About This Place
Santa Rosa is the county seat of Sonoma County, California, United States. The 2010 census reported a population of 167,815. Santa Rosa is the largest city in California's Wine Country and fifth largest city in the San Francisco Bay Area, after San Jose, San Francisco, Oakland, and Fremont and 26th largest city in California.
The first known permanent European settlement of Santa Rosa was the homestead of the Carrillo family, in-laws to Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo, who settled the Sonoma pueblo and Petaluma area. In the 1830s, during the Mexican period, the family of María López de Carrillo built an adobe house on their Rancho Cabeza de Santa Rosa land grant, just east of what later became downtown Santa Rosa. Allegedly, however, by the 1820s, before the Carrillos built their adobe in the 1830s, Spanish and Mexican settlers from nearby Sonoma and other settlements to the south raised livestock in the area and slaughtered animals at the fork of the Santa Rosa Creek and Matanzas Creek, near the intersection of modern-day Santa Rosa Avenue and Sonoma Avenue. This is supposedly the origin of the name of Matanzas Creek as, because of its use as a slaughtering place, the confluence came to be called La Matanza.
By the 1850s, a Wells Fargo post and general store were established in what is now downtown Santa Rosa. In the mid-1850s, several prominent locals, including Julio Carrillo, son of Maria Carrillo, laid out the grid street pattern for Santa Rosa with a public square in the center, a pattern which largely remains as the street pattern for downtown Santa Rosa to this day despite changes to the central square, now called Old Courthouse Square.