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Windsor, California

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Windsor, California

Town of Windsor
Windsor's "Old Downtown"
Location in Sonoma County and the state of California
Location in Sonoma County and the state of California
Coordinates: [1]
Country  United States
State  California
County Sonoma
Incorporated July 1, 1992[2]
 • Town Manager Linda Kelly
 • Total 7.293 sq mi (18.888 km2)
 • Land 7.268 sq mi (18.824 km2)
 • Water 0.025 sq mi (0.064 km2)  0.34%
Elevation[4] 118 ft (36 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 26,801
 • Density 3,700/sq mi (1,400/km2)
Time zone PST (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP code 95492
Area code(s) 707
FIPS code 06-85922
GNIS feature ID 1667892

Windsor is an incorporated town in Sonoma County, California, United States. It is situated north of Santa Rosa. The population was 26,801 as of the 2010 census.


Windsor is located on U.S. Route 101 in the Russian River valley, about 5 miles (8.0 km) southeast of Healdsburg, California.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 7.3 square miles (19 km2), 99.66% of it land and 0.34% of it water. Windsor is 2 miles (3.2 km) from the Russian River.



Windsor's first European settlers arrived in 1851. In 1855, Hiram Lewis, a Pony Express rider, became the town's first postmaster. He named the town Windsor because it reminded him of the grounds around Windsor Castle, a medieval castle from his home country of England. In 1855, a post office was established in Windsor. The following year, a business enterprise was built in eastern Windsor, which included a goods store, a shoe shop, a grocery and meat market, a saloon, a hotel, a boarding house, and two confectionery shops. A railroad was completed in the town in 1872.[5]

On May 21, 1905, a fire destroyed the center of Windsor. Fanned by heavy winds, the fire destroyed several businesses, including a hotel and a barber shop. The damage was at an estimated $30,000 worth of property.[5]

In 1915, the Old Redwood Highway through Windsor was paved. Up until then, all roads in the area had been dirt.[5]

During World War II, a United States Army Air Forces air base (currently the Charles M. Schulz – Sonoma County Airport) was built in southern Windsor, and it was common to hear fighter aircraft and bombers flying over the town. In 1943, a camp for German prisoners of war was built west of downtown Windsor, on the site of a former migrant labor camp.[6] The camp was a branch camp of the much larger Camp Beale POW camp.[5][7]

Incorporation and modern history

On July 1, 1992, Windsor was incorporated as a town. Prior to that, it had been part of unincorporated Sonoma County. Windsor's economic growth and population boomed in the 1980s, when housing development rapidly grew during this decade. Prior to that, Windsor's economy was predominately based from agricultural work, mainly involving wine grapes.[5]

In 1996, Windsor was home to a brutal beating and robbery of a teenage boy who was attacked by Nortenos-affiliated gang members of the Varrio West Side Windsor gang.[8] Also in 1996, the Windsor Bowl Center, just east of the Town Green, was used in exterior shots for the movie Dream with the Fishes [9]

In January 1998, Windsor voters approved a twenty-year urban growth boundary, with 72% in favor.[10][11]

Public services

Windsor is governed by a town council with five members; one serves as mayor and another serves as vice mayor.[12]

Fire protection

In 1965, the Windsor Volunteer Fire Department was organized, providing fire protection to the local area. Originally operated out of a small garage by an antique shop, using two 1940s-era fire engines, the department grew rapidly. In the early 1970s, the volunteer firefighters built a larger firehouse, by hand, at 444 Windsor Road. Around that time the equipment roster grew from two pieces of equipment to two engines, a water tender, a rescue squad, and two utility vehicles, filling up the entire station.

In 1986, the department was formed into the Windsor Fire Protection District; it brought on two paid firefighters in 1988. In May 1997 an 18,000 square foot headquarters fire station at 8200 Old Redwood Highway was put into operation. In 2009 the firehouse at 444 Windsor Road was replaced by a new firehouse at 8600 Windsor Road; the old one was demolished in 2011.[13]

In 2010 the district discontinued its 45-year volunteer program. The district now serves 30,000 people within a 30 square mile area, of which 5/6th is rural, unincorporated areas around Windsor. The district responds to about 2000 calls per year.[14]

Services to the Lytton Band of Pomo Indians

The Lytton Band of Pomo Indians owns land in unincorporated Sonoma County, adjacent to the town of Windsor, with plans to build more than 140 housing units for the band, far more than is allowed by current county zoning, to which it would not be subject. The band expressed interest in using the water and sewage services of the town of Windsor, but the town council voting against the building plans in 2002 when the band owned fifty acres of land, and again in 2009 when the band's holdings had increased to 100 acres. Tribal representatives have said that they would use well water and build their own sewer plant if they could not get Windsor to extend utility services.[15]

By 2011, the band owned 150 acres of land, and was proposing to put 124 acres into federal trust. On those acres it planned to build up to 95 single-family detached homes, 24 cottages and 28 high-density units. A tribal community center, retreat and roundhouse were also planned, plus a four-acre "effluent pond" that would hold treated wastewater generated by the new buildings, which would not be connected to the regional sewage system.[16]

The county also wants the band to agree to a "permanent prohibition on any casino or future gaming activity on the site." The band previously rejected that condition, citing the need to protect American Indian sovereignty rights.[16]



The 2010 United States Census[17] reported that Windsor had a population of 26,801. The population density was 3,675.0 people per square mile (1,418.9/km2). The racial makeup of Windsor was 19,798 (73.9%) White (60.6% non-Hispanic white), 227 (0.8%) African American, 594 (2.2%) Native American, 810 (3.0%) Asian (0.6% Filipino, 0.5% Chinese, 0.5% Vietnamese, 0.4% Indian, 0.2% Japanese, 0.2% Korean, 0.1% Hmong, 0.1% Laotian, 0.1% Thai), 51 (0.2%) Pacific Islander, 4,052 (15.1%) from other races, and 1,269 (4.7%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8,511 persons (31.8%): 28.5% Mexican, 0.4% Puerto Rican, 0.4% Spaniard, 0.3% Spanish, 0.3% Salvadoran, and 0.2% Nicaraugan.

The Census reported that 99.8% of the population lived in households and 0.2% lived in non-institutionalized group quarters.

There were 8,970 households, out of which 3,863 (43.1%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 5,349 (59.6%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 906 (10.1%) had a female householder with no husband present, 453 (5.1%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 545 (6.1%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 76 (0.8%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 1,742 households (19.4%) were made up of individuals and 840 (9.4%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.98. There were 6,708 families (74.8% of all households); the average family size was 3.40.

The population was spread out with 7,517 people (28.0%) under the age of 18, 2,218 people (8.3%) aged 18 to 24, 6,833 people (25.5%) aged 25 to 44, 7,301 people (27.2%) aged 45 to 64, and 2,932 people (10.9%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37.0 years. For every 100 females there were 96.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.3 males.

There were 9,549 housing units at an average density of 1,309.4 per square mile (505.5/km2), of which 75.8% were owner-occupied and 24.2% were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 1.6%; the rental vacancy rate was 2.7%. 74.0% of the population lived in owner-occupied housing units and 25.8% lived in rental housing units.


As of the census[18] of 2000, there were 22,744 people, 7,589 households, and 5,775 families residing in the town. The population density was 3,372.7 people per square mile (1,302.9/km2). There were 7,728 housing units at an average density of 1,146.0 per square mile (442.7/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 79.00% White, 0.78% African American, 1.48% Native American, 2.29% Asian, 0.14% Pacific Islander, 12.42% from other races, and 3.89% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 23.58% of the population.

There were 7,589 households out of which 43.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 63.8% were married couples living together, 8.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 23.9% were non-families. 18.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.98 and the average family size was 3.40.

In the town the population was spread out with 30.8% under the age of 18, 6.5% from 18 to 24, 31.8% from 25 to 44, 19.8% from 45 to 64, and 11.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 96.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.5 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $63,252, and the median income for a family was $67,992. Males had a median income of $46,553 versus $33,330 for females. The per capita income for the town was $24,336. About 2.9% of families and 5.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.3% of those under age 18 and 7.4% of those age 65 or over.


In the state legislature, Windsor is located in the 2nd Senate district and the 1st Assembly district.

Federally, Windsor is in California's 2nd congressional district, represented by Democrat Jared Huffman.[19]


The seven public schools in Windsor, listed below, are under the jurisdiction of the Windsor Unified School District.

  • Brooks Elementary School
  • Mattie Washburn Elementary School
  • Windsor Creek Elementary School
  • Cali Calmecac Language Academy (charter school) (K-8)[20]
  • Windsor Middle School
  • Windsor High School
  • Windsor Oaks Academy (located on the grounds of Windsor High School)


Windsor is supposed to get a station stop on the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) line. However, Windsor service has been deferred until Phase II of the project, the funding for which has not yet been identified.[21]

See also


  1. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990".  
  2. ^ "California Cities by Incorporation Date" (Word). California Association of  
  3. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer File - Places - California".  
  4. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Windsor
  5. ^ a b c d e "History". Windsor Historical Society. Town of Windsor. Retrieved August 25, 2012. 
  6. ^ Fraire, Gabriel A. (1991). Windsor: The Birth of a City. Rayve Productions Inc.  
  7. ^ "Windsor Branch Prisoner of War Camp". California State Military Department. Retrieved 2012-08-25. 
  8. ^ Bennett, Dylan (September 5, 1996). "Malice in Gangland". Sonoma Independent. 
  9. ^ "Movie Map, Sonoma County". Sonoma County Film Office. Retrieved August 25, 2012.  (details here)
  10. ^ Steve Hart (January 7, 1998). "Windsor Rejects Recall; Voters Favor Growth Limit". Press-Democrat. 
  11. ^ "More than 72 percent of citizens in Windsor,". Better Cities & Towns. March–April 1998. 
  12. ^ "Windsor, CA - Official Website - Town Council". Retrieved September 10, 2010. 
  13. ^ "Windsor Fire Department History". Windsor Fire Protection District. Retrieved May 24, 2014. 
  14. ^ "Employment Opportunities at Windsor Fire Protection District". Windsor Fire Protection District. Retrieved May 24, 2014. 
  15. ^ Mason, Clark (May 8, 2009). "Windsor opposes tribal development".  
  16. ^ a b Mason, Clark (June 20, 2011). "Neighbors, officials remain uneasy about Lytton Pomos' project in Windsor".  
  17. ^ "2010 Census Interactive Population Search: CA - Windsor town". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2014. 
  18. ^ "American FactFinder".  
  19. ^ "California's 2nd Congressional District - Representatives & District Map". Civic Impulse, LLC. Retrieved March 1, 2013. 
  20. ^ "Cali Calmecac Language Academy". Windsor Unified School District. Retrieved 2012-08-25. 
  21. ^ O’Connor, Cecily (May 31, 2012). "SMART Train Construction Is on Track". Bay Area Monitor. Retrieved November 17, 2012. 

External links

  • Town of Windsor Website
  • Windsor Historical Society
  • Windsor Project Oral Histories at Sonoma State University Library
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