Russian River

A collection of history links


Russian River Historical Society


Historical Photograph Sampler

Magic Lantern Slides


The Russian River: A Historical Perspective
by Marty Roberts and Ron Schilling

History of Development: Water Perspective
by Sonoma Flood Control and Water Conservation District

History of the Russian River Valley
by Dutton Goldfield

Russian River: Brief History
by Fern Grove Cottages

Brief Wine Growing History

by Russian River Valley Winegrowers

Yesterday on the Russian River: Photos


Fort Ross Historical Park
by California Department of Parks and Recreation

Russian Settlement at Fort Ross
  Historical Landmarks

View Photos

Fort Ross
Founded in 1812 by Russians from Alaska. When Russians withdrew to Alaska in 1841, Captain Sutter bought the improvements and supplies. The State acquired the fort in 1906 and the remaining buildings-Greek Orthodox Chapel, Commandant's Quarters, and Stockade-were restored. The chapel, destroyed by fire in 1970, was reconstructed in 1974.
Location: 19005 Coast Hwy, State Hwy 1 (P.M. 33.0), 12 mi N of Jenner

Luther Burbank Home and Gardens
In this garden Luther Burbank wrought with living plants to bring to the world greater fertility, wealth, and beauty, developing new varieties that produced better fruits and more beautiful flowers.
Location: 200 block of Santa Rosa Ave, Santa Rosa

Hood House
This was the site of Rancho los Guilucos (18,833 acres), which Governor Juan Bautista Alvarado granted to John Wilson and his wife, Ramona Carrillo, sister-in-law of General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo, in 1839. The house, constructed in 1858 by William Hood for his bride, Elsia Shaw of Sonoma, incorporates the original bricks fired on the property. The property was purchased in 1943 by the California Department of the Youth Authority for Los Guilucos School for Girls.
Location: Hood Mansion, Santa Rosa Jr College, 7501 Sonoma Hwy (Hwy 12), Santa Rosa

St. Teresa's Church
Constructed of redwood in 1859 by New England ship's carpenters on land donated by Jasper O'Farrell, the church has served this coastal community continuously for over a century. Father Louis Rossi was appointed pastor on March 8, 1860, and Archbishop Alemany dedicated the church on June 2, 1861.
Location: Bodega Hwy near Bodega Ln, Bodega

Bodega Bay and Harbor
Discovered in 1602-03 by Vizcaino's expedition, the bay was named by Bodega in his survey of 1775. The harbor was used in 1790 by Colnett and in 1809 and 1811 by the Kusov expeditions. The Russian-American company and their Aleut hunters used the bay as an outpost until 1841, Stephen Smith took control in 1843. Pioneer ships of many nations used Bodega Bay as an anchorage.
Location: Doran Park, 1.6 mi W of State Hwy 1 (P.M. 9.4), on Doran Beach Rd, 0.5 mi S of Bodega Bay

Cooper's Sawmill
In 1834, Mariano G. Vallejo's brother-in-law, John B. R. Cooper, constructed California's first known power-operated commercial sawmill. In addition to sawing redwood lumber, the mill and surrounding settlement served as a barrier to Russian encroachment from the west. Located on Mark West Creek, the waterpowered mill was destroyed by flood in the winter of 1840-41.
Location: SW corner, intersection of Mirabel and River Rds (P.M. 174) near Mirabel Park, 8 mi W of Santa Rosa

Walters Ranch Hop Kiln
This is the most significant surviving example of a stone hop kiln in the North Coast region. Built by Angelo 'Skinny' Sodini in 1905, it served the Russian River Valley and North Coast regions, once the major hop-growing areas in the West. In the latter part of the 19th century, Sol Walters purchased 380 acres, part of the Sotoyome Rancho patented in 1853, from Josefa Fitch.
Location: 6050 Westside Rd, Healdsburg

John Medica Gardens
'Trying to make it look better,' John Medica spent 20 years transforming a barren hillside into a magical garden of plants and creative stone works. Castles were his greatest triumph. A native of Yugoslavia, self-taught, Medica created an oasis for people and animals to enjoy. This imaginative assemblage is one of California's remarkable Twentieth Century Folk Art Environments.
Location: 5000 Medica Rd, off Stonespring Rd in a gated community, Santa Rosa

Icaria-Speranza Commune
Icaria-Speranza was a Utopian community based on the writings of French philosopher Etienne Cabet. In 1881, at Cloverdale, French immigrant families led by the Dehay and Leroux families began their social experiment in cooperative living based on solidarity and depending on an agrarian economy. It lasted until 1886. Icaria-Speranza was the only Icarian Colony in California and the last of seven established throughout the United States. On this site stood the Icarian schoolhouse, deeded to the county in 1886.
Location: W side of Asti Rd, 1.68 mi N of Asti Post Office Rd, S of Cloverdale

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