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Established – 1881-1918

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Twenty years later, by the turn of the century, Glen Ellen was established in its present location. The San Francisco & Northwestern Pacific Railroad (S.F. & N.P.R.R.) had arrived in Glen Ellen in 1881 and could now be used to transport wine, as well as the region’s other agricultural products. J. C. Chauvet built his stone winery building south of the city in 1881 as well. The 1899 Sanborn Fire Insurance map shows that at that time two hotels and a grocery were located across the street from the depot for the S.F. & N.P.R.R., among which are scattered residences, north of the bridge across Sonoma Creek. South of the bridge is a cluster of buildings that are not the same buildings that would be there by 1905-1906, but nonetheless represent the same uses, including two general merchandise stores, a hotel, and a saloon, as well as residences. J. C. Chauvet owned the winery south of town by this time, which included the substantial stone winery building, used for fermenting and storage, with scales and the crusher on the south end, a cooper and hay storage building to the south, and a distillery at the far south end of the parcel.  

In addition to facilitating the export of wine and other products, the railroad also brought visitors to the region. The 1898 Reynolds and Proctor Atlas of Sonoma County featured two properties in Glen Ellen, Dr. C. C. O’Donnell’s Mineral Springs, “The Largest and Most Picturesque Pleasure and Health Resort in California,” which was located on a 103-acre property north of Glen Ellen on what is now O’Donnell Lane, and the White Leghorn Poultry Farm of C. H. W. Bruning, four miles west of town. It introduced Glen Ellen as being “. . . one of the loveliest spots in all the county – and that is saying a great deal.” The resort, which consisted of 30 cottages, among other facilities, was described as follows: “At Glen Ellen there are fine mineral springs which have proved by analysis to be the greatest remedy for liver, stomach and bladder complaints, rheumatism, catarrh and lung troubles. These springs are forty-six miles from San Francisco, to which there are four daily trains, via S.F & N.P.R.R. Company. Realizing what the utilizing of these springs will do for mankind, Dr. O’Donnell has expended large sums of money in laying out the grounds, making roads, buildings, cottages, etc. The cottages all have from three to ten rooms. They are all named.” The Glen Ellen Community Church, still extant, was in place here, and the resort boasted fresh, local produce and meat. In short, “The climate is unsurpassed. Elegant bathing, fishing and game abundant, and here all those seeking rest and health, or pleasure, can find a spot that will meet their wants which all can easily bear and in all an ideal summer and winter resort.”'


The Sonoma Home for the Care and Training of the Feeble Minded, which was 1670 acres in size at this time, was in place just south of Glen Ellen and provided a steady source of employment for local residents. The 1898 map of Glen Ellen, as seen in Proctor and Reynolds Atlas, shows both rail stations in place (see Figure 7). The S.F. & N.W.P.R.R. station was east of Sonoma Creek and directly west of what is Arnold Drive today (about where the parking lot  for the Glen Ellen Inn is). The town was made up of several small centers, as it is today. North  of Carquinez Avenue, where it meets Glen Ellen Avenue (Arnold Drive today), was Gibson’s Addition. West of the Addition and Glen Ellen Avenue was the depot for the S. F. & N.W.R.R. East of the Addition, on what is Railroad Avenue today, was the Southern Pacific Railroad Depot. North of where the Southern Pacific track turned east before continuing to Santa Rosa was “North Glen Ellen,” an area occupied by the properties along Riddle Road today. Southwest of the confluence of Sonoma and Calabazas Creeks, the heart of Glen Ellen, was Chauvet’s Addition, which was served by Carquinez Street (Arnold Drive today), Chauvet Avenue, and Madrone Avenue. The land north of Bennett Street (London Ranch Road today) was owned by Joshua Chauvet. The large land holding between today’s Warm Springs Road and Henno Road was owned by C. C. and Emma O’Donnell and operated as a resort (see above description).  

By the end of the first decade of the twentieth century Glen Ellen was quite well established, a result no doubt of the excellent railroad service, among other factors. The 1908 directory notes that Glen Ellen had daily mail, a Western Union telegraph, telephone service, and  a Wells, Fargo & Company express. The directory also showed that about 140 male residents called Glen Ellen their post office, which was now located in Glen Ellen proper. About 55 of those men referred to themselves as farmers. One was a rancher, one was a vineyardist, and one raised poultry. Five were wine makers, including Henry J. and Joshua Chauvet. The railroads proved good employers. There were four engineers in town, two conductors, two foremen, a baggage master, two brakemen, and one agent. Five teamsters and two blacksmiths catered to the older travel trades. The boom period no doubt attracted members of the building trades as well. There were seven carpenters in town, a brick burner, a clay worker, and a painter. The town boasted five people who worked in or owned general merchandise stores. The service trades were represented by four butchers, six hotel and three saloon owners or workers, one waiter, and two barbers. Other trades people included a shoemaker, a tailor, and a druggist. The professions were represented by one physician, one veterinarian, a nurse, a lawyer, a journalist, and a teacher. The town was served by one mailman and two firemen. In short, Glen Ellen had a full component of services necessary for any small town and center for surrounding agriculturalists. Its most substantial masonry buildings were in place, including the Hotel Chauvet (1906), Poppe Building (1906), Chauvet Building (1905) and Chauvet’s winery south of town (1881), as well as the J. Chauvet House (1906), the H. J. Chauvet House (ca 1880), and the Gaige House (ca. 1890) (note that these two latter buildings are wood frame). And although there were not many residences in town, the town provided employment for a substantial number of people.