Windsor traces its deep roots in Sonoma County to the mid-1850s during the post-Gold Rush era when people by the thousands came to California to seek fame and fortune. Windsor got its name in 1855 when a Pony Express rider named the community because he thought it looked like the grounds surrounding Windsor Castle in England. This 160 year legacy of exploration, expansion and entrepreneurial opportunity is still alive today. The Town was formally incorporated in 1992 and has been a family-friendly community ever since.
With 1,600 firms doing business in 6 uniquely different commercial districts, plus a corporate park at the Windsor Business Center, the town is poised for growth, as evidenced by the fact that more than 100 new firms registered to do business here during 2010 alone. Shopping centers include the Town Green, Lakewood Village, Palms Plaza, the Shiloh Center, Windsor Village and the Bonaventure Plaza.
Throughout its history, Windsor has evolved with the times and changed its direction based on market preferences and the needs of its residents. Originally the town was known for its prunes, hops and other agricultural commodities produced for local populations. With the coming of the railroad in 1877 Windsor had a strategic transport link to distant markets helping to fuel growth and encourage new enterprise.
Today the greater Windsor area, and Sonoma County as a whole, has successfully reinvented itself as a winegrowing region with more than 260 wineries, placing it on a par with Napa County and distinguishing it as a major destination for travelers. Thirty-two wineries are located within a five- to ten-minute drive from Old Downtown Windsor.
The town has been located along a Northern California railroad corridor for over a century. The arrival of the SMART passenger train in a few years, along with commercial rail freight service, is destined to achieve another significant change in the way people work, play and travel, while also helping to limit greenhouse gases and enable people far and near to experience drive-free access to Windsor.
A living tribute to Windsor’s rich past can be seen in the architecture of the retail shops and mixed-use residences in the Old Downtown area and surrounding the Town Green. With a 19th century look and feel, this area has sparked a renaissance of hope and progress in the community producing a variety of positive attributes helping to shape the new Windsor, while also addressing the changing needs of its residents.
The Town Green has become the center for family-oriented activities, free concerts and movies, festivals and annual celebrations and the focal point for holiday events. It is also home to a Certified Farmer’s Market, the centerpiece for the Windsor Days Parade, vintage auto shows, art fairs and an array of food and wine experiences to delight local residents and visitors alike.
With a keen emphasis on family and community values, Windsor is making another transition that will further set it apart from other cities and towns as it becomes known for sports competitions and healthy, active living. Boasting a population of nearly 27,000 –5,300 of whom are in elementary, middle and high schools– the community has responded to the need for parks, playgrounds, athletic fields and Boys and Girls Clubs. The town has a proud list of local baseball, football, basketball, soccer and swim teams in addition to other sports groups. Windsor is also becoming a cycling center with numerous races and weekend Wine Country touring excursions supported by local clubs. The availability of bike rentals at hotels and at the Windsor Bicycle Center supports the demand for family cycling.
All of these activities and interests continue to shape the character, charm and warm appeal of Windsor, while also attracting increasing numbers of tourists, visitors and residents who patronize local retailers, boutiques, restaurants, spas and other service providers. In fact, Windsor is emerging as a spa, salon and fitness destination for Northern California with more than 30 retailers in town offering a wide range of health and beauty services as well as tanning, exercise, weight reduction, toning and related offerings to enhance body, mind and spirit. Windsor is home to 21st Century Fitness, Anytime Fitness, the Structure U Personal Training Studio, and Curves as well as close to other athletic clubs, such as the Airport Club just two miles away.
The Windsor Town Council consists of five citizen-elected Council members, one of whom is chosen by the Council to serve as Mayor and one as Vice Mayor. The Council also serves as the Board of Directors for the Town of Windsor Redevelopment Agency and the Windsor Water District. Current elected town council members include Mayor Steve Allen, Vice Mayor Debora Fudge, and council members Robin Goble, Sam Salmon and Cheryl Scholar.
The Town Manager, Linda Kelly, is appointed by the Town Council and serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Town government. She is responsible for the day-to-day administration of the Town according to policies set by the five-member citizen-elected Town Council and works with the Town Council to ensure that its vision and goals for Windsor are being implemented. She is responsible for the development and recommendation of the Town budget and capital improvement program to the Town Council.
The Town Manager sets administrative policies and ensures efficient and quality service delivery to the Windsor community. Furthermore, she acts as liaison between the Town Council and community and representing the Town as needed with other public agencies, at venues or events. She also serves as the Executive Director of the Town's Redevelopment Agency and General Manager for the Windsor Water District. The Town Manager’s staff consists of an Assistant Town Manager, Town Clerk, and Town Attorney. Several commissions are also part of the municipal structure, including a Citizens Advisory Commission, a Planning Commission, a Senior Advisory Commission and a Parks and Recreation Commission.
We encourage residents and visitors alike to enjoy the family-friendly lifestyle, activities and amenities to be found in Windsor, California – and to Shop Local!