Grammar Schools


July, 2005

Mill Valley’s first one-room schoolhouse was constructed at the corner of Cornelia and Summit [then called Tamalpais – ed.]. It opened in 1892 with 32 pupils and one teacher. Over time the press referred to it as “Eastland School,” “Mill Valley Grammar School,” “The school,” “The old school,” “The present grammar school,” “The main school,” “Main” and finally, “Summit School.” It was abandoned in June 1939 and demolished in 1941.

A second school in the district, the two-room Homestead School, later called “Laverne School,” opened in January 1908 with 60 pupils and two teachers. The May 29, 1908 Record-Enterprise reported, “Homestead Pupils to Give Dance and Candy Auction. The affair is billed as a ‘social dance and candy auction,’ and is being given to raise money to pay off the remaining debt of $44 on the piano at the Homestead school. They purchased the piano several months ago, the money secured at that time being donated by citizens, mostly from that district. They still owe $44 on the instrument. The children of the school are going to bring many boxes of fine home made candy, and after the dance some one will be selected to auction it among those present. The admission charge to the dance and auction will be twenty-five cents.” [Teachers and parents evidently felt that music was a high priority – ed.]

The July 17, 1908 Record-Enterprise reported, “Homestead Ladies Will Give Jolly Basket Party. A decidedly unique entertainment is to be given at the Homestead Schoolhouse Saturday evening by the Homestead Improvement Club. It is being given in a worthy cause, the desire being to secure funds for the final payment on a much needed bridge which citizens of Homestead caused to be erected. Admission will be 25 cents.” A wooden bridge was built across the creek on Melrose. In 1921, a new Homestead school across the street replaced the original one.

A third school in the district, the four-room Tamalpais Park school, now named Park School, opened in April 1909. Rapid growth in enrollment required moving pupils from one school to another. When schools opened in August 1909, registration was 249 at Main, 111 at Tamalpais Park and 25 at Homestead. Many pupils had been transferred from Homestead to Tamalpais Park. Today, of the original three schools, only Park school remains.

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.