This photo shows the entrance to Tamalpais Camp at the end of LaVerne at Montford. A 1920s photo of the same scene has the “Camp” sign mounted above the “Tamalpais” sign in the same wooden framework.The vehicle appears to be a 1930 Ford Model A which indicates that the photo was taken in the 1930s. The sign on the right says, “Lots, Houses for sale in this tract. See W.V. Stolte at the house.” The Stolte family lived in a house to the right of the sign at 568 Montford.
In 1908, 11 acres in the redwood canyon were subdivided into 137 very small lots. The creek was dammed for a swimming pool. In 1910, the San Francisco Examiner advertised Camp Tamalpais lots for sale at $75. For an additional $23 the developer would provide a tent platform with a tent, 10 ft. by 12 ft., and a folding cot. San Francisco families escaped summer fog by camping out in Camp Tamalpais. Small cottages soon replaced tents and lots were combined to allow construction of houses.
The depression of the 1930s caused the demise of Camp Tamalpais as a summer resort. Year-round residents seeking seclusion and privacy moved in. The result was a colony of artists and writers living in what is now called Tamalpais Canyon. The site of the swimming pool is a now a parking lot.
Today, there are 25 houses in the canyon. Most are perched on hillsides accessed by foot paths and as many as 200 steps. A funicular was recently installed to one of the houses.
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.