In the 1891 Sonoma's first high school used the three-story Cumberland College building located on Broadway. During the eight years of its existence, the college flourished and had at one time as many as 400 students, mostly from other parts of California and nearby states. It was closed when the State University of California campus opened in Berkeley.
In 1921 the community of Sonoma Valley passed a $115,000.00 Bond measure to build a new High School. In 1922, the “main building” was opened on our present site and is still in use today. By 1952, the school population had grown to over 400, when a series of major changes began. In the spring of 1953, construction was started on the Home Economics building and the shop building. That autumn when school opened, the majority of classes were held in these two buildings, due to the necessity of strengthening the main building.
Sonoma Valley Union High School had its first commencement in 1894, graduating two students. The Principal from 1897 to 1901 was Benjamin Weed. San Francisco’s 1906 earthquake tumbled buildings in Sonoma, among them the high school. Students attended classes in a church basement and the upstairs of Clewe’s store on the corner of Broadway and Napa Street, until a new school was built on the foundation of the old Cumberland College. Classes, varying in size from three to more than a dozen continued in this building. Over the next 40 years the school grew to accommodate over 1,400 students and expanded the variety of opportunities and programs as the population diversified.
Thanks again to the Sonoma community for supporting students and passing two more bonds in the 1990’s which allowed the campus to be modernized and transformed to included a Culinary department with a complete commercial kitchen, a new barn for the Ag department, a multipurpose pavilion that serves as a cafeteria, a second gym and a meeting room.
Today, Sonoma Valley High School serves over 1,100 students in grades 9-12 and remains the only high school in the city of Sonoma. We are very fortunate to have the continued support of the community as we look towards the future for our town and our children.