Vignettes

Vignette > Decoration Day

Mill Valley’s Memorial Day parade is a lot of fun, but today it barely honors war veterans. In 1868, General John A Logan, commander in chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, designated May 30 as a day for decorating with flowers the graves of men who had fallen in the Civil War.  The…

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Vignette > Mill Valley Air Force Station

In 1942 the federal government leased land on Mt. Tamalpais. First came a radar site looking for Japanese ships, submarines and airplanes. Then came a Cold War-era air defense radar station with 62 buildings plus a radar dome tower. Recreational facilities included a tennis court, pool, bathhouse, theater, gymnasium and bowling alley. Isolated on the…

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Vignette > Swiss Club Tell

In about 1919, leading members of various Swiss organizations in San Francisco decided to establish a Swiss clubhouse. They had been renting places for their activities: Swiss band practice, gymnastics, singing [yodeling?], dances, and Swiss theatre. They bought several lots under individual names “in the wild hills on Mt. Tamalpais, above the small village of…

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Vignette > Assassination

AssassinationWilliam O. Weissich was born in 1921 and spent much of his childhood in Mill Valley. He was a lawyer whose 40-year career included several years as Marin County district attorney.   In 1986, Malcolm Schlette murdered Weissich. Schlette was a vengeful ex-convict who bore a grudge against Weissich because in 1955, he had been instrumental…

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Vignette > Tourist Club

Just down the Dipsea Trail from Panoramic Highway, the Sun Trail veers off to the right. Follow it for 0.69 miles and you come to the Tourist Club, a local branch of Die Naturefreunde (Nature Friends) that has nearly 1500 clubhouses in 21 countries with over 600,000 members.  Die Nauturefreunde was founded in Vienna in1895…

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Vignette > Green Gulch Ranch

In 1937, George W. Wheelwright III and fellow Harvard man Edwin Land founded a company that eventually became the Polaroid Corp. In 1945, when George was a navy pilot instructor stationed in Alameda, he and his wife Hope bought 800 acres along Highway 1 in the Redwood Creek watershed between Muir Beach and Tamalpais Valley.…

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