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Thread: Santa Rosa, California

  1. #1

    Registered
    Oct 2001
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    Solano County, California
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    Santa Rosa, California

    I don't claim to be a great photographer, and these shots don't excite me overall as "suitable for framing," but they give a decent impression of the core of Santa Rosa.

    Santa Rosa is a sprawling satellite of San Francisco about one hour directly north. It is the County Seat of Sonoma County (although the county government has decamped from downtown proper to a screamingly boring, but very efficient "campus" with plenty of parking in the suburbs). Because it was in some ways a regional center for the entire North Coast (the local newspaper, The Press Register, is an amazingly consistent voice supportiung lumbering, factory farming, and real estate development), the downtown is quite large, with several mid-rise office buildings of generally poor architectural quality (concrete, anyone?)

    Still, the downtown commerical core, Fourth Street, is quite pleasant, with plenty of trees and nice, if dated street furniture. The largest regional mall terminates the main street. Surrounding the core are pockets and fragments of quite fantastic older homes, although the neighborhoods are not as intact as, for example, nearbyPetaluma or Napa.

    On to the photo tour!

    Fourth Street

    First, we visit Fourth Street proper. The City has pretty maintained a nice street wall, there are lots of trees, a few sidewalk cafes, and a range of businesses. We aren't talking Union Square here, but there could be worse. Because of lighting, I didn't photograph a couple of the real landmark buildings, but









    Empire Tower: A great midrise!



    The Mall is right downtown.



    Railroad Square

    Across the Freeway (101) is a curious enclave of older buildings centered around the train tracks. Unfortunately, the mall and the freeway separate rather brutally Railroad Square from downtown proper, but it remains a pleasant, artsy-bohemian enclave with some fantastic stone buildings.



    Great Coffee House!





    Fragments of the Past





    The Creekwalk

    Where did they get the money for such an elaborate construction of stone walls, neon-tube lit bridges, multiple layers? Wow. Too bad the creek itself is so ugly



    Next Up: Some fine neighborhoods in (under-rated) Oakland.

  2. #2

    Registered
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    BOY! I NEED cable internet if I get into this as a hobby

  3. #3
    Cyburbian ablarc's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2003
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    East Coast
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    Pretty nice town, BKM.

    Seems there are concrete planters or bollards in all the downtown photos. Are they afraid of terrorists?

    Is that hotel still operating. If so, what's it called? Jacobs?

    That's the kind of place I like to stay in.

  4. #4

    Registered
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    Quote Originally posted by ablarc
    Pretty nice town, BKM.

    Seems there are concrete planters or bollards in all the downtown photos. Are they afraid of terrorists?

    Is that hotel still operating. If so, what's it called? Jacobs?

    That's the kind of place I like to stay in.

    Well, despite my commonly cynical tone, Santa Rosa can be a quite nice place. Its very, very low density, overall, which weakens the sense of urbanity. There are newer hillside suburbs that offer spectacular views. I need to walk McDonald Avenue, the old "silk stock district" from the 1920s era-some fantastic houses!
    The biggest problem is rapid population growth and the associated horrific traffic. People commute to Marin County and SF from Santa Rosa on a poor quality four lane freeway (101 is SCARY!)

    There is some nice countryside nearby-the State Highway 12 from Napa County goes through the "Valley of the Moon," which once you leave the weird mix of favellas and fancy resorts near Sonoma town, is an oak-shaded wonder of vineyards, creeks, pastures, and elegant tourist restaurants.

    As for the hotel, its now retail and restaurants. There is a spectacular black stone block hotel in Railroad Square that is quite fancy. Unfortunately, that photo, of which I am quite proud, is framed-so I would have to pull it out and scan it.

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