The National Trust for Historic Preservation has awarded a $5,000 preservation grant to the Sonoma Valley Historical Society to assist with documenting the historic structures lost in the October 2017 Nuns Fire.

Sonoma Valley lost more than 375 structures in the Nuns Fire, many of them historic properties that embodied and enhanced the Valley’s sense of place for both community members and visitors. Examples include a 1850s adobe that was the site of Glen Ellen’s first post office and a Wells Fargo stage stop on Dunbar Road and the 1860s stone barn at Glen Oaks Ranch, which is important to Sonoma County’s vinicultural and women’s history.

“Organizations like Sonoma Valley Historical Society help to ensure that communities and towns all across America retain their unique sense of place,” said Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “We are honored to provide a grant to the Sonoma Valley Historical Society, which will use the funds to help recognize our shared national heritage.”

The post-fire update, which started in November, is critical to a multi-year, on-going effort to document the history of Sonoma Valley’s most significant historic properties. In 2012-14, a survey of over 300 historic resources in Sonoma Valley’s 13 unincorporated communities was undertaken, spearheaded by the Sonoma League for Historic Preservation and paid for by Sonoma County Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) funds.

The second phase of this project, development of a Historic Context Statement, was scheduled to begin this fall, just as the fires broke out. Before starting with the historic narrative, it became necessary to document the status of the Valley’s most important historic structures lost to or damaged by the fire.

Work on the Historic Context Statement, directed by the Sonoma Valley Historical Society and paid for by Sonoma County TOT funds, will now begin after the first of the year.

“The context will tell the story of Sonoma Valley through its buildings and landscapes,” said Diana Painter of Painter Preservation, who has been working on the project since 2012. “What has been lost to fire will now be another, unforgettable chapter in that history.”