The Plaza is a longtime jewel of Sonoma and residents still love coming to the Plaza to meet friends, socialize and share meals and drinks. It is especially evident at the Tuesday night farmers markets during the summer and the annual City Party.
But this time of year also offers opportunities to gather as a community. They include the Plaza lighting ceremony and the arrival of Santa Claus.
And, if you haven’t tried it yet, an evening stroll around the Plaza while all the lights are on really feels like Christmas. We Sonomans are also fortunate to have so many good restaurants around the Plaza.
Even now, it is possible to enjoy a great meal in outdoor dining areas in view of the beautifully lighted Plaza. Those outdoor dining spaces, which became a necessity for their survival because of COVID-19 restrictions, have become a welcome feature of dining out in our own home town.
In a way, we are all carrying on a tradition that dates back decades, when downtown Sonoma was the place where people not only came to shop, but also to socialize.
It was more like old-fashioned Main Street scenes that are still featured in Hallmark movies, usually set in small village somewhere in New England.
The stores around the Plaza included grocers, pharmacies and haberdashers. Safeway was on Broadway next to where the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art is today. Food City, another market, was in the middle of the block of First Street East. Adobe Drug, now Pharmaca, was where the Sunflower Caffe sits now. There were two other drug stores downtown in those days: Simmons Pharmacy, where Chico’s is today, and Fribergs Rexall Drugs in the location now occupied by Aabha Indian Restaurant on Broadway. Shone’s Market was located across the street from Fribergs. There was a Greyhound bus station at the corner of Spain and First Street West. The post office was where Mary’s Pizza is located.
by: Bill Lynch, Index-Tribune Special Correspondent, December 9, 2021
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