At the bottom of the hill where we now live there is a small, seasonal creek. Although we didn’t know its name when we first moved here, one of our new neighbors told us it was Justi Creek. Above is a picture of the creek after one of our recent heavy rains.
Since we are naturally curious about the history of where we live, we took a field trip to the Sonoma County Historical and Genealogy Library in Santa Rosa. The people there were very friendly and helpful and pointed us at lots of information about who the Justi family was.
Charles Justi and his family owned a ranch in Glen Ellen in the later part of the 19th century. Charles and his wife, Mary, were both born in Saxony, Germany, and they came to Sonoma County via South Carolina and San Francisco. The ranch property is just across Dunbar Road, a block from where we now live. These days it is part of the Lasseter Family Winery. Charles was the first postmaster of Glen Ellen and his ranch was at one time a stagecoach stop.
The map above, from the late 1800s, shows Mary Justi’s ranch. (Mary outlived her husband, Charles.) Our dwelling sits on what used to be the E. Kraus plot just south of Dunbar School, which is still in existence, although in a different building.
Postscript by Anna
In my recent research I came across an article published by the Glen Ellen Historical Society called “The Bridges of Glen Ellen.” One of the pictures illustrating the article was of the “Stegosaurus Bridge,” which was named for the unusual rocks used for decoration, and which dates back to Justi Ranch days. I recognized it as one we pass almost every time we take a walk, and which crosses our very own Justi Creek.
Here are two recent photos of the Stegosaurus Bridge.