Vignette > Fostine

Fostine’s house - click to enlarge

Fostine’s house – click to enlarge

Manuol Faustino da Machado, born in the Azores in 1859, came to California in 1878. Historical documents usually refer to him as Manual Fostine. He initially worked on laying the roadbed for the new section of railroad from Sausalito to the tunnel between Mill Valley and Corte Madera that was completed in 1884. He then worked for Rancho Sausalito superintendent Jacob Gardner on the 12,000-acre ranch which had cattle, farm crops and dairy ranches that were rented to immigrants from the Azores. In 1884 Fostine built a house on ranch land at the corner of Willow St. and Miller Ave. In 1889 he worked on laying the roadbed for the railroad spur to Mill Valley. At the 1890 land auction, Jacob Gardner helped Fostine purchase five lots comprising 2 acres. This gave him title to the land under his house plus land for raising crops he could sell. In 1901 he began working for Mill Valley’s Public Works Dept. watering dusty streets. Fostine was an important resource for the Portuguese community. Newly arrived Azorian immigrants in Sausalito would often be sent to see Fostine who would help them get a job in one of the dairies. Across the creek from his house was a 5000-year old Indian shell mound. Over a period of several years, Fostine and later on his son Henry excavated much of the shell mound dirt to pave lanes, paths, driveways, playgrounds, tennis courts and streets in Mill Valley.