In 1859, the town of Cloverdale was established in Northern California, within Sonoma County. On Febuary 28, 1872, Cloverdale was incorporated as a town.
In 1881, Jules Auguste Leroux and Armand Joseph Dehay established a colony south of Cloverdale named “Icaria Speranza”, based on the French Utopian movement, the Icarians. The settlement ended in 1886 and today, there is a marker south of town where the schoolhouse was located.
In 1827, John Reed, the first Anglo settler, in northern Sonoma County arrived. John Reed did not farm since the Kota’ti Native Americans engaged in annual field burnings. In 1844, the native Kota’ti had “disappeared” when a Mexican land grant called, “Lomas de Kotate” had been established.
This property passed through a number of hands, including those of Thomas O. Larkin, the first and only U.S. Consul to California. He arranged for its purchase in 1849 by Dr. Thomas Stokes Page, a friend and expatriate American physician then practicing in Valparaiso, Chile.
After numerous years of legal wrangling over Spanish, Mexican, Californian, and United States land law, Page’s agents established livestock and built a large Victorian home for the large Page family. Dr. Page’s wife, Anna Maria Liljevalch Page, and their minor and young adult children emigrated from Chile in 1869. Dr. Page died in 1872, leaving his émigré sons to run the sprawling dairy and stock farm. Described in an 1875 newspaper article as the largest farm in Sonoma County and one of the finest pieces of agricultural land in California, the property became known as “Rancho Cotate.”
William “Bill” Foster was a National Rifle Association member and a big game hunter; who traveled to Africa and other continents for wild animals.
William Foster met author William Hemmingway during his travels.
In the 1900s, William established the restaraunt “Foster’s Bighorn” in Rio Vista, California.
Over time William Foster had over 300 animals, that he hunted, hanging on the walls of Foster’s Bighorn. Currently there are only 200 animals up on the wall, due to the degrading of the animal skin over the decades of the ones that were removed.