Features ~ Sonoma Valley Sun


What was where, when?

Posted on July 26, 2012 by Sonoma Valley Sun

The Sonoma photo history quiz

We drive and walk by them all the time — the Sonoma buildings that have become part of our own landscape, our our own personal history. Yet many belong to an earlier time and a grander heritage. Slow down and take a closer look. To the stories behind the buildings that helped build Sonoma. Highlight text to see answers. Black and white photos courtesy, the Sonoma County Library.

With it’s ornate wooden facade, this circa 1880’s photo depicts a very popular Sonoma landmark.  Can you guess which one?

  • The home of Mariano Vallejo
  • Solomon Schocken’s general merchandise store
  • Mary’s Pizza Shack
  • The old headquarters of The Sonoma Sun

AnswerWhile this was Solomon Schocken’s general merchandise store, today it displays a very different look and is proudly known as the Sonoma Barracks.

Folks have been banking here since 1957, but before the new construction of the building, Sonomans and visitors alike gathered here to:

  • Hop on board the stage coach in the 1860’s
  • Spend  the night with fluffy pillows and fine linen at the Union Hotel
  • Socialize at various functions held at Union Hall
  • All of the above

AnswerAll of the above

The Black Bear Diner can’t be missed as we drive down Napa St. heading to the Plaza.  In 1951, Sonma’s youth headed to this location to:

  • Stand in line at the kissing booth

  • Tryout for Little League at the old Sonoma softball field

  • Buy candy at Dr. Landy’s candy stand

  • Ride horses at Sonoma’s youth rodeo

Answer: Tryout for Little League at the old Sonoma softball field

This old gem was once owned by Henry Weyl, who arrived in Sonoma in 1866.  The building still stands proud today and houses a popular Sonoma eatery.  Is it:

  • The Swiss Hotel

  • The Girl and the Fig

  • Happy Dog

  • Red Grape

AnswerThe building, one known as Weyl Hall, sits on the northwest corner of Spain and 1 St. West. Also known as the Sonoma Hotel, it is home to The Girl and the Fig.

At this corner, cars and trucks have been sold for over 60 years.  One of the buildings at this location contains the stone foundation of one of Sonoma’s ancient buildings and was  home to an institution that had been in our town almost since it’s inception.  Was it:

  • Vallejo’s military outpost accommodating important visitors to Sonoma
  • The original City Hall where Sonoma’s Mayor and council members first held court
  • Cumberland Presbyterian Literary College
  • The location of Bar None, one of Sonoma’s infamous brothels and bars, entertaining soldiers as early as 1858

Answer: Cumberland Presbyterian Literary College was located at this location in the late 19th century.  The College was initially housed at Salvador Vallejo’s large adobe on the corner of First St. West and W. Spain. After the 1906 earthquake, the building was deemed unsafe and destroyed.  A few years later, in 1923, Cumberland Presbyterian Literary College evolved into Sonoma High school, where a new building was completed at the current location of the high school.

It’s easy to recognize Sonoma’s City Hall.  But do you know what occupied this space prior to its 1908 completion?  Was it:

  • The location of Mariano Vallejo’s Casa Grande
  • Trinity Chapel where Sonoma’s early inhabitants prayed and young lovers married
  • Sonoma’s first well and source of water
  • City Hall

AnswerIf you guessed City Hall, you would be correct.  In the late 19th century,   at approximately this same location, a circular wood-framed structure was used as Sonoma’s City Hall.  Early renderings show a one-story building during an era in which our beautiful Plaza was treeless.

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