Historic Downtown Sonoma

Historic Downtown Sonoma

Jan. 6, 2011

The Mission San Francisco Solano de Sonoma (First and Spain streets) was founded on July 4, 1823 under the direction of Padre Jose Altimira of Spain. It is the last and farthest north of the 21 Franciscan missions that were established along the California coastal region between 1769 and 1823.

In 1903, the California Historic Landmarks League bought the mission property. It wasn’t until 1926 that the organization completed a restoration of the mission. At that point, the League turned it over to the State of California. Some further restoration was done and today the mission is part of Sonoma Mission State Historic Park.

The eight-acre Sonoma square and surrounding streets were laid out by Mexican General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo in 1836. He built the Sonoma Barracks for his army troops across the street from the Mission.

In June of 1846, a group of 14 American settlers wrested control of Sonoma from Mexican authority and this small band of American insurrectionists established the “Republic of California,” represented by the Bear Flag. The Republic was short-lived, however, and by July 9, the American flag was raised to claim Sonoma for the United States.

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