VIGNETTE > Goheen Gulch

Defense Housing

The eastern part of Sycamore Park is often jokingly called Goheen Gulch. In 1940, as part of the clandestine involvement in the war in Europe, the federal government urged Mill Valley’s Bank of America to finance “defense housing.”  In the1930s, George Goheen had purchased Scott’s El Cerrito Tract southwest of the corner of East Blithedale and Camino Alto. It had earlier been subdivided into 86 lots. By 1940, he had built 12 houses there.  B of A convinced him to build 74 more as quickly as possible.  In 1942, after America’s entry into the war, the War Production Board estimated that new housing would be needed for twenty thousand Marinship Sausalito employees and their families. Housing in the newly created Marin City would not suffice. Mill Valley was urged to build more “defense housing.”  Goheen bought the land, a hill and a marsh, between his tract and Mill Valley’s main creek. He straightened out the creek and scraped down the hill to fill the enlarged marsh. The result was the Sycamore Village subdivision. His construction office was on Camino Alto across the street from a pig farm and the city dump, today’s site of the Middle School. He built 351 houses in Goheen Gulch and 75 more in Alto.

George Goheen