The Sonoma Barracks

The Sonoma Barracks, facing Sonoma’s central plaza, was built to house Mexican army troops under the command of General Vallejo. These troops arrived in Sonoma in 1834 when Vallejo, then the Commandant of the Presidio at San Francisco, was instructed to move his garrison to Sonoma. From then until 1846, Sonoma was the headquarters of the commandant of the Frontera del Norte – the Mexican provincial frontier of the north. Actual construction of the adobe barracks building was completed in 1840 – 41.

In the years after 1835, more than 100 military expeditions set out from Sonoma with the object of subduing the Wappos, Cainameros, or Satisyomis lndians who more than once rose up and attempted to throw off Mexican domination of the surrounding country. Many of these expeditions were led by Vallejo himself, but others were led by Vallejo’s younger brother, Salvadore, or by Sem-Yeto, the tall, ruggedly handsome Chief of the Suisunes lndians whose christian name was Francisco Solano, and who came to be one of Vallejo’s closest and most valuable allies.

Following the Bear Flag takeover of Sonoma on June 14, 1846, the barracks housed a number of Bear Flag followers until July 9, when the Stars and Stripes were first raised at Sonoma. Thereafter the barracks were used by various U.S. military forces starting with the 50 men who made up Company “B”, California Battalion Mounted Riflemen commanded by Lt. Joseph Revere, an officer in the U.S. Navy. In March 1847, these troops were replaced by Company “C” of Colonel Stevenson’s New York Volunteer Regiment. Throughout the next few years Sonoma continued to be an important army post.

In 1860 Vallejo remodeled the building to serve as a winery. In later years under other owners it was used as a store, law office, and private residence. Purchased by the State in 1958, and partially restored, the building is today listed as State Historical Landmark Number 316.