Jr. College president.
1971Sonoma State University offers its first women's studies course.
1971Gangland informer Joseph Barboza pleads guilty to murder charge in December.
1972Prop. 20 creates California Coastal Commission, impacts upscale Sea Ranch development on northwestSonoma County coast. In the end, Sea Ranch construction is ruled exempt from control of the commission, but thepublic is allowed five access trails to the beach.
1972Petaluman Bill Kortum leads organization of COAAST (Californians Organized to Acquire Access to StateTidelands.) Fellow environmentalist Chuck Hinkle elected to Board of Supervisors.
1972Petaluma develops plan to control growth by limiting number of housing units to be built each year. Citywins case in U.S. Supreme Court.
1972Press Democrat acquires rights to print Charles Schulz's Peanuts comic strip.
1972"The Candidate," a movie with a political theme, starring Robert Redford, is shot in Santa Rosa.
1972Women flyers form Sonoma Chapter of Ninety Nines.
1973Classic teen movie American Graffiti is made in Petaluma.
1973Jean Schulz marries Peanuts cartoonist Charles Schulz, donates to Canine Companions, Sonoma StateUniversity and other major funds.
1973Oil shortages bring odd-even gas rationing. Price per gallon jumps from 39 to 63 cents for a time.
1973Distaff, a campus women's newspaper, is published at Sonoma State University.
1974Environmentalist Bill Kortum wins seat on county Board of Supervisors, is recalled in 1976, but continuesas voice for preservation.
1974Christo Javacheff seeks county approval to build an 18-foot high curtain from Petaluma area to the PacificOcean--cost $500,000. Fence is up for 2 weeks in 1976.
1974Guanella Bros. softball team wins its first national title.
1974Russian River Wine Road publicizes wineries, attracts tourists.
1974U.S. District Court rules Petaluma slow growth plan unconstitutional.
1974Melvin (Dutch) Flohr retires after 34 years as Santa Rosa police chief; replaced by Sal Rosano, 35.
1974Spring Lake county park opens in Santa Rosa.
1974Santa Rosan Nancy Ling Perry, member of radical Symbionese Liberation Army, dies in Los Angelesshootout.
1974Sonoma County voters approve Warm Springs Dam plan 51 to 49%.
1974Codding Enterprises files lawsuit to stop downtown urban renewal project.
1974Marjory Downing Wagner becomes president of Sonoma State University, first female president inCalifornia State University system.
1974YWCA is founded in Sonoma County along with Battered Women's Shelter.
1975Sonoma County jobless rate soars from 10.6% to 13.5%.
1975County Taxpayers Assn. files for recall of Supervisors Bill Kortum, Chuck Hinkle and Ignacio Vella.
1975Petaluma slow-growth plan wins ruling in U.S. Supreme Court.
1975State Farm Insurance Co. plans move from Santa Rosa to Rohnert Park.
1975Sonoma County Commission on the Status of Women founded by county Board of Supervisors.
1975Athena House founded--reentry program for women offenders.
1975Michael Ritchie makes movie "Smile" in Santa Rosa, satire of a small-town "Miss Teenage America"contest. Many locals snag roles in the film.
1975Cloverdale holds first Old-Time Fiddle Contest.
1975Petaluma historic area converted into shopping mall called Great Petaluma Mill.
1975Fetters Hot Springs, occupied partly by Juanita Musson's restaurant, burns in March. One killed.
1976Drought hits county through 1977, raising fears of water shortages.
1976Helen Rudee, first female chairperson of the Santa Rosa Board of Education during 10-year stay, is firstwoman elected to Sonoma County Board of Supervisors.
1976Supervisors Chuck Hinkle and Bill Kortum recalled.
1976Healdsburg Museum, under the leadership of former city clerk Edwin Langhart, is founded.
1976Karen Peterson and J.J. Wilson publish Women Artists.
1977Fire damages McDonald Mansion in Santa Rosa in March.
1977State Parks Dept. acquires Olompali property south of Petaluma, owned by James Black, the Burdellfamily, Jesuit priests and a communal group.
1977Funds for Warm Springs Dam approved.
1978Sonoma State becomes university.
1978Petaluma Carnegie Library reopens as historical museum.
1978City of Sonoma raises money to rebuild Sonoma Depot as a history museum; dedication takes place in1979.
1978Donna Born becomes Santa Rosa's first woman mayor; Helen Putnam of Petaluma joins Board ofSupervisors.
1978SoNoMoreAtomics group forms in North Bay area to protest expansion of various nuclear power projects.
1978Santa Rosa's "most violent rally" occurs Sept. 30 when 9 American Nazis seeking to stage a rally at OldCourthouse Square clash with 150 angry onlookers. Several police go on permanent disability as a result ofinjuries incurred during the event.
1978Sonoma County celebrates first Women's History Week.
1979Voters give Warm Springs Dam big vote of support Nov. 6, opening way for building of dam north ofHealdsburg.
1979Kaiser Hospital plans to build $22.8 million facility in Santa Rosa.
1979Old Santa Rosa postoffice moves, and with 1985 opening, becomes Sonoma County Museum.
1979Teachers Management and Investment Corp. makes $15.4 million deal to buy part of FountaingroveRanch, largest real estate transaction in county history.
1979American Nazis return March 25, , hold 47-minute rally at Santa Rosa's Franklin Park.
1979First "Take Back the Night" rally to protest violence against women held in Sonoma County.
1979Women's Music Festival held in Penngrove.
19801989Kaiser Permanente opens first Santa Rosa medical office. Hospital opens in 1990, with 900 health careworkers at the facility.
19801989Bane bill in state legislature paves way for six public access trails at Sea Ranch development on northSonoma County coast.
19801989Brass Ass Saloon opens in Cotati, inspires Ass to Ass distance run from Santa Rosa Brass Ass to CotatiBrass Ass from 1982-86.
19801989New York Times buys Santa Rosa Press Democrat newspaper.
19801989Windsor begins period of growth with major housing development. Population in 1950, totaling 1,000,rises to 13,000 in early 1990s and to 27,500 by 2007. Unique town center spurs growth.
19801989Marshall Kubota becomes medical expert on AIDS, advocate toward working for a cure. From 1982-1999,there are 985 AIDS deaths in Sonoma County.
19801989Lawyer/vintner Jess Jackson builds Kendall-Jackson label into huge wine empire. With holdings in theU.S. and overseas, K-J annual revenues hit $300 million by the year 2000. Thirty new wineries operate in county.
19801989A modest Guerneville firm, Centennial Savings, becomes center of national financial scandal of thedecade. Well remembered is the Centennial Christmas Party in which company officials Erv Hansen and BevHaines invite 600 people to a lavish party at the Santa Rosa Veterans Auditorium. There are 480 live trees, 30,000Christmas lights, 14 bartenders and a large orchestra at a cost of more than $130,000. Money manipulation,shootings and prison sentences spice up the deal.
19801989Lawyer/activist Alicia Sanchez organizes workers' immigrant labor force in county.
19801989Nancy Dobbs is driving force in creating public TV station KRCB. A decade later, public radio station isadded.
19801989With activists Mary Moore and others in the lead, Bohemian Club protestors hold summer actions atmeeting site along Russian River.
1980County population 299,000. Over 10 years, Santa Rosa jumps from 50,000 to 83,000; Petaluma 33,000,Sonoma Valley hits 40,000, double 1960.
1980Santa Rosa teachers strike district from Nov. 14 to Dec. 19.
1980Winemaker August Sebastiani, son of pioneer Samuele, dies at age 66, leaving wife Sylvia as matriarchof prominent wine family.
1980Latino social activist Maria Rifo comes to Santa Rosa to continue work for social change after serving 12years as secretary for farm labor leader Cesar Chavez. Rifo dies in 2006, age 98.
1980Eddie Mae Sloan gets Humanitarian Award from Commission on the Status of Women for her work withblacks and poor people.
1980Burbank's Gold Ridge Farm in Sebastopol restored.
1980Hewlett-Packard employs 2,700 workers in county.
1981Christian Life Church, facing financial crisis, becomes Luther Burbank Center for the Arts. With fundinghelp from 24 leading citizens; arts center opens Nov. 6.
1982The Santa Rosa Symphony draws a crowd of 1,500 as it moves into its new venue at Burbank Center forthe Arts.
1982After years of lawsuits and other delays, controversial Santa Rosa downtown shopping mall opens.
1983First Gay and Lesbian Parade/Picnic held in Santa Rosa.
1983Warm Springs Dam, flood deterrent and water storage facility, is completed after decades of conflict. 1984
1983Janet Nicholas of the Nicholas turkey breeding family upsets Bob Adams to win seat on the county Boardof Supervisors.
1983Nancy Burton, a Santa Rosan since age 2, is second woman to win seat on Santa Rosa City Council. Inspite of breast cancer diagnosis, she serves 8 years on Council, including 2 terms as mayor.
1985"The Spill" Feb. 19-22 sends 750 million gallons of Santa Rosa wastewater down the Russian River,triggers demand for city wastewater disposal plan.
1985Federal government takes over insolvent Centennial Savings and Loan Aug. 20 as part of nationwide S&Lscandal; Windsor-based Golden Pacific S&L taken over weeks later.
1985New York Times buys Press Democrat, circulation 73,000.
1985Brenda Adelman leads campaign to keep Santa Rosa from dumping excessive sewage into the RussianRiver.
1986Don Green becomes founder of "Telecom Valley," establishing Optilink Corp. in 1986 and Advanced FibreCommunications in 1992. Eventually, some 15 telecom equipment manufacturing companies come to the county. Green makes $10 million donation for concert complex at Sonoma State University.
1986Russian River flood hits height of 48 feet, 9 inches at Guerneville Bridge.
1986Family differences end with call for Sam Sebastiani to step down as president of Sebastiani Winery. Brother Don, a State Assemblyman, takes over.
1986Glen Ellen rancher David Bouverie puts scenic farmland into Bouverie Audubon Preserve.
1986Valentine Day storm causes severe damage.
1986Movie Peggy Sue Got Married shot in Petaluma/Santa Rosa.
1986Folk singer Kate Wolf dies of leukemia at age 44; famous for "Sonoma County" folksong style.
198750th anniversary of Golden Gate Bridge draws 800,000 for span celebration.
1987Sonoma County reports more than 100 AIDS cases for year, behind only San Francisco in the state.
1987Wine grapes are leading farm commodity, worth $68 million, replacing milk production, 2nd at $64million. Milk led from 1950, replacing eggs.
1987Molly McGregor co-founds organization that becomes the National Women's History Project, helpsorganize Women's History Month.
1988Santa Rosa population, 108,700.
1988Rosenberg's Department Store closes Apr. 2 after 90-year run. Barnes and Noble bookstore savesbuilding from destruction in 1994.
1988County farm income is $246 million, including $84 million from wine grapes and $62 million fromdairying.
1989Winery worker Ramon Salcido of Boyes Springs kills 7 people, including his wife and two daughters, inmass murder rampage. He is sentenced to death.
1989Fatal 7.0 earthquake Oct. 17 rattles Sonoma County, postpones World Series baseball games in SanFrancisco.
19897,000 students register at Sonoma State University, up from 274 in 1961.
1989NASCAR holds its first Cup Series race at Sears Point (later Infineon) near Sonoma; Ricky Rudd winsbefore a crowd of 53,000.
1989Sam Sebastiani opens Viansa Winery overlooking Sonoma Valley.
19901999High-tech companies continue move into Sonoma County, create telecom boom.
19901999Congestion grows on Hwy. 101; bypass eases congestion in Cloverdale.
19901999Grape boom continues, spills into Lake and other counties. Richard and Saralee Kunde build county'simage as a prestige growing area in the Sonoma Valley.
1990Spotted owl declared a threatened species June 22, raising fear of restrictions on lumber industry.
1990Pacific Coast Air Museum created, presents first air show in county.
1991Arterial Vascular Engineering, later to become Medtronics, is founded; Its development of heart stentsreflects growth of high-tech industries in Sonoma County.
1991Accordionist Jim Boggio and friends create the annual Cotati Accordion Festival.
1991Local historian Ed Mannion, "Mayor of the Petaluma River," dies at 73.
1992Lynn Woolsey, the first former welfare mother elected to the U.S. Congress, wins seat in U.S. House ofRepresentatives.
1992Food writer M.F.K. Fisher, living at Bouverie Ranch for 23 years, dies at 83.
1993Body of kidnapped Petaluma girl Polly Klaas, age 12, found near Cloverdale Dec. 4 after two-monthsearch. Richard Allen Davis arrested; Polly's father Marc Klaas becomes advocate for better protection of children.
1993A founder of the Sonoma County Historical Society and Petaluma Historical Society/banker/PetalumaSpartans runner Ed Fratini dies at 91.
1994Randy Shilts, who reported on life in the gay community, dies of Aids complications in Guerneville Feb 17. His book: And the Band Played On: People, Politics and the Aids Experience."
1994
1994Richard Allen Davis admits to murder of Polly Klaas.
1994Republican Frank Riggs reclaims seat in House of Representatives as GOP takes control of both housesof Congress for the first time in 40 years.
1994San Francisco developer Tom Robertson restores historic Rosenberg's Department Store building,reopens it as a bookstore.
1994
1994"Guns for groceries" swap brings in large number of weapons.
1994Elsie Allen High School, named after famed Pomo Indian basket weaver, opens in southwest Santa Rosa,.
1994Santa Rosa Fire Department boasts 8 stations, staff of more than 100.
1994Ann Conner, author and first president of the Sonoma County Historical Society, dies in March.
1994Two young men allege allege they are victims of molestation, accuse Catholic priest Gary Timmons. Other suits follow.
1995Deceased lawyer/ex-mayor Charles DeMeo leaves $16 million to aid youth and homeless mothers.
1995Hewlett-Packard becomes county's first $1 billion manufacturing company; company plans new plant inRohnert Park.
1995Months-long storms soak county early in the year, ending years of low rain totals; county twice declared adisaster area.
1995Pianist/conductor Jeffrey Kahane replaces Corrick Brown, who retires from Sonoma County Symphony.
1995Former Santa Francisco 49er football star Joe Montana buys Sonoma County ranch.
1995Santa Rosa Catholic Diocese pays $1.3 million to settle civil claims involving two priests.
1995Sonoma County Crushers bring minor league baseball to county.
1995Wine industry expands, sets records as investment money pours in.
1995Sutter Hospital gets approval to buy Community Hospital.
1995New businesses move in as county takes part in "internet explosion."
1995Optical Coating (OCLI) expands thin-film coating operations, sets records.
1995"Dream Team" of investigators determine 1913 Jack London Wolfhouse fire was caused by accident,probably oily rags. Earlier theories included possibility of arson.
1996Peanuts cartoonist Charles Schulz and wife Jean donate $5 million toward library and computer center atSonoma State University; telecom guru Don Green follows up with $10 million for music center on campus.
1996Richard Allen Davis convicted in death of Polly Klaas in June.
1996Michael Rosen, prominent Republican and financial leader, is accused of swindling 60 investors of $6million, sentenced to prison in 1997.
1996Housing market bounces back, ending six-year slide.
1996Catholic Priest Gary Timmons pleads guilty in cases involving numerous sex acts wit children.
1996Sonomans take sides over controversial opera The Dreamers, based on the life of pioneer MarianoVallejo.
1996Petaluman Karl Kortum, leader in preservation of historic ships and head of the Maritime Museum in SanFrancisco, dies at 79.
1996New downtown Cloverdale Plaza dedicated.
1997Sonoma Index-Tribune publisher Robert Lynch writes story of Sonoma Valley, drawing on more than 50years of newspaper work.
1997Environmental activist Judi Bari dies of cancer at age 47.
1997Major storms again hit Russian River area.
1997County economy, in "golden age," grows 4th straight year. Jobless rate only 3.2%. Real estate sales up,with median price of $205,000 for existing homes.
1997Telecom equipment industry, mostly in Petaluma, booms. In 1995, there are 7 companies, 550 employees, $320 million in revenue; in 1997, 11 companies, 1,800 employees and $600 million in sales.
1997Coronary stints make big money for Arterial Vascular.
1997Big crush ends shortage of county grapes.
1997Santa Rosa Railroad Depot, built of stone quarried near Annadel, reopens in 1997 as visitor's center inRailroad Square.
1998In fourth year of major disruption, El Nino storm hits Bodega Bay seaside homes; Rio Nido rains bringdown mountainside, threaten homes.
1998Jobless rate drops to 2.6%; median housing price up to $220,000. Medtronic of Minneapolis buys ArterialVascular; Hewlett-Packard loses sales, cuts temporary workers.
1998With its first county pact in 26 years, United Farm Workers sign contract with Balletto Farms.
1998Jeff Gordon wins his first NASCAR title at Infineon before a crowd of 110,000.
1999Cartoonist Charles Schulz announces plans to retire famed Peanuts comic strip.
1999Julia (Butterfly) Hill agrees to pact to save redwoods, comes down from Humboldt County tree where she has been living for two years.
1999Catholic Bishop G. Patrick Ziemann resigns after facing sexual assault charges from another priest. Diocese is $16 million in debt.
1999
1999Sonoma County-connected threesome killed near Yosemite; handyman Cary Stayner accused after afourth murder.
1999Agilent Technologies spins off from Hewlett-Packard, OCLI sells to JDS Uniphase and Cisco buys CerentCorp. of Petaluma for $7.3 million.
1999Speculation fever increases in housing market as buyers camp out to make bids of homes. High-pay hightech money fuels the upswing. Median price hits $249,000.
1999Closing of Vacu-Dry plant in Sebastopol speeds downswing of apple industry, a 20-year trend.
1999The Santa Rosa Symphony joins Sonoma State University in planning a world-class music hall on theSSU campus.
2000Healdsburg population 10,722.
2000Peanuts creator Charles Schulz dies, age 77.
2000Native-American group plans casino north of Healdsburg.
2000Construction begins on Santa Rosa wastewater pipeline to the Geysers northeast of Healdsburg.
2000Home prices jump 26% to a median of $342,500.
2000Jeff Gordon claims victory for third year in a row at Infineon Raceway, adding fourth and fifth victories in2004 and 2006.
2001Dot-com boom ends as layoffs hit county. Agilent announces major cutbacks and several companies shutSonoma County offices.
2001County blames drop in tourism on 9/11 terrorist attack in New York City.
2001Long-time environmental leader Richard (Dick) Day dies. He worked to curb coastal development, stopthe building of Warm Springs Dam and put more "environmental candidates" in public office.
2001Burbank's Shasta Daisy named Sebastopol city flower on city's 100th birthday.
2001After expanding company, Don Sebastiani leaves family winery to set up own business. His sister MaryAnn takes over the operation with husband Richard Cuneo.
2002Health Plan of the Redwoods, local health insurance provider with 75,000 subscribers, goes out ofbusiness.
2002More than 20-year Catholic priest sex abuse scandal surfaces again with charges of coverup.
2002River Rock Indian Casino, county's first, opens.
2002Two freeway lanes added between Santa Rosa and Rohnert Park, easing congestion.
2003Graton Rancheria Indians seek to build "world-class" casino in Rohnert Park.
2003Santa Rosa completes $200 million Geysers wastewater project.
2003Open Space Agency acquires large chunk of land for parks, taking over ranch near Jack London Park inSonoma Valley for $9.1 million.
2003County economy sputters as Agilent announces large new layoffs.
2003Kaiser Permanente, provider of health care for 1/3 of county's population, opens new medical complexesin Petaluma, Rohnert Park and Santa Rosa.
2003Median home price nears $440,000
2004Major development of downtown Petaluma includes 12-screen theater complex.
2004Mounting casualties bring Iraq war home to county.
2004Petaluma homeless shelter, named after longtime activist Mary Isaak, opens.
2004Tax measure passes to widen Highway 101.
2004Median home price is $525,000, a 20% increase over 2003; gasoline hits $2.41 a gallon; Agilent plans toclose Rohnert Park plant; more than 2,000 manufacturing jobs move to other counties.
2005New housing construction highest in six years; median price of homes in Sonoma County hits $619,000but slumps to $466,000 by the end of 2007.
2005Former FBI official Mark Felt of Santa Rosa revealed to be the Nixon Era "Deep Throat," a key figure in thefamous 1970s Watergate political scandal.
2005Sam Sebastiani sells Viansa Winery to investors.
2006Santa Rosa and Sonoma County become part of Tour of California bicycle races. Santa Rosan LeviLeipheimer wins event in 2007.
2006Median home price hits peak of $619,000 in January.
2006Leading revenue producer in county is State Farm Insurance Co. of Rohnert Park.
2006Leading employers in county are two health care systems, St. Joseph (Memorial Hospital) at 2,800 andKaiser Permanente at 2,300.
2006Santa Rosa City Council honors Sonoma County Historical Society's Harry Lapham for his lifetime ofwork in researching and promoting the area's history.
2006Laguna Foundation forms to plan preservation of area between Santa Rosa and Sebastopol.
2006Bruno Ferrandis succeeds Jeffrey Kahane as director of Santa Rosa Symphony.
2007Lowering home prices, foreclosures hit county ecoomy hard as median price drops to $500,000.
2007Five largest companies in Sonoma County are State Farm Insurance, Medtronic Vascular (medicaltechnology), Jackson Family Wines, Kaiser Permanente medical facility and Pacific Gas and Electric Co.
2007Health care struggles leave Kaiser and Santa Rosa Memorial as dominant facilities.
2007Fears of agricultural labor shortage rise as nation deadlocks on how to deal with illegal immigrants. However, total agricultural output value in Sonoma County hits record $639 million; wine grapes, valued at $417 million, remain the leading crop.
2007Marijuana cultivation continues in spite of increased eradication efforts in Sonoma, Mendocino, Lake andHumboldt counties. Sources claim marijuana, although illegal, is California's largest revenue-producing crop.
2007Gang fears grow after fatal shooting of youth at a park near Sonoma in September and growing concernsabout home invasions involving drugs.
2007Horizon Air resumes commercial air service from county.
2007Container ship spills oil after hitting San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, fouling San Francisco Bay andthe Pacific shoreline.
2007Fatal shootings by law enforcement officials create growing community concerns.
2008"Subprime" housing crisis brings median price in county down to $325,000, almost 50 percent off its peakof $619,000 in 2005. Exchange Bank suffers its first losing year in a half century, mainly due to home constructionloans and real estate activities.
2008Gasoline prices skyrocket and fall, soaring toward $4 a gallon early in the year but dropping well below $2a gallon by December.
2008Dairy industry, once the leader in Sonoma County agriculture, suffers from cost problems--number ofdairies in county drops to about 70.
2008More than a decade after first charges, at least 17 Catholic priests have faced allegations and nearly $25million has gone to dozens of sex abuse victims.
2008Cloverdale population rises to 8,500 as wine grapes become dominant crop.
200837,000 students a semester enroll at Santa Rosa Jr. College.
2008Foley Wine Group of Santa Barbara buys historic Sebastiani Winery.
2008Petaluma marks 150th year; Analy High School has 100th birthday.
2008More than 93 percent of Sonoma County voters cast ballot, highest percentage in the state; area goesoverwhelmingly for new President Barack Obama.
2008European Union officials destroy 3,200 bottles of Gallo sparkling wine, claiming the company has no rightto call itself champagne.
2008Business Week magazine names Bodega Bay one of the most expensive and exclusive small towns inthe U.S.
2009Sonoma County remains in recession that began in October, 2007; at midyear, unemployment rises to10.3%, up from 6 percent a year earlier. As year nears end, county unemployment is 10.1%.
2009Food Economic crisis is pinpointed with August revelation that major real estate developer Clem Carinalli owescreditors some $150 million. Sonoma State University wrestles with problems caused bymillions of dollars in loans made by the university's Foundation to local land owners, including Carinalli.
2009For the first time in the history of local tax records, the assessed value of property in Sonoma Countydrops, a total of 1.3 percent.
200949ers Hall of Fame football star Joe Montana puts his his estate in Knights Valley up for sale for $49million.
2009Sonoma County gains 4,753 residents over the year, bringing the area's population to 490,231.
2009The H1N1 Swine Flue epidemic hits Sonoma County, causing 10 deaths and leaving 150 hospitalized.
2009Median home price drops to $305,000 in February, rises to #356,000 in November. Housing foreclosuresremain high.
2009Finished 9 months ahead of schedule, lanes are added on Hwy. 101 from Rohnert Park to north of SantaRosa.
2009Public employees (cities, schools and county of Sonoma) are laid off as government officials make sharpbudget cuts.
2009Carmina Salcido, now in her 20s, returns to Sonoma County, where her father Ramon killed most of hisfamily in a murder rampage in 1989. Her book is titled Not Lost Forever.
2010The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index ranks Sonoma County first in California and fifth nationwide for2009 on factors such as mental and physical health, job satisfaction and healthy behavior.
2010Showing that in spite of the Recession the wine business is still functioning, a total of 25,000 peopleattend the Wine Road Barrel Tasting during two weekends in March. People from 47 states generate a recordamount of more than $2.5 million in sales.
2010Showing that the Recession is lingering, statistics show Sonoma County bankruptcies soared from 461 in2006 to 2,264 in 2009.
2010Hugh Codding, a builder who changed the face of post-World War II Santa Rosa, dies in April at the age of92. Codding and his wife Ruby Jewell Codding gave critical moral and financial support to the founders of theSonoma County Historical Society.
2010Rev. James E. Coffee, 76, a longtime civil rights leader and pastor of the Community Baptist Church, diesin April at age 76.
2010David Sabsay, the youngest library director in California when he came to Sonoma County in the 1950s,and credited with creating an innovative, countywide library system, dies in March at age 78.
2011Figures show major increases in Sonoma County bankruptcy: 1,182 in 2007, 1,550 in 2008, 2,264 in 2009 and 2,574 in 2010. By the end of the year, the county unemployment rate is 9.9 percent.
2011As of September, there were more than 1,500 foreclosures registered.
2011Census of 2010 shows one-fourth of Sonoma County’s 483,879 residents are Latino, a sharp increase over 2000.
2011County growth during the decade is a relatively mild 5.5 percent.
2011Legendary “rowdy and raucous” restaurateur Juanita Musson dies in February in the Sonoma Valley she loved at the age of 87.
2011Hotelier/restaurateur Claus Neumann, who brought a “sense of sophistication” to the generally rural world of Sonoma County when he opened Santa Rosa’s Los Robles Lodge in 1962, dies Mar. 4 at age 81.
2011Evert Person, former Press Democrat publisher and philanthropist who gave an estimated $40 million to the Sonoma County Museum and other causes, dies Mar. 8 at age 96.
2011Billionaire winery founder Jess Jackson of Kendall-Jackson dies in April at age 81. He was also a racehorse owner and breeder.
2011Ignacio (Ig) Vella, who grew up in the Sonoma cheese trade and became a colorful county supervisor, dies at 83.
2011Elsie Rich, a woman who fled Vienna in 1938 ahead of the Holocaust, dies in Santa Rosa in December at age 110.
2011Philanthropists Joan and Sandy Weill pledge $12 million to Sonoma State University to complete the $120 million Green Music Center. Opening program at the center is scheduled for September, 2012.
2011Occupy Wall Street protests take place in Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Sebastopol, Healdsburg and in nearby counties . Occupy supporters focus on the “wealth gap” between rich and poor.
2011Critics demand public disclosure of pension records of Sonoma County government employees as retirement costs continue to rise. County leaders pledge to overhaul the system.
2011Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan continue to take a toll of American servicemen. The toll of North Coast soldiers killed in combat since 2002 rises to 15.
2011Grape growers suffer for the second year in a row at harvest time, with a 20 percent drop in yields in Sonoma and Mendocino counties because of weather-related problems.
2011Roseland School District makes plans to take over the historic Ursuline High School facility in north Santa Rosa. Funding problems force closure of the 130-year-old Catholic facility.
2012In late 2012, the median home sale price reaches $366,000, still well below the 2005 peak of $595,000. Unemployment rate drops to 7.7 percent.
2012Sonoma County population rises slightly in 2011 to an estimated 487,011. Windsor is the fastest growing area in the county, ahead of Santa Rosa.
2012In July, MasterCard Worldwide agrees to a $15 million deal to sponsor an outdoor pavilion at the Green Music Center on the Sonoma State University campus. The pavilion is planned as a permanent, all-weather tent structure on the east side of the concert hall. The $145 million Green Center opens in September with an inaugural performance by Chinese pianist Lang Lang. The coming of the complex was 15 years in the making. Some 3,400 attend the first performance.
2012A University of Toronto think tank lists Sonoma County as the 3rd most tolerant community in the United States, behind only San Diego and Napa County.
2012School boards in and around Santa Rosa face issues of “white flight.” Parents are reportedly taking children out of central Santa Rosa grade schools and sending them to more affluent surrounding districts.
2012In October, Santa Rosa bicycling star Levi Leipheimer apologizes as he admits to many years of doping while competing in international races. In October, he receives a six-month suspension from professional racing and is required to forfeit most of his results from 1999 to 2007, including a third place finish in the Tour de France in 2007. Leipheimer founded the popular GranFondo fundraiser ride which attracted 7,000 cyclists to Sonoma County in 2012.
2012The Press Democrat, the Petaluma Argus-Courier and North Bay Business Journal are sold to a local four-man partnership that includes former Congressman Doug Bosco and Darius Anderson, a developer from Sonoma and Sacramento lobbyist. Halifax Media Group had bought the local newspapers from the New York Times in January, 2012. The Times maintained ownership of the Press Democrat for 26 years after buying it from the Finley family in 1985.
2012Petaluma’s 12 and 13-year-old All-Stars go to the Little League World Series, win the hearts of fans and come home with a third place finish. Some 20,000 join in a welcome-home parade in September.
2012After many years of bruising political battles the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria break ground in June for a Las Vegas-style casino-resort in Rohnert Park.
2012After 20 years, former welfare mother and anti-war Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey retires. San Rafael Democrat Jared Huffman is voted into office to replace her.
2012Construction begins in January on the SMART commuter rail system through Sonoma and Marin counties.
2012The rise in payouts for public employee pensions causes local governments to seek ways to control growing costs.
2012Safety issues involving cars, bicyclists and pedestrians lead to a “vulnerable users” ordinance in Sebastopol.
2012Exchange Bank announces it will resume its popular Doyle Scholarship program for incoming students, a program that was dropped because of financial difficulties in the past five years.
2012Wine prices increase as Sonoma County celebrates its best grape harvest in five years.
2013Sonoma County attracts some 7.5 million tourists in 2012, a 6.2 percent jump from the previous year.
2013The North Coast wine harvest for 2012 is “the largest and most valuable” ever. Sonoma County wineries crush more than 265 tons of grapes, a 60 percent increase from 2011. Figures released in June place the value of county agriculture at $821 million, a 41 percent increase over 2011. Wine grapes, valued at $582,942,100, had a record year.
2013Year-end statistics show Sonoma County vineyard acreage more than doubles during a 20-year period, from 28,000 acres in 1989 to 62,900 acres in 2009. The total in 2012 is 59,219. There is also a movement toward a few major operators dominating the market--the 10 largest owners control 25 percent of the county’s vineyards.
2013Beer becomes a new economic force in Sonoma County with 18 breweries or more, three distilleries and four cideries operating in early 2013. Value of craft beer, liquor and cider production is $122 million.
2013Sonoma County jobless rate for May, 2013 hits 6.1 percent, a sharp drop from a year earlier at 8.5 percent. July jobless figure is 7.1 percent followed by 6.6 percent in August. Health care, hospitality and business services help strengthen the economy.
2013A July fire destroys the historic Frizelle Enos Feed Store on the eastern edge of downtown Sebastopol. The business had been in operation for 80 years. Arson was suspected.
2013University researchers, researching words used on Twitter, place Santa Rosa as the sixth happiest metropolitan area in the United States. Napa finishes first.
2013At mid-year 2013, Sonoma County housing market continues to rebound. County median sales price climbs to $439,000. An economic forecast in November indicates county is “clearly moving forward.”
2013The Bay Area’s largest casino, owned by the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria and located just outside Rohnert Park opens for business Nov. 5. The Graton Resort & Casino is valued at $800 million. At 340,000 square feet, it is the most expensive private development project in Sonoma County History.
2013In a “spinoff” move, Agilent Technologies announces plans to set up its electronics measurement division in Santa Rosa, where more than 1,100 employees are currently located.
2013Marches and vigils occur daily protesting the fatal shooting in October of Andy Lopez, 13, by a sheriff’s deputy. The deputy shot Lopez after he spotted the boy walking down a street with a BB gun designed to look like an AK-47 assault rifle.
2013As of July 1, Sonoma County population jumps 3,850 to 492,337 from a year earlier.
2013As part of the effort to restore the wetlands in San Pablo Bay, the Sonoma County Land Trust coordinates an $8.3 million deal to buy the 1,092-acre Haire Ranch on Skaggs Island.
20142013 is reported driest year in Santa Rosa history, with 8.71 inches of rain. Previous low was 11.38 inches in 1976, well below average of 32.2 inches.
2014No charges are filed against deputy accused in fatal 2013 shooting of 13-year-old Andy Lopez
2014French wine giant Pernod Ricard enters Sonoma County market, buying Kenwood Vineyards from F. Korbel and Brothers. Kenwood Winery was founded in 1970.
2014Strong earthquake, centered in Napa County, hits the North Bay early Sunday, Aug. 24. The 6.0 temblor strikes at 3:20 a.m., damaging homes, wineries and historic buildings. More than 200 people seek treatment in Napa but there are no fatalities. Most damage in Sonoma County occurs at wineries. Total cost could be more than $1 billion.
2014A countywide ban on plastic bags goes into effect Sept. 1. Policy is implemented because of environmental concerns about heavy use of plastic bags. Grocers and retailers are required to charge 10 cents for each paper bag they provide customers.
2014Keysight, an electronic measurement company that was a subsidiary of Agilent Technology, spins off and becomes the largest company ever based in Sonoma County.
2014A giant storm roars in from Hawaii Dec. 11, bringing hopes of ending the drought that has left much of the state with limited water supplies. Petaluma and Healdsburg face major flooding and many roads are closed. Cazadero, Cloverdale, Guerneville, Healdsburg and Santa Rosa all record five inches or more of rain over a 24-hour period. Palm Drive Hosplital closes in Sebastopol; Sutter Hospital opens at new location in Santa Rosa.
2014Graton Resort and Casino in Rohnert Park, in its first year, runs up $190 million in net revenue over six months. Its 2,000l workers make the second largest employer in Sonoma County.
2014After a long legal battle, Drake’s Bay Oyster Co. closes down at the end of the year.
2014Home sales fall for the second straight year although median price continues to rise. Median price hits $481,000 in November.
2014Food maker Amy’s Kitchen continues its growth, expanding its operations in New York, Santa Rosa, Medford, Ore. and Pocatello, Idaho.
2014Lagunitas Brewing Co., the fifth largest craft brewer in the U.S., expands from its Petaluma location with plans for more production facilities in Chicago.
2014Smaller counties, including Sonoma and Marin, gain from federal action to provide doctors with an improved payment plan for Medicare patients.
2015The U.S. Census Bureau reports that Sonoma County population reached 500,292 in 2014, surpassing the half-million mark for the first time.
2015Led by the grape industry, the Sonoma County Crop Report valued the 2014 farm sector at slightly under $900 million. The wine industry continues to expand in Sonoma County as fears grow over events that create crowded highways and bring fear of environmental damage.
2015Larger wineries, such as E&J Gallo Winery of Modesto, continue to acquire family-owned north coast wineries. Among Gallo’s purchases, the historic Asti Winery near Cloverdale.
2015Businessman-philanthropist Henry Trione, one of the shapers of post-World War II Sonoma County, dies in February at age 94.
2015Santa Rosa is ranked as having the third worst roads in the U.S. among midsized urban communities, ranked only behind Flint, Mich., and Antioch, Ca.
2015Huge Lake County fire starts Sept. 12 and slips into portions of Sonoma and Napa Counties. It destroys almost 2,000 structures and burns an area nearly five times the size of San Francisco. Four people are killed and insurance costs are estimated at $700 million.
2015Multi-year drought continues through 2015, forcing County residents to cut back on outdoor irrigation.
2015More than 3,000 people are estimated to be homeless in Sonoma County, increasing calls for local governments to create more affordable housing opportunities.
2015Nearing the end of the year, the median single-family home price is about $530,000.
2015In January, Kevin Jorgenson of Santa Rosa and partner Tommy Caldwell become the first to free-climb the face of the Dawn Wall at Yosemite’s El Capitan.
2015As Santa Rosa is declared the “medical cannabis center of the world,” some citizens praise the “open attitude” in the area while others express fears of crime and environmental concerns. In December, the Emerald Cup festival draws 21,000 to Sonoma County Fairgrounds for a weekend frolic.
2015Palm Drive Hospital is reborn as Sonoma West Medical Center, serving residents of west Sonoma County.
2015Following a sheriff deputy’s shooting of Andy Lopez, 13, in 2013, plans move forward to name an independent body to examine community relations with law enforcement agencies.
2015Russian River Health Center in Guerneville, which services 3,500 patients, is badly damaged by a suspected arson fire in December.
2015Craft beer giant Lagunitas Brewing Company expands, opening a new plant in southern California and selling a 50 percent stake in the company to Heineken International. The growing Sonoma County firm is now valued at around $1 billion dollars.