City demolishes Pauline Bond house
The city has demolished the Bond house, the home in which Pauline Bond once lived on the property she gave to Sonoma for use as a public park, as well as an adjacent barn, all at 19990 Seventh St. E.
The request to demolish the one-story, single-family home – originally constructed between 1900 and 1905 – and barn was authorized at the Oct. 3, 2011, City Council meeting.
The city, in 2008, commissioned a historical evaluation of the house, which determined it wasn’t eligible to be listed on the state or national registries of historic places, (though in 1979, the Sonoma League for Historic Preservation added it to the local Historic Resources Survey). The former prune farm, the evaluation found, “lacked the integrity necessary to be a good a representation of that property type.”
The city requested the demolition because the costs to preserve the buildings and meet the requirements of their usage as a public space were estimated to be at least $600,000 to $700,000. Costs of the demolition were estimated to be $60,000, and a $36,000 base bid was awarded to Central Valley Environmental in September 2012.
A significant portion of the property, which Pauline Bond bequeathed to Sonoma in 1977, is leased to the Sonoma Ecology Center (SEC), which operates and maintains it as the Sonoma Garden Park. In May 2012, SEC withdrew its request to make structural repairs to the barn for use as dry storage due to cost concerns.
“Standing aside was not a decision anyone at SEC made lightly, since it feels so wasteful of materials and of the less definable but very real character that an old structure brings to a place,” said SEC Executive Director Richard Dale, who added, “One benefit to (the house and barn’s) removal we’ve noticed is that the giant, many-centuries old heritage oak there, the most significant feature of the entire property, is given more room.”