Petaluma and Santa Rosa Railway

TRAM - Petaluma and Santa Rosa Railway electric passenger car is seen on tracks with electrical wires above. Car #63 is now located at the Rio Vista Railroad Museum.

The following snippets of history were prepared by volunteers at the Western Sonoma County Historical Society. For more information about local history, go to the WSCHS website at, or email comments or questions about this History Corner to Mary Dodgion at

100 Years Ago — 1919

Local electric line will extend railroad

The P&SR Railroad will extend their line from Forestville to the Russian River at a point where the Walls Ford Bridge is located, providing arrangements can be made in getting free right of ways. The additional mileage will be a great help to the county in getting plenty of gravel at a small cost for the new highway system. The building of this line will give residents a new direct route to the Russian River. It will open the beauties of the Mirabel Park and other river resorts to thousands who have no other means of travel to these vacation spots.

75 Years Ago — 1944

Gasoline for those on leave

Members of the armed services will get a gallon of gasoline for each day of their leave or furlough up to 30 gallons, according to a new Office of Price Administration policy. Members of the armed services should apply for gasoline rations to the War Price and Rationing Board in their jurisdiction.

Full carpools or else

Full supplemental gasoline rations for more than 30 days are going to be denied to home-to-home automobile drivers who have not formed full carpools, according to a new OPA policy. If drivers fill their pool, local ration boards will grant them full three month rations. Boards will ask applicants to present signatures of their riders along with their applications.

Forms for renewal

Renewal of basic “A” gasoline ration books will begin this week at the local ration board with applicants presenting his speedometer reading, which subsequently will replace the tire inspection record. The new A book will provide eight gallons or 120 miles a month and will be mailed to the applicant. Motorists are urged to mail in their application as early as possible.

50 Years Ago — 1969

A big day in the life of Peggy Sanders

The Bodega Art Gallery held a reception honoring Peggy Sanders’ painting of the 21 California Missions, which may be their last West Coast showing. Yesterday they were shipped to the purchaser, George Young, president of Education Computer Corp., who will send them touring the East Coast. Mrs. Sanders painted them on a commission from the Southern Pacific Golden Spike Centennial Show. She painted the oils after carefully gathering data on how the missions looked in pre-restoration days.

Another Sebastopol artist is achieving recognition

Donabel Carlley who has a lifelong interest in art, especially oil painting, is being recognized in a one-woman show of her work at the Bodega Art Gallery in Bodega. She is a person deeply interested in people, all people, and her portraiture reflects her skills. She has won first place at the Petaluma Fair in June and second for a print at the May Rose Festival. Recently winning first prize in a poster contest sponsored by the Santa Rosa Ballet Guild of four dancers in ballet positions has been widely displayed in shop windows.

Happenings at West County Museum:

The 17th annual Barbara Bull Memorial Sebastopol Cemetery Walk will be October 4 and 5. Tickets are on sale at

The Sonoma West Times has placed all of their photos, contact sheets and negatives in our hands. Our goal is to make these available to the public. A new volunteer at the museum is Theresa Lynch. She heard we had a need to scan negatives to digital images. Theresa brings her knowledge of many elements of photography, including scanning, proper imaging handling and preserving digital images at the perfect time. She also likes to do research and knows that these images will provide a view from the past.

Being a fairly new resident to Sebastopol, she was interested in learning more about the home she purchased in the Morris Addition. Her thorough researches lead her to find the prior owner and the builder of this early settler’s residence. Her introductory letter states she is “a research scientist by training and profession, and history, genealogy and photography are some of my hobbies.” We warmly welcome Theresa to Sebastopol and to the museum.

Suffrage news: Recommended videos: Keep an eye out for an HBO presentation “Iron Jawed Angles,” a look at the suffrage movement through the eyes of Alice Paul, plus two PBS efforts: Not For Ourselves Alone, the story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, and One Woman, One Vote. These movies will be available to view during the suffrage movement exhibit at the museum. Also learn about the first meeting held at Seneca Falls, NY, by searching Youtube “what happened at the Seneca Falls Convention.”

The Western Sonoma County Historical Society is a wholly volunteer organization and includes West County Museum and the Burbank Gold Ridge Experiment Farm in Sebastopol. Our mission is to preserve the west county’s historic past. We are looking for old photos and stories of families, businesses, farms, etc. Do you have photos or stories to share? Call the museum at 829-6711 or the Burbank Experiment Farm at 829-2361.

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