VIGNETTE > Azoreans

Frank Bettencourt Avila Dairy [click to enlarge]

In the 19th century, whaling ships stopped in Portugal’s Azores Islands, 900 miles west of Portugal in the North Atlantic, to take on water and deck hands. The whaling port of New Bedford, Massachusetts saw an influx of Azoreans. So did Sausalito where whaling ships stopped to take on water in Whaler’s Cove. In 1869, it became possible to travel from New Bedford to Sausalito by train making it easier for Azorean fishermen, boat builders, dairymen and their families to immigrate to Sausalito.  At one point it was estimated that one quarter of Sausalito’s population was of Portuguese descent. In 1888, the Portuguese-American community in and around Sausalito established a fraternal organization called “Irmandade do Divino Espírito Santo e Santíssima Trindade” (“Brotherhood of the Divine Holy Spirit and Blessed Trinity”). Today, IDESST’s Portuguese Hall is just north of City Hall. In 1860, Samuel Throckmorton began leasing sections of Rancho Sausalito to Azorean dairy ranchers. The great age of Marin dairying was born. By the end of the 19th century, Azoreans owned or leased practically all of the ranches in Southern Marin.