Welcome to the Mill Valley Historical Society
This website serves to keep our members and visitors informed about the many activities as well as the extensive historical archives pertaining to and related to the history of Mill Valley, California. If you are not already a member of the Mill Valley Historical Society, whether you live in the area or not we warmly encourage you to go to the BECOME A MEMBER page and see what a yearly bargain it is to join.
We invite all those with an affection for Mill Valley to join and learn about the charming history of this little historic town at the base of Mount Tamalpais. Check the CALENDAR for past and upcoming events and programs. See the news posts below for the latest historical news about Mill Valley and Southern Marin. You can search the posts by the keywords that are listed on the sidebar. And please consider making a DONATION in support of our mission. We hope you enjoy your stay at www.mvhistory.org.
Who knew? The gristmill stones in the garden of the Outdoor Art Club are probably the oldest historical artifacts in Mill Valley, dating from mid-19th century rancho life in the Mexican territory of Alta California! Found on the property of Irish-born “Californio” John T. Reed’s adobe home site near what is now Locke and LaGoma in 1906, the basalt gristmill stones and a circular saw had been obtained by Reed in a trade with the Russians at Fort Ross on the Sonoma coast for livestock and hides. Reed was the first Mexican land grantee in Marin Co. (1834), and he built a sawmill on Mill Creek to supply the Presidio with building materials. That mill, a replica of which today stands in Old Mill Park, is what gave Mill Valley its name.
When the gristmill stones were found by Scottish-born pioneer John Burt, a surveyor for the Tamalpais Land & Water Co. and subsequently the superintendent of the North Coast Water Co. (now MMWD) almost three-quarters of a century later, he recognized their significance and brought them to his property on Hillside Ave. In 1897 Burt had married the former Cora Gardner, daughter of Jacob Gardner of the Throckmorton ranch, and it was their niece Gene Stocking, one of the founders of the Mill Valley Historical Society (MVHS) who donated them to the Outdoor Art Club in 1974. The small plaque affixed to them at that time disappeared many years ago.
A few years ago, past MVHS president/ OAC rental docent Joan Murray suggested that a new plaque should be made. Current MVHS Historic Preservation committee chair Lauri Harper agreed, and brought the idea to the MVHS board. The unanimous decision was made to gift the Outdoor Art Club with a new historic marker that explains the stones’ provenance. It is but a small token of the History Society’s appreciation to the Outdoor Art Club for co-sponsoring the annual Walks into History for so many years.
A dedication celebration will take place in the OAC patio on Sept. 9 from 5:30 pm until 7 pm, and all MVHS and OAC members are invited to enjoy a glass of wine and view the display. RSVP to email@example.com by Sept.6. More info HERE
Our friends at the Ross Historical Society present “The History of the Marin Art & Garden Center” on Friday, September 18, at 11:00 am in the Livermore Pavilion at M.A.G.C.
The Moya Library and Ross Historical Society’s Annual Meeting will feature a presentation commemorating the 70th anniversary of M.A.G.C. A new MAGC history booklet prepared by Moya/RHS Board Member Bob Battersby will be available.
Includes a special drawing, and luncheon will follow. Reservation deadline for lunch is September 11th. Please mail $45.00 payment to Moya-RHS, P.O. Box 437, Ross 94957. If you’re attending only the presentation, the $10.00 fee may be paid at the door.
Questions? Call Ruth Barton, 415-461-1972 moya-rhs.org
Join us at the library for this MVHS 1st Wednesday speaker program. DETAILS HERE
Some of the 2015 38th Annual Mill Valley Historical Society’s “Back into History” Tour guides – click to enlarge
What a Super group of Guides! Thanks to each and every one of you who worked so hard to make this a wonderful and memorable experience for our Walkers.