Western Sonoma County Historic Resources Survey

Western Sonoma County Historic Resources Survey

The Western Sonoma County Historic Resource Survey team conducted a comprehensive visual assessment of County Planning areas #1, #6, and the City of Sebastopol, excluding prehistoric or archaeological data. The extent of historical research varied across different areas due to the availability of research volunteers and historical materials. The survey area predominantly comprised farmland, agricultural land, and timber areas, which have remained unchanged since the 1850s. Due to limited secondary research materials, they heavily relied on the knowledge of property owners. General historical information was obtained from the 1877 Atlas, as well as the 1911 and 1937 histories of Sonoma County. Conducting primary research would have been necessary to gather more historical data, but it was challenging considering the vast scope of the survey and the volunteer resources available.

Sebastopol's "Train Down Main" (Photo 30-21)

To verify ownership names, old road locations, transportation routes, and defunct towns, the survey team cross-referenced many sites and areas with the 1867 Bower's Map, the 1877 Atlas, and The Official Map of Sonoma County, dated 1908. They also consulted professional historians, such as Gaye LeBaron, Harvey Hansen, Harry Lapham, The Fort Ross Historical Society, The Jenner Historical Society, the Sonoma County Historical Society, and their sponsoring organization, The Western Sonoma County Historical Society, for the histories of more sensitive areas.

This survey presents a well-balanced collection of resources from throughout the map areas, showcasing various activities that have taken place since the 1830s. It includes landmarks, farm units, the rural narrow-gauge railroad, towns of different sizes, and remnants of various structures representing human involvement in the area's growth between 1850 and 1940.

The survey is available in three volumes (see below for detailed contents and access to specific sections):

  1. Final report
  2. Resource lists and forms
  3. Supplementary material

Due to the number of included forms, Volume 2 is divided into three parts, outlined below. The resource lists for the map areas (also included in Vol. 1) are organized by map numbers (e.g., 24A), and accompanied by multiple resources or district resource identification letters (e.g., 24Ac). The lists contain information such as the Historic Name (if known), address, Architectural Style, estimated construction date, use or zoning, parcel numbers (1981 and 2023), National Register of Historic Places designation (4D, etc.), photo numbers (e.g., 02-35), and selective notes on the current (2023) status. 

Please note that survey page references included in the Sonoma County Local History Index refer to the photocopy of the original edition and have not yet been updated to reflect the present edition.


View more than 500 individual photographs of historic resources taken for the survey in 1979-1980, as well as a small number of photos taken for the 1975/1976 Sebastopol Historic Buildings & Site Survey. Each photograph is linked to its resource survey page and includes additional links to maps showing the resource location.

Expanded resources lists including photo file names, parcel coordinates and current parcel use are available for download as Excel spreadsheets:

Volume 1: Final report

Preface to the Revised Edition iii
What is a Historical Resource? vii
Final Report 1
I. Overview 1
The Major Communities of the Sonoma County Coast (1850-1941) 1
The Early American Communities (circa 1850-circa 1941) 2
Economic Development (circa 1850-1941) 4
Sebastopol—the Gold Ridge 5
II. Preservation Activities 8
III. Statement of Purpose 9
IV. Methods Used 10
Survey Design 10
Outline of Survey Methodology 10
Utilization of Citizen Participation 11
Inventory Criteria 11
Use of a Computer in the Survey Process 12
Initial Field Survey 13
Photography 14
Mapping 14
V. Final Results 14
VI. Key Map and List of Sites Surveyed 17
VII. Recommendations 55
Historic Districts 55
Design Districts 56
Sebastopol 57
Building Codes and Tax Incentives 57
Building Codes 58
Tax Reform Act of 1976 58
VIII. Conclusion 59

Volume 2: Sites Surveyed


Part 1: The City of Sebastopol

Sebastopol Commercial Area-- Map Area S-1 61
North Sebastopol Area -- Map Area S-2 129
Western Sebastopol --Map Area S-3 273
South Sebastopol Area -- Map Area S-4 307

Part 2: Coast and Russian River Area

The North Coast -- Map Areas 1A-18E 433
Jenner, Duncans Mills -- Map Areas 23C-24E 601
Bodega Bay -- Map Areas 30A-30D 685
Camp Meeker, Occidental -- Map Areas 23C- 25F 735

Part 3: Southwestern Sonoma County

Bodega, Freestone & Valley Ford  -- Map Areas 31A to 31D 845
Graton, West Sebastopol, Bloomfield -- Map Areas 26A-26C & 32A-32C 985

Volume 3: Background and Supplementary Materials

Western Sonoma County Survey (Sonoma III). Analysis report; prepared April 1981 by Marilyn Lortie; submitted April 1981 1173
Western Sonoma County historic resources survey. First phase--final report, August 20, 1980 1179
Western Sonoma County historic resources survey. Introduction [incomplete] 1179
Western Sonoma County historic resources survey. Inventory files [photocopies] 1215
Sebastopol (District S1-S4) 1217
Stewarts Point (District 9) 1369
Duncans Mills, Jenner (District 24) 1383
Bodega Bay (District 30) 1421
Valley Ford (District 31) 1437
Graton, Western Sebastopol (Districts 25-26) 1467
Bloomfield (District 32) 1501
Historic Building & Site Survey Forms -- Sebastopol (1975/1976) 1529
Order list of additional historic photographs used for research [photocopies] 1563
Bibliography 1567