The history and events that shaped the West and California are reflected in Petaluma’s landmarks and historic attractions. Rich in authenticity, Petaluma’s heritage can be traced through Native American tribes, Mexican settlements, the discovery of gold, railroad expansion, and the San Francisco earthquake. Chartered in 1858, Petaluma is one of California’s oldest cities. The city’s riverfront location made it a bustling destination during the mid-19th century Gold Rush when the river carried produce, poultry and dairy products from this fertile valley to the rapidly exploding populations of San Francisco and Oakland. Spared much of the destruction of the 1906 earthquake, Petaluma boasts buildings whose foundations were laid a century and-a-half ago and whose facades are some of the best examples of iron front building architecture in the entire United States. Today, these architectural gems in our walkable downtown district house specialty stores, restaurants and galleries.