Locust District – Then and Now
Planes, Trains and Indians
The 2014 Mill Valley historical society will be hosting the annual Walk Into History on Sunday, May 25th, 2014.
As is tradition, the walk will take place in 15-minute intervals from 9:30 am until 3:00 pm. The walk will “begin” at the Outdoor Art Club. Begin is the operating word, because the walk will actually take place a mile away in the Locust District.
Sign ups will take place at the Outdoor art club and the walkers will immediately board a shuttle bus. The shuttle bus will carry the walkers to the Marin Theater, across the street from the 2 a.m. club and Joes Taco lounge. Here is where the walk BEGINS.
There will be many businesses and homes covered in the walk, as well as stories and anecdotes about the development of the surrounding neighborhood.
Two highlights of the walk will be the stops that point out the birthplace of “Chief Marin”, as well as the one time location of the first European adobe home of Mill Valley. (The home of the John Reed family – same John Reed who built the MILL of Mill Valley) The third highlight of the walk will be a colorful story and pointing out of the location where an early bi-plane (1911) “crash landed” in the barren Locust district. Look soon for the walk poster, which will highlight these three mentioned elements of the walk.
On 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]
Retiring MVHS President Tim Amyx challenged the attendees of the 2013 annual dinner with this short Mill Valley History quiz. Take it now and see how you do!
The MVHS Dinner Game Quiz – 2013
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.
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.
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.