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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.

Guideboat Company Ribbon Cutting in Mill Valley

2013 Guideboat Co ribbon cut 1 Stepten Gordon Andrew Berman Daniel Escalzo

L-R: Stephen Gordon – owner of Guideboats, Andrew Berman – MV Mayor and Daniel Escalzo – Mill Valley Chamber of Commerce

The Mill Valley Lumberyard served Mill Valley for well over 100 years as a Lumber and Hardware store. (They first opened in 1892) It was the gateway to Mill Valley, as generations of visitors arrived by train.  Eventually, Miller Avenue laid pavement over the tracks, (early 1940′s) and it then served as the gateway to downtown for auto traffic.

2013 Guideboat Co ribbon cut 2 Mayor Berman Matt Jan Mathews Daniel Escalzo

L-R: Andrew Berman Mayor, Matt Mathews – Co owner of Lumberyard (property), Jan Mathewes – Co Owner of Lumberyard and Daniel Escalzo – MV Chamber

The Lumberyard went out of business in 2011 and was sold to Mill Valley residents, Matt and Jan Mathews.  Their vision to keep this historic relic alive is beginning to take shape.  The first step was to hold off bulldozers who could have come in, mow it down, and build something afresh.  The next step is now taking place, attracting tenants who will bring new and innovative ideas to the community.

The grand opening of the first tenant took place on September 17th.  Stephen Gordon is the proprietor of Guideboats Co, a company that sells boating attire, equipment, and canoe-type boats.  Their showroom and retail store are now in what used to be sawmill rooms and the hardware store.

Their long term plan is to bring an eclectic mix of businesses that can continue to energize this location and add a charm to the entrance of downtown Mill Valley.  It’s possible that part of the old lumberyard may one day house restaurants or smaller type cafeterias.

First Wednesday Speaker Series – 2013

The Mill Valley Historical Society takes pride in its tradition of hosting the First Wednesday meetings. Originally these were 1st THURSDAY meetings, but about 10 years ago for reasons long forgotten, they are now known as the 1st Wednesday. Each FIRST Wednesday of the Month, from February to June, the MVHS invites a guest who has knowledge of a historic theme that has a connection to Mill Valley or Southern Marin. Occasionally we will also welcome entertaining guests who will talk of a historical event about other parts of Marin, or even San Francisco. These evenings are popular and ofen attract audiences that fill the Creekside room of the Mill Valley Library. If you are a MVHS member you will receive monthly mailings informing you of the upcoming speakers, as well as receiving the monthly electronic newsletter. (Keep us updated with your
current email address).

2013 Guest Speakers

February 6, 2013 Guest Speaker – Bob Flasher
Former Community Programs Manager Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy
Beat Poets, Drugs and Zen at Druid Heights

March 6, 2013 Guest Speaker – Richard Torney
Railroad & Marin Historian
History of Greenbrae & Kentfield

April 3, 2013 Guest Speaker – Doug Ferguson
Attorney – Former counsel to the Nature Conservancy
“Marincello – The Grand City that Never Was”

May 1, 2013 Guest Speaker — Jack Gibson
Director, Marin Municipal Water District
History of the Water District 

June 5, 2013 Guest Speaker – Barry Spitz
Marin & Dipsea Race Historian
Dipsea Race – History and Lore of the Greatest Race