SPParks lecture, “California’s First Windmills: Light Industry at a 19th Century Russian Settlement in Sonoma County”

Dr. Glenn Farris, retired  CA Senior State Parks Archaeologist, has 30 years of experience working on historic sites throughout California, including several of the California Missions. He led a 1981 excavation at Fort Ross and is the author of  So Far From Home:  Russians in Early California. In this lecture he will give us his insights into early commercial activities at Fort Ross.

Fort Ross was occupied by the Russian American Company from 1812 to 1841. It was meant to be largely self-sufficient, but also to provide foodstuffs, building materials and goods to support the RAC outposts in Alaska. To accomplish this, four mills — including two windmills — were constructed as well as threshing floors, a Scottish mechanical thresher, brick kilns, tannery vats, shipbuilding structures and other elements of light industry.

Thursday evening lectures are held at the Sonoma Mission Chapel. Following State Parks protocols, masks are required upon  entry.  Admission fee will be $10 general public, $5 SPParks members, and free to Sonoma State Historic Park docents.  

Prior to arrival, visitors with disabilities who need assistance should contact Sonoma State Historic Park at (707) 938-9547. 711, TTY relay service.