Villa Grande is an unincorporated community in Monte Rio along the Russian River. How the name Villa Grande was born is a story unto itself. In the very beginning, there was “Big Flat”, a patch of land filled with redwoods and owned by the Northwestern Pacific Railroad, which ran along present-day Moscow Road. The logging boom started to fizzle out by the beginning of the twentieth century, causing NWPR to sell lots in the Big Flat area. A fourth-class post office was established under the title of “Mesa Grande”.
Unfortunately, there was another Mesa Grande located in the San Diego area, necessitating a name change. The post office operated under the new moniker of “Grandville”, doing business out of a cubbyhole in the general store.
What’s in a Name?
However, do to confusion with Grandeville in Tulare County, there was yet another adjustment. With a bit of linguistic trickery, “Grandville” was turned inside out to become “Villa Grande” and has remained such since 1921. In 1973, the post office was moved to the garage/workshop area of the general store owner’s private residence in order to create a private lobby and additional mailboxes. It has remained at this site every since. Sidebar: In 2012 there were post office closures up and down California. It was decided to keep open the venue in Villa Grande.