Vignette 288 > Joseph Eastland

Joseph Eastland

Joseph Eastland was the prime mover and financial backer in founding the town of Mill Valley. In 1849, he arrived in San Francisco from Tennessee with his father, a veteran of the Mexican war. Two years later 19-year old Joseph got a job as clerk/bookkeeper for Peter and James Donahue’s foundry.  The business evolved into the San Francisco Gas Co., now PG&E. His working career advanced rapidly, and he became quite wealthy. He served as a trustee of the San Francisco Savings Union. Eastland organized a group of investors to create the Tamalpais Land & Water Co. (TL&WC) that became owner of the 19,000-acre Rancho Sausalito. Most of the land was under lease to 24 dairies. TL&WC soon began preparing for the development of the choicest part of the ranch near the confluence of Mill Creek and Arroyo Corte Madera. A branch railroad line was built on what is now inbound Miller Ave. A massive land auction was held in 1890.  Eastland chose a property in Cascade Canyon for his vacation home and named it Burlwood.  Paneling, cabinetry and a grand staircase were handcrafted from the burl wood of local redwood trees. It was Eastland’s summer home.