Baldwin’s Bakery and Restaurant: One of Petaluma’s earliest eateries

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It’s unclear exactly what year Baldwin Bakery and Restaurant popped up on Western Avenue, near what is now known as American Alley. The earliest newspaper reference comes in 1895, when an advertisement in the Petaluma Daily Morning Courier proclaimed: “Baldwin: Just what you want at meal time.” However, when the family-run business closed in 1928, articles said it had been there “over 50 years.”

Baldwin Bakery offered a dozen doughnuts for 10-cents in 1899, while in 1912 the restaurant promised a dozen “large Easter oysters” for 25-cents. Lunches served in the simple dining room included soup, sandwiches and a daily hot plate.

Originally founded by O.T. Baldwin, his son, William Van Marter, ran the business. When Van Marter died in 1919, flags around the city flew at half-mast to honor the longtime member of the Petaluma Masonic Lodge. The Peck family then purchased the business, since the Van Marter heirs didn’t intend to carry on the legacy. In 1928, the Pecks sold the building to Purity grocery store chain, which opened its first of six Petaluma stores at the location.

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