Vignette 237 > Manny Gomez

In 1926, Manuel Diaz Gomez came to Mill Valley. In 1935 he bought his first piece of property in Mill Valley for $700 from a tax delinquent list. The transaction had to go through the City Council, and quite a skirmish ensued. Thus began his long battle with city agencies over variances and ordinances. In spite of all the difficulties he encountered in dealing with the city planning officials, he dearly loved Mill Valley.  From 1940 to 1960, Manny had a jewelry shop on Lytton Square. By 1965, Manny’s real estate holdings included 33 apartments on Gomez Way next to the high school, four houses and several pieces of commercial property. In 1954 he developed a shopping center with seven business establishments on Miller Ave. at Sunnyside. He first installed large concrete pipes under the site for both Old Mill Creek and Arroyo Corte Madera del Presidio. He constructed two separate buildings to preserve redwood trees. As an artistic touch, he commissioned the mosaic typical of the 1950s next to the bus stop in front of the shopping center. Baskin-Robbins was the business that lasted the longest, from 1964 to 2007. The Montgomery Ward catalog store’s tenure was far shorter.