Forestville, California - Founded in 1869   ·   Forestville Historical Society - Since 1999
Short History of Forestville, CA

Visitors to Forestville are taken aback by its picturesque valleys laden with roaming vineyards. However, Forestville is more than a gateway to the Russian River; it is a diverse array of businesses, wineries, farming, and recreation.

Forestville grew from the Spanish land grant traded by Capt. Juan Bautista Rogers Cooper from his brother-in-law Gen. Mariano Vallejo in 1834 into the town known by passing travelers as Swindle Rig.

In 1867, the town was named Forestville after Andrew Jackson Forrester, a saloon owner. It was set apart from other settlements by having the first powered sawmill in California and the Faudré Chair factory, the largest manufacturing plant in Sonoma County of that era. Collectors still seek out the factory's rawhide-bottom chairs.

1904 Forestville School, Annie Travis on right with cape/hat, Mrs Worth to her right a teacher, Ed Kimes in back center left with hat.

As a popular stop on the railway line, many vacationers from San Francisco passed through on their journeys to the Russian River. In 1963, the town continued to be different, setting aside land for a community youth park, so it is no wonder the town's slogan is Forestville — The Good Life.

Forestville is an unincorporated area which means the governmental body controlling what can be developed in Forestville is the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors.

Forestville has had the same downtown streets since the 1800s, albeit much improved over the early dirt roads. Some of the buildings still exist or at least the exact placement of them.

Over the years, two groups have acted on behalf of the residents to keep the character of the town rural. The first is called Forestville Citizens for Sensible Growth. Many of the people from this group are still active in the community.

In 2002, a new group formed named Forestville Planning Association (FPA), now a non-profit 501(c)(3). In 2013, the FPA has taken on the project to purchase an 8 acre parcel in downtown Forestville. The intent is to make this a downtown park with open space and developed area for Farmer's Markets, fairs, community get-togethers and something resembling a town square.

Forestville Historical Society
P.O. Box 195
Forestville, CA 95436

The History of Forestville
Photos · Stories

by Penny Hutten

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Forestville Pharmacy,
  Downtown Forestville
West County Museum,
  Downtown Sebastopol
Costco, Santa Rosa (sometimes available)

Penny Hutten lived in Forestville for 35 years and was the founder of the Forestville Historical Society in 1999. She has maintained the original Website since the mid-1990s. Hutten has allowed FHS to use her historic writings about Forestville. FHS is grateful for Hutten's continuing support.