A Homestead Headlines Article by Chuck Oldenburg
The Mill Valley Library’s History Room has an interesting map entitled, “LaVerne Heights Mill Valley Marin Co.; J. W. Wright & Co. Exclusive Agents.” This map would have been shown to someone interested in buying one of the lots for sale in a subdivision between Montford and Edgewood in what is now the Pixie Trail area. There is no date on the map, but the library label suggests it dates from 1920 -1930. My guess is 1910 – 1920, because the then old Public School is shown on Janes Street, and a house is shown where the new Homestead School opened in 1921.
The map shows the location and dimensions of each of the 175 lots on 9 new streets, along with fanciful depictions of nearby residences and sales-oriented statements of questionable validity.
The lots were located on streets with unfamiliar names. Pixie Trail was named Marin Ave. Upper Pixie Trail starting at Edgewood was named Bolinas Ave. The open space trail connecting Upper Pixie Trail with Hart Lane was named Wright St. Hart Lane was named Portola Ave. The unnamed lane parallel to Hart Lane at the other end of Cecily Lane was named Fiesta Ave. The open space trail from the Edgewood gate to the bench on Pixie Trail was named Pacific Ave. The open space trail from the corner of Edgewood and Cape Court to Pixie Trail was named White Ave. Cape Court was named Plymouth Rock Ave. Seymour Lane was named Seymour Ave.
Several houses are indicated, including Capt. Watson’s where the two Pixie Trails meet, Capt. Robinson’s on Edgewood, and the Stolte and Ferguson homes at the end of Montford. The drawings depict these homes as being much grander than they actually were at that time.
Also shown is a scene of “The beautiful view of Mt. Tamalpais from La Verne Heights.” Only a few lots on Edgewood would have such a view. Next to the railroad on Miller Ave. are the notes, “Fast electric train 1/2 hour service to San Francisco” and “Northwest Pacific electric 15 minutes to Sausalito.” This implies a 15-minute ferry ride – impossible. At the corner of Melrose and Montford is the note, “To Locust Ave. Station – 5 minute walk.” A lot purchaser was expected to walk fast. On a street named Park Ave. which connected Edgewood with Miller is the statement, “900 ft. to Park Ave. station.” Nothing about the uphill climb on the way home.
Today, most of the LaVerne Heights subdivision is open space with a few houses on the periphery. Homestead Valley residents should be pleased that the subdivision did not turn out as planned, although the dirt roads cut in the hillside 80 years ago still exist. Eric Krag eventually acquired most of the land for his Rancho del Topa and sold it for Homestead’s open space.
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.