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Then & Now: Santa Rosa’s downtown evolution

Friday, March 8th, 2013 | Posted by

THEN: 600 block of Fourth Street, July 17, 1949. (Courtesy of the Sonoma County Library)

NOW: Fourth Street, March 8, 2013. (Christopher Chung / Press Democrat)

Historian Katherine Rinehart’s curiosity was piqued when she came across this picture in theSonoma County History and Genealogy Library. As is often the case, little remains about its origin or purpose. A note identifies it only as the 600 block of Fourth Street, July 17, 1949.

On that day, it was a key piece of downtown Santa Rosa, with clothing stores, soda fountain, real estate office and bank. Today, it functions in much the same way. Women’s clothing has replaced real estate, and Mac’s breakfast and lunch counter has taken the furrier’s place.

“I suspect the bones of the original buildings are there, although there has been some definite ‘remuddling’ of the storefronts,” said Rinehart, who helps manage the library’s photo collection.

Fleshing out such details is a fun part of Rinehart’s job, as is introducing people to one of the County’s best kept secrets. Contact her at 211 E St., krinehart@sonoma.lib.ca.us, or 545-0831, ext. 1562. Read her blog at sonomalibrary.org/blogs/history.




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Ann Hutchinson is our Santa Rosa correspondent.
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