45 people came to walk through Mountain Cemetery and hear amateur historian, Fred Allebach tell stories about past Sonomans that now inhabit the cemetery. Not only were the curious hikers entertained with stories about well known pioneers such as Samuel Sebastiani, Mariano Vallejo, and William Montini, they also were introduced to lesser known real estate tycoons, butchers, and even murderers.
Grateful dead folktales were told and Sonoma’s rich history came alive. The funds from this years tour will be used to repair the damage from fire fighting actitivies. If you missed this event and would like to take a self guided tour of the cemetery, pick up the Mountain Cemetery Walking Tour brochure at the Overlook Trail Kiosk written by Fred Allebach and enter the Mountain Cemetery next to the kiosk.
The Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley has incredible historic collections, which began when the university acquired Hubert Howe Bancroft’s personal library in 1905. By that time Bancroft had amassed quite a personal collection, including personal documents from General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo, whose Sonoma home sits right next to the Montini Open Space Preserve.
So I can’t say I was all that surprised when I came across this photograph that appears to be a view of the town of Sonoma in 1887, taken from the hills above which is now the Montini Open Space. Carleton E. Watkins had been hired to take photographs for the Sonoma Valley Improvement Company as a promotional tool.
I cleaned it up a bit, including taking away the brownish cast that comes from film aging. However, feel free to look at the original digital version at UC’s digital portal, Calisphere.org.
Needless to say, Sonoma has changed quite a bit in the last 128 years. I suppose you could say that the Sonoma Valley Improvement Company was perhaps more successful than they could even imagine being at the time.