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.
This year marks the 36th History Walk sponsored by the Mill Valley Historical Society and it will take place on Sunday, May 26. Guided tours leave from the Outdoor Art Club every fifteen minutes between 9:30 am and 3:00 pm. No reservations required. Just show up anytime.
The theme is the History of Cascade Canyon Pioneer Families. A bus will take us from the Outdoor Art Club to Burlwood, the estate of Joseph Eastland, founder of the town of Mill Valley. We will tour the grounds of the 22-room mansion, the main building on the original seven-acre estate. We will then walk less than a mile on several streets in Cascade Canyon, stopping at century old mansions of pioneer families. The walk ends where it began, at Burlwood. A bus will return us to the Outdoor Art Club.
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.
Historian Richard Torney was the speaker at the March First Wednesday program. The subject was the history of Kentfield and Greenbrae. His large collection of photographs, some over a hundred years old, told the story. He was particularly clever at relating each scene to familiar present day landmarks, e.g., the College of Marin, or the Bon Air shopping center. During the Q & A period, old timers in the audience who had grown up in the area added their own information on specific buildings and people that Richard had mentioned. Richard has appeared numerous times at First Wednesday programs, often speaking on the history of railroads in Marin.
Bob Flasher was the speaker at the February First Wednesday program. The subject was Druid Heights, an “unintentional community” near Muir Woods. The standing room only audience was fascinated to learn about the “beatnik” enclave which was in full swing … Continue reading →
Our local Homestead Valley historian Chuck Oldenburg has just published his monthly Homestead Headlines article titled “Eating Out in 1938″. You can read it HERE in the “History of Homestead Valley” section of this website.