Vignette 279 > The Golden Twenties

1920’s Garden – 305 Miller Avenue

Barry Spitz in his book, Mill Valley – The Early Years, refers to the decade as the Golden ‘20’s.   “Real estate prices surged, automobile ownership grew and business was booming.”  What was life like for Mill Valley residents in the 1920’s? Commuters normally left their bicycles unlocked at the Locust Depot. Only a few roads were paved. A horse-drawn Fresno Grader periodically leveled the dirt roads. It had been invented in 1883, and was widely used throughout California to level irrigation ditches and canals as well as roads. A horse-drawn water tank followed the Fresno Grader to water down the dust.  Roads could also be muddy.  In February 1925, heavy rain caused flooding on Miller up to Locust, and there was no train service. Telephones were rare, but most homes had electricity and running water. The arrival of town gas in the 1920’s simplified heating and cooking. Lush vegetable and flower gardens proliferated.  Horse manure was readily available for fertilizer, and the public water supply was not metered.  Gardens were unfenced. Deer were not a problem. 1920 was the year that Edna Maguire arrived to be principal-teacher of the new Homestead School. She transferred to Park School in 1927 and had an outstanding career.