Petaluma was the hub of River & Rail Commerce. In 1904, the Petaluma and Santa Rosa Electric Railroad was built by the Petaluma Chamber of Commerce under the direction of J. P. McNear to compete with steam age rail technology bypassing Petaluma. These electric trolleys succeeded by keeping Petaluma at the center of trade and the hub of a daily (and overnight) freight and passenger service. Sonoma county’s booming agricultural business and its products were needed by San Francisco, Because the P&SR connection ran thru and by Petaluma mills, tracks and river, it kept Petaluma’s economy strong.
Here’s a brief history of the railroad and an overview from Wikepedia. We recommend Allen Tacy’s remarkably thorough and engaging history of the P&SR Railroad.
This downtown map shows how the river-to-rail connection made Petaluma a capitol of shipping, supply, manufacturing and milling. It was that commerce that produced wealth and made Petaluma what it is today.
Click on map for larger version.
A Bit of History on the P&SR Windsplitter…
This is an original Petaluma Trolley, the P&SR #63.
Lauren Williams, conductor, at the Western Railway Museum, where it is the most treasured car. We want to restore one for Petaluma to experience their own history.
The #63, an original Petaluma and Santa Rosa car, is the pride and joy of the Western Railway Museum. These cars are the fine examples of the height of American craftsmanship. The interior looked like captain’s cabins and riders feel like they are in rolling chariots. It is one of our goals to restore a P&SR car for Petaluma.
Feeding San Francisco