National Register of Historic Places in Sonoma County
Madrona Knoll Rancho Historic District is comprised of 79 acres containing five buildings in the Greek Revival and Second Empire architectural styles. The buildings were designed by J. Hooten and T.J. Ludwig.
John Alexander Paxton made his fortune as California fortunes were made in the late 19th Century: banking, mining, lumber, property.
In 1879, he created the Madrona Knoll Rancho by purchasing 240 acres west of Healdsburg for $10,500.00 and building a seventeen-room Victorian mansion for an additional $12,000.00.
Mr. Paxton spent the weekends on his rancho but commuted every Monday, by train or on horseback, to San Francisco to tend his enterprises. He set a pattern, once again popular with San Franciscans who made their fortunes as California fortunes were made in the late 20th Century: banking, technology, media, property.
Since 1981, Madrona Manor and its dependencies have been open to the public as a country inn and restaurant. Tales are told that the main house is haunted by benevolent spirits.