Welcome to the Mill Valley Historical Society

The Old Mill, built by John Thomas Reed around 1836. MVN1328 – Courtesy of the Lucretia Little History Room, Mill Valley Public Library

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.

The 2015 Annual “Walk into History”

“Rest, Recreation and `Roos”

The annual Walk into History celebrates the stories of one particular area of Mill Valley each year. The Thirty-eighth Walk will be on Sunday, May 24th, Memorial Day Weekend “Rest, Recreation and `Roos”. 
Rest Recreation and `Roos - PosterThe 2015 walk starts at the famous Outdoor Art Club at 1 West Blithedale Avenue, and takes us to Blithedale Canyon, to learn about builder Harvey Klyce, the Cushing and Billings families, the Redwood Lodge, Blithedale Hotel and the stories of this one-time popular resort area.
Walking tours begin every 15 minutes, starting at 9:30 am, from the Outdoor Art Club. The last group leaves at 4:00 pm, and returns at 6:00 pm.
Groups are led by trained volunteer Guides who are personable, and take great interest in local history. This Walk will wend through areas that are shaded by redwood trees, and areas that can be in full sun. Please dress accordingly, and consider wearing hats and bringing water. Portions of the Walk occur in unpaved, uneven areas. There is one set of City of Mill Valley maintained stairs on this Walk.
Admission: $15 for Members of the Mill Valley Historical Society;
$20 for non-Members; $10 for ages 10-18 years.
Eventbrite - 2015 Walk into History - Blithedale Canyon

Growing up on the West Peak of Mt. Tamalpais: Interview with Lisa and Madelyn Byrne

MTAFS Six Sisters
Thank you very much to the very talented and generous photographer and filmmaker Gary Yost for sharing his short film interview of two of the six Byrne sisters who lived at the Air Force Station on Mt. Tamalpais’s East Peak from 1957 to 1959. These daughters of the station commander, Commander Byrne, allow a glimpse into this slice of Cold War history, and the inclusion of their 16mm home movies brings to life the sometimes surreal irony of childhood in the shadow of the radome overlooking the entire Bay Area. The wonderful photo here beautifully illustrates this in the form of six darling girls in their Easter dresses and bonnets, hands in prayer, with the radome in the background. Please enjoy the video HERE and feel free to share! 

Calling all Historians and Lovers of History!

2014-05-25 at 10.46.02 - Copy
Do You Enjoy Walking?
Do You Enjoy Learning about Mill Valley History?
Do You Enjoy Talking about Mill Valley History?
Would You Like to “Give Back?
Are You Available on Sunday, May 24th?

If You Answered “Yes” to the Above, then Be a Volunteer
2015 Walk into History Guide for the Mill Valley Historical Society!

WHO: Any Member of the Mill Valley Historical Society

WHAT: Attend an Orientation on Saturday, April 25th from 10:30 to 11:30 am
Attend Two Guided Practice Walks during between May 2nd and May 22nd
Lead an Historical Walking Tour of Blithedale Canyon on Sunday May 24th

WHY: To Meet New People, Contribute to Your Community,
Share Your Interests in Local History and Mill Valley, and Have a Great Time!

Each year approximately 30 individuals volunteer as Guides for our fun and educational Walk into History. Guides receive all the information needed in advance, and then work together in groups and individually to become familiar with the stories that are shared on the Walk. Guides enjoy meeting new people, interacting with others, being out of doors, giving back and sharing
the wonderful stories that bring Mill Valley’s history to life

Guides receive a one-hour orientation, a detailed, written Guidebook, and copies of historical photos. Seven “Practice Walks” are scheduled during the weeks leading up to the actual Walk into History. Guides attend at least two of these opportunities to observe an experienced Guide demonstrate how the Walk is presented. All Guides receive as much support as desired from other experienced Guides. While many Guides prefer to lead their Walk groups on their own, other Guides partner with a second Guide to lead their Walk group as a team.

This year’s Walk, “Blithedale Canyon: Rest, Recreation and `Roos,” is already generating a great deal of interest and excitement, and includes such high-interest sites as “The Redwood Lodge,” the former Blithedale Hotel properties, and historic Klyce homes.

Guide Recruitment is Underway and there are still openings –
even if you’ve never done it before!

To become a 2015 Walk into History Guide or to ask us any queations 
please complete this form.


MVHS Dedication of Reed Adobe Plaque

Mill Valley Historical Society Board of Directors and Members, descendants of John Thomas Reed, and City of Mill Valley dignitaries gathered for the dedication of this interpretive plaque which marks the site of the adobe home of John Reed and his family. [click to enlarge ]

Mill Valley Historical Society Board of Directors and Members, descendants of John Thomas Reed, and City of Mill Valley dignitaries gathered for the dedication of this interpretive plaque which marks the site of the adobe home of John Reed and his family. [click to enlarge ]

03 28 2015 Reed Plaque DedicationThanks to all who attended and spoke at the lovely event on Saturday March 28th for the installation of the plaque marking the spot of John Thomas Reed’s 1843 adobe home. Great weather, great speakers, the participation of Reed family members and Miwok descendants, all contributed a moving tribute to the intrepid spirit of those who preceded us. Deep appreciation is due to Betty Goerke whose relentless efforts to mark this aspect of local history have come to fruition! [click first photo below]