“A Sleepy River Town Grows Up”

Petaluma Trestle and River FrontHow many of you read the special history section in the September 24th edition of the Argus-Courier entitled “Once a sleepy river town, Petaluma has grown up in 160 years? Since then, several letters to the editor have commented on how well written the various articles in that special section were and how much more they learned about our River Town’s early history.


Many topics were covered, including the history of the first newspapers that would later become the Argus Courier, the Petaluma’s Woman Club, the Petaluma and Haystack Railroad, the local schools, Petalumans-of-Yesteryear-300x155businesses, and the early medical facilities. Also included were a series of shorter articles with photographs of some of Petaluman’s esteemed citizens. Four of these featured residents are now portrayed by the “Petalumans of Yesteryear” – Lyman Byce (Inventor of the Chicken Incubator), Brainerd Jones (Architect), William Howard Pepper (Founder of Petaluma’s first kindergarten), and Capt. Thomas Baylis (Boat Captain).


cemetery-cypress-200x300If you missed reading this history section, check out a copy in the Petaluma Historical Museum and Library. If you wish to learn more about all nine of today’s “Petalumans of Yesteryear,” plan to attend the Museum’s annual Cemetery Walk on Saturday, October 17th., 10:30 a.m. at the Cypress Hill Cemetery. (Fee = $10.00) For more information, phone (707) 778-4398.

Historical Photo Found In Renovation of Petaluma Hotel

This photo was found by the new owners in the renovation of the Petaluma Hotel and shared by them yesterday.  This photo of an indian (or man dressed in indian garb) and a woman holding a basket of eggs was taking in the atrium of the hotel. We thought you would enjoy it.

Positively Petaluma CategoriesWith the addition of Bill Hammerman to our contributor staff we added a column call “Our Favorite River Town” you will be seeing more posts about Petaluma history.  We wanted to share a little known secret – On our Categories Drop Down tab locate on our sidebar you can see the many categories to choose from.  One tab is History and things like this photo will show up in that category.  Try it yourself.   We have over 200 posts on Positively Petaluma and they are all categorized to help you find information you want to read about on posts future and past.


Check out our History category if you are interested in our posts sharing Petaluma History.

Which Came First—the Butter or the Egg?

Picture Girl Riding ChickenMost Petalumans have either heard of or been to Petaluma’s annual Butter and Egg Days Parade. Many of us have even participated in it and some have grown up going to it every year. But how many of us know the full history behind Butter and Egg Days?

Drawing nearly 25,000 attendees each year, the parade celebrates the city’s long history of producing eggs and dairy. Since the early 1900’s, Petaluma’s economy has depended heavily on the production of the local agricultural community. Petaluma was home to the largest chicken hatchery in the world by 1906 and by 1923 housed the only chicken pharmacy in the nation.

Butter & Egg Days HistoryIn order to promote Petaluma and the consumption of eggs, Petaluma Chamber of Commerce Secretary, H.W (Bert) Kerrigan began National Egg Days in 1918. The first National Egg Day parade brought in four newsreel companies who then made films of the parades, which were shown across the nation. Petaluma celebrated National Egg Days through the 1920s with much enthusiasm and support from the local community.

Clo The Cow Leading The Butter & Egg Days ParadeWhile the tradition of National Egg Days ended in the late 1920s, the idea carried on and inspired Alice Forsyth and Linda Buffo to establish Petaluma’s Butter and Egg Days in 1981. The original egg theme was used, although the egg industry was no longer as prominent as it had been in the 1920s, while the dairy industry had grown. For that reason, the 1983 committee decided to ask local dairies to participate, thus creating Petaluma’s annual Butter and Egg Days.

The parade was brought back in order to celebrate the town’s culture, history, and heritage. This year is our 34th celebration of Petaluma and the farmers whose contributions have made our town possible.

The Petaluma Butter and Egg Days parade and festival is a community event that brings everyone together and displays the best that Petaluma has to offer. The parade and festival celebrate Petaluma’s rich culture and history, bringing together the past and the present, as we join together to look forward with hope.


#Petaluma’s Veteran’s Day Parade: Schedule, Highlights, History & Video

Photo from the Press Democrat

Joe Noriel with the Purple Heart City sign at Putnam Plaza on Petaluma Blvd, Photo Argus Courier
Joe Noriel with the Purple Heart City sign at Putnam Plaza on Petaluma Blvd, Photo Argus Courier

Update February 14, 2015, PCA Releases 2014 Veteran’s Day Parade Video

Positively Petaluma would like to thank our men and woman in the United States armed services, we salute you! By sharing the following information we would like to honor of our veterans and the memory of our fallen soldiers.  Petaluma in the last year was named The Purple Heart city and our veterans were saluted in pre-Memorial Day Ceremony in May. Each year Petaluma’s Veterans Day parade provides for the best venue for families from all over to celebrate and remember the members of our military. Freedom is not free and many of our vets have paid the ultimate sacrifice for us so we can enjoy the freedoms we often take for granted.

Photo by Conner Jay, The Press Democrat
Photo by Conner Jay, The Press Democrat



Argus Courier Petaluma360.com reports Veterans Day Parade, Nov. 11 on November 4, 2014

Petaluma Patch reports What’s On Tap For Veterans Day In Petaluma on November 7, 2014 by Susan C. Schena



#Petaluma Celebrates the Centennial of Northwestern Pacific Railroad

Trains were a big factor in our local economy and industry.  The fact that we have a Northwestern Pacific Railroad Museum and Historical Society is because Petaluma would not be the town that it is today without the rail system.  Positively Petaluma did a little digging into the history and wanted to show you some vintage photos of the train history in Petaluma.

Here are some photographs we found in the Sonoma County Historical Archives.

getimage (2) getimage (3) getimage (4) 15277


Our historical Petaluma Visitor Center and art center is the original train depot and in the past has served as the center of our city’s transportation since 1914.  In 1991 it was featured in a made for TV Hitchcock thriller in 1991.  Today it will become a depot for the new Sonoma Marin Rail Transit Commission (SMART) train system.

Here are historical photos of our Petaluma Depot.

#Petaluma’s First Firefighter James Mott Not Forgotten

You may have seen some of the posts on James Mott and his memorial on October 23.  This led me to do a little more research on him.downloadThe first firefighter in Petaluma was 1873 but at that time there were no city employees and only volunteers.  James Mott was the first paid Petaluma firefighter for our city starting 1807 and became a part of the YOUNG AMERICA ENGINE COMPANY NO. 3, PETALUMA FIRE DEPARTMENT. He was also the city jailer and ambulance driver well-known for his special bond with his horse Black Bart. He is also the first Petaluma firefighter making the ultimate sacrifice while fighting a fire in the downtown who lost his life in the line of duty in a vehicle explosion on October 20,1912.   His life would end a few days later at the age of 57.


You can click on the photo of the newspaper to read the article of the story in the San Francisco Call.  I had not seen it mentioned anywhere else, but the Mayor of Petaluma, William H. Zartman, at that time also served as a volunteer firefighter and he was badly burned in this fire.  Additionally a former Petaluma Fire Chief Henry J. Myers working as a volunteer had both ears burned off. The article indicates Mott inhaled flames from the fire.  The force of the blast was taken directly by James Mott burning him severely. Despite being burned firefighter Mott assisted the injured bystanders to safety and helped extinguish the intense fire. This newspaper reported that over 25 people were seriously burned as a result of this explosion and fire.