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 Sonoma County California

Sonoma County. Organized in 1850. Bounded north by Mendocino, northeast and east by Lake and Napa, south by San Pablo Bay, and southwest and west by Marin and the Pacific Ocean. Area, 1,400 square miles. Assessed valuation of property for 1874, $16,800,825. County seat, Santa Rosa. Principal towns: Bloomfield, Bodega, Cloverdale, Donahue, Forrestville, Guernville, Healdsburg, Petaluma, Sebastopol, and Sonoma. The resources are agricultural and mineral. In the first, including fruit culture and vine making, Sonoma ranks among the leading counties in the Stater and in the latter recent developments indicate an unexpected and enormous wealth. The fertile valleys extending north from San Pablo Bay, with the lovely climate of perpetual spring and summer, attracted to this section the earliest Spanish settlers, and it possessed a considerable population when the country came into the possession of the Americans. The many attractions drew hither the first immigration of our own people disposed to make permanent homes in the country, and it consequently became, and continues to be, one of the most populous counties of the State. It is the leading grape-producing county, and the wine, champagne, and brandy of Sonoma have obtained a wide and deservedly high reputation. In the production of wheat, oats, corn, and potatoes, it is also among the foremost. The northwestern portion is mountainous, and well covered with forests, the principal trees being redwood, oak, laurel, and madroflas. In the northeast are high volcanic peaks and precipitous ridges, where subterranean fires still manifest their presence. Boiling springs, the most noted being the Geysers, sulphur springs and beds of that mineral, are numerous in this section. The Russian River, the largest stream in the county, enters from Mendocino, and after a winding course of more than eighty miles, empties into the Pacific Ocean. The large valley and gently rolling hills bordering this river and its tributaries constitute the principal agricultural region, and in no part of the world can a superior be found. Mark West, Santa Rosa, Green Valley, and Dry Creek are branches of Russian River, the latter entering from the north, and all flowing through valleys of great fertility and exceeding loveliness. The Sonoma Valley, giving name to the county, combines every feature of attraction that climate, soil, and scenery can give. This is the great wine-producing section. Valley and hill are covered with the graceful vines, and from them come the wines and champagnes which have already obtained a wide celebrity. The Walhalla is a considerable stream in the northwestern part of the county, emptying into the ocean, and the Sonoma and Petaluma are small creeks flowing into the bay of San Pablo. These afford water communication with San Francisco. The western coast possesses several good lauding places, but no enclosed, safe harbor. The San Francisco and North Pacific Railroad traverses the county from the Bay at Donahue, to Cloverdale, near the northern border, a distance of 56 miles, always in a very fine section of country, and thus opening it to travel and business in the most convenient manner. The Marin and Sonoma Narrow Gauge Railroad is proposed to connect at San Rafael with the North Pacific Coast Railroad, and run via Petaluma, Donahue, and Sonoma, to Suscol, in Napa County, where it will connect with the Napa Valley branch of the California Pacific, and give railroad communication with all lines now constructed. Another is also proposed from Santa Rosa to Guernville, and these, when completed, will establish a system of great convenience to every interest. The mineral resources of Sonoma were but slightly regarded prior to 1874. Several medicinal springs were known, and, with the Geysers, were places of fashionable resort. People were familiar with the beds of sulphur in the mountain called Sulphur Peak, and veins of cinnabar had been found, but little attention, however, had been paid to them. In the last year mining developments have been carried on with much energy, and the county is now known to contain quicksilver, chromic iron or chromite, copper, gold, silver, sulphur, valuable stones for jewelry, building and paving stones, and other minerals of importance. The chief mining interest centers in quicksilver, and Cinnabar District, or Pine Flat, on the north-eastern border of the county, is the seat of greatest operations. A large number of locations have been made, the most noted being Sonoma, Annie-Belcher, Oakland, Missouri, Rattlesnake, American, and Great Western. There are also many others quite advanced in development, in this and Lake County, the quicksilver region being in both counties, and extending northwesterly from St. Helena Mountain to near Cloverdale, and supposed to reach through Mendocino, to the ocean. A large number of furnaces and mills have been constructed, and the flow of quicksilver has already commenced. Another important industry is the mining of chromic iron ore, usually called "chrome," which is obtained in large quantities near Cloverdale, at a slight expense, and is sent by rail and steamer to San Francisco, whence it is shipped to various manufacturing centers, where it is used in the arts pertaining to colors. These mineral developments, together with the agricultural, timber, and other resources, invite wealth in a variety of forms, and offer opportunities for labor, and the investment of capital, perhaps not surpassed in any equal area in the world.
Officers: A. P. Overton, County Judge; John T, Fortson, Clerk; William E. McConnell, District Attorney; Edward Latapie, Sheriff and Tax Collector; Ben S. Wood, Recorder and Auditor; G. T. Pauli, Treasurer; W. C. Gaines, Assessor; C. B. Scott, Surveyor; John Holman, Coroner; (vacant). Public Administrator; A. C. McMeans, Superintendent Public Schools.

California Gazetteer | AHGP California

Source: Pacific Coast Business Directory for 1876-78, Compiled by Henry G. Langley, San Francisco, 1875


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