Mystery Photo No. 13: "Rural residence, Sonoma County"

When a research librarian needs help, who’s better qualified than another library worker?

We’ve been helping Lynn Prime, Digital Projects Librarian at Sonoma State University, identify some of the hundreds of photos taken by students as part of historical preservation course during the ’70s.

This photo was printed Sunday, Nov. 14, in The Press Democrat and posted on this blog earlier today (Nov. 17.)

Almost immediately, we got this information from Katherine J. Rinehart, Library Associate for the History and Genealogy Annex at the main branch of the Sonoma County Library in Santa Rosa:

“We have the same image in our collection. Your ‘rural Sonoma County residence’ is our Watson Ranch, that was located on Pepper Road, Petaluma,” Rinehart said.

“The cataloging notes state that the house was built in 1890 as a wedding gift for Isabel Meacham. Her father, Harrison Meacham, named it the Garden Valley Ranch. The John S. Watson family came as tenant-operators in 1926 and acquired interest in the property in 1965. Following an extensive electrical fire in August 1984 the building, despite its landmark status, was demolished.”

Meanwhile, Prime at SSU continues her quest, transferring some 850 images to the university’s digital archives. More information about the North Bay Historic Preservation Digital Collection is available at or from Lynn Prime, or (707) 664-4025.