Fitch Mountain Association History

The original residents of Fitch Mountain were owners who purchased weekend and summer homes in the two subdivisions Camp Rose and Del Rio Woods.

Fitch Mountain, the ‘crown jewel” of Healdsburg, has residents who are not in the city limits and that rely on the County of Sonoma for law enforcement, road maintenance, fire contracts secured by the department of Fire and Emergency Services (City of Healdsburg contract). The association members are involved with both river safety and environmental health and are strong supporters of the Russian Riverkeeper.

The officers and members of FMA have long been active in civic involvement securing services needed as the area transitioned into many permanent residences. Before 1976, there were two associations: Del Rio Homeowners and Camp Rose Conservation Club. The consolidated association became Fitch Mountain Association.

Residents of the mountain have sought and created two Special Taxation Districts through the Local Agency Formation Commission.

The first, organized to fund and maintain the Del Rio Recreation and Parks District, was formalized by vote of the residents in 1942. This district replaced the volunteer financial support for installing the Del Rio dam. The taxation district, with a five-member board, operated the district until December 2014, when the Del Rio dam was deconstructed.

The second district formed in 1976, CSA#24, (became CSA#41,) financed a fire contract with Healdsburg and bought  and then rehabilitated the Fitch Mountain Water Company consisting of three aging private water systems.  Property taxes on 350 homes repay the state loans extended for rehabilitating the water system within this 566-acre district in the non-incorporated area of Fitch Mountain. Maintenance of the system is by contract with the Russian River Utility, administration of the system is handled by Sonoma County Transportation and Public Works. Membership in the association is open to anyone living on the mountain, homeowner or renter.

History of Fitch Mountain Area

Fitch Mountain is a residential area partially within the city limits of Healdsburg, California, and has a heavily wooded undeveloped area. This is a historical area, originally developed for summer homes, and a recreational community. Now, a majority of homeowners live here year round. Here’s some history of this special place:

In the age before the human habitation of this area, geothermal activity shaped the landscape, with the emergence of volcanic eruptions leading to the formation of mountains. Healdsburg’s Fitch Mountain is a small, cinder cone, an extinct volcano that is part of the active, interconnected volcanic region that includes Mount Saint Helena in Napa County and extends into Lake County in the region of Mount Konocti.

For thousands of years, Western Wappo and Southern Pomo-speaking people lived on the bounty of this generous land and created some of the finest woven baskets in the world. The territory that is now Healdsburg was claimed in 1841 by Captain Henry Fitch, brother-in-law of Governor Mariano Vallejo, as part of Fitch’s 48,800-acre Sotoyome Rancho. Fitch’s Mexican land grant title was thrown into dispute when Mexico ceded California to the United States in 1848. The Gold Rush of 1849 brought hordes of people to California gold country, many of whom drifted south, preferring a life of farming to failing in the mines. In 1851, would-be gold seeker Harmon Heald, a native of Ohio, left mining and built a cabin on the west side of the well-traveled path between San Francisco and the northern mines, (now, Healdsburg Avenue.) Heald built a small general store and opened a post office in the store in 1854, around which a small settlement grew. In 1857, Heald hired a surveyor to lay out a central plaza with streets and 85 lots, and a town was born, incorporated in 1867, populated by 300 (non-Native) residents.

The American settlers in the 1860s found that they could grow virtually any crop in the fertile valleys around Healdsburg. In 1871, the railroad opened new markets for farm produce and established Healdsburg as a prosperous agricultural district. The recreational opportunities offered by the Russian River created a seasonal stream of vacationers, arriving by regularly scheduled passenger trains, boosting the local economy.

In the 1920’s a road was extended from Healdsburg’s plaza eastward several miles, opening up a roadway that allowed people to drive all the way to the river, to the spot where a physician named Rose established a resort he named, “Camp Rose”, and this region’s Russian River Resort era began, bringing tourists and locals alike to the beach resort for summer swimming and boating, meals and lodging. The road from Healdsburg, which dead ended at Camp Rose, was eventually extended by 1935 to reach all the way around the impassable “wilds” of Fitch Mountain, opening up riverfront lots for the building of summer cabins, most frequently by residents of San Francisco, and thereabouts, wanting a restful vacation home away from the city.