an aerial view of the Sonoma campus

Sonoma State Hospital

Located in rural Sonoma County in an area that colonial-era Spaniards called “El Valle de la Luna” or the Valley of the Moon, the Sonoma State Hospital is surrounded by chaparral shrubs, oaks, and low hills. In a region now known for agriculture, tourism, and vineyards, the hospital is an extensive complex that encompasses more than 2.6 square miles. During the twentieth century, It functioned as a total institution that operated similar to a small community as opposed to a strict medical facility. The grounds included cottages for patients and staff, a hospital, ​an assembly hall, a ​​dairy ​farm, a tannery, a​ morgue, and ​post office​. Sonoma State Hospital even had its own zip code.

Sonoma is still open today, and is ​now called the Sonoma Developmental Center. It houses about 400 patients. However, the institution is slated for closure in 2018.

Scroll down or click on a location on the map to explore buildings at Sonoma.
an image of the main building

Chamberlain Building

image of the administration building

Main Building

The main building was built in 1908 and was added to the National Registry of Historic Places in 2000. It is now vacant.

The basement contained the billiard room, drug store, laboratory, two clinics, and three storerooms. On the first floor there was a reception room, superintendent's, matron's, physicians', stenographer's and secretary's offices, the library, and a schoolroom. The second floor included the superintendent and the matron's quarters, visitors' rooms, and a staff dining room. The The third floor had staff bedrooms.
image of walnut Cottage

Walnut Cottage

image of man collecting chicken eggs


Sonoma included a working farm. The video below is from the 1960s and shows children visiting the farm.