The city was a convenient location for San Francisco travelers bound for the Russian River.
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Allegedly, however, by the 1820s, before the Carrillos built their adobe in the 1830s, Spanish and Mexican settlers from nearby Sonoma and other settlements to the south raised livestock in the area and slaughtered animals at the fork of the Santa Rosa Creek and Matanzas Creek, near the intersection of modern-day Santa Rosa Avenue and Sonoma Avenue.
This is supposedly the origin of the name of Matanzas Creek as, because of its use as a slaughtering place, the confluence came to be called La Matanza.
Those who entered without permission were subject to harsh penalties.
The tribe gathered at ceremonial times on Santa Rosa Creek near present-day Spring Lake Regional Park.