Sacred Sites and Alignments in Sonoma County, California
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"What a wonderful job you have done on Sonoma County. Thanks so much for caring about this grand piece of the world." --Winifred Medin
"Thank you for the truth of these sacred sites ...Thank you for renewing awareness that the sacred is around us, not just in Sonoma County, but everywhere. It is heartening that people know and remember." --Dorothy
Silas D. Ingram came to this area in 1869 and built a hotel on Bei Road just west of the present town. He entertained many folks from the San Francisco area until the hotel burned down in 1874. It's said that one of Cazadero's most famous visitors was none other than the train robber Black Bart, who held a stagecoach at gunpoint on the Fort Ross Road just outside of Cazadero on August 3, 1877. Years later, the train that serviced this region stopped running on July 31, 1931, and on that day a burial ceremony was held for the last train to town.
Cazadero, like many places among the redwoods and fog, is full of ghost stories. One day in 1893 the Northwest Pacific Railroad was running a train, led by engine #9, to bring tourists through a town called Ingram to Cazadero. Austin Creek was flooding and the train got trapped near the outpost known as Elm Grove. The train bridge gave way, toppling one of the cars into the raging creek. Seven men died, but only 6 bodies were recovered immediately.
Later an Indian man came to town, accompanied by his dogs, heard the news of the lost man and said he could find the missing body. He went down to the creek, lit a candle, placed it on a shingle, and set it out onto the water. It floated downstream for about a mile, then the shingle started spinning, the candle went out, and the dogs began to bark. The Indian suggested the townsfolk dig there; when they did so, they found the body of the lost man. Today, residents and visitors have reported feeling negative spiritual energy from certain pools fed by Austin Creek and its tributaries.
The Pomo took up residence in the areas just to the north of Cazadero, for it was close to the Lake Sonoma Valley. Three villages were once situated along the creek: the Tanem, the Kaletcemaial ("sitting under a tree") and the Tsapewil ("acorn-shaped"). One site near Cazadero was called Kabebateli, meaning "big rock place," and it's easy to see why. Archaeological studies have turned up a number of stones believed to have been used the local Pomos in relation to fertility rituals. Eighteen petroglyphs were found along Ward Creek where it crosses the Big Oat Creek, a major tributary of Austin Creek. All of these rock carvings were found on moss-covered schist boulders, and consisted of ten cupules, or convex indentations, about the size of a golf ball; 2 lines which were abraded in form; 4 with both cupules and lines; and 2 which had cupules and wide, deep grooves carved into them. Also, pestles and stone fragments were found all across the Austin Creek area.
However, the rock that probably gets the most attention today is Split Rock. This monolith was said to be the only part of Cazadero damaged in the 1906 earthquake, which shook the ground hard enough to split the rock into two pieces.
Site design, photographs, and text all copyright (c) 2007 Beth Winegarner. All rights reserved.
Sites included in Sacred Sonoma:
Jack London State Park
Mays Canyon Road
Mount Hood Region
Mount Saint Helena
Santa Rosa Rural Cemetery
U.S. Coast Guard Radio Station
Plus sections on:
Volcanic and seismic regions