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Stories from Gaye Lebaron

LeBaron: The story behind county’s first tech company

Rolf Illsley brought Sonoma County its first tech startup in the 1950s when he rode his motorcycle across the United States, aiming to find a place to relocate his company. This is the story behind Optical Coating Laboratory Inc.

LeBaron: The shakeup in Santa Rosa after ’69 quakes

With talk of earthquakes all around, it’s worth a look back at the impact of the twin quakes that struck the city in 1969 and the redevelopment they set in motion.

LeBaron: Police tales show a different Santa Rosa

Former police officers recalled a time when Santa Rosa had but one homeless person — and none of the officers had ever seen a marijuana plant, Gaye LeBaron writes.

LeBaron: Think you’re a Sonoma County old-timer?

Not sure if you qualify as an official Sonoma County old-timer? Let’s see what you remember.

LeBaron: The building boom that reshaped Santa Rosa

A new exhibit at the Sonoma County Museum revisits stories from the postwar years, including when Santa Rosa’s population went from 17,000 to 29,000 in just one day.

LeBaron: Bad news birthed Luther Burbank Center

If it wasn’t for a Santa Rosa church’s questionable financial dealings, we might not have a Luther Burbank Center for the Arts.

LeBaron: Before grapes, hops were king crop

Hops once flourished along the Russian River and its tributaries, making growers rich and going a long way toward establishing Sonoma County as a national agricultural leader.

LeBaron: When 'Smile' made Santa Rosa frown

In 1975, Hollywood filmmakers convinced Santa Rosans their city would star in a feel-good flick about small-town America. They lied.

LeBaron: Memories of Christmas both joyful and uncomfortable

With each Christmas come many sad memories, but also plenty of joyful, jubilant ones, Gaye LeBaron writes.

LeBaron: New book explores Fountaingrove's Thomas Lake Harris

A new book explores the relationship of Briton Laurence Oliphant with the strange spiritual world of Fountaingrove spiritualist Thomas Lake Harris.

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