La Verne Heights was a 1911 subdivision on the north ridge of Homestead Valley. It consisted of 175 lots on nine streets. By the 1920s, the streets had been cut in the hillside, but only a third of the lots have been sold and developed. These are on Edgewood Ave., Janes St., Seymour Lane, Cape Court, Hart Lane, Cecily Lane and the portion of Pixie Trail near Montford Ave. In 1922, Erik Krag built a house on Edgewood and gradually purchased all the undeveloped lots. He named his house on the highest point of the subdivision “Crow’s Nest” and his 15-acre property “Rancho del Topé”, a name he made up to mean at the top. He allowed public access on his ranch.
In 1939 Elinor Hunsinger, a 55-year old widow, bought a house on Seymour Ave., one of the streets in La Verne Heights. She frequently invited children to join her daily walk on Marin Ave. in La Verne Heights which was a dirt road on Erik Krag’s ranch. They loved her stories about Wee Folk and were enchanted when she showed them the “pixie caps” on eucalyptus nuts. She saw to it that the name Marin Ave. was changed to Pixie Trail.
What is now called Upper Pixie Trail was Bolinas Ave. in La Verne Heights. It runs up the hill from Pixie Trail to Edgewood Ave. where there is a large flat area with a magnificent view of Mt. Tam. This was the site of a horse ring. Peggy Adams had horses and a stable located about half a mile down Edgewood Ave. from the horse ring. Peggy’s students rode down from the stable to Pixie Trail then up Upper Pixie Trail to the horse ring.
There are two more trails in the Pixie Trail area. One goes from the horse ring to Cecily Lane. Because of extensive encroachment by a property owner, this trail has seen considerable demolition and construction. The other trail which goes from Upper Pixie Trail to Hart Lane is noted for the mushrooms that appear after the fall rains. An important use of Pixie Trail is now dog walking. The former roads of La Verne Heights also serve as fire roads and emergency escape routes.
Cowboy Rock Trail
This trail starts at the end of Tamalpais Drive in Tamalpais Canyon and ends at Edgewood Ave. across from Dipsea Stairs. Near the end of the trail is a large high rock outcropping surrounded mainly by grass and a few oaks. From the top of the rock there is a fine view of the west end of Homestead Valley. In the twenties and thirties, the Stolte children and their friends played cowboys and Indians there. They called it Cowboy Rock. In the final scene of “The Remembered Robbery of 1967”, a film produced by an 11-year old boy, a Mill Valley bank robber is cornered by the police on Cowboy Rock from which he falls to his death.
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.