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Western Sonoma County Historical Society
261 South Main Street
Phone: 707-829-6711 - Tty: -
Statement of Purpose
The Western Sonoma County Historical Society is a non-profit
organization founded in 1974 to help preserve and maintain the unique
heritage of the West County area. We are currently involved in
preserving and restoring Luther Burbank's Experiment Farm, as well as
mounting 2 or 3 new exhibits a year in the West County Museum located
in the old downtown train station.
The Society also presents annual preservation awards to those who
have done an outstanding job of preserving or restoring original
architecture or, in building new structures, have kept the flavor and
heritage of rural Western Sonoma County.
Highlights & Collections
Western Sonoma County Historical Society in cooperation with the City
of Sebastopol undertook the restoration of the P&SR; Railroad Depot
in the 1980s. The building had been designed by Brainerd Jones, noted
Petaluma based architect. The West County Museum opened in this
building in 1993 with an exhibit on the Railroad. The Depot was placed
on the National Register of Historical Places in 1996. Museum exhibits
are changed 2 to 3 times a year and focus on west Sonoma County
history. Past exhibits have explored movies filmed in Sonoma County,
historical toys, eclectic collections from the community, the World War
II experience on the home front, the apple industry and apple festivals
and fairs, early lighting devices, etc. The Museum features a small
reference room containing historical reference books and a
clippings file along with recordings of local personal histories.
The museum's has interesting reproductions of Antique Button Jewelry featuring Vintage
Glass Beads. There are many
other souvenirs: RR caps, T-shirts, books and pamphlets, etc.
the grounds and to the south and east of the museum proper you will
find a small garden with a number of Luther Burbank's plant creations.
Most of these are sold every Wednesday, 9 to noon, at the farm. You'll find directions and a brochure in the
is free. Exhibits current and former can be seen on our web page noted
below. See the KIOSK for latest information.
also maintain Gold Ridge, Luther Burbank's Experiment(sic) Farm. Still
extant here are some experiments he never finished as well as many he
did. We also propagate various authentic Burbank varieties for sale:
Shasta daisy, Spineless cactus, Burbank Strawberry, etc., etc. A major
Shasta daisy collection is now well developed.
Luther Burbank memorabilia. Popular old movie theaters of Sebastopol
artifacts and information. Apple country history and equipment (the
area is famous for the superb Gravenstein apple). Permanent Triggs
Reference Room collection available for research by appointment.
Current Exhibits and Upcoming Special
rotate according to the views of the members and officers and volunteer
curators. Themes are on local or CA northcoast history.
the Gold Ridge Farm: the remainder of some of Luther Burbank's last
experiments underway before his death in 1926. Authentic and appropiate
Burbank varieties are still being sought nationwide for reintroduction.
Calendar of Events
1PM to 4PM Thursdays through Sundays
Ridge Farm: Docent tours by appointment, April to October. Self guided
tour all year long.
Admission & Directions:
Ridge Farm: All are welcome. No admission charge; donations cheerfully
accepted at all times. We provide a self guided tour map at the farm.
The West County Museum, 261 So. Main St., Sebastopol
Hwy 12 go to middle of town, turn left on Main St. (south). Drive 'til
you see the large sign out front on your left. We're opposite the U.S.
Post Office. From Hwy 116 turn left on Bodega Ave. and left again in
the center of town to go down So. Main St.
Ridge Farm (Luther Burbank's):
Bodega Ave., Sebastopol.
west through town up the hill on Bodega Ave. When you pass Robinson Rd.
look for the sign to your left just past Nelson Way. It's in front of
the Burbank Hts. Housing Development. Limited parking is in front. To
get to it turn right on Nelson Way, left on Washington Ave., then left
again on Virginia Ave. Go to Bodega Ave., turn left and you will see
the reserved parking places on your right. Since these are few,
overflow parking can be found in St. Stephen's Church parking lot. Go
down the hill a block to Robinson Rd. then south to St. Stephen's. A
path at the head of the lot leads through the Burbank Hts. Apts. and to
the Gold Ridge Farm.
Levenberg, President; Margaret Bawden, vice President
Roberts, Museum Director
Fowler, Gold Ridge Farm Curator
Geiger, WSCHS volunteer and webmaster
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All information is subject to change - This document is non contractual.