Sonoma County History
Community Stories and Historic Context Statements
Learn About Sonoma County History!
Histories of Local Areas and Structures (Historic Context Statements)
Permit Sonoma maintains a collection of the histories of Sonoma County’s unincorporated areas. Within these documents you can find stories that span decades, describe individuals or communities, or chart architectural trends or urban design transformations. Each statement uncovers something new about our collective history.
These narratives are important in understanding how to best preserve and strengthen the identity of a historic place or structure. These local histories deepen our understanding and appreciation for Sonoma County’s rich cultural heritage and help inform decisions regarding how to manage new development in a way that respects and strengthens community identity.
When a building, structure, or area in Sonoma County is designated as a Historic Landmark or District, a Historic Context Statement is required. It is prepared in accordance with criteria established by the California Office of Historic Preservation and the National Secretary of the Interior’s standards. This information conveys how that property type came into existence and why it is important to the history of the place. For example, a Historic Context Statement for Mission San Francisco Solano in Sonoma might describe Spanish California and how the Mission helped develop the town of Sonoma.
Explore the resources below!
- Sonoma County Historic Overview
- Bennett Valley - Benjamins Ranch
- Bodega Corners
- Dry Creek Valley
- Dry Creek Valley - Hop Kilns
- Duncans Mills
- El Verano - Paul’s Resort
- Glen Ellen
- Glen Ellen - Jack London Village
- Glen Ellen (Olea Hotel)
- Kenwood (Peter Maroni House, demolished 2015 due to earthquake damage)
- Kenwood (Pagani Winery)
- Russian River
- Santa Rosa Area (Italian Community and Basalt Quarrying)
- The Springs (Sonoma Mission Inn)
Links to Historic Narratives from the 1800’s
Free book downloads on Google Play:
- Historical and Descriptive Sketch Book of Napa, Sonoma, Lake, and Mendocino: Comprising Sketches of Their Topography, Productions, History, Scenery, and Peculiar Attractions, C.A. Menefee, 1873
- Historical and Descriptive Sketch of Sonoma County, California, Robert Allan Thompson, 1877
- An Illustrated History of Sonoma County, California: Containing a History of the County of Sonoma from the Earliest Period of Its Occupancy to the Present Time, Lewis Publishing, 1889