Fabulous facial hair of the 1800s in Sonoma County

A very dapper Milton S. Ray posing for a portrait around 1915. Ray’s beard is long in the front with more closely trimmed sides. (Courtesy of the Sonoma County Library)


We are about two weeks away from the fabulous Petaluma Whiskerino, a popular beard and mustache contest started by Petaluma Argus Courier’s own Bill Soberanes. Now in its 59th year, the contest includes both male and female participants with natural bristles and artificial.

Today’s obsession with everything bearded is nothing new. Facial hair was huge in the late 1800s, and Victorians did it best.

If you have been growing out your chin shrubbery and need a little inspiration for the main event, here are historic images of Sonoma County residents sporting their bearded best. Only two more weeks to grow!

For more information on the Oct. 7 event visit