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Welcome to Cotati! Located in the center of Sonoma County on the Highway 101 corridor. Cotati (pop. 7,275) is a modern community with strong historic roots, particularly in agriculture and music.
Because of a gap in the coastal mountains to the west, coastal fog often reaches Cotati in the summer, creating a milder and somewhat cooler climate than in neighboring communities such as Santa Rosa or Sebastopol. Laid out in the 1890s and covering less than two square miles, Cotati is one of only two towns nationwide (the other is Detroit) with a hexagon street pattern instead of the standard grid.
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More About Cotati
Cotati is an incorporated city in Sonoma County, California, U.S., located about 45 mi north of San Francisco in the 101 corridor between Rohnert Park and Petaluma. Cotati’s population as of the 2010 Census was 7,265, making it the smallest incorporated community in Sonoma County.
A little history
Taken partially from Wikipedia:
The Coast Miwok civilization thrived in the Cotati area since at least 2000 BC, with principal villages built near major streams. Documented villages in the area included Lumen-takala (northeast of present-day Cotati), Payinecha (west of present-day Cotati), and Kotati.
In 1827, an Irishman named John Thomas Reed ventured into Miwok territory and built a cabin near Crane Creek. After the natives burned it, he retreated south to Mill Valley.
In July 1844, the Mexican government granted Rancho Cotate (encompassing present-day towns of Cotati, Penngrove and Rohnert Park, and home to Coast Miwok people) to Captain Juan Castaneda, a Mexican military commander from Texas, in payment for his service as a soldier under General Vallejo. The grant took its name from the Coast Miwok village of Kotati. However, a legend arose that Rancho Cotate was named after a Pomo chief named Cotati, and in 1973 the state perpetuated this legend on the historical marker it placed in the plaza.
Rancho Cotate consisted of 17,238.6 acres (6,976.2 ha). Captain Castaneda moved to San Francisco and never developed Rancho Cotate. Because he failed to fulfill the legal requirements of the grant, he lost control of the rancho, which passed to Thomas Larkin and then to Joseph Ruckle. In 1849, Ruckle sold the land to Dr. Thomas Stokes Page, a former resident of Valparaíso, Chile, for $1600. Rancho Cotate was recorded in California state records as follows:
Cotate #65, Sonoma Co., Grant of 4 sq. leagues made in 1844 by Gov. Micheltorena to Juan Casteneda. Confirmed in 1846. Patent for 17,238 acres (6,976 ha) issued in 1858 to Thos. S. Page. In T 5-6N, R 7-8W, MDM.— California Ranchos: Patented Private Land Grants Listed by County, Shumway 1988:107.
The land holding remained in the Page family for over eighty years. Subject to seasonal flooding from the Laguna de Santa Rosa, the land was used to graze cattle and sheep. In October 1870, the San Francisco and North Pacific Railroad completed the first railroad from Petaluma to Santa Rosa, and a town formed around the wood and water stop called Page’s Station, then Cotati.
Development of a town
Cotati’s hexagonal plaza and street grid plan was designed during the 1890s by Newton Smyth as an alternative to the traditional grid. Dr. Thomas Page’s barn once stood where the plaza is today, and each of the streets surrounding the plaza is named after one of his sons. In 1892, the Page family created the Cotati Land Company to subdivide their ranch into parcels of five to twenty acres (two to eight hectares). By 1901, good land was selling for $30 to $60 per acre. Page family ownership ended in 1944.
The Cotati area was shaken up by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. After the quake, Drury Butler reported that “the chimneys were as a rule thrown down”. In particular, the Stony Point School suffered a chimney failure.
The Northwestern Pacific Railroad built the Cotati Depot in 1907. It was located near the East Cotati Avenue crossing, almost 1 mi (1.6 km) east of the plaza. It was demolished to make way for Sonoma–Marin Area Rail Transit’s Cotati station.
Prior to 1915, the major north-south roads (Petaluma Hill Road and Stony Point Road) bypassed Cotati. In that year, the state routed the Redwood Highway (part of U.S. Route 101) onto the mostly-unpaved Cotati Boulevard. U.S. 101 passed through the downtown plaza until 1955, when the highway was re-routed further west. U.S. 101 still bisects Cotati, and the former route is called Old Redwood Highway.
In February 1921, the old schoolhouse at 201 West Sierra burned down. A new school built on the same site opened in 1922. This building has served as City Hall since 1971. The rear of this building housed the Cotati Police Department until September 3, 2003 when the department moved into a new building next door.
The Cotati Speedway was built near the depot around 1921. The wooden oval track for automobile racing was about 1.25 mi (2 km) in circumference. World records were set there, but it failed in its first season and was torn down in 1922.
In 1927, the Cotati Volunteer Fire Department was organized. Since 1993, Cotati has been part of the Rancho Adobe Fire Protection District.
A local weekly newspaper called The Cotatian was established by E. A. Little in 1944 and lasted until 1964. The current local paper is The Community Voice, published in neighboring Penngrove.
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