Our Mission: Preservation, Restoration, Education
Luther Burbank bought his 15-acre farm on Gold Ridge in 1885 in Sebastopol. During his career he introduced over 800 varieties of fruits, flowers, vegetables, and grains. He developed many of California’s plums and prunes, the ancestor of the Idaho Potato, the Shasta Daisy, and novelties such as Plumcots, Thornless Blackberry, and Spineless Cactus.
His home in Santa Rosa was primarily a showplace, but he developed and grew thousands of new hybrids, cross breeds and selections at his Experiment Farm in Sebastopol. See Luther Burbank Biography
After Luther died in 1926, Mrs. Burbank established an apple orchard on a portion of the Farm and leased the rest to Stark Brothers Nursery. When their lease expired in 1957 the property deteriorated and subsequently passed into new ownership.
Local historians, intent on preserving the Burbank legacy in Sebastopol, formed the Western Sonoma County Historical Society in 1974. The cottage was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.
The City of Sebastopol worked with the Society in its efforts to obtain three acres of the original farm and to restore the Cottage. Restoration began in 1983. Since then the Society’s Farm Committee with the aid of volunteers continues to maintain the cottage and Burbank plant varieties, provide a self-guiding plant walk and train Docents for guided tours.
Farm partners with Luther Burbank Home & Gardens
The Luther Burbank Experiment Farm works closely with the Luther Burbank Home & Gardens located in Santa Rosa, CA. This is where world-renowned horticulturist, Luther Burbank, lived and experimented with plants for most of his 50-year career.
This Registered National, State & City Historic Landmark is a unique city park located at the corner of Santa Rosa and Sonoma Avenues in Santa Rosa, California – across the street from City Hall and Juilliard Park.The Carriage House Gift Shop and Museum is open and walk-in docent-led tours are available April through October. The grounds are open daily from 8:00 a.m. to dusk year-round for self-guided tours and reserved Group and Children’s Tours.
Luther Burbank’s Home & Gardens is located at 204 Santa Rosa Avenue, Santa Rosa, CA 95404.
To preserve, study and promote the memory of Luther Burbank and his work.
To educate the public about Luther Burbank’s work and methodology by providing a venue in which living examples of his work can be seen.
To preserve and enhance the artifacts, the site, the structures and the plant materials for current and future generations.
To serve the needs of Luther Burbank scholars and horticultural researchers.
See some experiments that were in progress more than 90 years ago as well as other unique Burbank creations. Note this outdoor laboratory is unique in the world as experiments here are perhaps only half finished and therefore the plant hybrids can be found nowhere else on the planet!
Volunteer Work Day
Every Wednesday, 9 am to noon
Stop by to see what we are doing or join us in restoration and maintenance projects at The Farm.
We have jobs available for people of any ability or interest – propagating plants for sale, regular gardening chores like weeding, raking, pruning, preparing publicity, maintaining the cottage.
We welcome new ideas about how to make the Farm attract more visitors and help our bottom line.
Volunteer Opportunities are available for interested individuals to help with gardening, be docents, or speak about the Luther Burbank Gold Ridge Experiment Farm in the community and more.
Visiting Luther Burbank’s Experiment Farm
The museum’s gift shop has interesting reproductions of Antique Button Jewelry featuring Vintage Glass Beads. There are many other souvenirs: railroad caps, T-shirts, books, and pamphlets, etc.
New Arrival: Sebastopol’s Gravenstein Apple Industry by Arcadia Publishing. $23.50 plus shipping. Email requests for details.
Killing for Land in California, a history of Native Americans and Round Valley by Frank Baumgardner is now available at the West County Museum. This book was highly praised by Kenneth Starr, California State librarian and professor at University of Southern California. Also by Frank Baumgardner , Yanks in the Redwoods has been well received.
Also available at the Museum and your favorite local bookstore and gallery: Museum Director Evelyn McClure’s second book on Sebastopol history. Sebastopol’s Historic Cemetery – A Serendipitous Directory of the Pioneers and Citizens Residing Therein contains 800 plus biographical sketches of Sebastopol people who shaped the history of our town and ended their days at Sebastopol Memorial Lawn. It is history that reads like a novel. If you wish to order through the Museum, send check payable to West County Museum for $19.00 (includes shipping) same address as Western Sonoma County Historical Society.
In addition, for sale at the museum: Images of America, SEBASTOPOL, a book by the Western Sonoma County Historical Society, published by Arcadia Publishing.