Petaluma, California facts for kids

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Petaluma
City
Aerial view of Petaluma, Cal. View is to the southeast
Aerial view of Petaluma, Cal. View is to the southeast
Nickname(s): P-Town, Egg Basket, Egg Capital of the World, Chickaluma
Location in Sonoma County and the state of California
Location in Sonoma County and the state of California
Country United States
State California
County Sonoma
Incorporated April 12, 1858
Area
 • Total 14.489 sq mi (37.527 km2)
 • Land 14.382 sq mi (37.249 km2)
 • Water 0.107 sq mi (0.278 km2)  0.74%
Elevation 30 ft (9 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 58,941
 • Density 4,067.98/sq mi (1,570.63/km2)
Time zone Pacific (UTC−8)
 • Summer (DST) PDT (UTC−7)
ZIP codes 94952, 94954, 94953
Area code 707
FIPS code 06-56784
GNIS feature IDs 277575, 2411407
Website cityofpetaluma.net

Petaluma /pɛtəˈlmə/ is a small city in Sonoma County, California, in the United States. Its population was 57,941 according to the 2010 Census.

The Rancho Petaluma Adobe, located in Petaluma, is a National Historic Landmark. Its construction started in 1836 by order of General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo, then Commandant of the San Francisco Presidio. It was the center of a 66,000 acre (270-km²) ranch stretching from Petaluma River to Sonoma Creek. The adobe is considered one of the best preserved buildings of its era in Northern California.

Petaluma is a transliteration of the Coast Miwok phrase péta lúuma which means hill backside and probably refers to Petaluma's proximity to Sonoma Mountain.

Petaluma has a well-preserved, historic city center which includes many buildings that survived the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

History

Petaluma, California (circa 1881-1890)
B.F. Cox Express Stable in Petaluma (circa 1881-1890)
Petaluma CA St. Vincent
St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church
Petalumarazorback
Looking north along the Petaluma River from downtown wooden pedestrian bridge

The Coast Miwok resided in southern Sonoma County, and Péta Lúuma was originally the name of a Miwok village east of the Petaluma River. A number of other Coast Miwok villages were also located in and around what is now Petaluma; Wotoki, immediately to the south of the village of Petaluma, on the opposite side of the river, Etem, Likatiut, and Tuchayalin, near downtown Petaluma, and Tulme and Susuli, just north of what are now the city limits of Petaluma.

The Petaluma area was part of a 66,000 acre (270-km²) 1834 Mexican land grant by Governor Jose Figueroa to Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo called Rancho Petaluma. In 1836, Vallejo ordered construction of his Rancho Petaluma Adobe a ranch house in Petaluma, which his family often used as a summer home, while he resided in the neighboring town of Sonoma. Vallejo's influence and Mexican control in the region began to decline after Vallejo's arrest during the Bear Flag Revolt in 1846.

Pioneers flocked into Petaluma from the eastern United States after Michael Celiberti found gold in the Sierra Nevadas in 1849. The town's position on the Petaluma River in the heart of productive farmland was critical to its growth during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Sailing scows, such as the scow schooner Alma (1892), and steamers plied the river between Petaluma and San Francisco, carrying agricultural produce and raw materials to the burgeoning city of San Francisco during the California Gold Rush.

The Sonoma County Bank Building, now the home of the Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company and the Petaluma Seed Bank, was built in the 1920s.

Petaluma soon became known for its grain milling and chicken processing industries, which continue to the present as a smaller fraction of its commerce. At one time, Petaluma was known as the "Egg Capital of the World," sparking such nicknames as "Chickaluma". Petaluma hosted the only known Poultry drugstore and is the place where the egg incubator was invented by Lyman Byce in 1879. Petaluma is also where Randall Smith founded Mesa/Boogie (also known as Mesa Engineering), maker of hand-built guitar amplifiers used by such musicians as Carlos Santana and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones.

One of the largest historic chicken processing plants still stands in the central area of town; this 1930s brick building is no longer used for the chicken industry, but is being evaluated for preservation and change of use. Even though it is no longer known as the Egg Capital of the World, Petaluma maintains a strong agricultural base today with dairy farms, olive groves, vineyards, and berry and vegetable farms.

According to the Army Museum at the Presidio, San Francisco, Petaluma was relatively unharmed during the San Francisco earthquake of April 18, 1906, due to significant stable bedrock underlying the region.

Petaluma is today the location of many distinguished, well-preserved pre-1906 buildings and Victorian homes on the western side of the river. The downtown Petaluma Historic Commercial District is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The first official airmail flight took place in 1911, when Fred Wiseman carried a handful of mail from Petaluma to Santa Rosa, including letters from Petaluma postmaster John E. Olmstead and Petaluma's mayor. Wiseman's plane ended up in the National Air and Space Museum.

There was a substantial influx of Jewish residents, starting during World War I. This community formed around shared socialist ideals, as well as religious and cultural ties; this is depicted in the movie A Home on the Range (2002).

With its large stock of historic buildings, Petaluma has been used as the filming location for numerous movies set in the 1940s, '50s, and '60s (see list of movies below). The historic McNear Building is a common film location.

Petaluma pioneered the time-controlled approach to development. After Highway 101 was re-aligned as a freeway in 1955, residential development permits tripled, from 300 in 1969 to 900 in 1971. Because of the region's soaring population in the sixties, the city enacted the "Petaluma Plan" in 1971. This plan limited the number of building permits to 500 annually for a five-year period beginning in 1972. At the same time Petaluma created a redbelt around the town as a boundary for urban expansion for a stated number of years. Similar to Ramapo, New York, a Residential Development Control System was created to distribute the building permits based on a point system conforming to the city's general plan to provide for low and moderate income housing and divide development somewhat equally between east and west and single family and multi-family housing.

The stated objectives of Petaluma's time controlled growth management were to ensure orderly growth; to protect the city's small town character and surrounding green space; to provide a variety of housing choices; and to maintain adequate water supply and sewage treatment facilities.

The controlled development plan attracted national attention in 1975 when the city was taken to court by the Construction Industry Association. The city's restriction was upheld by the 9th Circuit Court in 1975 and the Supreme Court denied a Petition for Writ of Certiorari in 1976. This court ruling still forms the foundation for most local growth management ordinances in California.

Despite this history of planned development, the Petaluma City Council voted on April 13, 2009, to eliminate the entire planning department and lay off the whole planning staff. Planning Division responsibilities were subsequently contracted out to the consulting firm Metropolitan Planning Group, which re-hired some of the former planning staff and continues to operate planning services for the city.

In the late 1990s, Petaluma was also known as Telecom Valley due to the telecom startup companies that seemed to multiply from one another, and offer great riches for early stockholders and employees. One success story was that of the employees of Advanced Fibre Communications (AFC) (now Tellabs), or Cerent, which was purchased by Cisco. Some Cerent employees went on to purchase the Phoenix Theater, a local entertainment venue, which was once an opera house.

Geography

Petaluma CA Wooden Bridge over Petaluma River
Balshaw Bridge crosses the turning basin of the Petaluma River

Petaluma has a total area of 14.5 sq mi (37.6 km2). 14.4 sq mi (37.3 km2) of that is land and the remaining 0.1 sq mi (0.3 km2) is water. Water is 0.74% of the total area.

It is 40 miles (64 km) north of San Francisco.

Petaluma is flanked by the unincorporated communities of Penngrove to the north and Lakeville to the south.

Petaluma is situated at the northernmost navigable end of the Petaluma River, a tidal estuary that snakes southward to San Pablo Bay. Pollution levels in the river, once considerable, have improved in recent years. A significant amount of the city is in the river's flood plain, which overflows its banks every few years, particularly in the Payran neighborhood.

Principal environmental noise sources are U.S. Route 101, Petaluma Boulevard, Washington Street and other major arteries. The number of residents that live in a zone of noise exposure greater than 60 CNEL is approximately 4,000.

Climate

Petaluma enjoys a mild Mediterranean climate. The dry summer is characterized by typically warm days and cool nights. Summer mornings often start out foggy and chilly, but the fog usually clears by midday or so, giving way to clear skies and warmth for the remainder of the day. August is usually the warmest month, with average daily temperatures ranging from 82 °F (28 °C) to 53 °F (12 °C). December is usually the coldest month, with mean daily temperatures ranging from 57 °F (14 °C) to 39 °F (4 °C). Winter is cool and rainy, with frost occasionally occurring on clear nights.

The National Weather Service's cooperative station in Petaluma had a record high temperature of 110 °F (43 °C) on June 2, 1960. The record low temperature of 16 °F (−9 °C) was recorded on November 14, 1916, and December 14, 1932. The wettest year was 1998 with 45.93 inches (1,167 mm) and the driest year was 1976 with 8.29 inches (211 mm). The wettest month was February 1998 with 19.59 inches (498 mm). The most precipitation in 24 hours was 4.29 inches (109 mm) on December 27, 2004. Although snow is rare in Petaluma, 1.5 inches fell in January 1916, as well as about 3 inches in January 2002.

Climate data for Petaluma, CA (1981–2010 normals)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 56.9
(13.83)
61.6
(16.44)
65.1
(18.39)
68.7
(20.39)
72.9
(22.72)
78.6
(25.89)
81.9
(27.72)
81.9
(27.72)
81.7
(27.61)
75.8
(24.33)
65.1
(18.39)
57.0
(13.89)
70.6
(21.44)
Average low °F (°C) 39.2
(4)
40.9
(4.94)
42.3
(5.72)
43.8
(6.56)
47.3
(8.5)
50.6
(10.33)
52.3
(11.28)
52.6
(11.44)
51.2
(10.67)
47.6
(8.67)
42.2
(5.67)
38.5
(3.61)
45.7
(7.61)
Precipitation inches (mm) 4.93
(125.2)
5.32
(135.1)
3.79
(96.3)
1.63
(41.4)
.87
(22.1)
.17
(4.3)
.01
(0.3)
.06
(1.5)
.21
(5.3)
1.43
(36.3)
3.29
(83.6)
4.94
(125.5)
26.65
(676.9)

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 3,326
1890 3,692 11.0%
1900 3,871 4.8%
1910 5,880 51.9%
1920 6,226 5.9%
1930 8,245 32.4%
1940 8,034 −2.6%
1950 10,315 28.4%
1960 14,035 36.1%
1970 24,870 77.2%
1980 33,834 36.0%
1990 43,184 27.6%
2000 54,548 26.3%
2010 57,941 6.2%
Est. 2015 60,438 4.3%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010

The 2010 United States Census reported that Petaluma had a population of 57,941. The population density was 3,998.9 people per square mile (2,590/km²). The racial makeup of Petaluma was 46,566 (80.4%) White, 801 (1.4%) African American, 353 (0.6%) Native American, 2,607 (4.5%) Asian (1.3% Chinese, 0.9% Filipino, 0.8% Asian Indian, 0.4% Japanese, 0.3% Vietnamese, 0.2% Korean, 0.1% Pakistani, 0.1% Laotian, 0.1% Thai), 129 (0.2%) Pacific Islander, 5,103 (8.8%) from other races, and 2,382 (4.1%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 12,453 persons (21.5%). The Latino ethnic groups are Mexicans (16.2%), Salvadorans (1.2%), Guatemalans (0.6%), Nicaraguans (0.3%), Peruvians (0.3%), and Puerto Ricans (0.3%).

The Census reported that 57,217 people (98.8% of the population) lived in households, 361 (0.6%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 363 (0.6%) were institutionalized.

There were 21,737 households, out of which 7,541 (34.7%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 11,392 (52.4%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 2,257 (10.4%) had a female householder with no husband present, 1,052 (4.8%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 1,319 (6.1%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 207 (1.0%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 5,372 households (24.7%) were made up of individuals and 2,366 (10.9%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.63. There were 14,701 families (67.6% of all households); the average family size was 3.14.

The population was spread out with 13,455 people (23.2%) under the age of 18, 4,589 people (7.9%) aged 18 to 24, 15,041 people (26.0%) aged 25 to 44, 17,273 people (29.8%) aged 45 to 64, and 7,583 people (13.1%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40.3 years. For every 100 females there were 96.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.8 males.

There were 22,736 housing units at an average density of 1,569.2 per square mile (605.9/km²), of which 14,159 (65.1%) were owner-occupied, and 7,578 (34.9%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 1.3%; the rental vacancy rate was 4.8%. 37,389 people (64.5% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 19,828 people (34.2%) lived in rental housing units.

2000

As of the census of 2000, there were 54,548 people, 19,932 households, and 14,012 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,953 people per square mile (2,590/km²). There were 20,304 housing units at an average density of 1,471/sq mi (568/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 84.16% White, 1.16% African American, 0.54% Native American, 3.91% Asian, 0.17% Pacific Islander, 6.08% from other races, and 3.98% from two or more races. 14.64% of the population were Hispanic.

There were 19,932 households out of which 36.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.3% were married couples living together, 10.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.7% were non-families. 22.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.70 and the average family size was 3.16. The age distribution is: 26.2% under the age of 18, 7.2% from 18 to 24, 31.5% from 25 to 44, 24.1% from 45 to 64, and 11.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 95.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.9 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $61,679, and the median income for a family was $71,158 (these figures had risen to $68,949 and $85,513 respectively as of a 2007 estimate). Males had a median income of $50,232 versus $36,413 for females. The per capita income for the city was $27,087. About 3.3% of families and 6.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.2% of those under age 18 and 7.1% of those age 65 or over.

Parks and recreation

Immediately to the southwest is Helen Putnam Regional Park, accessible from Chileno Valley Road. This park of 216 acres (0.9 km2) has trails for hiking, cycling and horseback riding and is one of two parks named in honor of former mayor Helen Putnam who served from 1965–1979; the other is Putnam Plaza on Petaluma Boulevard. Lying above the city of Petaluma on the northwest flank of Sonoma Mountain is the Fairfield Osborn Preserve, a nature reserve with a diversity of native flora and fauna. Nearby to the southeast is Tolay Lake, the site of prehistoric seasonal settlement by Miwok and Pomo tribes.

Petaluma in popular culture

  • The song "Petaluma Afternoons" appeared on the 1998 record album Time Between Trains by folk singer Susan Werner.
  • In the computer game Sim City 2000, "Petaluma" is frequently a neighboring community to the city that the player builds.
  • The 2007 Michael Ondaatje novel Divisadero is partly set on a farm situated near Petaluma.
  • The Petaluma City Ballet was established in 1981 and is the only regional ballet company in the City of Petaluma and the Sonoma County area.
  • A musical piece called And on the Seventh Day Petals Fell in Petaluma, inspired by a garden in Petaluma, was created by Harry Partch in 1963.
  • Petaluma is briefly mentioned by a suitor in the 1971 comedy film Harold and Maude.
  • In the episode of the television show M*A*S*H 'The Topper', character B.J. Hunnicutt mentions a "Petaluma lumberjack festival."
  • In Nickelodeon's The Mighty B! a freeway overpass has a Petaluma sign on it.
  • In the Peanuts comics series, Snoopy the beagle trains for an arm wrestling event in Petaluma (but is disqualified because he has no thumb).
  • In an episode the 1970s television series Emergency!, firemen Chet Kelley mentions trying out for the Arm Wrestling Championship in Petaluma, but loses to another applicant before making the trip.
  • In their song "Days of the Phoenix" from their September 2000 album titled The Art of Drowning, the punk rock band AFI makes reference to the Phoenix Theater on Washington Street in downtown Petaluma, a venue the band used to play on a regular basis.

Notable events

  • Petaluma held the world wrist wrestling championships from 1952 to 2003, of which Hub "20 Pounds of Chicken a Day" Richmond won 19 times. Hub is also known for his appearances at gyms for bending bars and also setting world lifiting records on any given day. (The championships were moved to Reno, Nevada in 2004 due to a lack of sponsorship; the 2007 finals were held in Bulgaria.) In the comic strip Peanuts, Snoopy aspired to be a champion arm-wrestler (or "wrist-wrestler," as they were then called) and was shown in a series of 1968 comic strips headed for Petaluma. (He was disqualified, as he had no thumb.)
  • For the last 25 years Petaluma has played host to the World's Ugliest Dog Contest. Photos and results of the contest are typically reported worldwide. This annual event is held at the Sonoma-Marin Fair every Summer.
  • Petaluma hosts a "Butter and Egg Days Parade" in April of each year, celebrating its heritage as the "Egg Basket to the World" and dairy production.
  • In the 2012 Little League World Series, the Petaluma National All-Stars became the first Northern California team in the Little League World Series since Aptos in 2002. The team finished in 3rd place.
  • In 2013 The Petaluma Leghorns American Legion baseball team finished second out of over 4,500 US American Legion teams at the American Legion World Series played in Shelbyville, NC.
  • Bill Soberanes: "Argus Courier columnist and Peopleologist. Petaluma's number one booster and founder of the World Wrist Wrestling Championship and numerous other events. Trade Mark - He's been photographed with more famous, infamous, usual and unusual people than anyone in the world. He's the World's Number One People Meeter." - From a tribute statue and plaque in downtown Petaluma.

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