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World War II and Beyond - 1941 to the Present

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The Sonoma Valley was actively promoting their wines in this time frame. They were featured with other California wines at the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition at Treasure Island and in March 1941 the Sonoma Valley vinyardists attended a meeting in Santa Rosa with other winemakers that were interested in more actively promoting their wines. In 1944 four newsreel companies traveled to the Sonoma Valley to film the grape harvest. The results were shown in theaters in the United States, South America, and England and at army bases worldwide. And in 1947 the first Valley of the Moon Vintage Festival was held on Sonoma Plaza.


Glen Ellen Building Construction Dates by Decade

Dates District30> Corridor
1880 - 1889   3
1890 - 1899 1 2
1900 - 1909 3 8
1910 - 1919 14 3
1920 - 1929 20 10
1930 - 1939 42 13
1940 - 1949 61 25
1950 - 1959 67 7
1960 - 1969 53 14
1970 - 1979 37 11
1980 - 1989 41 7
1990 - 1999 15 4
2000 - 2009 4 6
Vacant 59 13
No date 74 1
Not on list 35  
Other 23 1
Total 54912831>

Note that the construction dates for the district have not been corrected, whereas the construction dates for the corridor have, which accounts for some of the differences in numbers between the two. 31 Note that the discrepancy between the number of properties in the corridor identified in the survey and the number of properties in the corridor in this table is due to the fact that the list of properties that tabulated construction dates has more than one entry per property in some cases more than one building was recorded on some properties.

Changes in the war years are reflected in development in Glen Ellen. While growth in Glen Ellen as a whole was more or less evenly distributed In the decades of the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, by far the largest number of structures built in the corridor (that are still extant) were built in the 1940s, many in 1940. Most of these are residences, and some former residences now serving commercial purposes. This may be attributed to the need for housing for war industry workers at Mare Island and elsewhere, which put a strain on housing stock throughout the Bay Area. For example, historian Mel Scott has noted that 14,000 workers at Mare Island traveled three-to-five hours a day to work in Vallejo, which is 28 miles from Glen Ellen. And the Navy commissioned Pacific Greyhound Lines to bring workers from as far away as Healdsburg.

As seen above, the wine industry continued to grow in the postwar years, regaining its health after the Prohibition. A third factor that may be attributed to growth in Glen Ellen during and after the war years is the fact that the Northwestern Pacific Railroad abandoned its line in Glen Ellen in 1942. The land formerly occupied by rail lines, between Sonoma Creek and Arnold Drive, then became available for development. As mentioned above, Glen Ellen continued to see steady – primarily residential - development in the postwar years. This was the case throughout the Bay Area and Sonoma County as a whole, as subdivisions, as well as individual lots, were developed for housing for returning soldiers. It was common, on the west coast, for soldiers who had been stationed in bases on the west coast to return to those areas after the war. The Bay Area as a whole also saw massive immigration of war workers at Kaiser Shipyards and others defense industries during the war years, and it is likely that many of those people stayed as well. Housing continued to be in high demand. In the Bay Area as a whole, 40,000 building permits for single family homes were issued in 1950, more than half of them in unincorporated areas in the counties. The table above shows that the largest period of growth in Glen Ellen’s history occurred from 1950 to 1959.