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Alto Wye, Richfield station and auto court building, 1931 -  click to enlarge

Alto Wye, Richfield station and auto court building, 1931 – click to enlarge


Until 1931, the route south on the Redwood Highway (now 101) from north Marin through Mill Valley to San Francisco was as follows: at the Alto Wye, right onto Blithedale; left on Camino Alto; through the Tam High campus to Almonte Blvd; Highway 1 from Dolan’s Corner to Manzanita and on to the Sausalito ferry. Pedestrian ferries went to the Ferry Building. Car ferries went to the Hyde Street Pier. At the Alto Wye there was the Alta Vista service station and auto court owned by Joe Avilla. When the Richardson Bay Span Bridge opened on November 22, 1931, the route became a straight shot from the Alto Wye to Manzanita. New businesses were established and traffic increased, especially after the Golden Gate Bridge opened in 1937. By 1942, between the Alto Wye and the Richardson Bay Bridge there were two service stations and four auto courts. By 1950 there were six service stations and six auto courts, as well as four restaurants: Blue Fountain Café, Marvel Mar, Sabella’s and Sally’s Golden Tower; Joe Avilla had added a cocktail lounge to his service station/motor court complex.

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