Petaluma – Trolley Living History

The “Petaluma Trolley” is a non-profit Living Heritage Railway Museum and volunteer group dedicated to preserving the history of the Petaluma & Santa Rosa Railroad and its passengers. Because it has maintained its position as a major hub of river and rail commerce, Petaluma has enjoyed tremendous cultural, historical, and economic success in recent years. The Trestle has come to symbolize near Petaluma‘s unique heritage and charm, and it is a popular tourist attraction. While it is impossible to create a genuine and visible history, it is possible to destroy it.

Their preservation activities include the restoration of P&SR equipment, as well as the disclosure and exhibition of the equipment’s history. Our current major emphasis is the restoration of Petaluma’s iconic Water Street Trestle, which is scheduled to be completed in 2019. In the event of restoration, it would add 12,000 to 20,000 square feet to the city’s Historic Park, which would be open all year and would be the site of an endless number of cultural and river-related activities. The 500-foot Trestle, which has come to symbolize Petaluma’s distinct personality and charm, is located at the heart of our town and its history and may be seen above.

The Petaluma & Santa Rosa Railroad (P&SR) was established in 1904 and served as Petaluma’s own electric trolley system. Because it connected the river, the mill, and the railroad, it provided inter-urban passenger and freight service. By owning and operating its own stern-wheel steamers, the P&SR established a direct link between the rapidly expanding agricultural and commercial interests of Sonoma County and the San Francisco Bay Area, all the way through Petaluma and beyond. Only a hundred years ago, it was the equivalent of today’s FedEx, which made overnight deliveries to customers. The P&SR was the only electric interurban railroad in North America that served both passengers and freight at the same time. The Trolley competed against steam engines in 1904, using the most cutting-edge technology available at the time: electricity. “Electric men” were the term used to describe the workers.

When Petaluma’s historic Trestle was built, thousands of people flocked to it for festivals in the past. Today, however, the famous symbol of the city’s traditional charm is in dreadful disarray. Petaluma’s crown jewel, the Petaluma Water Ways Bridge, has become the city’s most recognizable landmark, and unfortunately, in its current state, Petaluma’s most unsightly eyesore. This blight can be transformed if the city is made aware that restoration is a top priority for the local community.

The benefits of restoration are immeasurable in terms of the resuscitation of Petaluma’s downtown retail and service business community, as well as tourism and total city revenue generation. The trestle has the potential to become a year-round, pedestrian-friendly means for all Petalumans and tourists to contribute to the vitality of the downtown area. With the help of community festivals, fairs, markets, and boating events, the Trestle could reestablish a connection to the river – all without the need to close streets. It would help to eliminate the choking traffic that accompanies Petaluma downtown events by encouraging pedestrian traffic, and in doing so, would encourage customer traffic into local retail businesses.

Shollenberger Park
Critical Control – Restoration service