From the beginning, Glen Ellen has always been a community of scrappy, generous people, intent upon taking care of one another while caring for others.
From the 19th Century— when trains brought thousands of tourists each week to enjoy our resorts, restaurants and wineries, along with those who came to care for the children at Eldridge down the road and the writers and artists who came to share the world of Jack London— right down to today, we’ve been shaped by the most amazing people, who worked to make sure things went as well as possible.
The Glen Ellen Improvement Club was founded in 1904; it became the Glen Ellen Women’s Club until 1986, when the Glen Ellen Association was established. The Glen Ellen Town Plan was produced In 1988, which was adopted by the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors as the “Glen Ellen Development and Design Guidelines” in 1990.
Soon after that, the Glen Ellen Historical Society was formed when it was discovered that cherished pieces of our history were threatened— the downtown cannon had been sold to a weapons collector Back East, and the Chauvet Hotel was slated for demolition. Protests and demonstrations over the decade won the day, and Glen Ellen kept its cannon, its hotel, its legacy, and its intention as a community intact.
In 2002, as was reported at the time, “over 200 concerned Glen Ellenites braved an unusual spring downpour to come together at Dunbar School for an extraordinary meeting. The Glen Ellen Town Forum was designed to be a catalyst for building community, to air concerns, express dreams and develop a collective vision for our town’s future.” A 14-page report was drafted from that meeting, which is still available.
When Sonoma County Supervisor Susan Gorin asked Leslie Vaughn to talk with her about what Glen Ellen wanted, Leslie asked Jim Shere to join in the conversation. He suggested that we gather as many voices within the community to learn what the various needs could be, with an eye for as much diversity as we could find. This resulted in a town hall meeting that Leslie and Jim facilitated at Dunbar School Monday evening, November 7th, 2016.
This meeting was the first of what became a monthly community event. Over time a steering committee was formed to bring structure to what came to be called the Glen Ellen Forum; Michael Furlong offered to chair, Tracy Salcedo contributed her writing skills as secretary, Margie Foster resumed the role as treasurer that she had originally held in the Glen Ellen Association, while Leslie and Jim remained on board as advisors. Bylaws were drawn up the next year to qualify for nonprofit status, and a Board of Directors was seated in the summer of 2018.