Welcome to a Sampling of Petaluma’s Historic Architecture
Step into Petaluma’s past to view an unbroken tapestry of architectural styles in Petaluma’s Historic Architecture ranging from 1860 to 1925, highlighting 16 homes, two churches and an office.
These are 19 of the 37 buildings that are listed on Petaluma’s Historic Resource Inventory.
While strolling through Petaluma’s past, please respect the privacy of residents and tenants. Enjoy these beautiful homes from the sidewalks; yards and homes are private.
1. Fifth and B Street
A church was first built on this site in 1857. In 1901, the present church cornerstone was laid to meet the growing needs of the original church. Formerly the First Congregational Church, this building is an excellent example of high Victorian Gothic style architecture.
Designed by local architect Brainerd Jones, the most notable feature on the wood building is a tower with a pyramidal roof topped with an apex ornament. Roof forms are Gothic-shaped cables and pediment, including a hip roof over the secondary entrance, reflecting the tower. The large round window facing B Street was donated by George P. McNear, a local community leader. The “rose window” is seen best from inside the church. This church was designed by Harold Gregg and built by J.C. Bradbury. North Bay Revival Center now occupies this graceful building.
2. Fifth and C Street
St. John’s Episcopal Church offers a country- like welcome. The shingle- style building (c. 1890) was designed by Ernest Coxhead, an English- trained architect closely tied to the British Arts and Crafts movement. His design shows sensitivity to the building as part of the landscape. The variety of volumes and textures distinguish this church. Large stained glass windows are on all sides and in dormer windows. Notable features include the rounded volume at the front center and the tower volume with turrets and spires. The church has a sculptured, shingled appearance with low solid massing. The church was built at a cost of $7,728.50, including pews and furnishings.
3. 47 Fifth Street
On Fifth Street, the next house is a good example of Gothic Revival Style (c. 1870), with steeply pitched roofs, cross gables and ornately decorated gables. The facing gable has decorated verge board and fish shingles. Notice the horizontal shipboard siding, embellished with a variety of textured surfaces and stick work. Mr. Towne, owner of Towne Drugstore in the 1870s, built the house for his bride.
4. 500 D Street
The next house is an example of Victorian stick style (c. 1885), which has been changed since it was originally built. The left side of the house was extended six feet, changing the previously vertical porch to horizontal. However, the two-story slanted bay window offset with rectangular panels is part of the original design. Original details include the fish scale shingles, the decorative roof pediments, and brackets with stick work in the gables.
5. 504 D Street
Here is a typical Queen Anne style. Notice how the tower dominates a variety of details. Built in 1885, notable features are the two- story five-sided corner tower with angled bay windows, the variety of textures, including fish scale shingles and shiplap siding. Also, the scale shingles is echoed pediment on the roof with fish by a triangular pediment over the entrance stair. The stairway leading to the second floor is a result of 1960s remodeling.
6. 600 D Street
This large, rambling Spanish revival (c.1925) sits some distance from the “D” and Sixth Street corner. Extensive formal gardens surround a gazebo, and a covered portico leads to the pool. Architectural details include centered front entrance with a two-story smooth stucco panel, covered with ornate relief work and medallions. Arched French door windows are prominent on the first floor. This house was designed in 1925 by Albert Farr and Associates of San Francisco. The firm also designed the Wolf House for Jack London located in Glen Ellen.
7. 111 Sixth Street
Across the street is a simply detailed, handsome Queen Anne style (c.1905), built for the William Zartman, Jr. family. The form of the house and the busy roofline are typically Queen Anne. A porch roof supported by round posts defines the front entrance. Note the slanted bay windows at either end of the façade. The exterior is shiplap wood siding with corner trim. According to the daughter of the original owner and builder, the house is unchanged from its original appearance.
8. 100 Sixth Street
This Colonial Revival was built in 1901 at a cost of $2,600. The two and one-half story house has three prominent dormers on the roof, two semi-circular arched entry ways on the façade, and one arched entrance with doubled windows. Notice the pine cones on the upper corners of the house, the architectural signature of a San Francisco builder, William A. Lewis. Lewis married Mary Louise Hall (daughter of Dr. James Hall of Petaluma) in 1880.
9. 48 Sixth Street
Across the street, a two-story version of the Queen Anne style incorporates a two-story rounded tower, with a low conical roof, a veranda with rounded columns, and a mix of wood siding, shingles and brackets. Built around 1875, the arched entrance way leads to a front door with multiple lights paned along the side. The front door was brought by ship from Austria to San Francisco and then to Petaluma to serve as a centerpiece for the home. The entry porch is elevated to accommodate a full basement at ground level.
10. 47 Sixth Street
This Spanish Colonial (c. 1925) made a transition from residential to office use. It was designed by Brainerd Jones, a local architect responsible for many Petaluma buildings, including the Petaluma Historical Museum. The centered front portico is framed by tall decorated pilasters and an iron balcony above. Ribboned columns decorate the arches which outline the recessed front door. Windows on the first floor are arched with decorative window shelves below. A former garage in the rear was also remodeled for office use, echoing the building’s style.
11. 600 B Street
This Queen Anne style home was built in 1898 by Dr. H.W. Gossage on a lot which he purchased from George P. and Ida McNear. The interior is virtually original and contains many of the finest features of its era including leaded glass windows, lincrusta-walton wall covering, ribbon parquet floors and two stairways to the second floor.
12. 523 B Street
At the corner of B and Sixth Streets, sits the oldest structure on the tour, a good example of Greek Revival style (c. 1860). Built entirely of redwood, it was originally a farm house when Petaluma’s downtown was closer to the river. Bracket work over the front and side doors indicates remodeling around 1875-1880. There was an extensive two-story remodel and addition made in 1992-93.
13. 10 Sixth Street
The next house represents the Queen Anne stick style at the modest end of the economic scale. Built in 1866, the exterior has not changed. The two-story house is distinguished by the bay window offset on the first level. The veranda’s round posts and curved brackets add embellishment. The sunburst gable over the entrance and brackets over the bay windows add character to this simple façade. James Stewart purchased the property in 1870 for $1,800 in gold coin. After falling on hard times, Hannah Ward Stewart sold the home for $10 to repay a debt.
14. 6 Sixth Street
One of the earliest structures on the block is this Gothic Revival house (c. 1862). The mix of details is typical of an enthusiastic early builder. Note the single story portico across the front and the Gothic style windows on the gable end. Recent owners have undertaken extensive restoration. The house was built by Hannah Ward Stewart and sold to Henry Lawrence in 1876. The next house on the tour (10 Liberty Street) was built by Hannah’s father-in-law, John Stewart.
15. 10 Liberty Street
Once used as a rooming house, this simple two- story stick-style Queen Anne was probably built in the late 1880s as the interior locks are dated 1889. At one time condemned, it was saved from a scheduled demolition. Its front bay window’s lower corner is slanted, a common architectural theme in Sonoma County, and the corners are bracketed with pendants, making an interesting transition between lower and upper portions of the bay window.
16. 2 Liberty Street
In the early years, this Colonial Revival house (c. 1900-20) was known as “The Palms,” serving luncheons to professional women and offering whist parties. Later in the 1940s the house served as a teachers’ rooming house. Notice the variety of roof shapes with deep front and side porches. A central arch connects the round columns on the porches. The front door is accented with decorative crown and sunburst design.
17. 401 A Street
On A Street, a more elaborate style hip roof cottage reflects classic Queen Anne influences. Built in 1906, the most notable element is the dormer with three small windows which bisect the hip roof above the front door. Not unlike many houses of this era in Petaluma, the entrance porch is elevated to accommodate a basement at ground level. Round columns support the porch which is reached by a stairway flanked by an ornate balustrade.
18. 1 Keller Street
Across Keller Street, a simple two-story Queen Anne style house served as the manse for the First Congregational Church until 1959. Note the square tower which rises from the second floor level and emerges through the main roof with a curved roof. Built in 1902, the house has slanted bay windows with stick work in the brow formed by the building corner. The round stained glass window was added by the current owner. The Chase family built this house and donated it to the church.
19. 10 Keller Street
This Georgian Revival house (c. 1902). Two sets of double columns support the porch roof. The porch is finished with a balustrade in front of Palladian windows. The house is symmetrical with narrow horizontal board siding. The house was built for John E. Cavanagh, son of John W. Cavanagh, who arrived in Petaluma in 1857, started a lumber business in 1867, and died in 1899. The Cavanagh Lumber Company was located on East Washington Street until the 1970s.