“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.

#Petaluma Celebrates “The Birth of an AVA – Petaluma Gap”

Recently the Petaluma Historical Museum and Library had a fantastic display of our city’s viticulture history.  Kaye Chandler did a great job in capturing the display on video (which can be found on the next page of this article).  Over the years our town’s rolling hills have evolved into what now is starting to look like the Sonoma or Napa Valley.  After reviewing Kaye’s film you realize that Petaluma families have been making wine since the mid 1900s (some sources say for over 150 years).

Keller Estate & Petaluma River, Photo by Wayne Dunbar

While we have a rich history in viticulture, 2015 marks the birth of a new American Viticulture Area (AVA), The Petaluma GAP. An AVA is a designated wine grape-growing region in the United States distinguishable by geographic features with boundaries defined by the Alcohol and Tobacco Trade Bureau and United States Department of Treasury. The geographic features that distinguish the Petaluma GAP is the wind and the fog. The “GAP” refers to the wind gap named after a coastal mountain opening that stretches east from the Pacific through the town of Petaluma and then roars south to San Pablo Bay which makes this AVA ideal for growing certain grapes (Pinot, Chardonnay & Syrah).  The AVA designation allows the wine makers to label their bottles indicating the grapes in the wine came from this region.

On Friday, January 30 from 6-8PM located at the Healdsburg Public Library the “The Birth of an AVA – Petaluma GAP” event will be hosted by the Wine Library Associates of Sonoma County and the Petaluma GAP Winegrowers Alliance.  This is a great opportunity to have some wine and learn about the region.  Tickets are $35 per person but only $25 for Wine Library and Alliance members.  You can reserve tickets by calling (707) 433-1660 or purchasing tickets on Eventbrite.