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Sonoma County History

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Community Stories and Historic Context Statements

Learn About Sonoma County History!

Collage of five historic drawings of farm homes and farmland in Sonoma County. Clockwise from top left: 1) Residence and Foundry of C.P. Hatch, Petaluma, Sonoma County, California. 2) Rose Glinn Residence of J.M. Freeman, Petaluma TR., Sonoma County, California. 3) Residence of William P. Hall, Bloomfield, Sonoma County, California. 4)Residence of Jonathan Harmon, Petaluma, Sonoma County, California. 5) Residence of William Sexton, Nurseryman, Grower of Fruit, Ornamental Trees and Shrubbery, Petaluma, California.
Copyright © 2000 by Cartography Associates. Used with permission.

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!

Gaye Le Baron’s Digital Collection of Articles about Sonoma County History