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May 24, 2017
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Richard Crane Elementary School

  • From left to right, Jennifer, Richard, and Cindy Crane, holding their golden shovels, were on hand last Friday afternoon for the Cotati Rohnert Park Unified School Districts official ground breaking ceremony. The school is named after Richard and Cindy's grandfather and Jennifer's great grandfather. Photo by Robert Grant

By: Irene Hilsendager
May 5, 2017

The board of Trustees of the Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District along with Superintendent Dr. Robert A. Haley attended the official groundbreaking ceremony for the Richard Crane Elementary School. 

The school was named after Richard Hope Crane who was born in 1829 in Kentucky and passed away in 1915 in Santa Rosa, California. Crane came from a family of 19 children with Richard being the ninth child. The Crane family came by way of Virginia, Kentucky and Missouri.

In 1849 four Crane brothers, Richard, Robert, James and William decided to join a wagon train led by William Muldrow and later  Robert Crane. 

Richard was an excellent hunter and was given the responsibility of providing fresh meat for the men as they traveled west. They finally arrived in California October 17,1849. Richard and Robert first mined gold and went on to own a grocery and mining store until 1851 when they went back to mining gold.

In October of 1852, Richard and Robert moved to Sonoma county with 100 head of cattle. The Cranes purchased their land which was a Spanish Land Grant to Thomas Page, from Page who at that time lived in South America.

Richard Hope Crane was an ardent agriculturist and brought the first fruit trees, mostly apples, and the first Southdown sheep from Scotland.

Crane having six children of his own was also a man that believed in education in a time when few people thought school was good or necessary. He felt that he had made pivotal contributions and gave community services to the area. Even school name changes were considered but after six generations of Cranes, why even consider it?

The Richard Crane School was built in 1980, located at 1298 Southwest Boulevard. The school was shuttered about eight years ago, with much disappointment from the community but is now reopening due to the urgent need to replace outdated and aging facilities and will accommodate future enrollment growth due to several new housing developments on the east and Southeast side of Rohnert Park.

The school will operate on a year-round calendar and students from around the district and from outside the district are encouraged to apply for admission. The remodeled school will open July 25, 2017 and is designed to support an instructional design based on team teaching and project-based instruction. The learning environments are connected and the school includes outdoor learning spaces also.