Historic photos of Sonoma County life in 1959

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In 1959, Sonoma County was slowly evolving from a sleepy farm community to a thriving urban center. That year, the Coyote Dam was completed and the first Russian River water flowed from Santa Rosa faucets.

Pacific Gas & Electric Co. met resistance on the coast after announcing plans to build a nuclear power plant on Bodega Head. The Mayette Village was annexed, adding 102 people to Santa Rosa’s 37,000 residents and increasing the city’s boundaries to 11 square miles.

Meanwhile, beatnik culture was taking root in San Francisco and slowly creeping north with coffeehouses like Bottega on Santa Rosa Avenue, which hosted evenings of folk music, art and lively debate.

Click through our gallery above to catch a glimpse of Sonoma County life in 1959.

— Columnist Gaye LeBaron contributed to this report.

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