Sebastopol, California

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Sebastopol, California
Main Street in Downtown Sebastopol
Main Street in Downtown Sebastopol
Location in Sonoma County and the State of California
Sebastopol, California is located in the United States
Sebastopol, California
Sebastopol, California
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 38°23′57″N 122°49′37″W / 38.39917°N 122.82694°W / 38.39917; -122.82694Coordinates: 38°23′57″N 122°49′37″W / 38.39917°N 122.82694°W / 38.39917; -122.82694
Country United States
State California
IncorporatedJune 13, 1902[1]
 • TypeCouncil–manager
 • MayorUna Glass
 • State SenatorMike McGuire (D)[2]
 • AssemblymemberMarc Levine (D)[2]
 • U. S. Rep.Jared Huffman (D)[3]
 • Total1.88 sq mi (4.87 km2)
 • Land1.88 sq mi (4.87 km2)
 • Water0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)  0%
Elevation82 ft (25 m)
 • Total7,521
 • Estimate 
 • Density4,077.1/sq mi (1,574.19/km2)
Time zoneUTC-8 (PST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-7 (PDT)
ZIP codes
Area code707
FIPS code06-70770
GNIS feature IDs277599, 2411857

Sebastopol (/sɪˈbæstəpl, -pl/ sib-AST-ə-pohl, -⁠pool) is a city in Sonoma County, in California with a recorded population of 7,521, per the 2020 U.S. Census.

Sebastopol was once primarily a plum and apple-growing region. Today, wine grapes are the predominant agriculture crop, and nearly all lands once used for orchards are now vineyards. The creation of The Barlow, a $23.5 million strip mall on a floodplain at the edge of town, converting old agriculture warehouses into a trendy marketplace for fine dining, tasting rooms, and art, has made Sebastopol a popular Wine Country destination.[7]

Famous horticulturist Luther Burbank had gardens in this region. The city hosts an annual Apple Blossom Festival in April and is home to the Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival.


The area's first known inhabitants were the native Coast Miwok and Pomo peoples. The town currently sits atop multiple village sites.[8] The town of Sebastopol formed in the 1850s with a U.S. Post Office and as a small trade center for the farmers of the surrounding agricultural region. As California's population swelled after the westward migration[which?] and the California Gold Rush of 1848–1855, more and more settlers drifted into the fertile California valleys north of San Francisco to try their hand at farming.

Main Street c. 1898
Main Street, 1908

There is some debate as to how the name "Sebastopol" came into use in Sonoma County. At one time, four other California towns were also named Sebastopol:

The town in Sonoma County originally had the name Pinegrove; the name change (according to rumor) had something to do with a bar fight in the late 1850s, which was compared by a bystander to the long British siege of the seaport of Sevastopol (1854–1855) during the Crimean War of 1853–1856.[9] The original name survives in the name of the Pine Grove General Store downtown.

Sebastopol became known as the "Gravenstein Apple Capital of the World". The apple industry brought a steady rural prosperity to the town. In 1890 the San Francisco and North Pacific Railroad connected Sebastopol to the national rail network.[10] The town was incorporated in 1902, with schools, churches, hotels, canneries, mills, wineries, and an opera house to its credit. The 1906 earthquake reduced most of these early buildings to rubble (Sebastopol is only seven miles from the city of Santa Rosa, the worst-hit town in the 1906 earthquake), but as elsewhere in the county, the town was rebuilt.

In the second half of the 20th century, the apple industry struggled to compete with other apple-producing regions and gradually declined in economic significance. With greater personal mobility and the rise of larger shopping centers in other Sonoma County communities, many residents now often commute to work and shop in the neighboring towns of Rohnert Park or Santa Rosa, while Sebastopol maintains its small-town charm.[citation needed]

It is often incorrectly claimed[citation needed] that Sebastopol was the last town in Northern California to have working railroad trains on Main Street. The tracks were removed in the late 1980s. Passenger service had ceased in the 1930s, and regular freight service ended in the late 1970s. This was documented by Analy High School students in a 1979 video Our Train Down Main: a History of the Petaluma and Santa Rosa Railroad. The canneries and apple-processing plant are gone from downtown, and vineyards and housing developments have replaced many apple orchards, reducing the demand for freight service.

It is often also incorrectly stated[citation needed] that the tracks were removed in the 1990s when the downtown area was redesigned with two one-way streets to enhance traffic along Gravenstein Highway (Route 116). Main Street and Petaluma Avenue were actually designated one-way streets in 1985 in an attempt to deal with the town's perennial traffic problem. As of 2016 the old train station houses the Western County Museum.


View of Sebastopol c. 1909, with Mt. St. Helena on the horizon

Sebastopol's elevation is 65 to 250 feet (20 to 76 meters) above sea level. Its downtown is at the intersection of State Route 12 and State Route 116 (Gravenstein Highway), approximately 9 mi (14 km) west of U.S. Route 101.

Sebastopol is situated on the edge of the Laguna de Santa Rosa, which is fed by Santa Rosa Creek and other tributaries, including three minor tributaries within the city limits – Zimpher Creek, Calder Creek and Witter Creek. The Laguna is a wetland area that is home to many species of wildlife and vegetation and divides the town from neighboring Santa Rosa. Nearly every winter the Laguna floods, cutting off State Route 12, and often flooding the low-lying businesses and homes on the eastern side of Sebastopol. The Pitkin Marsh lily and White sedge are two rare species of plants that are found in the vicinity of Sebastopol.

The city has a total area of 1.9 sq mi (4.9 km2), all land.[11]


Historical population
Census Pop.
2021 (est.)7,448[12]−1.0%
U.S. Decennial Census[13]


The 2020 United States Census[14] reported that Sebastopol had a population of 7,521. The population density was 3,996.3 inhabitants per square mile (1,543.0/km2). The racial makeup of Sebastopol was 80.8% White (74.9% White, not Hispanic or Latino), 3.8% Asian, 1.7% African American, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 0.0% Native American and 7.0% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 12.7%.


The 2010 United States Census[15] reported that Sebastopol had a population of 7,379. The population density was 3,982.4 inhabitants per square mile (1,537.6/km2). The racial makeup of Sebastopol was 6,509 (88.2%) White, 72 (1.0%) African American, 60 (0.8%) Native American, 120 (1.6%) Asian, 19 (0.3%) Pacific Islander, 298 (4.0%) from other races, and 301 (4.1%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 885 persons (12.0%).

The Census reported that 98.3% of the population lived in households and 1.7% were institutionalized.

There were 3,276 households, out of which 902 (27.5%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 1,220 (37.2%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 478 (14.6%) had a female householder with no husband present, 156 (4.8%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 206 (6.3%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 52 (1.6%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 1,132 households (34.6%) were made up of individuals, and 498 (15.2%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.21. There were 1,854 families (56.6% of all households); the average family size was 2.82.

The population was spread out, with 1,515 people (20.5%) under the age of 18, 471 people (6.4%) aged 18 to 24, 1,587 people (21.5%) aged 25 to 44, 2,525 people (34.2%) aged 45 to 64, and 1,281 people (17.4%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 46.1 years. For every 100 females, there were 79.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 76.7 males.

There were 3,465 housing units, with an average density of 1,870.0 per square mile (722.0/km2), of which 52.9% were owner-occupied and 47.1% were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 0.7%; the rental vacancy rate was 4.2%. 53.7% of the population lived in owner-occupied housing units and 44.5% lived in rental housing units.

The median income for a household in the city was $60,322 (+29.9% from 2000), and the median income for a family was $74,020 (+32.7% from 2000). The median per capita income for the city was $29,470 (+28.8% from 2000). For comparison, statewide California median per capita income in the 2010 Census was $27,885 (+22.8% from 2000).


As of the census[11] of 2000, there were 7,774 people, 3,250 households, and 1,953 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,139/sq mi (1,597/km2). There were 3,321 housing units at an average density of 1,768 per square mile (683/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 89.85% White, 0.66% African American, 0.78% Native American, 1.52% Asian, 0.10% Pacific Islander, 3.86% from other races, and 3.23% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 9.26% of the population.

There were 3,250 households, out of which 31.8% included children under the age of 18 in the house, 41.5% were married couples living together, 14.2% were led by a female householder with no husband present, and 39.9% were other living arrangements. 31.8% of all households were made up of a single individual and 14.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.33 and the average family size was 2.95.

For the most part the population is spread out across the age groups, although the young adult population is drastically lower than the other groups, indicating that most young people leave, at least temporarily. The reasons for this are probably a combination of the high cost of living and the lack of other young adults. The percent distribution on the 2000 census by age was as follows: 23.6% under the age of 18, 7.4% from 18 to 24, 25.0% from 25 to 44, 27.6% from 45 to 64, and 16.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years.

For every 100 females, there were 81.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 75.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $46,436, and the median income for a family was $55,792. Males had a median income of $40,538 versus $32,399 for females. The per capita income for the city was $22,881. About 4.7% of families and 6.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.7% of those under age 18 and 6.0% of those age 65 or over.

Arts and culture[edit]

The historic Llano Roadhouse.

Places of interest in Sebastopol include:


Sebastopol train depot.


The city council consists of five members, each serving four-year terms. The city's laws are enforced by the Sebastopol Police Department. City council races are not partisan, so each member does not officially represent any party, however since 2000 there has been a decent amount of attention given to the individual party membership of city council members in Sebastopol. This happened because in 2000, with the election of Craig Litwin and Sam Spooner to the city council, the town had a Green Party majority—or would have, if city council races were partisan. This was only the second time this had ever happened in California, the first being the town of Arcata, California in 1996.

Sebastopol tends to support environmental policies: Earlier, in 1986, the residents approved an initiative declaring Sebastopol a "Nuclear Free Zone", The town does not use pesticides in city landscaping, and several years back, when the police needed a new vehicle, the city council voted to purchase a hybrid instead of a standard police car.

Current issues facing the city include a high cost of living and ongoing difficulties with traffic (the town has two highways going through downtown).

The current city council members (as of December 2020) are:[16]

  • Una Glass, Mayor[17]
  • Sarah Glade Gurney, Vice Mayor[18]
  • Neysa Hinton[19]
  • Diana Rich[20]
  • Patrick Slayter[21]

A former Mayor, Robert Jacob, who was selected by the city council in December 2013, was the owner of two medical marijuana dispensaries in Sonoma Count. He was reported to be the first American mayor to be involved in the industry.[22]

State and federal[edit]

In the California State Legislature, Sebastopol is in the 10th Assembly District, represented by Democrat Marc Levine, and California's 2nd State Senate district, represented by Mike McGuire.

Federally, Sebastopol is in California's 2nd congressional district, represented by Democrat Jared Huffman.[23]

According to the California Secretary of State, as of February 10, 2019, Sebastopol has 5,285 registered voters. Of those, 3,346 (63.3%) are registered Democrats, 518 (9.8%) are registered Republicans, and 1,137 (21.5%) have declined to state a political party.[24]

Law enforcement[edit]

The Sebastopol Police Department serves the city. It currently employs 31 sworn and non sworn personnel, and 25 volunteers. The department was founded in the early 1900s. The divisions of the department are administration, watch commanders, patrol officers, dispatchers, reserve officers, community service volunteers and explorers. The population can grow up to 50,000 during special events, such as Apple Blossom Parade.[citation needed]


Analy High School.

Sebastopol Union operates two elementary schools: Parkside (K-4) and Brook Haven (5-8).[25]

Sebastopol Charter, a K-8 public charter school, had the highest percentage (58%) of kindergarten students with medical exemptions to vaccines in California as of the summer of 2018.[26]

Notable people[edit]

Sister cities[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "California Cities by Incorporation Date". California Association of Local Agency Formation Commissions. Archived from the original (Word) on October 17, 2013. Retrieved August 25, 2014.
  2. ^ a b "Statewide Database". UC Regents. Archived from the original on February 1, 2015. Retrieved October 16, 2014.
  3. ^ "California's 2nd Congressional District - Representatives & District Map". Civic Impulse, LLC.
  4. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 1, 2020.
  5. ^ "Sebastopol". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey, United States Department of the Interior. January 12, 2015.
  6. ^ Cite error: The named reference USCensusEst2021CenPopScriptOnlyDirtyFixDoNotUse was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  7. ^ "CANNERIES REBORN: BARLOW PROJECT TURNS IDLE SEBASTOPOL PLANTS INTO ARTISAN FOOD CENTER". Santa Rosa Press Democrat. June 24, 2012. Retrieved January 20, 2021.
  8. ^ Barrett, Samuel A. (1908). "The Ethno-geography of the Pomo and Neighboring Indians" (PDF). University of California Publications in American Archaeology and Ethnology. 6 (1).
  9. ^ "CONTENTdm".
  10. ^ Stindt, Fred A. (1978). The Northwestern Pacific Railroad Redwood Empire Route (3rd ed.). Fred A. Stindt.
  11. ^ a b "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  12. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. May 24, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  13. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  14. ^ {{}}
  15. ^ "2010 Census Interactive Population Search: CA - Sebastopol city". U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on July 15, 2014. Retrieved July 12, 2014.
  16. ^ "Current City Council Members as of December 2020". Retrieved December 3, 2020.
  17. ^ "Una Glass, Mayor". Retrieved December 3, 2020.
  18. ^ "Sarah Glade Gurney, Vice Mayor". Retrieved December 3, 2020.
  19. ^ "Neysa Hinton, Councilmember". Retrieved December 3, 2020.
  20. ^ "Diana Rich, Councilmember". Retrieved December 3, 2020.
  21. ^ "Patrick Slayter, Councilmember". Retrieved December 3, 2020.
  22. ^ "California Pot Clinic Owner Turns Mayor, 1st in Country". NBC Bay Area. Retrieved March 22, 2016.
  23. ^ "California's 2nd Congressional District - Representatives & District Map". Civic Impulse, LLC. Retrieved March 1, 2013.
  24. ^ "CA Secretary of State – Report of Registration – February 10, 2019" (PDF). Retrieved March 12, 2019.
  25. ^ "Sebastopol Union School District".
  26. ^ Karlamangla, Soumya (July 13, 2018). "Pushback against immunization laws leaves some California schools vulnerable to outbreaks". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 10, 2018.
  27. ^ "Analy High School Centennial Celebration Historical Timeline". Analy High School. Retrieved January 11, 2009.
  28. ^ "Luke Lamperti | LUX Cycling". LUX Cycling. August 30, 2018. Archived from the original on June 30, 2021. Retrieved June 19, 2021.
  29. ^ "Justin Raimondo". Twitter. Retrieved March 22, 2016.
  30. ^ "ACLU of Northern California" (PDF). Retrieved March 22, 2016.
  31. ^ "About Our Town". Archived from the original on July 30, 2010. Retrieved August 13, 2010.
  • Our Train Down Main : a History of the Petaluma & Santa Rosa Railroad. Sebastopol, CA: Analy High School, 1979. Videocassette (ca. 22 min.)

External links[edit]