Trains Come to Sebastopol’s Main Street Again!

A train ran down Main Street in Sebastopol from 1904 to 1984 when the Petaluma & Santa Rosa Railroad ended its run. Passenger service was terminated in 1932 due to the impact of the automobile. During its day it saw the boom of the Gravenstein apple, dairy and chicken farms and numerous other agricultural businesses because of the access to freight and passenger service it provided. It carried these products south to Petaluma to be transported to San Francisco by ferry. But trains are back, only they are model trains, part of the new exhibit at the West County Museum.  


Made by Richard Dornhelm in O-scale, the models exhibited are faithful replicas of cars and engines that ran on the electric P&SR Railroad that operated the ‘Train Down Main.’ Dornheim developed his fascination with electric transportation as a child growing up in New York City riding the elevated and underground railways.  Now a weekend resident of Freestone, his attention turned to the great electric transportation network that once crisscrossed California. His cars have won many prizes and have been exhibited nationwide.

The Western Sonoma County Historical Society is celebrating the centennial of the construction of The Depot that served the P&SR Railroad, and is now the Society’s headquarters as the West County Museum.  
It was designed by architect Brainerd Jones who in 1904 established his reputation with the design of the Petaluma Carnegie library.  He followed up with design credit for the Carnegie libraries in Healdsburg and Sebastopol, and over 20 of his buildings still stand in Petaluma. The Sebastopol Depot is one of only four downtown Sebastopol buildings over 60 years old that retain their original architecture.

The West County Museum, 261 S. Main Street, Sebastopol, is open Thursday to Sunday, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free.

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History of Sebastopol

From the first known inhabitants, the Miwok and Pomo Indians to today, Sebastopol's history is rich in cultural, and often high-spirited discourse. Read about the History of Sebastopol.


A Pomo woman, Cecilia Joaquin, using a seed beater to gather seeds into a burden basket.