Historic photos show the evolution of Valley Ford

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Known for fishing, dairy and modern art, the sleepy hamlet of Valley Ford is home to 147 people on the western fringes of Sonoma County.

Long before the first white settlers arrived, the area belonged to Miwok and Pomo tribes who fished, hunted and gathered in the coastal region.

Russian fur traders settled in the region in the early 1800s, followed by Spanish, Mexican and U.S. control. When the North Pacific Coast Railroad came to the region in the 1870s, the town experienced a tiny boom as fishermen and dairy farmers transported their goods to markets in the south.

In 1976, the town made global news when fabric artists Christo and Jean Claude convinced ranchers to allow them to run a portion of their 24.5 mile long “Running Fence” straight through the town and into the sea.

Today, the town has plenty of gourmet restaurants, family diners, creameries and spots to grab a quick picnic lunch.

Click through our gallery above to take a look at Valley Ford way back when.

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