Luther Burbank purchased a 15-acre farm on Gold Ridge in Sebastopol in 1885. Burbank introduced over 800 varieties of fruits, flowers, vegetables, and grains during his career. He developed many of California's plums and prunes, the ancestor of the Idaho Potato, the Shasta Daisy, as well as Plumcots, Thornless Blackberry, and Spineless Cactus. Burbank he developed and grew thousands of new hybrids, cross breeds and selections at his Experiment Farm. After Luther died in 1926, Mrs. Burbank established an apple orchard on a portion of the Farm and leased the rest to Stark Brothers Nursery. When their lease expired in 1957 the property deteriorated and subsequently passed into new ownership.
Local historians, intent on preserving the Burbank legacy in Sebastopol, formed the Western Sonoma County Historical Society in 1974. The cottage was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. The City worked with the Society in its efforts to obtain three acres of the original farm and to restore the Cottage on the property. Restoration began in 1983. The Society's Farm Committee, with the aid of volunteers continues to maintain the cottage and Burbank plant varieties, provide a self-guiding plant walk, and train Docents for guided tours since 1983.
Maintenance of this property is almost entirely performed by Historical Society volunteers, or by contractors retained by the Society. This is an ongoing challenge and volunteers have expressed the desire for maintenance assistance from the City. There are also improvement needs, such as an additional restroom.
See: Website http://www.wschsgrf.org/luther-burbank-gold-ridge-experiment-farm