Cotati is a city in Sonoma County, California, United States.
Cotati's hexagonal downtown plaza is listed as a California
Historical Landmark, one of only two hexagonal town layouts in the United
States. The population was 6,471 at the 2000 census.
The Coast Miwok civilization thrived in the Cotati area since at least 2000 BC,
with principal villages built near major streams, but typically above the
floodplain, ironically illustrating more foresight than modern urban planning
planning. In July of 1844, the Mexican government granted Rancho Cotate
(encompassing present-day towns of Cotati, Penngrove and Rohnert Park, and
originally home of the Coast Miwok native people) to Captain Juan Castenada, a
Mexican military commander from Texas, in payment for his military services in
the region as a soldier under General Vallejo. The grant took its name from
Kotati (Kota'ti), a Coast Miwok village although a legend arose that Rancho
Cotate was named after a local Indian named Chief Cotati.
Rancho Cotate consisted of 17,238.6 acres. Captain
Castenada moved to San Francisco without developing it; Castaneda failed to
fulfill legal requirements and, therefore, lost control of the rancho. The land
was eventually sold in 1849 to Dr. Thomas S. Page, a former resident of
Valparaiso, Chile; the land holding remained in the Page family for over eighty
years. Rancho Cotate was recorded in California state records as follows:
Subject to seasonal flooding from the Laguna de Santa Rosa, the land was used to
graze cattle and sheep. In October 1870, the Petaluma and Santa Rosa Railroad
completed the first railroad from Petaluma to Santa Rosa, and a town formed
around the wood and water stop called Page's Station, then Cotati.
Cotati's unique hexagonal plaza and street grid plan was designed during the
1890s by Newton Smyth as an alternative to the traditional grid. Dr. Thomas
Page's barn once stood where the plaza is today, and each of the streets
surrounding the plaza is named after one of his sons. In 1892 the Page family
created the Cotati Land Company to subdivide their ranch into parcels of five to
In 1963, less than a year after the incorporation of the lands north of town to
form Rohnert Park, voters unanimously approved incorporation of Cotati as a
Cotati is governed by a city council with five members, who rotate through the
offices of mayor and vice mayor.
Education The city is served by Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District. The
main high school serving Cotati is Rancho Cotate High School which is actually
located in neighboring Rohnert Park.