MVHS February 2014 First Wednesday Presentation


DSC05114On February 5, Betsy Stroman spoke to the Mill Valley Historical Society at the opening First Wednesday presentation of the 2014 season. A crowd of 70 guests listened to Betsy’s talk, which included 35 historic slides and anecdotes of the Sausalito artists of post-war Sausalito.  Betsy focused on the Sausalito Six and other well-known artists of the time.  [click photos to enlarge]


The 36th Annual Meeting & Potluck Dinner

New 2013 MVHS Board

New 2013 MVHS Board

One hundred and thirty three members and guests enjoyed a pleasant social time, partook of excellent food, elected new directors and officers, took a Mill Valley history quiz, and listened to Dick Spotswood’s presentation, “Trains in and around Mill Valley.”

President Tim Amyx honored three departing board directors: Vivian Broadway-Firmage, Donna Carrillo, and Peter Richmond.

Four new board directors were elected: Monica Miller, Bill Stock, Jill Benton-Tardy and Pam Keon. See the Fall Newsletter for their bios.

Officers were also elected:

  • President – Stella Perone
  • Vice President – Betty Goerke
  • Secretary – Cullyn Vaeth Russell
  • Treasurer – Bob McCully

To honor his four years service as president, Tim Amyx was presented with a Tom Killion print of the Dipsea Trail (Tim has run it every year since 1989).

The fun part came when Tim Amyx produced a quiz: fourteen multiple choice questions about the history of Mill Valley. Lots of laughs and some surprises when Tim showed the answers.

Dick Spotswood covered the history of the two railroads that terminated at the downtown depot:

  • the train to Sausalito (1889 — 1940)
  • the train to Mt. Tam and Muir Woods (1896 — 1930)

An enjoyable evening.

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.

Dipsea “The Greatest Race” – Barry Spitz



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.DSC02912


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.