98 East Spain Street
The Barracks looks like a fort. It’s where Mexican soldiers lived when Sonoma was part of Mexico. U.S. Army soldiers lived there after the Bear Flag Revolt (1846).
The Mexican government sent General Mariano Vallejo here in the 1830s to close the mission, start a pueblo and protect Sonoma from Russians who lived on the coast nearby. That’s why Vallejo built the barracks. That’s also why he drew the first map of Sonoma.
Sonoma was a Mexican pueblo in the 1830s. Pueblo means “town.”
Russians never attacked. It was a quiet life for the soldiers except for battles with native warriors who fought against the Mexicans.
In the 1870s Vallejo sold the Barracks to Solomon Schocken, Sonoma’s pioneer Jewish businessman, who turned it into a general store. Schocken eventually owned a bowling alley, a saloon and a quarry where men cut stones to pave San Francisco streets.
In the early 1900s, the newly formed Sonoma Valley Woman’s Club met at Schocken’s store. One of their first projects was to turn Sonoma Plaza into the beautiful park you see today.