Thesis

Chutes and Landings: Maritime Communities and the Maritime Cultural Landscape of the Sonoma Coast

Purpose: Doghole ports and related maritime townsites acted as integral centers of maritime trade, transportation, communication, and commerce in the mid-19th and early 20th centuries, and form Sonoma’s maritime cultural landscape. Unfortunately, evaluating the historical significance of this landscape poses issues as maritime cultural landscapes do not easily fit with National Register criteria for evaluating the eligibility of significant places. This study sought to address this issue by developing an interdisciplinary approach to analyze data from two of Sonoma’s historic-era maritime sites, Fort Ross Cove/Call Ranch and Fisherman’s Bay/Stewarts Point, to provide a theoretically robust definition of Sonoma’s maritime cultural landscape. This definition was used to evaluate to what extent a maritime cultural landscape would fit the existing criteria for nomination to the National Register, and what additional analysis would need to be done.
 Procedure: This study used three methods to gather data that included archival research, archaeological survey, and oral history interviews. For archival research census records, maps, newspapers, letters, and photographs were examined. Archaeological research included a records search at the Northwest Information Center and both an underwater and pedestrian reconnaissance survey for doghole ports of Fort Ross Cove/Call Ranch and Fisherman’s Bay/Stewarts Point sites. Oral history interviews were conducted with locals and the descendants of families that have been historically associated with Sonoma’s maritime history.
 Findings: Data from archaeological survey, oral history interviews, and archival documents illustrate the tangible and intangible elements that characterize the maritime sites and communities of Fort Ross Cove/Call Ranch and Fisherman’s Bay/Stewarts Point. These elements demonstrate that what makes the landscape significant is the use of the maritime space over time as shown through the modification of features such as buildings and loading chutes, and through social interactions.
 Conclusions: Certain aspects of the maritime cultural landscape work with the National Register including recognizing natural features. However, other aspects conflict with current National Register criteria that still need to be addressed to be able to evaluate the totality of the maritime cultural landscapes’ historical significance.

Purpose: Doghole ports and related maritime townsites acted as integral centers of maritime trade, transportation, communication, and commerce in the mid-19th and early 20th centuries, and form Sonoma’s maritime cultural landscape. Unfortunately, evaluating the historical significance of this landscape poses issues as maritime cultural landscapes do not easily fit with National Register criteria for evaluating the eligibility of significant places. This study sought to address this issue by developing an interdisciplinary approach to analyze data from two of Sonoma’s historic-era maritime sites, Fort Ross Cove/Call Ranch and Fisherman’s Bay/Stewarts Point, to provide a theoretically robust definition of Sonoma’s maritime cultural landscape. This definition was used to evaluate to what extent a maritime cultural landscape would fit the existing criteria for nomination to the National Register, and what additional analysis would need to be done. Procedure: This study used three methods to gather data that included archival research, archaeological survey, and oral history interviews. For archival research census records, maps, newspapers, letters, and photographs were examined. Archaeological research included a records search at the Northwest Information Center and both an underwater and pedestrian reconnaissance survey for doghole ports of Fort Ross Cove/Call Ranch and Fisherman’s Bay/Stewarts Point sites. Oral history interviews were conducted with locals and the descendants of families that have been historically associated with Sonoma’s maritime history. Findings: Data from archaeological survey, oral history interviews, and archival documents illustrate the tangible and intangible elements that characterize the maritime sites and communities of Fort Ross Cove/Call Ranch and Fisherman’s Bay/Stewarts Point. These elements demonstrate that what makes the landscape significant is the use of the maritime space over time as shown through the modification of features such as buildings and loading chutes, and through social interactions. Conclusions: Certain aspects of the maritime cultural landscape work with the National Register including recognizing natural features. However, other aspects conflict with current National Register criteria that still need to be addressed to be able to evaluate the totality of the maritime cultural landscapes’ historical significance.

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