What does the name Petaluma mean? Did you know Petaluma is mentioned in a number of songs? What movies were filmed here?
It doesn't matter whether you've lived here a lifetime, or just a few months, there are just some things you should know about your hometown — and the Argus-Courier is here to help.
While this is by no means a complete collection of Petaluma facts and information, it will help you get started on your way to looking like a Petaluma know-it-all in front of your family, friends and neighbors.
What is the meaning of "Petaluma?" No one knows for sure, but the name of our town is believed to mean "flat back hills" in the language of the Miwok Indians.
Is the Petaluma River really a river? No, technically it's a tidal slough, winding 13 miles from San Pablo Bay to its tributaries on the northern edge of Petaluma.
"The Petaluma River and our wetlands are at the base of our watershed," says Gerald Moore of the Petaluma Wetlands Alliance. "It collects all the pollutants that escape into the watershed, frequently causing bird and fish kills. We need to keep the watershed clean. Wetlands also reduce flooding and erosion during winter storms and purifies the water that passes through them. The wetlands also provide a habitat for more than 200 species of California birds."
Walking and biking town: Petaluma is a walking and biking town. The river trail is an off-road pedestrian and bike path along the river that connects east and west Petaluma. It goes underneath the freeway and is a popular bike route. Petaluma's neighborhoods, parks and downtown are all popular spots for pedestrians.
For the birds: Not only is the 165-acre Shollenberger Park a great place for a stroll, it's also the place for birdwatching. It's located just off of South McDowell Boulevard and Cader Lane. Just watch for the signs. Visit www.petaluma wetlands park.org for the full scoop.
High and low: The highest elevation in Petaluma is 313 feet — at La Cresta Drive and Summit Way. The lowest elevation is East Court — 6 feet.
North, south and east: Petaluma Boulevard North starts at B Street. South of B Street, the addresses are Petaluma Boulevard South. East Washington Street starts at Petaluma Boulevard. Everything west of Petaluma Boulevard is simply Washington Street, not West Washington Street.
About the Boulevard: Petaluma Boulevard North was originally known as Main Street and Petaluma Boulevard South was Third Street. Both were renamed in 1958 as Petaluma Boulevard North and South. The new names were thought to be more modern.
What is a Leghorn? The White Leghorn was considered the number one egg-laying chicken and became the breed of choice for Petaluma poultry ranchers. The Petaluma Leghorns was the name of a semi-pro football team from 1947 to 1958 and the city recently named its newest park Leghorns Park.
Raw strength and courage: For many years, Petaluma was the mecca of armwrestling competition (it was called wristwrestling here). "Raw strength and courage" was the motto of the World's Wristwrestling Championship, which was held in Petaluma for 51 years before it moved to Reno in 2003. While it was here, it put Petaluma on the map, with television coverage by ABC's "Wide World of Sports," a "Peanuts" comic strip and booster-columnist Bill Soberanes.
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