On Saturday, June 24, Gen. Mariano Vallejo finally sat down. One-hundred and eighty-two years after establishing Pueblo de Sonoma, our city’s founder deserved a little rest.
The new monument on the Plaza’s northern edge depicting a seated Vallejo was dedicated June 24, which fittingly is also Pueblo Day, a date marking the official anniversary of the establishment of Sonoma in 1835. The ceremony included trumpet fanfare, the Hometown Band, greetings, proclamations, and an appearance by Vallejo descendants Martha Vallejo McGettigan and Earl Douglass, Jr.
Jim Callahan, the local artist who created the sculpture, described the event as “marvelous.”
“There were at least a hundred chairs, and they were all filled, and probably another hundred people standing around. It was amazing to see so many people there,” Callahan said.
Dedicated to the memory of the late Sheila Cole, whose idea for the monument led to the formation of the General Vallejo Monument Committee – which spearheaded the effort to erect the monument – the statue represents culmination of more than two years of work. Cole’s memory was the guiding light that led the all-volunteer committee through the arduous process, a journey that required Vallejo-like fortitude. Robert Demler, Sean Bellach, Gina Cuclis, Martin Laney, Martha Vallejo McGettigan (great-great-grandaughter of M.G. Vallejo), George McKale, and Peter Meyerhof collectively navigated City requirements, fundraising challenges, and the Cultural and Fine Arts Commission to bring Vallejo’s likeness in bronze to the Plaza for posterity.
The monument – based on the General’s appearance in later middle age, and featuring architecture by Michael Ross – has Vallejo seated with a slim book on one knee. Gazing into the middle distance with a pleased look, the General seems to recognize what his life’s efforts wrought.