In 1892, Charles James Dowd founded a livery stable on Throckmorton opposite Madrona. It was the first of his many enterprises utilizing horses.
For example, his team of horses pulled the hearse for the Keaton and Dowd mortuary. Dowd’s Fashion Stables specialized in Percherons. A team of these large draft horses pulled a “Fresno grader” that leveled streets. They were essential in constructing the road from Willow Camp (Stinson Beach) to West Point, a stop on the mountain railroad. They were used in excavating quarries and stone transportation. Other horses provided local jitney services. A five-seat coach and team could be rented by the day for sightseeing and picnics. Horses were rented for recreational riding. Donkeys were also rented. The stable lodged privately owned horses as well. Drayage was one of the most important services. San Francisco summer visitors hired teams and wagons to move their belongings to Mill Valley in the spring, and return them to the city in the fall. Charles Dowd died in 1912. His wife Emma managed their business enterprises while raising four children ranging in age from 7 to 16. Emma retired at the age of 57 and lived to be 79 years old. In 1919, Dowd’s replaced horses with trucks and renamed the business Dowd’s Auto express.