CAZADERO is a small town located in Sonoma county’s western redwood forest and is about 13 road miles northwest of Guerneville.  The town is situate deep into Austin Canyon and occupies a narrow strip of land in a sweeping bend that had been carved out of the canyon’s steep slopes by Austin Creek’s sometimes tumultuous waters.  The stream’s course follows a sinuous path through the narrow canyon and finally widens into a flood plain where it empties into the Russian River near Duncans Mills.  Cazadero’s town center is about seven airline miles east of the Pacific Ocean and is best reached by driving 6 miles north on Cazadero Highway from its junction with HWY 116. Cazadero Highway was originally the North Pacific Coast Railroad’s narrow gauge track roadbed that connected Cazadero with Duncans Mills.

The town was originally a hunting resort called “Ingrams” begun by Silas Deras Ingram in 1869.  When Silas successfuly negotiated a post office for his resort in 1881 it gained status as a town site.  The Feds, however, named the post office “Austin” after the creek and the new name began appearing on travel maps.  Silas was more than a trifle irritated about the name as he had spent a lot of money advertising “Ingrams”.  In 1886, after considerable negotiating and political persuasion, he finaly managed to have the name changed to honor his surname. Having successfully persuaded the North Pacific Coast Railroad to extend its rail line from Duncans Mills to his Ingrams town in 1886 was the final argument needed for the Post Office Department to effect the name change.

George Simpson Montgomery, a wealthy businessman from San Francisco, purchased the town in January 1888 and changed its name to “Cazadero” (Spanish for “The Hunting Place”).  In 1885 Montgomery had purchased the plush 1000 acre Lytton Springs resort near Healdsburg and, unlike Lytton that was fully developed when he bought it, he viewed this new Cazadero property as a splendid investment growth opportunity through subdividing the land, selling its lots and developing it into a new tourist and sportsman resort town for the Bay Area folks. At the time of the Ingram’s purchase, George was listed in the Social Register, the San Francisco Blue Book, as living in the world-famous Palace Hotel and holding membership in the Exclusive Bohemian Club. He was also known locally as being a two-fisted drinking Bohemian Club member and a man for good times.

Story courtesy of and in memory of  Gary Rogers.