Cotati's Hexagonal Plaza, one of only two hexagonal layouts in the United States, was designed during the 1890s as an alternative to the traditional grid. The only other U.S. City with a hexagonal layout is Detroit, Michigan. The graphic to the right depicts the hexagonal/rectangular grid plan for Detriot in 1807.
Hexagonal street patterns were proposed by several planners in the early 20th century as well and was a leading alternative to the rectangular grid for residential subdivisions. It lost out to loops and cul-de-sacs. Did it just look to far-fetched on paper? One planner even went as far as to prove that hexagonal planning would require less fire hydrants and shorter water and sewer lines to service residential developments. Whatever the case, hexagonal planning today is virtually an unknown phenomenon.
Dr. Thomas Page's barn once stood where Cotati's Hexagonal Plaza is today, and each of the six streets surrounding the plaza are named after one of his sons. Since I have resided in Cotati for 20 years, it's easy for me to recite the names of each sibling without consulting a map. Henry, Charles, Arthur, George, William and Olof.
Listed as a California Historcal Landmark, Cotati's Hexagonal Plaza is the venue for many events during the year. In June, the annual Cotati Jazz Festival is billed as the Biggest Little Jazz Festival in Sonoma County. In July, the Annual Kids Day Parade winds up at the Plaza where a festival kicks into high gear for young and old alike.
August is the month for the Cotati Accordian Festival in Cotati's Hexagonal Plaza. If you have ever spotted the bumper sticker that says Got an Accordian? Go to Cotati!, then this festival would explain it. Once a free event many years ago, this festival has grown in size to warrant street closures. Folks come from all over the country to attend this unique two day event.
If you ever have the chance to visit Sonoma County, check out Cotati's Hexagonal Plaza. There are only two in the United States like it, and that makes it pretty special.
View Larger Map
© 2010 - Cynthia Larsen - Cotati's Hexagonal Plaza