Is This the Road to Muir Woods? –


March, 2005

Homesteaders who routinely walk on Montford and LaVerne are often stopped by motorists asking how to get to Muir Woods, Mt. Tamalpais or Stinson Beach.

Tourists driving up Miller Ave. towards downtown Mill Valley stop at the stop sign at Montford, the gateway to Homestead Valley. In the 1970s there was a direction sign on the corner indicating that the way to Muir Woods, Mt. Tamalpais and Stinson Beach was a left turn onto Montford. Next came a stop sign at Montford and Molino where a direction sign indicated that a right turn onto Molino was the way to these popular destinations. Neither of those direction signs is in place today. What happened?

First of all, Mill Valley Public Works removed the direction sign at Montford and Miller and installed a sign near the Safeway on Camino Alto that directed tourists to go over the ridge by way of Tam Junction and Shoreline Highway.

Secondly, citizens of Mill Valley who lived on Molino tore down the direction sign at the corner of Montford and Molino. A Homestead resident convinced Mill Valley Public Works to reinstall the sign using the logic that, “as long as they’ve gotten this far, why not help them on their way so they won’t get lost in Homestead.” This sign lasted for a while, but the Molino mob tore it down again. For the past 25 years or so there has been no direction sign at Montford and Molino. As a result, many visitors go straight on Montford when they should turn right onto Molino.

Even tour busses get lost on occasion and stop walkers on Montford or LaVerne for directions. In one case, four busloads of Swedes arrived at Stolte Grove. The lead bus driver asked how to get to the other redwood grove, Muir Woods, for the Dag Hamarskjold commemoration ceremony.

Then there was the lost Japanese tour bus. The bus stopped in front of a house on Montford where the owner and his wife were working in their garden. The driver got out and asked for directions to Muir Woods. While the bus was stopped and even as it was leaving, Japanese tourists snapped innumerable photos of the couple, their house and their garden. What a great story to tell the folks back home in Japan, embellished with a Homestead version of Grant Wood’s American Gothic.

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.