Property tax roll records list 91 houses in Homestead that were constructed prior to 1920. It is also evident that many pre-1920 houses have been demolished. Therefore, it seems reasonable to conclude that more than 100 houses must have existed in 1920.
However, in January 1920, the census taker found only 75 houses in Homestead. Why so few? Because in January 1920 nobody was home at the summer homes of which there were a large number. In Tamalpais Canyon alone, 19 homes that exist today were summer homes in 1920.
To see what pre-1920 houses look like today, follow this self-guided tour. Construction years in parentheses represent the year in which the house was placed on the tax rolls – the house could have been constructed one or two years earlier.
Start at the 2AM Club. Walk up the left side of Montford to see #23 (1906) and #25 (1909). Turn left on Ethel and on the left side, look at #541 (1920), #543 (1903), #547 (1915), and the house on the corner at #34 Evergreen (1910). Turn left to see #31 Evergreen (1909). Return to Ethel and turn left to see on the left side #547 (1906), and #599 on the corner of Reed (1907).
Go back up Ethel to Evergreen. On the corner is #102 Evergreen (1913). This and the houses on the left side of Ethel, #550 (1900), #544 (1908), #540 (1917), and #530 (1905), are all in the Heckman Tract.
The Heckman Tract is bounded by Evergreen, Linden Lane, Montford and Ethel. It was the site of the original Homestead which burned down in 1900. Herman Heckman bought the property in 1904 and built a 13-room house at #530 Ethel. His daughter Pearl was 18 at the time. Decades later in her oral history, she recalled that the barn with its distinctive cupola was the only building on the site. The house at #550 Ethel is likely that barn. The cupola is gone, but one part of the house looks as if it could have been a barn – note the lack of gables which all neighboring houses have. Other houses in Homestead are known to have originated as barns.time’.”
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.