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.

August First Wednesday Program: “MARIN COUNTY RAILROAD TUNNELS”



Please join us to hear from one of MVHS’s favorite speakers, Marin historian Richard Torney. A lifelong resident of Marin County and fourth generation California native, Richard has long been interested in railroads, and his illustrated presentations focusing on the local railroad tunnels have been popular all over Marin. Richard has generously agreed to appear in Mill Valley, to satisfy railroad enthusiasts in Marin County.

Stories, questions and memories of our local railroad tunnels abound, so please bring yours to share during the question and answer session which will follow Richard’s presentation.

Richard is the Historian for the Moya del Pino Library/Ross Historical Society; a member of the Kentfield/Greenbrae Historical Society Board of Directors; Program Coordinator for MWPRRHS Whistlestop; and a docent for the Mt. Tamalpais Gravity Car Barn.

Registration recommended.  Click here to register.

July First Wednesday Lecture – Mega-floods & Mega-droughts: A Long-Term History Of Climate Change In California


Join UC Berkeley Earth and Planetary Science Professor B. Lynn Ingram and Dr. Frances Malamud- Roam, currently Senior Environmental Planner at the Army Corps of Engineers, as they discuss the long-term history of climate change in California and the West. Their fascinating book, The West Without Water: What Past Floods, Droughts, And Other Clues Tell Us About Tomorrow, describes past “megafloods” and “megadroughts” in California over the past several thousand years. The worst historical flood, the 1861 “megaflood,” left the Central Valley and Sacramento submerged in up to ten feet of water for months, and low-lying regions of the Bay Area, including Mill Valley, experienced severe flooding. Yet this momentous event is virtually forgotten by modern residents of the West.
Prepare to be “blown away” as Professors Ingram and Malamud-Roam take us on an atmospheric journey through time and space and remind us of how important it is to prepare for change.
Registration recommended. Visit the Reference Desk to register.
For more information, call (415) 389-4292 x3 or visit millvalleylibrary.org
Click HERE to register. 

June’s First Wednesday Event: Operation Storm: Japan’s Top Secret Submarines and Its Plan to Change the Course of World War II

Did you know that the California coast was swarming with Japanese submarines in the weeks immediately following the Pearl Harbor attack? 

Between December 10, 1941 and October 1942, Japanese submarines not only sunk nearly a dozen merchant ships between Vancouver and San Diego, they shelled the California coast on more than one occasion–episodes little remembered today. 

The presentation will be based on interviews John Geoghegan undertook for his non-fiction book Operation Storm: Japan’s Top Secret Submarines and Its Plan to Change the Course of World War II (Crown 2014), which were conducted with the same Japanese officers who participated in the sub attacks. As you might expect, they provide an unusual viewpoint not often represented in western history today. 

Mr. Geoghegan, who is Executive Director of The SILOE Research Group’s Archival Division, has been an invited speaker at the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum in Washington, DC, and appeared on National Public Radio and C-Span’s Book Talk. Additionally, he helped shepherd into production the PBS documentary, Japanese SuperSub, based on his book.

The New York Times called Japanese SuperSub “consistently…fascinating history.”

Registration recommended. Click here to register.

40th Annual “Walk into History” – Mill Valley Days, Small Town Heros

Mill Valley Days…Small Town Heroes

The 2017 Walk into History is Sunday, May 28th.

This year we honor our history of community action that has “fueled” this town. We will learn the history of the Fire Department, make our way around the center of town and meet some amazing people who helped to make Mill Valley what it is today through their creative and generous actions. The walk begins at the famous Outdoor Art Club and ends at the Depot Clock Tower.

This year’s Walk is just a mile but with all the great stops will take around 2 hours. There are many interesting people, buildings and artifacts in this year’s Walk into History. Learn more about Mill Valley’s colorful past!

The Walk will mostly be on sidewalks and occasionally direct sun…please dress accordingly, consider wearing hats and bringing water.

Groups are led by trained volunteer Guides who are personable and take great interest in local history.

Tours leave every 15 minutes starting at 9:30am with the last tour leaving at 3:30pm.

MVHS Members – $15 | Non-members – $20 | Teens with student ID – $10 | Under 10 – FREE

Sorry… we can’t accommodate Strollers or Dogs

Reserve your place now! Register HERE and reserve your preferred time for free. Check-in 15 minutes before your Walk to purchase your tickets.

Groups are led by trained volunteer Guides who are personable and take great interest in local history.