Vignette 298 > Earthquake Refugees

Homestead Valley in 1907. Heckman House on far left.

In 1903, Herman Heckman, his wife and their eight children lived in a small town in Wisconsin. His brother-in-law, John Yost, who owned a lumberyard in Mill Valley, invited Herman to visit him. Herman was a carpenter and cabinetmaker. He decided to stay. He built a mill at 77 Miller (now Vogue Cleaners) to manufacture doors, windows, cabinets and other wood products.  In 1904, he bought a lot in Homestead Valley, constructed a large 13-room house, and sent for his family.  They kept two cows for milk and cream, but no horses.  They would rent a horse and buggy when they needed one.  After the 1906 earthquake, Herman and his wife invited San Francisco friends to stay with them in their large house until they could make more permanent living arrangements. In 1905, John Bone, head of maintenance for the San Francisco School District, and his wife Lillian bought a large parcel of land near Heckman’s. Early in 1906 he built a small house there. After the earthquake, the Bones invited their San Francisco friends to stay in tents set up in their large back yard. Many earthquake refugees were hosted in various homes in the Mill Valley area. Some became permanent residents.