Lately I’ve been researching the importance of river and rail transportation to Petaluma’s history. As I scroll through microfilm copies of local newspapers I come across all sorts of fun articles that provide a snapshot in time for when Petaluma was the center of commerce for the North Bay. Such articles include this one from the Argus dated June 15, 1922:
“On June 10th three carloads of Petaluma eggs were shipped to New York and on the 12th one carload was sent to Los Angeles, while on the 13th another carload was shipped to New York. The five carloads aggregated a total of 2504 cases for the three days which is not so bad.”
Those eggs could very likely have been shipped on the Petaluma & Santa Rosa Railway which had just completed construction of the West Petaluma spur and trestle.
The spur linked to the P&SR’s main line at approximately Payran Street, then ran south behind the businesses backing onto Water Street - the Petaluma Poultry Company, Coulson Poultry & Stock Food Company, and Wilsey-Bennett Company – to Western Avenue. From Western Avenue and Water Street the spur continued onto the trestle with the G.P. McNear Company on one side, and the Petaluma River on the other. Having crossed the trestle, the spur continued south down First Street past Hunt & Behrens Feed Mill and warehouses, M. Vonsen Company Feed Mill, Cochrane Lumber Company, warehouses associated with G.P. McNear and the Poultry Producers and Central California and terminated at the Dow-Harriman Foundry, and the Petaluma Box Company at H Street, where Foundry Wharf is located today.
Petaluma & Santa Rosa Railroad Trestle Historic Structures Report prepared for the City of Petaluma by PAST Consultants – November 30, 2007
Sanborn Fire Insurance Map for Petaluma – December 1923
Polk’s Petaluma Directory – 1929-1930