The photo was taken in 1908 from Ridgewood Ave. across the valley. The building is Homestead School which opened in January 1908 with 60 pupils. It was described at the time as “a well built frame structure containing two large, well ventilated class rooms, ante rooms and a big basement.” In 1905, the Tamalpais Land & Water Company, which had subdivided Homestead Valley in 1903, donated a half-acre parcel for the school site. In 1907, Mill Valley School District voters approved a school bond tax. William Mahoney was the architect for the $4000 schoolhouse, the second in the district.
The road behind the school is present day Janes St. which winds its way gradually up from Montford Ave. to Edgewood Ave. In 1908, this Janes St. was part of Molino Ave., the main route from Miller Ave. to Edgewood Ave. The steep part of present-day Molino Ave. was Janes St. After automobiles replaced horses which could not go up nor down the steep grade of Janes St., it became Molino, and the old Molino became Janes.
In 1920, the Mill Valley School District bought a 1.7-acre parcel nearby on the corner of Montford Ave. and Avery Ave., now called Melrose Ave. A two-room school was constructed on this site. The school opened in November 1921 with Edna Maguire as principal and teacher. Classes were large in the 1920s. Mrs. Keith McClellan taught 52 children in four grades. She lived at 211 Summit Ave. in Mill Valley. Every day she walked the two miles to and from school, probably following Molino all the way from Old Mill Park.
In the late 1920s, the original school shown in the photo was cut in half. The left half was moved over and two houses were created out of the old schoolhouse. Although the houses have been expanded and remodeled considerably, the original school building can still be recognized.
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.