Last Saturday, I had the opportunity to support the Petaluma Trolley & Living History Museum in its effort to preserve and rehabilitate the Petaluma downtown trestle, which runs along side of Petaluma River from the Yacht Club to the Balshaw Bridge. Since I have been blogging about places and events in Our River Town that are of historical significance, I thought I should act in a way that matches my mouth.
This local railroad trestle certainly qualifies as a structure of historical significance. It was constructed in 1922 and over the years, supported trains that transported passengers and goods from Petaluma to other Sonoma County cities, as part of the Petaluma and Santa Rosa Railroad. Today, it is 500 feet of rusted steel tracks and deteriorating wood. The area has been closed since 1994, and is considered a hazard to pedestrians. It is now owned by SMART. (The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit.)
A community effort to restore this historic treasure was initiated in 1998 by the Petaluma Trolley & Living History Museum to make it a cultural destination foe Petalumans and tourists. Lead by Chris Stevick and Lauren Williams over the years, the Petaluma Trolley Museum has developed a six phase plan to restore trolley service over a three mile portion of the railroad from downtown Petaluma toi the Premium Factory Outlets. Although an environmental assessment and three alternative plans have been completed by the city since a phase one grant was approved in 2010, the funds necessary to implement any next steps are still needed.
Saturday’s display of the Trolley Museum’s “This Place Matters” signage by volunteers was one more demonstration to remind Petalumans that their are still citizens committed to seeing the trestle restored as the first step in completing this historic trolley project.
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Stay tuned for future Trolley Trestle updates.