Vignette > Green Gulch Ranch

In 1937, George W. Wheelwright III and fellow Harvard man Edwin Land founded a company that eventually became the Polaroid Corp. In 1945, when George was a navy pilot instructor stationed in Alameda, he and his wife Hope bought 800 acres along Highway 1 in the Redwood Creek watershed between Muir Beach and Tamalpais Valley.  Grazing cattle on Green Gulch Ranch was challenging. George experimented with various grasses and cattle breeding before he got it right. After Hope died, George thought about disposing of all the land to the National Park Service.  But since NPS would probably tear down everything he had built on the lower part of Green Gulch, he decided to donate the lower part to the Zen Center and the upper part to the NPS. The 115-acre Green Gulch Farm Zen Center became a Buddhist meditation center and organic farm. The rest of George Wheelwright’s land became part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. In the late 1980’s when his health was deteriorating he lived with the Zen Buddhists in Green Gulch. In 1996 when he could no longer care for himself, he moved to the Marin Convalescent Center in Tiburon. In 2001 he died at age 97.