SANTA ROSA - The City of Roses
Santa Rosa, at first glance, appears to be a typical California city which grew from a Spanish Rancho to an expanding American metropolis. In this fabled scenic valley a unique historical identity was carved out by names like the Fort Ross Russians, General Mariano Vallejo, the Bear Flaggers, Luther Burbank, Jack London, the Fountain Grove Utopians, pianist Paderewski, to the contemporary comic strip artist of "Peanuts" fame, Charles Schulz.
Santa Rosa developed in the center of a broad valley that stretches from San Francisco Bay to the Russian River. With the Russians settling on the north coast in 1812 this valley became the crossroads of a strategic frontier. To prevent the threat of further Russian expansion the Spanish extended their chain of missions northward, and in 1833 the Mexican Government sent General Mariano Vallejo to Sonoma County for purposes of colonization. The arrival of American settlers, and the ensuing Bear Flag Revolt in 1846, turned Santa Rosa into an American trading post which became a surveyed village seven years later.
In his experimental gardens "Plant Wizard" Luther Burbank produced major variations on some three hundred and eighty-five plants, including the Shasta Daisy. Visionary's like Henry Ford, Helen Keller, the King of Belgium, pianist Paderewski and Thomas Alva Edison came to Santa Rosa to meet Burbank. By 1900 he was Sonoma County's most celebrated citizen. The local school children staged annual pageants honoring Burbank. The Rose parades brought tourists to see the land of flowers and sunshine! Charles Schulz, the cartoonist, is today the most famous Santa Rosa resident. He and wife Jean walk the path of humor and philanthropy, having created the beloved "Snoopy" cartoon dog as well as donating millions to Canine Companions, Sonoma State University and the arts.
Santa Rosa suffered severely from the great earthquake of 1906. Nevertheless, the town rebuilt and flourished as an agriculturally oriented town and county seat. A repeat performance from nearby Roger's Creek fault could devastate downtown Santa Rosa, but with love motivated community leadership, the spirit and the drive of Santa Rosan's could be directed to rebuild the city, making it a true "Partnership Model".
Today, with a population of 157,000, Santa Rosa is the largest California city north of San Francisco. It is the gateway to the Redwood Empire, and the economic center of the North Bay Region. A famous wine country is adjacent, and the surrounding gardens, farms and orchards show that agriculture is still a mainstay of the communities. Suburban dwellers and retirement settlers show much enthusiasm for the Santa Rosa Valley.
Santa Rosa, then, is a vest pocket history of the forces that have shaped the land called California. The City of Roses, today, is at a crossroads. Santa Rosa faces a different problem - population growth. Sonoma County has been described as one of the fastest growing areas in the San Francisco Bay Region. The demand to live here creates traffic conjestion, high property prices and high rents, which creates homelessness and separation. Though this crucial problem has not yet been resolved, more and more area residents are concerning themselves in the effort to retain the beauty and unique identity which belongs to Santa Rosa. The partnership model brought about by those who motivate out of love, not fear, holds the answer.
Winter temperatures range between freezing to 70 degrees and in the summers the temperature can rise into the 100's. Visitors can excape the summer heat and stay in a multitude of motels, hotels, bed n breakfast inns, campgrounds and RV parks. Fancy to traditional restaurants satisfy appetites from raw-vegan to steaks and seafood. Those seeking more extravagant and romantic dinners and accommodations will not be disapointed as there are many choices. Here is Today's Weather, Today's Tide Chart, and Today's Nightime Star Chart. Enjoy the "Mom & Pop" business's linked to and in some cases reviewed below.