Santa Rosa History

Prior to the arrival of European settlers, Santa Rosa was home to a large population of Pomo natives known as the Bitakomtara. The first documented European settlement was the homestead of the Carillo Family. The Carillos were the in-laws of Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo, who settled the Sonoma Pueblo and Petaluma area.

In the 1830s, the family of María López de Carrillo built an adobe house on their Rancho Cabeza de Santa Rosa land grant, just east of what is now known as downtown Santa Rosa.

A Wells Fargo post and general store were established in downtown Santa Rosa in 1850.

In the mid-1850s several prominent locals, including Julio Carrillo, son of Maria Carrillo, laid out the grid street pattern for Santa Rosa with a plaza in the center. The pattern is still the street grid for downtown Santa Rosa, now called Old Courthouse Square. Many of the original buildings can still be seen in Old Courthouse Square, Railroad Square and the downtown area on and off of 4th Street. Incorporated in 1868, Santa Rosa is the third oldest city Sonoma County, after Petaluma and Healdsburg.