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. Explore this website using the menu bar up there ↑ and the links on the right sidebar (or at the bottom of the page in the case of some mobile devices). 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. We hope you enjoy your stay at www.mvhistory.org.
On June 5th, Local Dipsea and Mill Valley historian, Barry Spitz spoke to the Mill Valley Historical Society at the final First Wednesday presentation of the 2013 season. A crowd of 70 guests looked on as Barry shared 35 historic slides and anecdotes of Dipsea champions, many of them from Mill Valley.
Also in attendance was local hero, Russ Kiernan. Russ is a 3 time Dipsea champion, 40 year resident of Mill Valley, AND a board member of the Mill Valley historical society.
Four minutes of Barry’s “slide show” also included film from the 1980’s archives of races. The film clips were taken from the movie titled, “Dipsea, 1983 – 1988”, which is available for check out from the Mill Valley library.
The Mill Valley Historical society will return with its season of first Wednesday speakers in February of 2014. There will also be a guest speaker of historical significance at the annual MVHS dinner in October. Check back to this web site in the summer for details.
MVHS Store Debuts & 2013 History Walk Guidebook Downloadable
Please check out our brand new online MVHS Store where you can buy current and past copies of our annual publication “Review” and copies of the excellent book “Mill Valley – The Early Years” by Barry Spitz. Soon you will be able to buy online copies of our History Walk DVDs. Check back soon.
The guidebook for the 2013 History Walk, Cascade Canyon Pioneer Families, is now available to read or download from our Guidebook page.
Over 300 participants. Many more than average for past 35 annual history walks.
Perfect weather. Effective publicity. New website received many inquiries. Widespread interest in Cascade Canyon and its pioneer families.
Accolades are due all who worked diligently to make a success of the event.Considerable feedback praising the guides. [click photos to enlarge]
Jack Gibson gave a very interesting talk on the history of the Marin Municipal Water District at the May First Wednesday Program. MMWD was created in 1912. A significant donation of land on Mount Tamalpais was made by William Kent. In the following years, using authorized powers of eminent domain, MMWD acquired the lands and waterworks of 24 privately owned companies. One of these was the Marin County Water Company which had created Lake Lagunitas in 1872 to supply water to San Rafael and San Quentin. Jack Gibson showed many photos of the construction of the dam for Alpine Lake which was completed in 1919. Michael O’Shaughnessy was the head of the engineering committee. In 1889, he had found a source of water, built Cascade dam for the Tamalpais Land & Water Company and surveyed Eastland and Millwood which became Mill Valley. Of particular interest were photos taken before and after construction of the dams that created the MMWD lakes on Mount Tamalpais.
[click first slide for slideshow]
Doug Ferguson gave a very interesting talk and showed a short film on the history of Marincello at the April First Wednesday Program. As he was one of the lawyers involved from the very beginning in fighting the development project, he had first hand information about the battle. What a story. A city of over 20,000 people on 2100 acres near the Golden Gate came close to becoming a reality. The project had been approved by the Marin County Board of Supervisors. Thanks to the efforts of lawyers working pro bono, many other volunteers and the public at large in the late sixties and early seventies, Nature Conservancy finally succeeded in purchasing the land from the backers of the development. It is now part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. There was standing room only at the talk.