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The interwoven history of Cotati and Rohnert Park

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The cities of Rohnert Park and Cotati have an interwoven history.

The coastal Miwok people were the region’s original inhabitants. The name of their village, Kota’ti, named after a Miwok chief, is the root of the city name Cotati.

In 1844, the Mexican government granted a Rancho Cotate to Captain Juan Castaneda for his military services. The grant included the land on which Rohnert Park, Cotati, and Penngrove would be built. The ranch passed hands a few times until 1849 when Dr. Thomas Page purchased it. The Page family held onto the land for many years and made decisions in roadways that are still evident in today.

In the late 1800s, the land was broken up several times. In 1929, a portion was sold to seed farmer Waldo Emerson Rohnert, for whom Rohnert Park is named. The major industries on the former Rancho were primarily agricultural until the 1940s and 50s when residential and commercial areas began to develop to accommodate a large influx of post World War II GIs in need of housing.

Paul Golis and Maurice Fredericks laid out the plan for a town on the northern reaches of Cotati, in the mid-50s Rohnert Park began to take shape.

In 1962, Rohnert Park was incorporated followed by Cotati in 1963. Learn more in our gallery exploring the early days of Cotati and Rohnert Park.

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