August 04 , 2010



The town of Cotati, once the Coast Miwok village of Kot'ati, was by 1850 a 17,000-acre diamond-shaped ranch set in the center of Sonoma County's golden fields. Dr. Thomas Stokes Page and his heirs ran that ranch until the 1890s, when they laid out a town and a distinctive hexagonal plaza with streets named after Dr. Page's sons. That wheel-like plaza earned centrally located Cotati the title, "Hub of Sonoma County." For many years Cotati was the gathering place for hundreds of hardworking chicken ranchers, who bought up small farms in the surrounding countryside, but it was transformed in the 1970s into a hippie haven fed by nearby Sonoma State University. Old chicken houses then became student housing and the Plaza hub that was the setting for traditional community festivals became a vibrating stage for dancing and demonstrations. Cotati's famous downtown nightclub, the Inn of the Beginning, was the proving ground for many now-famous musicians, including John Lee Hooker, Huey Lewis, Vince Guaraldi, Roseanne Cash, and Kate Wolf.

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