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In 1936, Edna Foster, a community activist, purchased the ramshackle three-story Holtum Building at 15 Throckmorton and vowed to make improvements. She also bought the lot behind it on Sunnyside Ave. She hired Gus Costigan to remodel the Holtum Building and help her  envision an adjoining complex of buildings, courts and gardens on either side…

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VIGNETTE > Tam High Expansion

The Tamalpais Union High School District originally encompassed only the Sausalito and Mill Valley Elementary School Districts. Students in the following elementary school districts attended San Rafael High School: San Anselmo, Fairfax, Ross, Kentfield, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Belvedere, Tiburon, and Bolinas. In 1921, the state passed a law mandating elementary school districts to tie with…

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VIGNETTE > The Land Auction

By spring 1890, the owners of Rancho Sausalito, Tamalpais Land & Water Co., were ready to start development of the Eastland, Millwood and Vicinity subdivision (part of Mill Valley).  A railroad spur had been constructed to deliver potential buyers. M.M. O’Shaughnessy and his team of surveyors had prepared a plan of gently graded streets and…

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VIGNETTE > Meet the Quinn’s

Prohibition, a national ban on alcohol, was in place from 1919 to 1933. A cantankerous little Irishman named Jimmy Quinn ran his saloon at 2 Corte Madera for 45 years until he died at age 89. In 1929, he established a candy store that sold bootleg booze out the back. In 1934, it became a…

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VIGNETTE > The Old Mill

Mill Valley’s name comes from its most famous manmade landmark, a mill on the creek in Cascade Canyon built by John Reed in about 1835. It was the first mill built in the San Francisco Bay Area. It is now (although rebuilt) the oldest standing mill in California. John Reed came to San Francisco in…

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VIGNETTE > The Outdoor Art Club

In 1902, a group of Mill Valley women met to discuss the idea of forming a local women’s civic club. 35 women signed up as founders of the Outdoor Art Club (OAC).  Its bylaws stated: “The purpose of  the association shall be to preserve the natural scenery of Mill Valley and of the surrounding country,…

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