Local History and Genealogy Notes

  • Unidentified chapel -- possibly on the Coast Guard Training Center, Petaluma (SCL Photo 18273)

    SCL Photo 18273

Going to Church--but Where?

This week's batch of unknowns are a collection of unidentified churches and chapels in Sonoma County, photographed between the late 19th and mid-20th century. Most are likely to be Petaluma-area buildings since they are in the Petaluma History Room's collection and perhaps only of them is still standing.

SCL Photo 28181

I suspect the chapel shown in SCL Photos 18273 and 28181 may be the old chapel on the U.S. Coast Guard Training Base near Two Rock, west of Petaluma. Note the cinderblock building to the right of the chapel in the Photo 28181


SCL Photo 9736

This modest country church building in the Petaluma area, photographed around 1935 is probably long gone. This shot shows the rear of the church.


SCL Photo 10817

A more recent unidentifed church, again in the Petaluma area, around 1970

SCL Photo 14910

A Sonoma County church, most likely pre-1906 -- by far the grandest of all our unidentified churches.


SCL Photo 6426

An unidentified Sonoma County church from the 1890s or early 1900s. 


SCL Photo 9793

This rural Petaluma area church was photographed sometime between 1960 and 1980. The building appears to be unused at the time of the photograph.

Unidentified Industrial Building Under Construction, 1975

Continuing with the commercial industrial theme, this week's set shows various stages of construction of a single, large -- and unidentified -- industrial building.The photos date from 1975 and the building may be in north Santa Rosa or Windsor, judging from the glimpses of hills in the background. Note the large pipes entering the building in Photo 2691 and the conveyor/elevator visible in both photos 2691 and 3181.

  1. Photo 2506

    Photo 2506 -- click to view larger image

  2. Photo 2519

    Photo 2519 -- click to view larger image

  3. Photo 2519

    Photo 2512 -- click to view larger image

  4. Photo 2600

    Photo 2600 -- click to view larger image

  5. Photo 2691

    Photo 2691 -- click to view larger image

  6. Photo 3181

    Photo 3181 -- click to view larger image




  • Unidentified Sonoma County commercial building, circa 1940s photo

    Unidentified Sonoma County commercial building, circa 1940s

More Unidentified Commercial Buildings

This week's set comes from a large group of unidentified Sonoma County commercial/industrial buildings -- I don't have information about where they might be located, but I'm fairly confident they are (or were) in Sonoma County, and most likely in Santa Rosa or Petaluma.


1. Apartment or commercial building, circa 1940s. Note early 1940s-vintage International Harvester truck visible in lower left. (SCL Photo 6825)

 Unidentified SoCo commericial or medical building

2. Unidentified building in disrepair, Petaluma, California, July 1991 (SCL Photo 5370). Note on photo indicates it was(?) located east of Don's Restaurant, but i could find no trace of a Don's Restaurant in Petaluma between 1980 and 1995, nor does one exist today. The only Don's Restaurant in Sonoma County during this period was located in Sebastopol.

3. Warehouse under construction or being maintained (SCL Photo 790)

4. Unidentified commercial building, circa 1940s (SCL Photo 1572). Note roller conveyor line visible through the windows.



  • unidentified building

Unidentified -- in Petaluma?

We have many, many photographs of different subjects in our collection that we can't identify. We're fairly confident they're Sonoma County shots, but beyond that...? Every so often I spot one that I do recognize and strike it from the long list, but most remain mysteries. This week's set comes from a large group of unidentified Sonoma County commercial/industrial buildings -- I think they may be located in Petaluma or nearby -- and I'm hoping someone can pin a name and location to one or more.

1. Warehouses, circa 1940s. Note 1941(?) Studebaker parked in front. Sign on the ground unfortunately obscured by shrubbery, but "W. ...R & Company" is visible. (SCL Photo 6900)

2. School? Office building? Probably circa 1950s or 1960s (SCL Photo 5814)

3. Feed mill? Circa 1950s 0r 1960s. Note mud and sandbags in foreground (SCL Photo 5806)

4. Unidentified warehouses, circa 1960 (SCL Photo 5783)

  • Harriet Parrish Barnes interviews actor Edward Arnold at KSRO, Santa Rosa, Calif. 1943. Photo courtesy of the Sonoma County Library (SCL Photo 30934) photo

    Harriet Parrish Barnes interviews actor Edward Arnold at KSRO, Santa Rosa, Calif. 1943. Photo courtesy of the Sonoma County Library (SCL Photo 30934)

Film Star Edward Arnold Endorses Petaluma's Fair

While researching the history of the Sonoma-Marin Fourth Agricultural District Fair which is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, I came across a Petaluma Argus Courier article dated July 19, 1947, that I thought readers of today might enjoy. The choice of words and style of writing paints a picture that will surely bring a smile to your face and for many spark memories of a hotel that was once a social hub for Petalumans and visitors alike. The following text is a retyping of the original article.

At least one famous Hollywood flickers star has endorsed the Sonoma-Marin Fourth Agricultural district fair to be held in Petaluma, July 25, 26, and 27. He is Edward Arnold - the Diamond Jim of the screen. In Petaluma Friday afternoon on his way to Bohemian Grove, Arnold with a group of friends stopped off at the Hotel Petaluma "to see the fish in the ponds on the back bar of the Lanai room." Instead they were shown a beautiful painting of a restful scene in the Redwoods to the north.

This scene, a mural in the Redwood room of the hotel, emphasizes not only the redwoods, but the Redwood highway on which Petaluma is located. This fact was brought home to Arnold by Harold Eckart, proprietor of the hotel and while he was doing this, Chappie Carpenter walked in on the scene looking for a bromo. He was wearing a ten-gallon Stetson, a western shirt and tie -- boosting the fair.

In this hat hangs the tale - for Chappie has been sporting it for the past several years at about fair time, and inevitably it has been autographed by many of the brighter lights -- and lesser ones too. One of the lesser ones was the city editor of the Argus-Courier who was given the privilege at this auspicious gathering, followed by Eckart who called on Arnold for his signature.

"What for?" queried Arnold. "For a junior stock show? Why sure, anything for the kids, and for a fair." And then with great pains he affixed his "Edward Arnold" to the sombrero, drew a deep breath and let go with one of those famous Arnold laughs winding up with "Good luck to your fair."

And we take that as an endorsement.

The mural referenced above is currently in the possession of the Petaluma Museum. It was first hung at the Hotel Petaluma in 1945 as part of a $75,000 remodel project initiated by Harol Eckart. Among other "improvements" a cocktail lounge known as the Lanai Room was replaced by the 150 seat Redwood Room.