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LeBaron: Bennett Valley’s notorious past

Two questions come before us today. The first is what exactly comprises Bennett Valley? The other, who the heck is Bennett and why is it named for him?

The first one: Bennett’s name is on a small valley that seems to be getting bigger every day.

It was described in the earliest writings about Sonoma County by our first historian, Robert A. Thompson, as “lying south of the town of Santa Rosa and east of the Santa Rosa Valley. It has a length of eight miles, and an average width of four miles.”

That’s a good, clear starting point. Now, with any sense, I would stop right here and go on to another topic.

But alas, it has become somewhat complicated. As the town has filled with people who don’t give a rip what Robert Thompson thought, Bennett Valley has become a favored corner of Santa Rosa’s housing market and threatens to encroach beyond its bounds.

It also seems to be a buzzword for home-sellers. Houses advertised as located “in Bennett Valley” can have addresses ranging…

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