7 Amazing Historical Sites and Landmarks in Santa Rosa (2023)
Sonoma County has been welcoming human settlers since 8000, and 5000 BC and the first ones to settle here were the Wappo, Pomo, and Coast Miwok tribes/people. The region also has one of the largest landmasses in the entire San Francisco Bay Area; thus, naturally, there is a lot to explore here. However, when we particularly talk about the historical sites and landmarks of Santa Rosa, the world still does not know much. Santa Rosa might not be the richest Californian city when it comes to history, but it surely has several elements worth knowing about.
While you plan to visit historical sites and landmarks in Santa Rosa, the most common places you will find will be century-old houses. Things that this glorious city cannot disappoint upon are the “Historic Homes.” Apart from that, you can even visit the oldest commercial winery in California on your trip to Santa Rosa. Wanting to know more?
7 Amazing Historical Sites and Landmarks in Santa Rosa
Have a Look Down Below at Our List of Some Amazing Historical Sites and Landmarks in Santa Rosa.
1. Luther Burbank Home & Gardens
The present-day grave and former residence of noted American horticulturist Luther Burbank at Santa Rosa is worth visiting. The site is designated as a National and Californian Historic Landmark and is operational for daily tours (free of cost). Burbank lived in Santa Rosa for almost 50 years of his life (1884 to 1906 in the current home and further to a house that is now demolished). Recognized for introducing 250 new varieties of fruit, Burbank was known as a horticultural legend and is still remembered for his contribution to humankind. Today at his home and gardens, one can explore his original Greenhouse (built-in 1889), a wide and beautiful collection of cactus, roses, medicinal plants/ herbs, and ornamental plants as well. Even if you do not carry any special interest in horticulture, this place will still leave no chances unturned in fascinating you. Image Source
2. De Turk Round Barn
A unique site to visit in Santa Rosa, the De Turk Round Barn is actually a humungous Barn that dates back to the year 1891. It was built by De Turk, owner of Santa Rosa Winery and was used for accommodating his champion trotter horses. Further, when he died in the year 1896, the Barn was left alone. However, the authorities later recognized it as one of very few round or polygonal barns surviving in Northern California and then almost a century later, it was recognized in the National Register of Historic Places. It is also noted amongst the very few truly round buildings in California. Today one can book a tour here on Wednesdays from 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm or can take appointments for special bookings.
3. William Hood House
Located near the Hood Mountain Regional Park, on the eastern outskirts of Santa Rosa, the William Hood House is a must-visit attraction in Santa Rosa. It was built by William Hood in the year 1858 and today is recognized as a Californian Historic landmark and has also registered its name in the National Register of Historic Places. William Hood House is known to be built with bricks that were made on the location itself. It has seen several owners and has even served as a girl’s school in the year 1943; however, years later, in 2008, the house was restored and opened for public exploration. There’s is nothing much to the site, but the grandness in such a semi-rural setting also taking a stroll of the oldest surviving homes in Sonoma County is defiantly worthy.
4. John Medica Gardens
John Medica Gardens is indeed one of the most beautiful landmarks you can visit when in Santa Rosa. It is basically a collection of folk-art stonework and gardens that took over 20 years to get created by John Medica and were one of his private properties. The site is a well-known California Historical Landmark that though it does not look something extraordinary but for history lovers and art admirers, it is definitely a place to visit in Santa Rosa. Here you can find several small stonework and castles made out of cement. All the artwork in this 4-acre garden spread was designed and completed by Medica himself. Here you can find a total of 28 stone buildings, some 3 1/2 feet tall or some with over 7 feet towers, three 8-foot-high arches, a pool, grotto, six bridges, and walkways.
5. McDonald Mansion
McDonald Mansion or originally known as Mableton, was once a summer home to Mark L. McDonald’s and family. It was built in Victorian Stick/Eastlake style somewhere around the year 1876 and is now recognized in the National Register of Historic Places. Mark L. McDonald’s was one of the most prominent and early citizens of Santa Rosa and also one of the rich and powerful influences in San Francisco at those times. McDonald’s Mansion today is popularly visited as Santa Rosa’s historic home and also becomes lively and populated during the Halloween days. For detailed insight, one can book a self-guided tour any day free of cost.
6. Railroad Square District
Railroad Square is a Historical District located in Downtown Santa Rosa. It dates back its history to the year 1871, was one of the prominent features of the city and still stands proudly holding extreme importance amongst the locals. Presently the Railroad Square is transformed into a tourism center. Since 2015, it has also been the hot spot for organizing the Railroad Square Music Festival every year in June, offering free entries. Apart from the events and festivals, there’s a lot going around all throughout the year, including several “junque” shops, Antique stores, thrift shops, furniture, bars, and the list of options go on. Railroad Square District is extremely famous amongst the locals of the city, specifically because of those authentic local restaurants that are counted as the most loved hanging spots for people of all age groups.
7. Museum of Sonoma County
Museum of Sonoma County is one of the popular museums in Santa Rosa and a site which holds prominent history. Located in downtown Santa Rosa, the Museum campus comprises the historic 1910 Santa Rosa Post Office, a sculpture garden and a contemporary art gallery. The historic post office is recognized in the National Register of Historic Places and holds extreme importance in the development of the city. While you are hunting for a historical place and Museum in Santa Rosa, you can pay a visit to the Museum of Sonoma County and easily enjoy your time here. From a permanent collection of over 18,000 objects to historical paintings and persistent objects related to the local communities, there’s something or the other that will keep you engaged and excited all the time.
Special Addition: While you are trying to explore history and historical sites in Santa Rosa, do not miss visiting the Buena Vista Winery, the oldest commercial winery in California. It was founded by Count” Agoston Haraszthy known as the “father of California viticulture in the year 1857. Though Buena Vista today is owned by a Frenchman Jean-Charles Boisset who has been here since he was 11. The winery is still operational and you can visit here for some wine tasting tours.