The modern history of the Sonoma Valley is summarized in a greatly abbreviated form by the grave markers found in the City's cemeteries.
These old, beautiful remnants of past lives and their influence on the current character of the City, and even the entire Northern California region, should not be forgotten.
The City of Sonoma owns, maintains, and operates three cemetery properties that actively provide the service of final disposition of its citizens' remains.
The City was incorporated in 1841, but was originally established by General Mariano Vallejo starting as far back as 1835. General Vallejo originally deeded the land for Valley Cemetery in 1835 with the entire city land tract map that established the original land uses. Mountain Cemetery was founded in 1841 when the City formally incorporated.
Many of the City's civic, economic and cultural leaders are buried in the cemeteries, most notably, General Vallejo and his wife, Francisco Carrillo Vallejo. A brief tour of the cemeteries will show many well-known winemaking, farming, and long-time valley resident families, such as Sebastiani, McTaggart, Riboni, Ruggles, Dolcini, Bundschu, and Mulas. There are many beautiful family mausoleum buildings memorializing their families' prominence in the community.
Captain H.E. Boyes, George Fetters, Franklin Sears and two Donner Party survivors are interned in Mountain Cemetery. The Sons of the American Revolutionary War claim that a veteran from that era, Captain William Smith of Flowerdew Hundred, Virginia, is buried in an unmarked grave at Mountain Cemetery, making the cemetery one of the oldest continually operated cemeteries in the western United States, and perhaps also one of the most beautiful.
Mountain Cemetery was originally allocated 60 acres of land at the base of Schocken Hill, overlooking the northern edge of Sonoma. The cemetery winds up the side of the mountain and is home to many historical figures. The cemetery is located at 90 First Street West and is open daily from 8:00 am - 5:00 pm.
Visit the historical Sonoma Mountain Cemetery and take the walking tour. Brochures are available at the Sonoma Overlook Trail kiosk or simply download the PDF file from the Sonoma City website or The Sonoma Ecology Center website.
Photos and Brochures by Fred Allebach, Graphics, Scott Summers. This project is supported by The Sonoma Overlook Trail Stewards.
Valley Cemetery is comprised of two acres of original deed, plus two acres acquired in 1960 known as the "Valley Cemetery Annex." The property is located at 425 East MacArthur Street, between Oak Lane and Fourth Street East. The cemetery is open daily from 8:00 am - 5:00 pm.
Veterans' Cemetery was acquired in 1996 for the purpose of establishing a dedicated Veterans' Cemetery. The land was developed as such in an austere setting with a sculptured Star Fountain. The Veterans' Cemetery is approximately one acre and is open from 8:00 am - 5:00 pm.