The brass plaque on the big red rock in front of the Mill Valley City Hall reads, “In memory of those who gave their lives in defense of their country – dedicated by the citizens of Mill Valley – 1953.” Following an extended period of rain near the Waldo tunnel, the rock had rolled down the hill and blocked Highway 101.
Tony Brabo was hired to remove the rock. Hamilton Air Force Base sent airmen and a crane to the site. The airmen had lifted airplanes, but never a rock. Tony and his crew saved the day and after considerable effort loaded it onto a flat bed truck.
Mill Valley City Manager Allen Almcrantz was at the scene. In the left photo he’s standing in the shelter. He suggested that Tony take the rock to City Hall. The right photo shows it in place after setting it down in exactly the desired orientation. The city manager observed the job from the doorway – he’s slightly obscured by the cable.
Tony Brabo has lived in Homestead Valley since he married Mary Bettancourt in 1930. Mary has lived in Homestead longer than any other resident, 97 years. After his military service in World War II, Tony became a construction contractor specializing in concrete work. His name is engraved on many Mill Valley sidewalks, and he owns the Brabo building on Lytton Square. Moving the big rock to city hall was a memorable experience for him.
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.