The Tamal Tocsin


February, 2006

A friend sent me three issues of a four-page tabloid published in 1924 and 1925. The banner reads “The Tamal Tocsin – published to Give the Public Needed Facts”. Below the date is “Homestead Valley, J. Munsell Chase, Publisher, 358 LaVerne Avenue. Homestead, (Sausalito), California. This raised several questions which took a little research to answer:

  1. Where did the name Tamal Tocsin come from? Tamal probably has something to do with Tamalpais and a Tocsin is an alarm.
  2. Where was 358 LaVerne? In 1920, Chase moved from San Francisco and bought the Sherman house at today’s 333 LaVerne – 358 no longer exists.
  3. Who was J. Munsell Chase? He was born in Minnesota in 1859 so he would have been 65 in 1924. His entire life was spent as editor or publisher of newspapers and hotel publications including two San Francisco newspapers. My guess is that when he retired at age 65, he just couldn’t stop publishing.

The platform was “Progressive improvements carried out in a conservative way so as to insure that no one shall be taxed out of his or her home.”

All three issues featured a Homestead Valley map (with several errors). One issue referred to the locations of the train stations: “Secure Station at Evergreen Avenue and Save 5 minutes Daily in Going to and Returning from San Francisco.” The other issues had, “Get Homestead on the map by securing a station named Homestead. The distance from the High School to Locust Station is double that from Locust to Park station. The difference in distances should be adjusted either by getting a new station for Homestead or by moving the Locust Station lower down and renaming it Homestead.”

Most of the articles covered what was going on in Mill Valley and Homestead relative to forming a sewer district and the cost of a sewer line. The Tamal Tocsin was against anything that would raise taxes.

In late 1925, J. Munsell Chase married and soon thereafter moved back to San Francisco, evidently abandoning the Tamal Tocsin. In 1932 he and his wife moved back to Homestead. They lived in Tamalpais Canyon. He died as a result of a fall near his home on Dec. 31, 1940 at age 81. Mr. and Mrs. Chase had observed their 15th wedding anniversary two days earlier.

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.