In Petaluma When is “North”…”East”?

THE ANSWER–It depends upon where you stand. 

A fuller explanation follows at the end of this article. But first, a little background is in order…

Petaluma’s Water St. in the downtown area recently required a little repair work as some of the cobblestones were sinking…

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Part of the “renovation” included a stone compass in the walkway by the Balshaw Bridge…

By my observations on The Streets of Petaluma over the last few years, this is the second such pedestrian compass. The first one is discussed in The Corner of Main & Washington…

Of course I checked the accuracy of this installation and found it to be spot on as with the first one…

Some may wonder why North points to what is commonly called “The East Side” or “Petaluma East”. Well, it is also true of the compass at Main & Washington.


  • The line demarking the East Side from the West Side was originally set at Petaluma Blvd… formerly known as Main St.  As the City expanded, the line moved to The 101 with the area between Petaluma Blvd and the Freeway informally denominated the Old East Side. Kathleen Martini recalls life on Petaluma’s Old East Side
  • The answer to the question posed in the title of this post is almost straightforward 🙂 Magnetic North is a fixed line while the streets and freeways do not follow such dictates–they often wander in all directions of the compass. You can call the streets and roads North or South or East or West but they do not take a straight line to the goal.  Much like life, I suppose 🙂

Offered by yours truly, An East Side Resident…standing on Water St. looking North to the East Side.

Or am I a North Side Resident? 🙂


Petaluma’s “Piano Man”

Visitors to Downtown Petaluma may encounter brightly colored pianos on downtown streets or placed in retail stores…

Some may even encounter a piano masterfully played by a man in a vest and bowler hat! The man, of course, is Petaluma Pete (a.k.a. John Maher)…

Personally, the best encounter is Petaluma Pete working on a “new” piano

For More Information about Petaluma Pete & His Artist Painted Pianos…Go to Sponsor Promo

For additional background information, check out these links…

RTP April 2018

Rebuilding Together Petaluma  (RTP) volunteers once again fanned out across the city this month to repair homes and public facilities at 10 locations throughout Petaluma. These efforts are supported and made possible by Wells Fargo, Ohana Construction, Save Energy Co, Sears Heroes at Home, Heffernan Insurance Brokers, Friedman’s Home Improvement, the Hillblom Foundation, Nova Group Inc, Audio Visual Design Group, and roughly 200 community volunteers!

I had occasion to visit some of the worksites and offer a few photos of the volunteers at work. 

My photo selection, as usual, is arbitrary and capricious!!


The Bolek Family


Click On Any Image In Each Gallery To Open






Surprise for Paula!

I recently received an e-mail from historian Katherine Rinehart: “Paula Freund, Petaluma Museum volunteer, will be presented with an award for her work on the Portraits of Petaluma Pioneers exhibit. The award is from the California Council for the Promotion of History.”

“We thought you would like to join us in honoring Paula on Sunday, April 8th at 10 AM at the Museum. THIS IS A SURPRISE. Paula thinks she’ll be coming to meet me to discuss what she learned while visiting the Carnegie Archive at Columbia University.”

So I packed up some photo gear per Katherine’s request and arrived on scene!

  • Was Paula surprised?
  • Did everyone keep the secret until the appointed day?
  • Surely someone must have let it slip!

Judge for yourself…as Paula entered the room with Historian, Katherine Rinehart)…

I think it is safe to conclude that she was genuinely surprised!

Being the trooper that she is, Paula quickly recovered her composure…

The audience included Mayor David Glass, Council Member Teresa Barrett, and former  U.S. Representative for California’s 6th Congressional District, Lynn Woolsey.

Faces of Service–MLK Day 2018 in Petaluma

I invite everyone to take a silent moment to contemplate the employee volunteers (including family members in many cases) from Kaiser Permanente in Sonoma & Marin participating in this year’s MLK Day of Service at the Petaluma People Services Center and COTS Kids First Family Shelter.


Rebuilding Together Petaluma (RTP) coordinated and supported their efforts–which is how I came to be there with cameras at the ready! In this post I include selected images I choose to call Faces of Service.


(Click on any image to open the Gallery)


For a complete set of photos documenting the day go to RTP SmugMug





Rebuilding Together Petaluma October 2017 Workday!

The sun is out and the sky is blue! Rebuilding Together Petaluma’s regularly scheduled October workday went ahead today–as planned long before the recent firestorms. Briefly, Rebuilding Together “…strives to bring together volunteers and businesses to improve the homes and lives of low-income homeowners in Petaluma…a continual cycle of renewal, community building and civic engagement.”

I offer a few photos from the day!! Note many people are wearing masks because of the construction activity–not because of fire smoke–We’re past that…finally…for now….


Click on any image to open