Petaluma Adobe State Historic Park
Petaluma Adobe State Historic Park was the main residence of Rancho de Petaluma, the agricultural empire of General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo, one of the most powerful men in the Mexican Province of California, from 1834 to 1846.
A visit to the Petaluma Adobe State Historic Park will bring you back to the largest privately owned adobe building in Northern California in the 1830-40's and the center of activity on one of the most properous private estates established during the Mexican Period. The matanza (slaughtering season) has just ended in October on Rancho de Petaluma (as it was known) and the people living near the rancho are excited. The end of the matanza means the beginning of the Fandango (a celebration and dance). As you tour the rooms of the Adobe, you can feel the excitement as preparation for the Fandango is under way. The hides are drying on the racks, the animals are put away, and the music is playing as people start to put on their fancy clothes for the festivities.
Although the Petaluma Adobe was not the summer home of the Vallejo's, it was the headquarters of the rancho, they did come out here to celebrate during the bailes. The Fandangos became the parties of the workers and the bailes became more formal for the rancho owners. Vallejo ran his cattle, hide and tallow business, raised sheep, bred horses, and grew numerous crops. The adobe contains authentic furniture and exhibits depicting early rancho life.