Sonoma Valley post-fire survey of historic resources available online
The October 2017 Nuns fire damaged homes, businesses, and the Sonoma Valley’s iconic landscapes. It also damaged the valley’s priceless historic resources. A report documenting the impact of the fires, funded by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, is now available online at the Sonoma Valley Historical Society at depotparkmuseum.org/sonomavalleypost-firesurvey.html.
Last November the Sonoma Valley Historical Society received a $5,000 grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation to document the historic structures lost to the fire. The survey was undertaken in November 2017 and a preliminary report submitted to the Sonoma County Landmarks Commission to assist with streamlining the permitting required to rehabilitate affected structures or facilitate clearing sites that were considered a total loss.
Previously, a historic resource survey of 275 historic structures in the unincorporated communities of the Sonoma Valley, including the towns of Glen Ellen and Kenwood, had been undertaken. Funded by Transient Occupancy Tax grants in 2012-2014 and administered by the Sonoma County Landmarks Commission, this survey updated a 1998 survey undertaken by the Sonoma League for Historic Preservation. The next phase of the project, a Historic Context, was about to get underway when the Nuns fire broke out, necessitating updating the 2012-2014 survey before work could commence.
The results of the post-fire survey are now available in a report entitled, “Sonoma Valley Post-2017 Fire Survey Update.” The report includes photographs of the resources from 2008 to 2014 and earlier, with a description of the status of the property in the days after the fire with an accompanying photograph. Also included in the report is a table of the approximately 375 properties in Sonoma Valley that were assessed in the field by Cal Fire and Sonoma County staff with their historic status noted.
Buildings that were lost include the Justi Adobe on Dunbar Road, which was the site of Glen Ellen’s first post office and an early Wells Fargo stage stop. Also lost were all the buildings at the Bouverie Audubon Preserve except for David Bouverie’s own house and the M.F.K. Fisher house. Other affected buildings and complexes documented in the report include Buena Vista Winery, Chateau St. Jean Winery, the barn at Glen Oaks Ranch, the Sunnyslope Ranch Barn, Larigne’s French Resort, and Eldridge Farm at the Sonoma Developmental Center.