Petaluma Historic Resource Survey

Petaluma Historic Resource Survey

The Petaluma Historic Resource Survey was the first of three surveys of Sonoma County historic resources conducted under the direction of the firm of Dan Peterson, A.I.A., Architect between 1977 and 1981. This first survey (Sonoma I) took in historically significant buildings and other features within the city limits (with a small number of outlying sites). Later surveys examined the resources of the City of Santa Rosa (Sonoma II), and of Sebastopol and western Sonoma County (Sonoma III). An additional survey took place in Healdsburg in the mid-1980s.

From the introduction:

Petaluma is fortunate to possess a great number of distinctive buildings, many of which survived the devastating 1906 earthquake, unlike those in San Francisco and Santa Rosa. These early structures in combination with later buildings represent the architectural history of the city's cultural and urban development. Much of the community's noteworthy architecture is a result of its close commercial relationship to San Francisco and shows the influence of the Victorian Cast Irons, the works of Architects Ernest Coxhead and Julia Morgan, and the fine work of their own Architect, Brainerd Jones.

The City of Petaluma, through its Historic and Cultural Preservation Committee, authorized this Architectural/Historical Resource Survey. This survey is one of the first comprehensive inventories conducted under the 50-50 matching survey grant program sponsored through the Office of Historic Preservation, State of California, and funded in part under the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. The underlying intent of this program is to produce an inventory that can be incorporated into the local planning process and preservation program.

The scope of the survey was to identify the architectural resources that give Petaluma its essential character, taking into account the overall historical development, maintaining a reasoned mix of building periods and types to present a balanced view of the community, and identifying sites and districts which appear to meet the criteria for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places at a National, State, or local level. Scholarly research was kept to a minimum as this only becomes necessary for National Register nominations and State Landmark applications.

218 Prospect Street

The survey is available in four volumes (see below for detailed contents):

Volume 1. Final report and Inventory of sites and buildings (Areas 1-3)

Volume 2. Inventory of sites and buildings (Areas 4-6)

Volume 3. Inventory of sites and buildings (Areas 7-10)

Volume 4. List of Representative Sites, Conclusion & Recommendations, and Appendix


The report was created with the contributions of:

City Council of Petaluma
Petaluma Historic And Cultural Preservation Committee
Heritage Homes of Petaluma
Joyce Miller and Ron Frank, teachers at Petaluma Junior High School, and their  American History Classes

Special Collections & Expertise

Aletha Olmsted
Ed Fratini
Ed Mannion

Historic photo collection, Heritage Homes of Petaluma
Photographers: Paul Amaroli, Intern; Steve Knutson, Volunteer

Dan Peterson, A.I.A., Architect staff

Dan Peterson, Principal
Geraldine Peterson, Associate
Connie Braito, Assistant
Bette Patterson, Assistant
Nina Liston, Assistant
Paul Amaroli, Intern
Cynthia Peterson, Intern
Charles Peterson, Intern
David Sherman, Intern
Mary Anne Curme, Intern



I. Introduction
II. Methodology
III. Criteria
IV. Historic Overview
V. Map of Districts
VI. Inventory of Sites and Buildings

1. Cedar Grove
2. Old East Petaluma
3. Brewster

Volume 2.

VI. Inventory of Sites and Buildings (continued)

4. Walnut Park
5. Wickersham Park
6. Oak Hill

Volume 3.

VI. Inventory of Sites and Buildings (continued)

7. Carpenter
8. Conway
9. McNear Park
10. Outside of Survey Area

Volume 4.

VII. List of Representative Sites
VIII. Conclusion & Recommendations
IX. Appendix

A. Petaluma Ordinance--Preservation of the Cultural and Historic Environment
B. Historic Preservation Building Code
C. Historic Preservation and the Tax Refonn Ast 1976
D. State Historical Landmark Registration and Point of Historical Interest Registration
E. The National Register of Historic Places
F. Grant In Aid under the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966
G. Historic Research Bibliography