A tradition of building a better community

More than one new resident of Sonoma has been surprised at the high level of community support for local causes. They are in awe of the scope and quality of our events, such as the Red and White Ball, the Harvest Wine Auction, Sonoma Valley Muse, the Sweetheart Auction, et al, and they are surprised that a community as small as Sonoma can do so much for so many different worthy nonprofits.

It is a tradition rooted here more deeply than our oldest surviving grapevines.

One of those roots reaches back to the founding of the Sonoma Valley Woman’s Club in 1901. Among the founders were my great-grandmother, Kate Granice, and my grand-aunt, Celeste Murphy. They, along with other members of the club, took on the beautification of the Sonoma Plaza as their first project.

The Plaza, which had been laid out by Gen. Vallejo in the 1830s, was little more than a trampled, dusty cow pasture with dilapidated buildings.

It took nearly 10 years for the women to accomplish their task, and aided by some fiery editorials from Harry Granice, editor of the Index-Tribune and husband to Kate and father of Celeste, to get the city government to pitch in.

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