Petaluma’s Historic Commerce District, which encompasses much of the downtown area was officially created in 1995, when it was placed on the Nation Register of Historic PLaces. This district included 95 buildings on 23 acres of land, and represents the development of commerce in the city from the mid-nineteenth century to the end of World War II. It is a great place to explore for “Then & Now” sites.
(Photograph courtesy of the Petaluma Historical Museum & Library)
According to Petaluma realtor, Skip Sommers, who bought and rehabilitated the Great Mill in 1975, the stone portion of the original mill was built in 1854 and served as a food locker and cooler for much of the wild game that was shipped to San Francisco.
John McNear bought the mill complex in the 1890’s and the Geo. P. McNear Hay & Grain office portion was added at the northeast corner of B Street and Main (now Petaluma Blvd. South) in 1902, due to a fire that destroyed the original office and the McNear Feed & Seed store on North Main Street. The B Street and South Petaluma Blvd. office building was torn down prior to 1975 and is now a parking lot serving the Great Mill com[plex which over the years was expanding to four buildings and included more than 20 specialty shops amnd restaurants.
Stay tuned for more “Then & Now” stories from downtown Petaluma.