Windsor, California

Town of Windsor

Windsor's "Old Downtown"

Location in Sonoma County and the state of California
Town of Windsor

Location in the United States

Coordinates: 38°32′46″N 122°48′19″W / 38.54611°N 122.80528°W / 38.54611; -122.80528Coordinates: 38°32′46″N 122°48′19″W / 38.54611°N 122.80528°W / 38.54611; -122.80528[1]
Country  United States
State  California
County Sonoma
Incorporated July 1, 1992[2]
  Type Council–manager
  Town Manager Linda Kelly[3]
  Mayor Mark Millan[4]
  Total 7.293 sq mi (18.888 km2)
  Land 7.268 sq mi (18.824 km2)
  Water 0.025 sq mi (0.064 km2)  0.34%
Elevation[6] 118 ft (36 m)
Population (2010)
  Total 26,801
  Density 3,700/sq mi (1,400/km2)
Time zone Pacific (UTC−8)
  Summer (DST) PDT (UTC−7)
ZIP code 95492
Area code 707
FIPS code 06-85922
GNIS feature IDs 1667892, 2413495

Windsor is an incorporated town in Sonoma County, California, United States. It is situated north of Santa Rosa. The population was 26,801 as of the 2010 census.


In recent years, the Town of Windsor has received awards or recognition for:



According to the United States Census Bureau, the Town has a total area of 7.3 square miles (19 km2), 99.66% of it land and 0.34% of its water. Windsor is 2 miles (3.2 km) from the Russian River.

Windsor is located on U.S. Highway Route 101 in the Russian River valley. Neighboring cities include Healdsburg, Santa Rosa, and Forestville.



Windsor's first European settlers arrived in 1851. In 1855, Hiram Lewis, a Pony Express rider, became the town's first postmaster. He named the town Windsor because it reminded him of the grounds around Windsor Castle, a medieval castle from his home country of England. In 1855, a post office was established in Windsor. The following year, a business enterprise was built in eastern Windsor, which included a goods store, a shoe shop, a grocery and meat market, a saloon, a hotel, a boarding house, and two confectionery shops. A railroad was completed in the town in 1872.[13]

On May 21, 1905, a fire destroyed the center of Windsor. Fanned by heavy winds, the fire destroyed several businesses, including a hotel and a barber shop. The damage was at an estimated $30,000 worth of property.[13]

In 1915, the Old Redwood Highway through Windsor was paved. Up until then, all roads in the area had been dirt.[13]

During World War II, a United States Army Air Forces air base (currently the Charles M. Schulz – Sonoma County Airport) was built in southern Windsor, and it was common to hear fighter aircraft and bombers flying over the town.[14]

In 1943, a camp for German prisoners of war was built west of downtown Windsor, on the site of a former migrant labor camp. The camp was a branch camp of the much larger Camp Beale POW camp.[13][15] Those assigned to the camp worked (for $0.80 per day) at farms in the county, picking apples, prunes, hops, and other crops, packing apples, and similar work.[16]

Incorporation and modern history

On July 1, 1992, Windsor was incorporated as a town. Prior to that, it had been part of unincorporated Sonoma County. Windsor's economic growth and population boomed in the 1980s, when housing development rapidly grew during this decade. Prior to that, Windsor's economy was predominately based from agricultural work, mainly involving wine grapes.[13]

In 1996, Windsor adopted its current General Plan. Since that time the Town has grown and changed. When the last General Plan was adopted, the internet was not widely used and the youngest members of today’s workforce had not been born yet. New laws have passed that affect general plans and new planning strategies have been developed. These changes require a reevaluation of the existing General Plan and confirmation of the vision for Windsor. The 2040 General Plan project is currently underway and the General Plan will look ahead to the year 2040, so the update will not only bring policies and programs up to date, but also position Windsor for the next 25 years.

In January 1998, Windsor voters approved a twenty-year urban growth boundary, with 72% in favor.[17][18]



The Sonoma County Economic Development Board (EDB),[19] in partnership with the Sonoma County Workforce Investment Board (WIB),[20] the Town of Windsor, and the Windsor Chamber of Commerce is pleased to present the 2016 Windsor Local Economic Profile (PDF of full report). Highlights from this Local Economic Profile include:

*While every effort was made to ensure this report contained up-to-date information, certain data was unavailable at the time this report was released; thus, some figures may reflect years previous to 2015, (EDB).

Highlights from Local Economic Profile,

Sonoma County Economic Development Board

EDB Data Pop. %+
2015 27,221 ____
Est. 2020 27,856 2.3%
Environmental System Research Institute (ESRI)


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 201527,464[21]2.5%
U.S. Decennial Census[22]

The 2010 United States Census[23] reported that Windsor had a population of 26,801. The population density was 3,675.0 people per square mile (1,418.9/km2).

Count% Race
19,798 73.9% White (60.6% non-Hispanic white)
227 0.8% African American
594 2.2% Native American
810 3.0% Asian (0.6% Filipino, 0.5% Chinese, 0.5% Vietnamese, 0.4% Indian, 0.2% Japanese, 0.2% Korean, 0.1% Hmong, 0.1% Laotian, 0.1% Thai), 51 (0.2%) Pacific Islander, 4,052 (15.1%) from other races
1,269 4.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8,511 persons (31.8%): 28.5% Mexican, 0.7% Spaniard, 0.4% Puerto Rican, 0.3% Salvadoran, and 0.2% Nicaraguan.

The Census reported that 99.8% of the population lived in households and 0.2% lived in non-institutionalized group quarters.

The average household size was 2.98. There were 6,708 families (74.8% of all households); the average family size was 3.40. There were 8,970 households, out of which :

Count% Composition
3,863 43.1% had children under the age of 18 living in them
906 10.1% had a female householder with no husband present
453 5.1% had a male householder with no wife present
545 6.1% unmarried opposite-sex partnerships
76 0.8% same-sex married couples or partnerships
1,742 19.4% were made up of individuals
840 9.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older.

The median age was 37.0 years.

Count% Age Group
7,517 28.0% aged 0 to 18
7,301 27.2% aged 45 to 64
6,833 25.5% aged 25 to 44
2,932 10.9% aged 65 years of age or older.
2,218 8.3% aged 18 to 24

For every 100 females there were 96.6 males.

For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.3 males.

There were 9,549 housing units at an average density of 1,309.4 per square mile (505.5/km2)

% Housing typeVacancy
75.8% Owner-occupied. 1.6%
24.2% Renters. 2.7%



The Town of Windsor is a general law city governed by a five-member Town Council, including the mayor and vice mayor. The positions of mayor and vice mayor are non-elected and chosen annually among the members of the Town Council. Councilmembers serve four-year staggered terms, with elections occurring every two years.

The Town Council hires a Town Manager to carryout policies and serve as executive officer.


The Town of Windsor is part of Sonoma County. The County government provides countywide services such as elections and voter registration, law enforcement, jails, vital records, property records, tax collection, public health, and social services. Sonoma County Board of Supervisors sits as the governing board of Sonoma County and of various special jurisdictions such as the Sonoma County Water Agency, the Northern Sonoma County Air Pollution Control District, the Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District, County Sanitation Districts, and the Community Development Commission. The Board is composed of five supervisors elected from supervisorial districts for four year terms.


In the California State Legislature, Windsor is located in the 2nd Senate district and the 1st Assembly district.

In the United States House of Representatives, Windsor is in California's 2nd congressional district, represented by Democrat Jared Huffman.[24]


The Windsor Fire Protection District is governed by a Board of Directors and provides services within Town of Windsor boundaries, as well as to surrounding rural and/or unincorporated areas.


In 1992, the Town of Windsor voted to contract with the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office for the provision of law enforcement services. The Sheriff's Office received its first contract in 1993 and in 2008 voted to extend the Sheriff's Office law enforcement services contract for 10 more years. The Windsor Police Department is staffed by Sonoma County Sheriff Department employees through a negotiated contract between the County and the Town of Windsor.

The Town of Windsor was recently ranked the 34th safest city on SafeWise’s list of “2016 Safest Cities of California.” SafeWise has been formally conducting these reports for the past three years and the Town of Windsor has been included every year.


Business and retail centers

Shopping centers include Bell Village, Bonaventure Plaza, Brooks Village, Copperstone Building, Lakewood Shopping Center, Lakewood Village, Old Downtown Windsor, Shiloh Shopping Center, Starr Station, The Plaza on Lakewood, Windsor Creek Plaza, Windsor Palms Plaza, and Windsor Village.

More information regarding the Town’s economy and business promotional efforts can be found at

Chamber of Commerce

The Windsor Chamber of Commerce is an organization representing some 300 businesses. Service clubs, healthcare professionals, non-profits and faith-based organizations are all represented, as are retailers and manufacturers. Young adults are part of the Junior Chamber of Commerce and apply for the Educational Scholarship Program. Seniors, veterans, the disabled and those in need are served by the member organizations, as are the youth of the community. Children and families benefit from continued support of toy drives, Easter egg hunts, and holiday activities.


In 2009, the Town joined the Sonoma County Business Improvement Area to take advantage of the marketing opportunities provided by Sonoma County Tourism, Through the Town’s partnership with this regional organization, the Town benefits from a robust destination marketing effort, promotion of local events and tourist attraction programs.


In 2009, the Windsor Middle School received award recognition as a California Distinguished School.

High schools

Elementary schools

Higher education

Local higher education facilities are located near Windsor and within Sonoma County.


The Sonoma County Library system consists of several branches throughout the County. In 1996, when the Town of Windsor offices moved to a nearby building, the existing Town Hall building was renovated to house the Windsor Regional Library. The new full service branch library at the edge of the Town Green was dedicated on November 3, 1996, and has faithfully served the people of Windsor and surrounding areas ever since.


Roads and highways

Windsor is served by U.S. Highway Route 101. and extends through California, Oregon and Washington.

In an effort to preserve its “Fit Town” designation in 2012, Windsor has implemented neighborhood traffic management and calming program. The Town of Windsor is a very bicycle friendly community and was awarded respectfully in 2015, by The League of American Bicyclists.

SMART service

Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) line is a voter-approved passenger rail and bicycle-pedestrian pathway project located in Marin and Sonoma counties. As part of this new line Windsor will have a dedicated station stop. Phase I of the project is scheduled for late 2016. Service to Windsor has been deferred until Phase II of the project, the funding for which has not yet been identified.[26] In April 2016, the SMART agency said it was seeking up to $38 million in state cap-and-trade funds to extend passenger service to Windsor by early 2020.[27]

Nearby airport

The Charles M. Schulz - Sonoma County Airport (STS) is located in the heart of Wine Country, 55 miles north of the Golden Gate. The Airport offers direct flights to Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, Las Vegas, and Phoenix-Mesa.

The Sonoma County Airport has been home to the “Wings Over Wine Country Air Show” since 1997. It is the biggest air show in the North Bay, and attracts over 25,000 visitors.


“Windsor is known for being a creative and innovative community that is a great place to live, raise a family, and open a business. The Town of Windsor offers a host of public services, recreational opportunities, and well-planned business areas, including an award winning downtown and the 4.5acre Town Green for community building vents like the Farmers Market, Summer Nights on the Green concert series and Windsor Half Marathon.”- Mayor Debora Fudge (2012).

A highly valued tradition, since 2001, the Town of Windsor and local sponsors put on a weekly Summer Nights on the Green free concert series full of healthy fun, quality family entertainment and great food, collectively with the Windsor Farmer’s Market.

Windsor is home to several other community events in coordination with local non-profits and standing citizen advisory groups.

In 2012, the Windsor Community, along with the Windsor Unified School District was named as one of America’s Promise Alliance’s 100 Best Communities for Young People presented by ING. The national award is given to recognize how the school district and community work together to provide outstanding and innovative programs and services that make it one of the best communities in the nation for youth to live, learn, grow and graduate.


The Windsor Historical Society was founded and is dedicated to collecting, preserving, and disseminating the history of Windsor and Russian River township through museum exhibits, historic sites, educational programs and printed materials.

The Windsor Historical Society’s Museum, opened in February 2009 and features exhibits on the people and events that shaped the history of Windsor. It is located in the historic Hembree House adjacent to the Town’s recreational senior center facility.


Several community and neighborhood parks are settled within the Town of Windsor. Most park amenities include a variety of sports fields, play structures, restrooms and picnic areas. Local regional parks offer hundreds of acres with varied terrain and scenic views. Some trails are open to hikers only, while others are available to equestrians and cyclists as well. Trails range from uneven single-track to wide ranch roads.


The Town of Windsor offers many recreational programs year-round and seasonal. Programs include: early childhood education and interactive classes, youth sports, activities for Seniors, arts and music programs, camps and much more.

Windsor is known for ensuring that its adults as well as its children have ready access to safe, outdoor play space, beauty and serenity, healthy movement, socializing and free-time fun. This commitment earned Windsor its recognition among U.S. cities as a Playful City.

Special events

Windsor is home to several annual special events including the annual Earth Day and Wellness Festival, Windsor Days Parade, Cinco de Mayo Festival, Community Art and Flower Show, and invites participants to enjoy numerous activities for both adults and children. Activities include live entertainment, recreation class demonstrations, event information booths, food vendors and spring produce sales from the Windsor Farmer’s Market. In addition, the Windsor Farmer’s Market runs every Sunday in April through December.

The scenic beauty in Windsor and its surroundings offers a great venue for events such as the Windsor Half Marathon and Expo, the annual Sonoma County Hot Air Balloon Classic, and Ironman Vineman triathlon, the oldest iron-distance event in the continental U.S. (dating back to 1990).

During summer months, local residents and visitors gather on the popular Windsor Town Green for a free outdoor concert, known as the “Summer Nights on the Green,” every Thursday evening, alongside the Windsor Farmer’s Market. The Kids Movie Series is offered on Tuesday nights, 15 minutes after sunset.

In honor of Independence Day, Windsor celebrates every July 3. The event features live entertainment, local food vendors, food trucks and a kid’s zone.

Windsor Hometown Heroes Military Banner Program was created to recognize and honor Windsor residents and their immediate family members who are serving our country in the United States Armed Forces. Every November, friends and family join together with the public to honor home-grown, active-duty service men and women during a Military Banner Red Carpet Ceremony. A banner for each honoree joins the banners already hung in Windsor Civic Center since the program's inception in 2013.

Holiday Celebration and Charlie Brown Christmas Tree Grove Display. Every December, Windsor celebrates the opening of the holiday season under the glow of old lamp lights with live entertainment, children’s activities, and graceful horse-drawn carriages carrying guests around beautiful Windsor Town Green. The Charlie Brown Christmas Tree Grove is an annual holiday event located on Windsor’s Town Green, the premier central gathering place for Windsor residents and visitors. The event highlights 200 lighted individually decorated holiday trees lining the walkways of the Green. Businesses, individuals, students and groups showcase their talents in design and decorating with their themed trees which draw thousands of visitors to the Grove during the month of December. The event runs from Decorating Day, the Sunday after Thanksgiving, until the first Saturday after New Year’s Day. It is a highlight of the annual Town of Windsor’s Holiday Celebration on the Green evening event on the first Thursday in December.

Notable residents

See also


  1. "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  2. "California Cities by Incorporation Date" (Word). California Association of Local Agency Formation Commissions. Retrieved August 25, 2014.
  3. "Town Manager". Town of Windsor. Retrieved December 31, 2014.
  4. "Town Council". Town of Windsor. Retrieved December 31, 2014.
  5. "2010 Census U.S. Gazetteer Files – Places – California". United States Census Bureau.
  6. U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Windsor
  7. "Town of Windsor Received "Infrastructure Project of the Year – Innovative Design" Award". October 24, 2016. Retrieved November 27, 2016.
  8. "Town of Windsor Recognized as "Sustainable Business of the Year"". October 17, 2016. Retrieved November 27, 2016.
  9. "The 50 Safest Cities in California — 2016". June 13, 2016. Retrieved November 27, 2016.
  10. "Town of Windsor Recognized as One of the Healthiest Companies in the North Bay". November 23, 2015. Retrieved November 27, 2016.
  11. "APA Recognizes EPS for Windsor Station Area Plan". May 27, 2014. Retrieved November 27, 2016.
  12. "Awards Database". Retrieved November 27, 2016.
  13. 1 2 3 4 5 "History". Windsor Historical Society. Town of Windsor. Retrieved August 25, 2012.
  14. Fraire, Gabriel A. (1991). Windsor: The Birth of a City. Rayve Productions Inc. ISBN 1-877810-91-6.
  15. "Windsor Branch Prisoner of War Camp". California State Military Department. Retrieved 2012-08-25.
  16. LeBaron, Gaye (December 6, 1992). "Camp Windsor a friendly prison for German POWs". Press Democrat. Retrieved June 2, 2016.
  17. Steve Hart (January 7, 1998). "Windsor Rejects Recall; Voters Favor Growth Limit". Press-Democrat.
  18. "More than 72 percent of citizens in Windsor,". Better Cities & Towns. March–April 1998.
  21. "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016.
  22. "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  23. "2010 Census Interactive Population Search: CA - Windsor town". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2014.
  24. "California's 2nd Congressional District - Representatives & District Map". Civic Impulse, LLC. Retrieved March 1, 2013.
  25. "Cali Calmecac Language Academy". Windsor Unified School District. Retrieved 2012-08-25.
  26. O’Connor, Cecily (May 31, 2012). "SMART Train Construction Is on Track". Bay Area Monitor. Retrieved November 17, 2012.
  27. Moore, Derek (April 13, 2016). "SMART seeking funding to extend rail line to Windsor". Santa Rosa Press Democrat. Retrieved June 2, 2016.
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