Sebastopol was first formed as town in 1850 with the induction of its post office, as well as a trade center that was established to benefit the farmers of the surrounding areas in their agricultural endeavors. After the Gold Rush and the general migration to the west, the Sonoma County area experienced a population increase among people who were interested in farming for a living. Sebastopol was originally referred to as “Pinegrove,” and there is much debate over how the town ended up with its current name. Some people believe that the name came about in a bar fight over the British siege of the seaport known as “Sevastopol,” where “Sebastopol” would be the Romanized spelling of the Greek word. Regardless of how the name came about, there are still buildings in town bearing the original name “Pinegrove.”
Sebastopol was long known as the “Gravenstein Apple Capital of the World” due to the prosperity of apples throughout the town’s early years. The apple industry was the main reason for the economic growth and development in Sebastopol until the railroads were built in 1890, connecting the small city to the national rail network. In 1902, the town was incorporated with multiple schools, churches, hotels, wineries, mills, canneries, and even an opera house. The town, and all of Sonoma County, experienced a tragic earthquake in 1906 and most of the town had to be reconstructed.
Today, many of the key attributes to the town are no longer relevant. The railroad tracks were removed in he 1980s due to a decrease in passenger service by the 1930s a complete end to regular freight service in the late 1970s. The numerous canneries and apple processing plants are gone now, as well. The former plants were all replaced with vineyards and housing developments. The former train station is now the Western County Museum.