Four Firsts


November, 2002

The first edition of the Homestead Headlines, Vol. 1, No. 1, appeared in December 1954. The sub heading was “The Voice of the Homestead Valley Improvement Club.” Its admonition reads, “SAVE THIS RARE FIRST EDITION – You may not be this lucky again to hold in your hands what may someday become a rare valuable first edition. Rare or not, HOMESTEAD HEADLINES is dedicated to keeping Homesteaders in touch with the important news about our Homestead service organizations and their projects.” The issue announced a children’s Christmas party at Brown’s Hall, the appointment of a planning committee and the installation of a mail slot in Brown’s Hall.

Eucalyptus trees were first planted near the west end of Montford and LaVerne by Alexander G. Eells, a San Francisco lawyer. In 1904 he bought eight acres there. On January 1, 1906 he wrote in his diary that he had set out 60 eucalyptus trees all along Montford and LaVerne – he hoped they would form a hedge or screen. On January 28, 1906 he wrote that he had stopped at Cox’s on the way to the Sausalito ferry and bought 150 eucalyptus seedlings for $2.50. On March 18, 1906 he wrote that he and his brother had each brought over 50 eucalyptus trees.

Homestead’s first post office is named LaVerne according to a front page article in the February 5, 1909 issue of the Mill Valley Record-Enterprise. “Miss Florence Ezekial receives the commission as postmistress. The name chosen by the people of Homestead for their new post office is particularly appropriate, it’s French meaning is ‘the green.’ [Note: le Petit Larousse shows La Verne as meaning ‘the alder tree’ – ed.] Miss Ezekial is the daughter of a well-known furrier in San Francisco who has lived in Homestead Valley for a number of years. Last night, Homestead Valley became a thing of the past and the new town of LaVerne sprang into existence.”

The first Medieval Feast in Homestead was held on December 18, 1977. Forty gaily costumed residents met at the Wuthenows home on Melrose at 3 PM for a “jolly hour” of mead, wassail and aphrodisiacs. This was followed by a procession to the Community Center for the feast: cock-a-leekie soup, crabbe, suckling pig, vegetables, and pears, all served by local wenches. Trumpet fanfares announced each course. This put everyone in a great mood for that evening’s Homestead Candlelight Concert at the Outdoor Art Club. The San Francisco Pro Musica played ancient music on ancient instruments. Such feasts were an annual event during the next five years.

If you have comments or questions about this article or other topics
pertaining to the history of Homestead Valley,
please feel free to e-mail Chuck Oldenburg.