A Homestead Headlines Article by Chuck Oldenburg
A map of Homestead Valley’s Volunteer Park, Completed in 1992 > click to enlarge
On February 29, 1992, a large number of Homestead residents met on the corner of Melrose and Evergreen to celebrate the opening of Volunteer Park. Shortly after Homestead Valley was subdivided in 1903, volunteering became commonplace. For example, a work party constructed a wooden sidewalk up Montford from Miller in August 1905. Volunteer Park is the result of work by volunteers to create a small park across from Homestead School. The site has a complex history.
Surveyors who subdivided Homestead Valley in 1903 increased the normal 50 ft. width of Evergreen Ave. to 125 ft. where it ends at the street that is now named Melrose Ave. This was necessary so that horse-drawn wagons driving up Evergreen would not fall into the creek. Later, a small 4619 sq. ft. lot was created straddling the creek at the corner adjacent to the Melrose Ave. bridge. In 1950, the Homestead Valley Volunteer Fire Brigade bought the lot for $100. The county installed a large culvert for the creek flow under Melrose and the small lot. Fill for the street and the small lot came from the excavation for a new school building. On New Year’s Eve 1950, members of the Volunteer Fire Department and guests celebrated completion of the fire house.
Homestead Valley’s Volunteer Park, completed in 1992 > click to enlarge
In 1962, paid firemen took over from the volunteers. Homestead Valley’s fire department was later taken over by the Tamalpais Fire Protection District which had a fire station in Tamalpais Valley. In 1980 the firehouse was declared surplus and was rented as a residence.
In 1989, after the Loma Prieta earthquake had caused severe damage, the firehouse was demolished. Volunteers developed the site into a park, the Homestead Valley Land Trust providing the funds for a landscape architect and materials.In 1993, the Tamalpais Fire Protection District decided that Homestead Valley needed a fire station. In 1994, two firefighters were housed in a home on Evergreen. At night, an ambulance and a fire truck were parked in the yard. In 1998, detailed architectural and engineering plans were developed for the construction of a new firehouse on Volunteer Park. In 1999 when the Southern Marin Fire Protection District was formed by a merger of the Tamalpais and Alto-Richardson Bay fire departments, the project was abandoned.Volunteer Park honors those who have served the community of Homestead Valley throughout its history.
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.