Sonoma County residents have been enjoying formal dances for decades. Although the styles may have changed, the teenage rite of passage has not lost its charm or popularity.

The word prom is short for promenade, the parading of guests at a formal event. Its roots can be traced back to 19th century banquets for American co-eds at the end of their collegiate careers. It became popular at the high school level around the 1940s, growing in size and grandeur with every passing year.

Click through our gallery of prom photos from yesteryear. Have an old photo in a shoebox somewhere? Scan it and email it to janet.balicki@pressdemocrat.com and we'll add it to this gallery.