When the forward thinking citizens of our community got together in the early 1900's they envisioned a modern electric rail that would help carry fruit, poultry, hops and lumber in and out of the area. The new system would also help to better link the people of Sebastopol, Graton, Forestville, Santa Rosa and Petaluma. The Petaluma and Santa Rosa Railway (P & SR) was incorporated in 1903, with plans to make transportation easier for goods and citizens that earlier had to travel by slower horse drawn means.
The P & SR also provided passenger service. Businessmen rode the train to downtown Santa Rosa or Petaluma and children took the trains to school. A passenger could ride from Santa Rosa to Sebastopol in 15 minutes for 25 cents in the days before automobiles took over the roads.
Our building was the original "Power House” supporting the P & SR. It was constructed primarily with stone from the local Stony Point Quarry and originally housed "step-down" transformers and massive batteries. This was one of two substations that powered the electric railway. Later, the building helped put our famous Gravenstein apples on many store shelves when it served as a freight depot for locally grown produce.
This building has survived over 100 years of development in downtown Sebastopol, when many other buildings were replaced with more modern structures. In 1990 this building received a Historical Landmark designation as a reminder of the significance this building has to the transportation development of this area. It was placed on the National Register of Historical places thanks to the efforts of long time owners, the Hogan family. The marker can be seen on the east side of this building on Petaluma Avenue.
By 1931 the P & SR had just over 49 miles of track. The track was later paved over, and is now our well known "Rail Trail," used by bicyclist, joggers, dog walkers and families of all sizes. We encourage you to stop by the Western Sonoma County Historical Society Museum on Main Street and learn more about our town's fine early history.