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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


Carl W. Arfsten

That congenial work means success is borne out strongly in studying the career of Carl W. Arfsten, whose fruit ranch in the Blucher section is one of the show places of this part of the county. He is a native of this immediate vicinity, his birth occurring on a ranch near Sebastopol in 1878, upon which his father, C. P. Arfsten, had settled when he came to the county in 1870. The public schools of the Canfield section supplied his early educational training, and as soon as he was old enough he was eager to begin his independent career. By working as a ranch hand until he was twenty years of age he was enabled to purchase twenty acres of land in the Blucher section, entirely covered with virgin growth of timber. He proved himself equal to the task of clearing and developing the land and when it was in condition, planted it to apple and other fruit trees.

Mr. Arfsten’s early efforts was the beginning of one of the most thriving and remunerative ranch enterprises in this part of Sonoma county, all of which has been developed under his immediate supervision, in fact, all of the manual labor was performed by himself, and it is therefore with even greater pride and satisfaction that he notes the increased income from his orchard produce from season to season. Seven acres of his land are in strawberry vines, the crop from which nets him annually $125 per acre. His orchard is made up of the best varieties of apples (about one-half of them Gravensteins) which yield abundant crops, a number of the trees at times yielding fourteen boxes of fine apples each, while the average annual yield from the entire orchard is twenty-five hundred boxes. All of this is in addition to the apples which are dried, which amount to five tons a year. Two drying houses are maintained by Mr. Arfsten, one on his ranch, and the other at Petaluma, in the latter of which he dries fruit for other parties principally, and it is no unusual occurrence for him to turn out forty tons of dried fruit during the season. Besides his strawberry and apple crops Mr. Arfsten has sixteen cherry trees that during the season of 1909 yielded fruit to the amount of $80, and ten acres of grapes that bore three tons to the acre. He also has six twelve-year-old walnut trees that yield about one hundred pounds to the tree. Mr. Arfsten is intensely interested in the line of work in which he is engaged, no part of which he does not understand thoroughly as the result of continued study and investigation as to the best methods of growing the fruits which he has chosen for his specialty, and his success is the natural outcome of right conditions of soil and climate, with the equally necessary knowledge and ability which he possesses. It is his aim to keep his ranch up-to-date, and each year he adds some improvement. In 1910 he built a new barn and erected a new windmill, besides which he fenced the ranch with woven-wire. He is still a young man, his career as an orchardist scarcely begun, and with what he has already accomplished, a brilliant future undoubtedly awaits him.

Mr. Arfsten is not so completely absorbed in his private interests that he has no time for matters of public import, but on the other hand is alive to the best interests of the community in which his entire life has been passed. Fraternally he is associated with the Odd Fellows order, also with the allied order of Rebekahs, and the Woodmen of the World.


History of Sonoma County, California
Biographical Sketches of The Leading Men and Women of the County Who Have Been Identified With Its Growth and Development from the Early Days to the Present
History By: Tom Gregory
Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, California (1911)

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011