Windsor, California

Windsor is an incorporated town in Sonoma County, California, United States.[5] The town is 9 miles north of Santa Rosa and 63 miles north of San Francisco. The population was 26,801 as of the 2010 census.

Town Green Fountain
Location within the state of California
Windsor (the United States)
Coordinates: 38°32′50″N 122°48′59″W
CountryUnited States
IncorporatedJuly 1, 1992
  MayorDominic Foppoli[1]
  Vice MayorDebora Fudge[2]
  Total7.29 sq mi (18.89 km2)
  Land7.27 sq mi (18.83 km2)
  Water0.02 sq mi (0.06 km2)
118 ft (36 m)
  Density3,790.23/sq mi (1,463.50/km2)
Time zoneUTC-8 (Pacific)
  Summer (DST)UTC-7 (PDT)
FIPS code06-85922
GNIS feature ID1667892[5]
WebsiteOfficial website



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. The Northwestern Pacific Railroad was completed through the town in 1872, providing a faster and cheaper link to the Bay Area.[6]

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.[6]

In 1915, the Old Redwood Highway through Windsor was paved. Up until then, all roads in the area had been dirt.[6]

During World War II, a United States Army Air Forces training 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.[7]

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.[6][8] 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 doing similar work.[9]

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 on agricultural work, mainly involving wine grapes.[6]

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.[10]

In January 1998, Windsor voters approved a twenty-year urban growth boundary, with 72% in favor.[11][12] The boundary will be voted on again in November 2017.


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.



Highlights of the 2016 Windsor Local Economic Profile include:

  • Windsor’s seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate was 4% in July 2015, lower than Sonoma County (4.6%), California (6.5%) and the nation (5.6%) for the same month.
  • Between 2000 and 2015, the median household income in Windsor grew by 23% to $77,205. Looking into 2020, this growth is expected to continue with median income rising to $86,914, an increase of about 12.6% from 2015.
  • The median home price in Windsor increased 12.7% from 2013 to $470,000 in 2014. This continued the increase in median home price since 2011. Although the median home price has been steadily increasing, it has not yet reached the 2005 prerecession peak.
  • Both residential and non-residential construction has increased from July 2014 to July 2015, with the value of non-residential housing permits increasing much faster than the value of residential housing permits.
  • Windsor taxable sales have been displaying a trend of increasing over the last four years with a gain of 10.4% from 2012 to 2013.
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
Est. 201827,849[4]3.9%
U.S. Decennial Census[13]

The 2010 United States Census[14] reported that Windsor had a population of 26,801. The population density was 3,675.0 people per square mile (1,418.9/km2).

  • Racial make-up
19,79873.9%White (60.6% non-Hispanic white)
2270.8%African American
5942.2%Native American
8103.0%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)
510.2%Pacific Islander
4,05215.1%other races
1,2694.7%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.
  • Households

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 :

3,86343.1%had children under the age of 18 living in them
90610.1%had a female householder with no husband present
4535.1%had a male householder with no wife present
5456.1%unmarried opposite-sex partnerships
760.8%same-sex married couples or partnerships
1,74219.4%were made up of individuals
8409.4%had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older.
  • Age

The median age was 37.0 years.

Count%Age Group
7,51728.0%aged 0 to 18
7,30127.2%aged 45 to 64
6,83325.5%aged 25 to 44
2,93210.9%aged 65 years of age or older.
2,2188.3%aged 18 to 24
  • Gender

For every 100 females, there were 96.6 males.

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

  • Housing

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

%Housing typeVacancy


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.

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.

Arts and culture

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.

Special events

Events include the annual Earth Day and Wellness Festival, Windsor Days Parade, Cinco de Mayo Festival, and the Community Art and Flower Show, live entertainment, recreation class demonstrations, event information booths, and food vendors and spring produce sales from the Windsor Farmer’s Market.

Other events included 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 United States (dating back to 1990).

During summer at the Windsor Town Green there are free outdoor concerts known as the "Summer Nights on the Green". There is also a Kids Movie Series.

On 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.


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.

Parks and recreation

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.

From 1990 to 1995, the Windsor Golf Club, a public golf course, hosted an event on the PGA's Hogan Tour (later called the Nike Tour, currently called the tour).[15] In April 2017 it hosted the 54-hole women’s POCMED Golf Classic, part of the Symetra Tour, the qualifying tour for the Ladies Professional Golf Association.[16]



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. Council members serve four-year staggered terms, with elections occurring every two years.

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

As of January 2017, the Town's Mayor is Dominic Foppoli, the Vice Mayor is Deborah Fudge, and the other three council members are Esther Lemus, Bruce Okrepkie, and Sam Salmon.[17]


The Town of Windsor is part of Sonoma County. The County government provides countywide services such as elections and voter registration, prosecutor and public defender, jails, vital records, property records, tax collection, public health, and social services. The 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.[18]

According to the California Secretary of State, as of February 10, 2019, Windsor has 15,446 registered voters. Of those, 7,210 (46.7%) are registered Democrats, 3,500 (22.7%) are registered Republicans, and 3,942 (25.5%) have declined to state a political party.[19]


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

High schools

Elementary schools

  • Brooks Elementary School
  • Mattie Washburn Elementary School
  • Windsor Creek Elementary School
  • Cali Calmecac Language Academy (charter school) (K-8)[21]
  • Windsor Middle School
  • Windsor Christian Academy (private school) (K-8)
  • New North County Consortium (special education needs)

Higher education

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



Roads and highways

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

Windsor has implemented neighborhood traffic management and calming program. The Town of Windsor is a very bicycle friendly community and won an award in 2015 from 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. The initial operating segment between San Rafael and Charles M. Schulz–Sonoma County Airport opened in 2017, three miles short of Windsor. By April 2016, SMART made known it was seeking up to $38 million in state cap-and-trade funds to extend passenger service north.[22] Service is expected to commence to Windsor station by 2022.[23]

Nearby airport

The Charles M. Schulz - Sonoma County Airport (STS) is located just south of Windsor. The airport offers direct flights to Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, and Phoenix.

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 annually.


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.

Emergency services


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.[24]


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. In 2008 the Town 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.[25]

The Town of Windsor was 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.[26]


The Town of Windsor has a contract with Bell's Ambulance Service to provide advanced life support (ALS) 911 emergency medical services staffed with Paramedics/EMTs 24/7/365. Bell's Ambulance has been in business since 1956 and also serves the towns of Healdsburg, Geyserville and the surrounding areas. On August 2, 2006, Pamela Bell-Simmons was presented with a proclamation acknowledging Bell's Ambulance 50 years of service in the Windsor community.[27]

Notable people


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

  • the quality of its Old Redwood Highway Improvements Project,[28]
  • being a healthy company,[29]
  • the quality of its Windsor Station Area Plan,[30]
  • being a bicycle-friendly community.[31]

See also


  1. "Dominic Foppoli, Mayor | Windsor, CA – Official Website".
  2. "Debora Fudge, Vice Mayor | Windsor, CA – Official Website".
  3. "2016 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 28, 2017.
  4. "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved July 24, 2019.
  5. U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Windsor
  6. "History". Windsor Historical Society. Town of Windsor. Retrieved August 25, 2012.
  7. Fraire, Gabriel A. (1991). Windsor: The Birth of a City. Rayve Productions Inc. ISBN 978-1-877810-91-6.
  8. "Windsor Branch Prisoner of War Camp". California State Military Department. Retrieved August 25, 2012.
  9. LeBaron, Gaye (December 6, 1992). "Camp Windsor a friendly prison for German POWs". Press Democrat. Retrieved June 2, 2016.
  10. "Windsor 2040".
  11. Steve Hart (January 7, 1998). "Windsor Rejects Recall; Voters Favor Growth Limit". Press-Democrat.
  12. "More than 72 percent of citizens in Windsor,". Better Cities & Towns. March–April 1998.
  13. "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  14. "2010 Census Interactive Population Search: CA – Windsor town". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2014.
  15. Carter, Lori A. (April 7, 2017). "Rain postpones, shortens POC Med Golf Classic at Windsor Golf Club". Santa Rosa Press Democrat. Retrieved April 8, 2017.
  16. Carter, Lori A. (February 8, 2017). "Windsor Golf Club prepares to host POCMED Golf Classic". Santa Rosa Press Democrat. Retrieved February 12, 2017.
  17. "Town Council | Windsor, CA – Official Website".
  18. "California's 2nd Congressional District - Representatives & District Map". Civic Impulse, LLC. Retrieved March 1, 2013.
  19. "CA Secretary of State – Report of Registration – February 10, 2019" (PDF). Retrieved March 12, 2019.
  20. "Windsor Unified School District".
  21. "Cali Calmecac Language Academy". Windsor Unified School District. Retrieved August 25, 2012.
  22. Moore, Derek (April 13, 2016). "SMART seeking funding to extend rail line to Windsor". Santa Rosa Press Democrat. Retrieved June 2, 2016.
  23. Fixler, Kevin (September 19, 2018). "SMART to begin work on extension of commuter rail to Windsor". Press Democrat.
  24. "Rincon Valley and Windsor Fire Protection Districts".
  25. "Police Department | Windsor, CA – Official Website".
  26. "Safest Cities of California – 2016". SafeWise. October 4, 2018.
  27. "Minutes – Joint Town Council".
  28. "Town of Windsor Received "Infrastructure Project of the Year – Innovative Design" Award". October 24, 2016. Retrieved November 27, 2016.
  29. "Town of Windsor Recognized as One of the Healthiest Companies in the North Bay". November 23, 2015. Retrieved November 27, 2016.
  30. "APA Recognizes EPS for Windsor Station Area Plan". May 27, 2014. Retrieved November 27, 2016.
  31. "Awards Database". Retrieved November 27, 2016.
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