Historic photos show what Sonoma County life was like in 1979

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What was life like in Sonoma County in 1979?

The county was transitioning from a diverse agricultural community to a wine-centric monoculture. With grape and wine prices high, boutique wineries opened across all its microclimates. Then came the tourists.

To make way for the Santa Rosa Plaza shopping center, the city’s 1910 post office on Fifth and A streets was rolled 30 feet a day, to a new location on Seventh Street. The post office is now home to the Sonoma County Museum.

In 1979, Helen Rudee became the first female chair of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors. Florist Gwen Anderson then followed, becoming Sebastopol’s first female mayor.

In spring, during the second major gas shortage of the ’70s, odd-even gas rationing kicked in. Commuters with even-numbered license plates were allowed to fill up on certain days and those with odd-numbered plates on the others.

Later that summer, Newsweek magazine named Guerneville the nation’s “gay boomtown” to the glee and consternation of the small town’s diverse population.

Click through our gallery above to see what life was like throughout Sonoma County in 1979.

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