February, 2003

Historian Henri M. Boussy’s article in the Mill Valley Historical Review, Spring 1986, states, “Of all the urban developments that have become Marin County the one with the greatest sense of community has been Homestead.” Volunteers have been key to developing this great sense of community.

Shortly after the land was subdivided in 1903, volunteering became commonplace. A special dispatch to the San Francisco Call on Aug. 28, 1905 reported that all the committees of the Throckmorton Improvement Club were working energetically for the best interests of Homestead Valley and had achieved good results. The following Sunday a work party of residents met where the 2 AM Club is today to construct a wooden sidewalk up Montford. One of the committees had persuaded Lovell White, president of the Tamalpais Land & Water Company, to donate a half-acre site for a school. On Sunday June 16, 1907, Mill Valley architect William Mahoney and two Homestead volunteers staked off the site for the new school house.

The Throckmorton Improvement Club and its successor organizations have continued to work energetically with good results over the past one hundred years. About 1910, the Homestead Valley Progressive Club met in Homestead Hall on Linden Lane. Starting in 1934, the Homestead Valley Improvement Club met in Brown’s Hall on Miller Avenue. Since 1972, the Homestead Valley Community Association has met at its community center on Montford.

Other important organizations are County Services Area #14, Homestead Valley Land Trust, and Homestead Valley Sanitary District, each with a specific mission to work in the best interests of Homestead Valley.

>From 1940 to 1961 Homestead’s fire protection service came from a volunteer fire brigade, originally with a homemade fire truck. Until 1983, the Homestead School Parent Teachers Association played a significant role in the development of the community, particularly children’s programs.

Volunteer Park on the site of the volunteer fire station commemorates all the volunteers who throughout the past one hundred years accomplished so much to make Homestead Valley a vibrant community in a magnificent setting with parks and open space lands that are a modern adaptation of the original wilderness that existed in Homestead Valley before the 19th century.

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.