August, 2008

Mt. Tamalpais from LaVerne Avenue and Homestead Boulevard in 1900.
Courtesy of the Lucretia Little History Room, Mill Valley Public Room

It is interesting to compare the above views of Mount Tamalpais. Both photos were taken near the intersection of LaVerne Ave. and Homestead Blvd. The left photo of part of Rancho Sausalito was taken in 1900. The right photo of part of Homestead Valley was taken in 2007.

The 1900 photo shows only a small sign of civilization. The dark line next to the white line coming up from the right side is a road which makes a sharp right turn and disappears behind a hill. This road, now part of Montford and Janes, starts at Miller Ave. and goes to the top of the ridge between Homestead Valley and Mill Valley. The road then forks, one branch leading down the ridge to the Old Mill near today’s library, the other branch leading up and over Throckmorton Ridge and down to Sequoia Valley, now Muir Woods.

The 1900 photo shows that most of Homestead Valley is treeless, except for along Reed Creek and in a draw in the foreground.

Mt. Tamalpais from LaVerne Avenue and Homestead Boulevard in 2007.

Mt. Tamalpais from LaVerne Avenue and Homestead Boulevard in 2007. – click to enlarge


Marin was governed by Spain from 1776 until 1821, then by Mexico until the Bear Flag rebellion of 1846. In 1817, the Spanish imported American southwest Longhorn cattle which roamed unrestrained by fences. After William Richardson received a Mexican land grant for Rancho Sausalito in 1838, he kept a large herd of cattle primarily for hides and tallow for export. In the 1850s his successor, Samuel Throckmorton, began leasing sections of Rancho Sausalito to dairy ranchers. By that time, much of the land was fenced.

Homestead Valley was subdivided in 1903. Streets were created and lots were sold for homes. Residents planted trees. The 2007 photo shows the result. Most homes are hidden by trees. Tree removal is a daily activity throughout the valley. Fire fuel reduction is ongoing.

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.