Homestead Hill = Lion Hill

A Homestead Headlines Article by Chuck Oldenburg

 June, 2008

Homestead Hill in 1973

Homestead Hill in 1973

The image above is a photo taken in 1973 from a spot near Miller and Evergreen. In the background on the south ridge of Homestead Valley is an 858 ft. hill on the Dias Ranch, now part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA). Matthew Davis named it “Homestead Hill” in his May 1984 article in the Homestead Headlines. His 1988 book, “On Foot in Homestead,” a compilation of 38 articles, mentions “Homestead Hill” in 11 articles and has a sketch of it as seen from Pixie Trail.

1903 painting of Lion Hill

1903 painting of Lion Hill

This image is a photo of a painting by Thaddeus Welch entitled, “Springtime, Lion Hill, Millwood.” He painted it in 1903. In June 2007, Matthew Davis discovered this painting at an art exhibition at the Bolinas Museum. He recognized “Lion Hill” to be the hill he had named “Homestead Hill.”

Thaddeus Welch and his wife Ludmilla were both famous landscape artists. In 1896, they built a snug cottage on Webb Creek near the bottom of Steep Ravine on Mount Tam. They painted scenes of Mount Tam, the spit at Stinson Beach, Bolinas Bay, Steep Ravine itself and many other scenes near Mt. Tam. In 1902 they moved to a cottage in San Geronimo Valley for its better climate and proximity to the railroad.

It was easy for them to get to Millwood, a railroad station on Miller at Willow, and then walk to Homestead Valley. In 1902 they painted three paintings of Lion Hill as seen from near what is now the corner of Montford and Molino. One by Ludmilla is in the History Room of the Mill Valley Library. Thaddeus painted the above 1903 painting from a spot near Evergreen and Miller, close to where the 1973 photo was taken. The buildings in the painting appear to be barns of “The Homestead” ranch headquarters that burned down in 1900.


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.