Opposition to Sewer in 1927


January, 2004

In 1924, residents met in Homestead School to discuss sanitation. A sanitary committee was formed to investigate and report the means necessary to correct the existing unsanitary conditions. Both the State Board of Health and the County Board made surveys and found serious health menaces. They concluded that installation of proper sewers was the only correct solution. Homestead residents signed a petition which was accepted by the County Board of Supervisors.

It found that the “Acquisition Act of 1925” offered the best solution. This meant that Homestead should join up with Mill Valley which had voted for additional sewers and an extended outlet.

The next three years were taken up with engineering studies, cost estimates and lots of discussions with Mill Valley. In May 1927, Homestead resident Mrs. Agnes Phillips wrote an article in the Mill Valley Record entitled, “Homestead Sewer Progresses – Opposition is Breaking Down.” It said in part, “Although some of the property owners still oppose this most necessary improvement, the majority of residents will be found on the side of those desiring a better type of sanitation than exists at present in their so beautiful valley.”

In May, a Mill Valley resident H. C. Henderson sent a letter to the taxpayers of Homestead Valley which said in part, “While not a taxpayer of Homestead, I am greatly interested in the legality of a law that gives Mill Valley the right to force an expensive sewer system on the property owners of Homestead, be it a necessity or not.”

In June, Mrs. Phillips refuted Henderson’s arguments in a letter to the editor. She advised Mr. Henderson to study conditions for himself. “Walk down Evergreen Avenue. Take the middle of the road. Study the diphtheria quarantine signs on one side, the vacant houses and overflowing septic tanks on the other. Look at the creek with its filthy water, where children play.”

In August, a citizen’s committee, naming itself the Homestead Valley Improvement Association, presented a petition to the Mill Valley City Council requesting that proceedings for the sewer be abandoned. This petition bore the names of two thirds of the property owners. Abandonment passed unanimously. [Homestead waited until 1948 for sewers – ed.]

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.