Note: This is an encore post from 2006.
Aug. 26, 1907
Santa Rosa, Calif.
Elected officials addressed a large rally devoted to saving the 800-acre Armstrong Grove, named after lumber baron J.B. Armstrong, who decided to save the stand of soaring redwoods rather than clearing it.
“Armstrong Grove contains the finest and largest redwood timber in California,” The Times said. “For years it has been a great attraction to tourists and is one of the features of the Russian River section.
“When the late Capt. Armstrong owned all the timber in that vicinity and was milling it and putting the lumber on the market, he was so impressed with the beauty of this tract that he refused to allow the woodman’s ax to despoil any portion of it and decided that it should go to the state.”
Although Armstrong’s will donated the land to the state of California, the Legislature rejected the bequest over some of the will’s stipulations. Sonoma County bought the land from Armstrong’s daughter in 1916, and it wasn’t until 1934 that the state of California took over the park. To further protect the redwoods, the area was designated as a reserve in 1964.