In 1952, 25-year old Gerald C. Kott, a building contractor, began to construct houses in Mill Valley. Numerous Kott houses can be found in Mill Valley, Almonte, Tam Valley, Strawberry and Homestead Valley. Most of them have been expanded. In 1954 he built a model house on Highway 101, constructing it on piers so that it could be moved from place to place for exhibition. The original Kott house was a two-bedroom New England farmhouse type, with a large unfinished attic that could be finished into the type of room that would suit the purchaser. By 1958 he had finished his last house. In March 1958, he was caught with his shoes off breaking into the county offices in San Rafael and stealing several files from the office of the building inspector. Police said that his shoes were found in the office. Kott’s niece, Mrs. Barbara Mallory, 20, of Mill Valley, was also caught inside the building inspector’s office. She was not held. Files missing from the office concerned houses Kott had built. He faced charges of burglary and the theft of public records, San Rafael police chief Frank Kelly said. A week later, the files were mysteriously returned to their proper places.