Like most of our western towns that were NOT established by some "founding father" who stuck a staff in the ground and said: "Here I will build my city!" Santa Rosa has a ton of "birth" dates to choose from.
So, as City Manager Kathy Millison, a relative newcomer, is learning, it's not easy to plan a celebration to commemorate the day and year Santa Rosa was born.
I figure there are six possibilities, scattered from right now until 2018.
The first is in the realm of folklore -- religious folklore, but folklore nonetheless. That would be August 30, 1829, the day that a padre from the Mission San Rafael is supposed to have baptized an "Indian maiden" in our creek on the feast day of St. Rose of Lima and given her the Christian name Rosa, pausing also to designate the stream as the Arroyo de Santa Rosa.
If we were to celebrate this maybe-perhaps event, 2029 -- 17 years from this coming August -- would be the bicentennial.
If we were, however, to plan that celebration, we probably shouldn't count on church services. Catholic historians say that no mention of this baptism can be found in mission records.
We could have a 175th anniversary party this very year if we were to celebrate the first permanent non-native home here. It was 1837 when the widow Carrillo and her family came up from San Diego in one of those "square-wheeled" ox-drawn carts to claim a land grant from the Mexican government in this valley of the Arroyo de Santa Rosa.
Dona Maria had an "in" with the government since Gen. Mariano Vallejo, the military governor of Frontera del Norte, was her son-in-law.
Dona Maria and her younger kids built the first house on Santa Rosa Creek -- that adobe that now sits, waiting for something good to happen to it, in the orchard at Montgomery Drive and Franquette Avenue.
Moving ahead, there's the 1853 day when a German immigrant named Berthold (Barney) Hoen and his partner, Danish-born Feodor (Ted) Hahman, got fed up with the high rents they were paying to run a trading post in that old adobe and moved downstream to make a new town.