Blue Wing Inn
131 East Spain Street
No one knows why it’s called Blue Wing. Today it is a California State Parks Museum, part of Sonoma State Historic Park. These days it’s closed for safety reasons.
It began as a small house in the 1830s then became Sonoma’s first saloon, an old fashioned name for a bar. Gold miners didn’t find gold in Sonoma during the California Gold Rush, but they traveled through here on their way to and from the gold fields. The Blue Wing was one of the first hotels north of San Francisco.
During the Gold Rush, James Cooper and his sons lived at the Blue Wing Inn. In those days people here had more gold than dollars, so miners paid with gold nuggets and gold particles, called dust that they kept it in a pouch. They paid by the “pinch” of dust. One pinch for this; two for that. Gold dust often trickled between from their fingers to the floor. So some Gold Rush children washed the floor every night.