In approximately 1836 John Reed, the first recipient of a Mexican land-grant north of San Francisco, Corte Madera del Presidio, built a one-story, 18’x30’ adobe home near the current intersection of La Goma Avenue and Locke Lane in Mill Valley. Although the exact location is unknown, it is believed to have been at the top of the knoll.
In 1843, John Reed began building a more ambitious, two-story adobe hacienda which extended 45’ south from the approximate location of the first structure. This second home, a replica of which is shown on the plaque, was patterned after the Sanchez adobe in Pacifica, where John Reed and his bride Hilaria Sanchez had honeymooned.
The wood for the beams and the veranda was cut at Reed’s Mill in Cascade Canyon. A replica of the original mill is on the creek at Old Mill Park today.
Each of the two stories had three rooms, and walls that averaged three feet in thickness for winter warmth and summer cooling.
The entire 24’x45’ house was encircled by a five-foot wide double veranda, and there was no interior staircase.
Although John Reed died before construction was complete, his wife lived in the house for many years and was followed by his daughter Maria del Refugio Ynes Reed, “Inez”, and her husband Thomas Deffebach until their deaths in 1883 and 1884.
The wooden portion of the adobe home was burned by fire in approximately 1884, and the last photographic evidence we have of the remains was taken sometime between 1912 and 1916.
This plaque was designed and the production overseen by Mill Valley Historical Society board member Betty Goerke, who was also instrumental to the creation and installation of the Chief Marin plaque on Locust Avenue. It is a priority of MVHS to continue to support the creation and installation of interpretive signage in our community, to educate and foster appreciation for our wonderful historic resources. We are grateful to the City of Mill Valley for its continued support of this important work. [click first photo for slideshow]