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The Sonoma Barracks

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The Sonoma Barracks are directly across the street (West) from the Mission. Your admission price to the Mission includes the barracks or, if you purchase an admission at the barracks it will be good at the Mission. The displays in the barracks are mostly directed toward the life of the soldiers but also include some general post-mission era items. You can also watch a movie describing the history of the area.

After the takeover of California the Barracks served as the headquarters of American detachments, but even these moved out by the 1850s. General Vallejo, now a State Senator living in the area at Lachryma Montis, remodeled the building as a winery. Later it was converted into a store, law offices, and a private residence. The State purchased the building in 1958 and by 1980 it had been restored to its original form.

The first thing you see when you walk into the barracks is a well-preserved cannon from the era.

Picture taken 12:41pm 19 Feb 2012

There are several rooms of displays and one showing a continuous movie about the area. Be certain to see them all. In particular, look for the Bear Flag display.

Bear FlagExpand
Picture taken 12:42 19 Feb 2012

The original Bear Flag was made in the Sonoma Barracks on June 14 or 15, 1846. Other Bear Flags, four or more of them, were made between June 15 and July 9 for use at Bodega Bay and elsewhere. When the original Bear Flag was lowered at Sonoma July 9, it was given as a mememto to one of the sons of Captain Montgomery of the U.S.S. Portsmouth then at San Francisco Bay. Montgomery took the flag to Washington, D.C. where it was placed in the archives of the Naval Department. In 1855, at the request of California's Congressional delegation, the flag was returned to California for permanent display in the San Francisco headquarters of the Society of California Pioneers. The flag on display here is a copy made by the Pioneers before the original flag was destroyed in the San Francisco earthquake and fire of 1906.

Other display cases include...

Farm Implements
Farm ImplementsExpand
Picture taken 12:44pm 19 Feb 2012
Mexican Charro Saddle ~1900
Mexican Charro SaddleExpand
Picture taken 12:43pm 19 Feb 2012
Bear Flag Raising Diorama
Bear Flag DioramaExpand
Picture taken 12:46pm 19 Feb 2012
Various Personal Items
Artifact DisplayExpand
Picture taken 12:44pm 19 Feb 2012

One whole room is dedicated to showing how the soldiers lived. Each soldier got a bed, storage trunk, a shelf, and area were lances and other weapons could be stored. There was also a common area for eating/drinking and entertainment such as cards.

Picture taken 12:54pm 19 Feb 2012

Moving outside in the the courtyard you see what would have been the work and training area. To your right is a wagon and a view of the Mission across the street. To your left is the outdoor kitchen with the beehive oven featured.

Picture taken 12:49pm 19 Feb 2012
Beehive OvenExpand
Picture taken 12:52pm 19 Feb 2012

Below you should see a rotating panorama of the interior courtyard of the soldiers' quarters. You should be able to click on the panorama to stop the rotation at any point and then drag the mouse left, right, up, or down to see any specific area. If you have a mouse wheel, it should be able to be used to zoom in and out. If one or more of these behaviors does not work click on the full screen icon (top right corner) and try the behavior again. If you are at full screen, press the ESCape key to have the panorama return to this page. This panorama has few up and down components.

Panorama taken 2/19/2012 and created with PTGui panorama photo software

Some of the other historic areas around the Mission:

  • Sonoma Plaza
  • The Sonoma Barracks
  • The Blue Wing Inn
  • The Toscano Hotel
  • La Casa Grande - General Vallejo's home before 1846
  • Lachryma Montis - General Vallego's home after 1850


Navigation for Mission San Francisco Solano:

Mission Home :: History :: Museum :: Chapel :: Courtyard :: Exterior :: Jorgensen Watercolors :: Sonoma Plaza :: Sonoma Barracks :: Lachryma Montis


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Copyright © 2012 Tom Simondi, All Rights Reserved
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