My previous blog (12-26-2014) honored Bill Kortum who died on December 20, and whose memorial will be held on Saturday, January 24, 2015 at 1:00 p.m. at the Sonoma Mountain Village on Petaluma Hill Road. There was a Letter to the Editor in last Sunday’s Press Democrat (12-28-2014) suggesting that due to Bill’s many contributions to his community, it might be appropriate to rename Petaluma Hill Road to Bill Kortum Boulevard, in his honor. (BTW, at one time, Bill thought that Petaluma Hill Road “should be improved as a boulevard-style roadway along the eastern boundary of Santa Rosa, Sonoma State University and Cotati.)

Over the years, there have been many Petaluma streets named after citizens who have impacted the history of Sonoma County and our favorite “River Town,” like Bill has done. Chapterc13 in Adair Heig’s “History of Petaluma” identified several such streets and why they were named in honor of earlier Petalumans. For example:

Bailey Avenue – “John Bailey came here from Ohio in 1860 and established an apple and pear orchard where this street is today.”

 Bassett Street – “Henry Bassett was the proprietor of an early wooden hotel called the Petaluma House (on the site of the present Odd Fellows Hall) between 1853 and 1855.”

 Baylis Street – “Captain Thomas Fulsher Baylis, born in Ireland of English parents in 1923, began running schooners up the Petaluma Creek when the area was still no more than a hunting ground. Over the years he operated a line of schooners and the the steamer Relief, and built three warehouses, the first of which is said to b the old 1854 stone warehouse that is still part of the Great Petaluma Mill.”

 Cavanaugh Lane – “John Cavanaugh, born in Ireland in 1824, came vto Petaluma in 1857. He served as variously as City Marshall, Lieutenant of the Emmett Guards, Justice of the Peace, and City Recorder.”

 Mecham Road – “An 1853 pioneer, Harrison Mecham was a rancher of enormous wealth. power and influence who owned 10,000 acres of the old Rancho Roblar grant north of Petaluma. Mecham gave the land for Liberty Cemetery, where he and his family are buried.”

 Martha and Mary Streets – “The two short streets on either side of Hill Plaza Park are named for Martha and Mary Douglas, the daughters of William Douglas, a pioneer from Maine who came in 1851 and assembled a prefab house where the Hotel Petaluma now stands.”

 Pepper Road – “W.H. Pepper was a cabinet-maker from New York who sailed around the Horn in 1850 and settled on a ranch six miles north of Petaluma in 1858. He founded Pepper Free Kindergarten in 1893.”

 “Lest We Forget” the people for whom these streets were named.

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