Selections From the Permanent Collection: Recent Acquisitions and Santa Rosa History




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Main gallery inaccessible for 360 tour. Images captured in July 2019 during the exhibition "Grass Roots: Cannabis from Prohibition to Prescription." 360 views generously provided by Threshold360 and Sonoma County Tourism


Recent Acquisitions

The Museum of Sonoma County has a permanent collection of about 18,000 objects. The collection contains various objects and images representing the art, culture, and history of Sonoma County and the North Bay area. The strength of the collection is its diversity and it includes everything from century-old personal effects to recent artworks. 

The collection is not static. It grows through acquisition, usually in the form of gifts to the Museum from the community. In this gallery, you can explore some of the artworks that the museum has acquired from 2014-2019. The selection may seem wildly eclectic, but everything shares a connection to Sonoma County and the surrounding region, either through the artist or the subject matter presented. They are all notable works in their own right, but they are also pieces in the bigger picture of the art and cultural world of this region. 

1. Ray Jacobsen (1938-2007)
705, 1967 
Mixed media 
Gift of Joe Freeman Gans and  
Margaret Regan Gans 

2. Maurice Lapp (1925-2014)
Untitled, No Date 
Oil on canvas 
Gift of the Estate of Maurice Lapp 

3. Nathan Oliveira (1928-2010)
Archive Site, 1979 
Gift of Dr. Robert and Sharon Young 

4. Jean Yates 
Villa R, No date (ca 1965) 
Ceramic sculpture 
Gift of Daniel Lineau 

5. Donna Brookman 
Palace of Memory #1, 2014 
Archival digital print, printed at Magnolia Press 
Gift of the Artist 

6. Adam Shaw (b. 1957)
Passing in the Night, 2015 
Oil on canvas 
Gift of the artist 

7. Andrew Moore (b. 1957)
Gypsy Camp, Sarajevo, 2001 
Chromogenic print 
Gift of the artist 

8. Andrew Moore (b. 1957)
Detroit Dry Dock, Detroit, 2008 
Chromogenic print 
Gift of the artist 

9. Kurt Kemp (b. 1957)
Dirty Convert, 2000 
Charcoal on paper 
Gift of the Anorcase Foundation 

(Not Visible) 
10. Tom Holland (b. 1936)
Pope Valley Moonlight #21, 1996 
Epoxy paint on aluminum 
Gift of Tom and Judy Holland 

(Partially Visible) 
11. Alfred Young (b. 1936)
Head of a Young Woman, 2004 
Graphite and pastel on paper 
Gift of the artist 

12. Linda Vallejo (b. 1951)
Juan El Abeja, 2014 
Repurposed plastic figurine, paint 
Gift of the Artist 

13. Robert Hudson (b. 1938)
Where the Chips Fall, 2008 
Cast iron and stainless steel 
Gift of the artist 

14. David Huffman (b. 1963)
Untitled, 2003 
Acrylic on canvas 
Gift of Ron Casentini 

15. David Huffman (b. 1963)
Military Maneuvers, 2001 
Acrylic on canvas 
Gift of Ron Casentini 

16. Jack Stuppin (b. 1933) 
Estero Americano Clouds, 2000 
Oil on canvas 
Courtesy of the artist 


17. Clockwise from top left:

William Morehouse (1929-1993) 
Dawn with Blue Yellow, 1964 
Acrylic on canvas 
Gift of Mark Van Proyen 

Adam Wolpert (b. 1962) 
Untitled, 2005 
Oil on board 
Gift of Nancy E. Marsden 

William Wheeler (1940-2018) 
Untitled, 1999 
Oil on canvas 
Gift of Mark Van Proyen 


Santa Rosa History

Santa Rosa

In 2018, the city of Santa Rosa celebrated 150 years since its incorporation– but the story of this place goes back much farther than that. The Santa Rosa Valley was the traditional home of the Coast Miwok and Southern Pomo people, whose presence in the area is measured in millennia, from the deep past to the present day. The name Santa Rosa first appeared in 1824, given by a Mexican priest to signify the Feast Day of St. Rose of Lima, and to describe a particular settlement site. From there, the place name was applied to a nearby creek and then to a vaguely defined area around it. A town with the name Santa Rosa would have to wait until after the 1850s, followed by formal incorporation in 1868.

Santa Rosa has reached many milestones over its history: from the settlement of Native people, to the devastation of the 1906 earthquake, to the indispensable advocacy of Santa Rosa’s leaders in the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge. In its history, Santa Rosa has played the role of buffer between nineteenth-century empires, the transportation hub at the center of a rich agricultural region, and the seat of county government. Just as importantly, it has become home to 175,000 people — a diverse population that reflects changes in the state as a whole.


1. Bird’s eye view of Santa Rosa, 1897 

This decorative map depicts Santa Rosa prior to the devastation of the 1906 earthquake. 


2. Taylor Resort 
Mary Ellen Carithers   
Oil on canvas 

Taylor Resort, also known as White Sulphur Springs (later called Kawana Springs), takes its name from John Shackleford Taylor, a Virginian by birth, who built the hotel in 1862 and launched one of the country’s first health spas. 

The building was torn down after one of Shackleford’s descendants discovered that the unoccupied building had been gutted for illegal alcohol stills during Prohibition. The same view today looks out over a portion of Taylor Mountain Park and Kawana Springs Road, with Santa Rosa Avenue and the area around Costco Shopping Center in the distance. 



3. Model of the Fountaingrove Round Barn 
by Jon Lacaillade, made in 2014 

Designed in a distinctive circular shape, many round barns were meant to take advantage of gravity to move hay from the loft to the cow stable below. The round barn was promoted as a labor saving design by agricultural colleges as a progressive way to house dairy cattle.  

The interest in round barns spread to California in the later 19th century. The Fountaingrove Round Barn was built in 1899 by John Clark Lindsay, a contractor from Napa who settled in the area in 1898. Lindsay was hired to build the barn by Kanaye Nagasawa, who reportedly designed the structure that became a landmark. The Round Barn actually had 16 sides and originally housed the horses used in the Fountaingrove vineyards.

Historic American Buildings Survey Diagram of the Round Barn Interior 


4. Fountaingrove Winery

At the religious colony founded by Thomas Lake Harris in Brocton, New York near the shores of Lake Erie, one of the primary activities of the colony members was planting vineyards and making wine. Under the direction of Dr. J.W. Hyde, an experienced winemaker, the colony constructed a stone winery and, in 1870, began producing. 

At Fountaingrove, Harris, Nagasawa, and Hyde oversaw the planting of a vineyard soon after their arrival in 1875. By 1883, a large stone winery was completed with equipment and an oak cooperage. The first year they produced 15,000 gallons of wine and from then on winemaking became their chief occupation. Responsibility for the propagation and care of the vineyard was assigned to Nagasawa. Dr. Hyde was the cellar master, and Ray P. Clarke was the general manager.



5. Thomas Lake Harris
By Alice Parting 
Oil on Canvas 
Alice Parting was a member of The Brotherhood of the New Life and a London-trained artist who primarily painted with watercolors. She relocated to Fountaingrove where she painted the portrait of Thomas Lake Harris. 


6. Bottles from Fountain Grove Winery 


7. Fountaingrove Photo Album, ca. 1908-1912

The left page shows a photograph of the harvest being hauled to the winery and is simply labeled “vintage” in light pencil. The right page shows a view of the vineyard, manor house, and the round barn at the right photographed from across the main road (currently Mendocino Avenue and Old Redwood Highway).

Fountaingrove Winery wine list in Japanese

Fountaingrove Winery was one of the first California wineries with international reach, including sales in Japan.

From the beginning, the winery had offices in London, Liverpool, Manchester and Glasgow, but the greater part of their wine was sold from their cellars in New York to East Coast wine merchants. By 1890, the winery was crushing about 600 tons annually. Fountaingrove wine was honored numerous times, including state fair awards, particularly for their Chasselas and Traminer, names not seen much anymore on the modern wine market.


8. Berryessa-Knight Adobe Brick, 1843 

This brick was once a part of the Berryessa-Knight Adobe, which was located in Rancho Mallacomes (now referred to as Mayacamas).   

While not actually from the Carrillo Adobe on the Rancho Cabeza de Santa Rosa, this brick is typical of California, Mexican-era adobe. The bricks were made of mud and straw, shaped into large blocks by wooden molds, and sun dried. You can see the bits of straw incorporated in the brick. 


9. The 1906 Earthquake

The earthquake of April 18, 1906 devastated Santa Rosa. Though estimates range, at least 100 people perished and much of the business district was left in ruin. The impact was so great that it marks a break between the original town, formed in 1854, and the Santa Rosa that emerged in the 20th century.

By 1906 Santa Rosa’s population was about 7,000. Served by three railroads, Santa Rosa had advanced from a frontier trading post to a commercial and agricultural shipping center. An ornate courthouse, symbol of the city’s stature as the county seat, anchored the downtown.

April 18, 1906—5:12 am. Green Thompson, a city-employed street sweeper was one of few people on the street downtown when the earthquake struck. He stood between the Grand Hotel and the courthouse, near the corner of Third and Main Streets. He heard the quake before he felt it, saying that it came with “a rumble like a wagon over cobblestones.” He watched as the waves struck and the dome of the courthouse swayed perilously. Less than a minute later, with a sudden up and down motion, the courthouse came crashing down, along with much of the rest of Santa Rosa. Seven to eight full city blocks lay instantly in ruin. After the shaking stopped, fire claimed four or five city blocks and several lives.

“…the city has risen Phoenix-like from her ashes and is practically rebuilt.”

                                                - Herbert Slater, State Senator from Santa Rosa, 1908

The earthquake, while devastating, created an opportunity to re-shape the city. By mid-summer, 1906, businesses had relocated or were re-building and new plans emerged. Forward-looking civic leaders like Frank Doyle of Exchange Bank called for the widening of roads to accommodate the dawning age of the automobile. In spring of 1908, a cornerstone was placed at the new courthouse, a prominent symbol of recovery.

However, the opportunities for remaking Santa Rosa were not always met with careful thought for the future. Some residents were so eager for reconstruction that they objected to new ordinances meant to create safer buildings or they abandoned improvements that had been planned prior to the disaster, such as a park intended to follow the path of the creek.

Vase from the 1906 earthquake 
This vase survived the destruction of Bruner’s Art Store in Santa Rosa. Originally green, it was enveloped in cloth, canvas, blue paint, ash and other materials that melted to it during the ensuing fire. Seven second-floor lodgings in the same block as Clement Bruner’s store collapsed and burned. 

Law book that survived the earthquake and fire from the library of William E. McConnell 
William E. McConnell arrived in Santa Rosa in the 1860s. He served as District Attorney and was also president of Santa Rosa Bank. McConnell Avenue in Santa Rosa is named for him. 

A gilded, metal hour hand retrieved from the rubble of the Sonoma County Courthouse by William Lawrence on the morning of April 18, 1906. The courthouse was built in 1885. 


10. Post Office On The Move  
April 13-June 30, 1979 

The Post Office was built in the wake of the 1906 earthquake and was nearly demolished as the result of another.  

Redevelopment after the 1969 quake called for expanded plans for a new shopping mall downtown, along with the demolition of the 1910 Santa Rosa Post Office. In 1974, historical architect, Dan Peterson, nominated the Old Post Office to the National Register of Historic Places in an effort to save it.  The demolition agreement was delayed and a plan to move the building emerged. The building’s fate became embroiled in civic controversy when one estimate for the move came back higher than earlier projections. Eventually, a group including Henry Trione, Exchange Bank, Santa Rosa Foundation, and Ernest Hahn, the mall developer, contributed the necessary financial backing to move the building. Learn more about the Historic 1910 Santa Rosa Post Office and Federal Building by clicking here.


11. Brass Steam Whistle 

This whistle came from the top of the Grace Bros. Brewery Building.   
Owned by the Grace family and located on Wilson Street, the brewery ran in several incarnations from 1897 to 1966. The whistle announced lunch and quitting times, but also, following the 1906 earthquake, acted as a fire alarm and start/stop alert for water usage. The brewery building was torn down in the 1970s, but the whistle was saved. A teenager climbed to the top and removed the object. Decades later, he donated it to the museum.

(Video: Grace Brothers steam whistle being blown during the 2013 Luther Burbank Rose Parade).

12. Santa Rosa’s Chinatown

Consisting of a couple blocks of board sidewalks and modest wood buildings on Second Street between Santa Rosa Avenue and D Street, Santa Rosa’s Chinatown included a temple, restaurants, herb shops, stores, laundries, and homes. No imprint of the neighborhood remains, having disappeared well over half a century ago, yet the stories of Chinatown and the early Chinese residents of Santa Rosa remain significant—stories of immigration, of work, of cultural resilience, of making a life despite the obstacles.

Chinatown served largely as a center for Chinese laborers, providing a base for workers in a burgeoning agricultural region, as well as adding to the development of the town itself. Throughout the state, in the 19th century, Chinese immigrants formed cultural enclaves, or Chinatowns. Mostly they were a combination of forced ghetto and safe haven, and Santa Rosa’s Chinatown was no exception. The neighborhood was modest, with minimal adornment, isolated in a less desirable part of town. Because of highly restrictive immigration policies, the Chinese residents were almost entirely male, which contributed to the decline and disappearance of Santa Rosa’s Chinatown.

Most of the preserved reminders of the early Chinese community come from one family and one person in particular: Song Wong Bourbeau. Born in 1909 to Tom Wing and Lun Moon Wing, Song Wong’s father was a central figure. He ran a store and boarding house, served as a labor broker and caretaker of the Chinese temple. Song was born well after the most intense period of anti-Chinese fervor in California, the 1880s, but the Chinatown of her youth was still one of hardship and scrutiny from the non-Chinese community. It is largely through her eyes and experiences that we see Santa Rosa’s Chinatown.

(Video: Gaye LeBaron interviewing Song Wong Bourbeau, September 9, 1994; Courtesy, Sonoma State University Library)

13. Objects from Song Wong Bourbeau Collection

Child’s Dog’s Head Cap, ca 1890 

Young Chinese boys traditionally wore Dog’s Head caps. The ears have tufts of fur to suggest the animal and the back flap covered the child’s neck in cold weather. The deer on the front represents a common motif on children's clothing. The word deer in Chinese, lu, signified "wealth" as it was a homonym with the word for an official's salary. It was the desire of every parent that their son bring wealth and glory to the family. 


Menu from the Jam Kee Restaurant, ca 1940 


14.Basalt Paving Stone quarried by Italian Stonemasons

Quarries near Santa Rosa provided the source for much of the basalt harvested locally for roads and buildings.  

Many of the stones were used to pave Santa Francisco streets, but they also served as the distinctive building material for some of Santa Rosa’s most recognizable buildings, including Hotel La Rose and the former train depot. Most of the stonemasons were Italian immigrants, many from Carrara in northern Italy, a region known for its marble quarries.