Armstrong Estate — History Reborn
The original Armstrong Estate was built in 1870 by Daniel Young in the small farming community of Sonoma, Ca. The town has a rich history, having been made the site — albeit for only 26 days — of California's first capital after a rag-tag team of locals rebelled against Mexican rule. Sonoma is also recognized as the birthplace of California wine and is home to the state's oldest commercial winery, Buena Vista as well as the state's oldest family-run winery, Gundlach-Bundschu.
Not long after the turn of the century, Armstrong Estate was purchased by Charles Van Damme, the wealthy owner of the Richmond-San Rafael ferry line, for whom Mendocino's Van Damme State Park is named. In the 1930's the property sold to Donald Armstrong, and took on its current name. The estate stayed in the Armstrong family for the next six decades.
In 1977, Steve Ledson, a young, fifth generation farmer and winemaker, established Ledson Homes; the area's premier custom home construction company. A few years later, enamored of the history and location of the landmark home, he began his campaign to purchase the Armstrong Estate property. By then the property was owned by Donald Armstrong's aging daughter Anne, and had begun to fall into disrepair. Steve longed to purchase it and return it to its original grandeur, but Anne Armstrong would have none of it — even going so far to shoo away Steve's mother, when she tried to intervene on her son's behalf.
Over time, Steve lost track of the Armstrong Estate, until one afternoon several years later when he got a phone call out of the blue from a local real estate agent. Apparently the Armstrong Estate had finally gone on the market — a move that Steve had somehow missed — and Anne Armstrong wanted to know why ‘that Ledson fellow hadn't put forth an offer”. Steve was over the moon and immediately forwarded a cash offer plus a promise to the Armstrong family that he would fully restore the house to its original luster, apply for it to be registered as a historic landmark and build a surrounding neighborhood of estate homes designed to compliment small town Sonoma. Anne Armstrong agreed and the deal closed in two days.
In 1986, after almost 10 years of trying, Steve Ledson finally owned his dream house. As it turned out those first 10 years were good training for Steve, as the project was to take almost another 10 years of planning and city approvals before the first home was constructed in 1994. Since then an additional 26 custom homes have been built at Armstrong Estates, which at completion will total 53 home sites.
Today, Steve Ledson resides in the original Armstrong Estate, which was fully restored in 1996. Registered as a historic landmark by the City of Sonoma, Historic League, the California Historic Registry and the National Historic Registry, the stately Victorian home, framed by three acres of picturesque gardens, is the centerpiece of Sonoma's Armstrong Estates — the wine country's most gracious and historic neighborhood.
Armstrong Estates — More than your dream home…your dream lifestyle.