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VIGNETTE > Tamalpais Land & Water Co.

Michael O’Shaughnessy


In 1888, the Tamalpais Land & Water Company (TL&WC) was chartered as a 100-year corporation.  Its major asset was Rancho Sausalito, originally the 19,000-acre Mexican land grant made to William Richardson in 1841.  Samuel Throckmorton had owned it from 1855 until his death in 1883. TL&WC’s objective was to profit from land sales. Michael O’Shaughnessy and other surveyors produced subdivision maps of small and medium sized lots, larger blocks of land for others to develop and streets and lanes for access. TL&WC ‘s subdivided land is in today’s Mill Valley, Almonte and Homestead Valley. Other Mill Valley subdivisions were on Rancho Corte Madera del Presidio land, for example, Sunnyside Tract and Scott Valley. TL&WC also owned thousands of acres of land leased to 30 Portuguese dairy ranchers. TL&WC eventually sold the ranches and other undeveloped land. In some cases a buyer would subdivide a ranch. For example, Ranch E became the community of Tamalpais Valley.  As a 100-year corporation, TL&WC had to go out of business in 1988. The Homestead Valley Land Trust (HVLT) accepted a quitclaim deed for all TL&WC’s properties. HVLT later learned that it now owned streets and lanes in Mill Valley, Almonte and Homestead Valley, but no land.

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