A publication of the
A look at the unique nooks that make our county a special place to live
W i n t e r 2 0 11 - 2 0 1 2 Muir Beach | Downtown Mill Valley | Miller Avenue | Strawberry D o w n t o w n S a n R a f a e l | S a n A n s e l m o | S u n V a l l e y | Te r r a L i n d a
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2 0 0 N O R T H S A N PE D RO R D, S A N R A FA E L | W W W. M A R I N J C C.O RG 2 Pacific Sun
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TERRA LINDA [page 16] SUN VALLEY [page 18]
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DOWNTOWN SAN RAFAEL [page 12]
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ON THE COVER Downtown Mill Valley ART DIRECTOR Missy Reynolds PHOTOGRAPHS Julie Vader Ken Piekny GRAPHIC DESIGNERS Gwen Aquilar Michelle Palmer WRITERS Samantha Campos Tanya Henry Shelley Sheperd Klaner Jacob Shafer Matthew Stafford
V ll y
t Coo r te d e ra Maa de
STRAWBERRY [page 10]
DOWNTOWN 131 MILL VALLEY [page 6] MILLER AVENUE [page 8]
MUIR BEACH [page 4]
T ib i b ur uro u roo n
Saa u s a lit l i to 101
835 Fourth St. Suite B (entrance on Cijos St.), San Rafael 94901; Telephone: (415) 485-6700, Fax (415) 485-6226. E-Mail: email@example.com. Entire contents of this publication Copyright ÂŠ2011 Embarcadero Media
Marin Neighborhoods | Winter 2011-2012 3
the glamour behind the fog
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may get all the publicity, but Muir Beach is Marin's great funky secluded oceanside community. It was here that Ken Kesey hosted his second Acid Test, Janis Joplin's ashes were scattered along the sands, Azorean dairymen from the other side of the world settled and prospered, and burned-out Frisco beatniks found a perfect end-of-the-continent milieu for renewal and contemplation. Migrating monarch butterflies and California red-legged frogs love the place. There's no cable television, cell phones are unpredictable, the bikini's optional at the north end of the beach and every Nov. 5 a bagpiper leads a procession to the ocean's shore for a ritual cremation of Guy Fawkes. What's not to love? This tiny unincorporated settlement is tucked into a cove with dramatic bluffs on three sides and the wide foggy Pacific lapping at its southern shore. It's entirely within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, with Mt. Tamalpais State Park poking at its upper flanks; a mile or so to the north is Muir Woods National Monument, the Bay Area's only remaining grove of ancient redwoods. Back in the good old days the area was dominated by a 25-acre tidal lagoon that attracted bobcats, elk, jackrabbits, bald eagles, grizzly bears and the Huimen tribe, one of 600 Coast Miwok groups that flourished between the Golden Gate and Bodega Bay. Then the Spanish colonials arrived, followed by the Mexicans, who deeded the area and the rest of the massive Rancho Saucelito land grant to pioneer William Richardson. After statehood one immigrant, Constantino Bello, started the Golden Gate Dairy at Throckmorton's T Ranch in 1898; a decade later his brother Antonio purchased the hilly, cove-side parcel and named it Bello Beach. Antonio built a beachside hotel and in 1923 subdivided the hillside into graded parcels for low-cost summer rental cabins. A rustic tavern-restaurant-snack bar was built along the sands and the place was renamed Muir Beach to connect it with the nowworld-famous forest up the road. After the war the town's natural beauty, cheap housing and seductive isolation attracted bohemians disenchanted with the trap-
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pings of civilization. The beatniks added a certain artists' colony mystique to the local mix of dairymen, old-timers and the postwar suburbanites who occupied the new Seascape subdivision above the original settlement. The town really got its name on the map during the 1960s, soon after the old Tavern morphed from a restaurant into a dance hall. Ken Kesey picked the Tavern for his second Acid Test in December 1965, complete with light show, music by the Warlocks (aka the Grateful Dead), LSD aplenty and luminaries like Lenny Bruce, Wavy Gravy and Owsley Stanley. (The evening is chronicled in Tom Wolfe's The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, published a few years later.) Big Brother & The MILL VALLEY Holding Company, Creedence Clearwater Muir Beach Revival, the Outfit (led by Manson Family member Bobby Beausoleil) and less iconic bands like Magenta Raindrop and Ugly Harpies also played the Tavern before California State Parks acquired the property and replaced it and its adjacent beach cottages with a parking lot. The beach itself is only about a thousand feet long, but there's plenty of room for surfing, kayaking, bird-watching, horseback riding, picnicking and sunbathing in the protected cove. (The hippies started a nude-sunbathing tradition that endures at Little Beach, a strip of pebbly sand north of the boulders, but the locals demanded a crackdown a couple of years ago; be advised.) Just up Highway One is the Green Gulch Zen Center with its meditation zendo, teahouse, organic garden and regular Buddhist services every Sunday morning at 10. To the west is Slide Ranch, an environmental education center that's been offering fun, hands-on eco-activities since 1970. Back at the cove, the Muir Beach Community Center features classes, workshops, movies, parties, seasonal events and fireside gettogethers as well as coffee and scones every Wednesday morning and beautiful ocean vistas from its decks and verandas. Up Pacific Way is the Pelican Inn (est. 1979), a cozy Tudor-style pub where you can sip a Guinness, sup on shepherd's pie, beef Wellington, fish and chips or afternoon tea, bed down for the night in a canopy bed or enjoy the annual Guy Fawkes, Burns Night and Boxing Day revels. There are no streetlights and only one public pay phone, but the water's potable no now, the septic tanks are working fine and the bookmobile visits twice am month. Getting away from it all was never so magical.
MUIR BEACH AT A GLANCE
photo by Julie Vader
FIRE STATION Throckmorton Ridge Station, 816 Panoramic Highway, Mill Valley; Muir Beach Volunteer Fire Department, at the Golden Gate Dairy Barn LIBRARY Mill Valley Public Library, 375 Throckmorton Ave., Mill Valley PARKS Muir Beach, Highway 1, Mill Valley POST OFFICE Sausalito Post Office, 150 Harbor Dr.
in the Muir Beach rests entirely with
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ion Area. Golden Gate National Recreat
PUBLIC SCHOOLS Tam Valley School, 350 Bell Lane, Mill Valley; Mill Valley Middle School, 425 Sycamore Ave., Mill Valley; Tamalpais High School, 700 Miller Ave., Mill Valley; Strawberry Point Elementary, 117 East Strawberry Dr., Mill Valley
Selling property in Southern, Central and Coastal Marin (esp. in Muir Beach) since 1992. DEBRA ALLEN Frank Howard Allen
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Downtown Mill Valley
Down by the ol’ Mill stream...
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four miles past the Golden Gate Bridge and a seven-minute jaunt west of the Downtown Mill Valley exit rests the heart of the leafy, affluent and politically progressive community of Mill Valley-a city named by the national magazine Money (and the CNN Money website) as the 10th best city in the nation to live. The magazine put it this way: “Dot-com millionaires and power couples in the film and music industries are flocking to what long ago was a hangout for artists and Th reformed hiproc e pies.” k m o r t o n Av Despite down- O ld town’s current Mi ll P high cost of living and k frequently congested traffic conditions, the allure of this charming, mystical little part of town shows no signs of waning. Though the parameters of the downtown are loosely defined, the bulk of the action takes place toward the west end of E. Blithedale Avenue, up along Throckmorton, all the way past Old Mill Park and the city’s well-stocked library. There, within a radius of only a couple of miles, community members and outof-towners can find everything they need—from sophisticated shops and topnotch restaurants to theater, movies and live music. Among the downtown’s primary draws is the Depot Bookstore and Café (a former Greyhound bus depot), where locals turn for coffee-sipping and people watching in the town’s center, also known as Lytton Square. Amid an eclectic mix of young families, aging hippies and sportily clad cyclists, it is not unusual to spot a rock star now and then. (Mill Valley has been home to the likes of Maria Muldaur, Bonnie Raitt, Bob Weir and Sammy Hagar, among others.) Every October for more than 30 years, the downtown has been transformed by the nationally known Mill Valley Film Festival,, which screens manyy of its movies at the
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historic Sequoia Theatre, at 25 Th rockmorton. As if that isn’t enough to put this town of almost 14,000 on the map, downtown Mill Valley is the starting point of the more than 100-year-old Dipsea footrace—a 7.1-mile course that starts along the 671 stairs through picturesque Old Mill Park and fi nishes at the bottom of steep trails in Stinson Beach. High-end clothing boutiques, pet and baby stores flank the town square and the perennially packed Mill Valley Market is a favorite for its upscale gourmet offerings and well-prepared deli items. Many of the neighborhood’s old-timers long for the days when downtown Mill Valley was a funky, artsy community sought out by folks who loved nature and wanted to be away from the hustle and bustle of urban living. With the influx of boomers and commuters, the town has become more suburban—yet it’s suburbia with a lingering bohemian sentiment still evident. Whether it’s a good, strong cup of coffee, a grueling footrace uup Tam or the opportunity to simply curl up in a comfortable cchair at the library and take in some of the area’s most specttacular vistas—you’ll fi nd it all in this quintessential Marin n neighborhood.—TANYA HENRY
e Pie knyy by Ken
DOWNTOWN MILL VALLEY AT A GLANCE FIRE STATION Mill Valley Fire Department, 1 Hamilton Ln.; Southern Marin Fire Protection District, 308 Reed Blvd. LIBRARY Mill Valley Public Library, 375 Throckmorton Ave. PARKS Boyle Park, 50 Thalia St.; Old Mill Park, 300 Throckmorton Ave. POST OFFICE Mill Valley Post Office, 751 E. Blithedale Ave.
s th e Va lley is pe rh ap Do wnto wn M ill ho od. M arin ne ig hb or
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PUBLIC SCHOOLS Tamalpais High School, 700 Miller Ave.; Mill Valley Middle School, 425 Sycamore Ave.; Old Mill School, 352 Throckmorton Ave.
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Gateway to downtown Mill Valley!
Millwood Park Ave
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Avenue is Mill Valley’s great civic entranceway. Like every portal thoroughfare from the Via Appia to Market Street, it escorts the visitor from point of arrival to the center of the action. Its four lanes of asphalt, concrete, cherry blossoms and usurped railbed link two intra-urban highways with the town’s tree-shaded hub; aspects of the town’s inclusive past sharing frontage space with its loft y status quo: a rambling, century-old high school, a storied saloon, supermarkets for patrician and proletariat alike, gas stations and fast-food joints, the town’s oldest business and some of its most venerable and beautiful homes. The Coast Miwok were the first inhabitants of the neighborhood, reveling in the climate and the abundant wildlife since about the time of the Magna Carta. One of their shellmounds was at present-day Locke and LaGoma streets, two blocks east of Miller, which was once, in those prebay-fi ll days, a point on the Richardson Bay shoreline. It was here that Irish immigrant John Reed built his adobe home in the 1830s. The wayfarer had recently acquired a phenomenal land grant from the Mexican government that encompassed the Tiburon peninsula, a substantial chunk of Corte Madera and half of Mill Valley—everything east of that aforementioned creekbed. Here Reed raised horses, sheep and cattle, operated a quarry and hosted the occasional rodeo, but his most famous enterprise was the sawmill he operated a few miles northwest in present-day Old Mill Park. The burgeoning, lumber-hungry city of San Francisco helped ensure the mill’s success, and to transport all of that harvested redwood across the bay, Reed’s laborers built a road from the shores of Cascade Creek to the train station at Almonte: the primal prototype for our own Miller Avenue. In 1892 the Mill Valley Lumber Company opened for business at 129 Miller, straddling the creek that defi nes the town and supplying the raw materials for most of the homes and businesses that cropped up hereabouts after the 1906 earthquake. As the town doubled in population, two new neighborhoods were developed on both sides of Miller: on the west Homestead Valley, an adamantly unincorporated region of sylvan glades, gullies and rolling hills, and on the east Tamalpais Park, with 8 Pacific Sun
Go m Wa ez y C a min o Al to
by Ken Pie kny
& Ga rde n photo
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rs awe-ins Miller Avenue offe
its unique midblock shortcuts for tardy commuters hurrying after the next train. After a century Miller Avenue was still the border between east and west, city and county, and the Brown Jug saloon at Miller and Montford advertised its prime location just outside Mill Valley and its midnight closing time by renaming itself the 2AM Club. It was also in 1940 that the train that gave Miller Avenue so much of its character closed up shop, a victim of the automobile’s new citywide dominance after the opening of the Golden Gate Bridge. Plans have been bandied about to reconstruct this storied boulevard into a carefully designed showplace of upscale shops, multi-use housing, landscaped brickways and sheltered bike paths. Stay tuned. Despite the occasional canoe-friendly flood— its proximity to creek and reclaimed marshland has helped submerge the avenue during many a stormy season—Miller Avenue has survived Mill Valley’s every municipal upheaval and makeover to remain the town’s busiest, broadestminded thoroughfare. —MATTHEW STAFFORD
G L A N C E
FIRE STATION Mill Valley Fire Department Main Station, 1 Hamilton Ln.; Southern Marin Fire Protection District Stations No. 4 & 9, 309 Poplar & 308 Reed Blvd. LIBRARY Mill Valley Public Library, 375 Throckmorton Ave. PARKS Bayfront Park, 425 Sycamore Ave.; Bothin Marsh Open Space Preserve; Molino Park, Molino Ave. & Janes St.; Sycamore Park, 4 Park Terrace POST OFFICE Mill Valley Post Office, 751 E. Blithedale Ave. PUBLIC SCHOOLS Tamalpais High School, 700 Miller Ave.; Mill Valley Middle School, 425 Sycamore Ave.; Park Elementary School, E. Blithedale Ave.
M AY 2 0 , 2 7 , J U N E 3 , 1 0 , 1 6 & 1 7 M O U N T TA M A L PA I S S TAT E PA R K A M P H I T H E AT R E
W W W . M O U N T A I N P L A Y. O R G
Mill Valley is our Backyard! 160 Rose Avenue, Mill Valley One of a kind 4BD/3.5BA property situated on a lush landscaped lot with seasonal waterfalls, rock walls and meandering paths. New Listing. $940,000 | www.160roseave.com
90 Tamalpais Avenue, Mill Valley
Privately set on approx .45 acre, in one of Mill Valley’s premier neighborhoods, this wonderful 4 BD/3BA home is ﬁlled with light, sunshine & stunning views of the canyon. $1,395,000 | www.90tamalpais.com
The Richmonds-Peter & Jane
PACIFIC UNION INTERNATIONAL & CHRISTIE’S GREAT ESTATES
37 Miller Avenue | Mill Valley, CA 94941 | 415.531.4091 | 415.279.6466 email@example.com | www.comehometomarin.com Marin Neighborhoods | Winter 2011-2012 9
Some of the finest real estate pickings in Marin
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one of the reasons Strawberry isn’t on the radar for many of us is that it’s one of Marin’s toniest neighborhoods. Homes still regularly sell for well over $1 million. OK, you might find a few priced under a million behind the Strawberry Village shopping center, but by and large, real estate sales are fixed in the seven-figure range. A county-generated document for the Countywide Plan described Strawberry as a “community on the upper end of the housing price range of the county with severe limitations on housing for those of modest means.” This unincorporated area near the city of Mill Valley is outlined by Highway 101 to the west and Tiburon Boulevard to the north, with waterfront property on Richardson Bay to the east and south. Most governmental functions rest with the county, although the Strawberry Recreation District maintains the parks, trails and public docks. It seems an ongoing struggle has been raging among neighbors in this small enclave (made up of a fair amount of waterfront property) who can’t agree whether to become an incorporated part of Tiburon, or remain associated with Mill Valley. Despite sometimes vocal Tiburon proponents, the neighborhood remains untethered from its sharky neighbor. Maybe it’s the spectacular views that have attracted harbor seals to the quiet and unspoiled coves the community offers. There was a time when the seals thrived and fished along the shores near Strawberry Point, but in the late ’80s their numbers dwindled. Still, a number of Eastern Pacific harbor seals have made the northeastern tip of the Strawberry Peninsula a regular spot to lounge beachside. In an effort to protect the seals–along with other wildlife, including herons and egrets–strict building codes have been enforced. Fortunately for them, kayakers are permitted to share the area with these frolicking sea-goers. If we didn’t mention Strawberry Village shopping center—which seems to be the hub/meeting place for most residents—we would be remiss. Just as its developers—the Shelter Bay Retail Group— intended, “it is more than a shopping center—it’s a destination.” As many as 60 merchants survived more than a year of construction time spent renovating the nearly half-century-old center. The 18-acre mall reopened in the fall of 2006 with several spiffy new restaurants, rent increases for the tenants and newly tree-lined pedestrian walkways. A range of restaurants and shops, family-oriented to upscale, caters
Ave Strawberry Rec Center
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Baptist Theological Seminary
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to the neighborhood’s wealthy demographic. Even Harmony, a Chinese restaurant that offers city-caliber dim sum, has set up shop in the center. If ever the county begins to feel small, head east from Highway 101 out on to Tiburon Boulevard, and make a right on to Strawberry Drive. Discover (if only from your car) how the folks in Marin’s 3rd Supervisorial District live. —TANYA HENRY
photo by Ken Piek ny
STRAWBERRY AT A GLANCE F FIRE STATION Mill Valley Fire Department, 1 Hamilton Ln.; Southern Marin Fire Protection District, 308 Reed Blvd. S LLIBRARY Mill Valley Public Library, 375 Throckmorton Ave. P PARKS Brickyard Park, Great Circle Dr./Seminary Dr.; R Reggie Park, 118 E. Strawberry; Strawberry Cove Park/ B Belloc Lagoon, Seminary Dr. P POST OFFICE Mill Valley Post Office, 751 E. Blithedale Ave.
ks— parks, trai ls and pub lic doc Strawb erry’s litte red wit h te wa nt? wh at mo re cou ld a Ma rini
10 Pacific Sun
P PUBLIC SCHOOLS Tamalpais High School, 700 Miller Ave.; M Mill Valley Middle School, 425 Sycamore Ave.; S Strawberry Point School, 117 E. Strawberry Dr.
! ding Pen
45 Reed Ranch Road • Tiburon World class San Francisco and Bay views! Impressive 4300 +/- Sq.Ft. Contemporary 5BD/3BA home in the sought after “Reedlands” neighborhood. www.45ReedRanchRoad.com • Offered at: $2,162,600
134 Reed Boulevard • Mill Valley Post-Modern complete remodel 4BD/3.5BA with full on San Francisco views. Sought after Strawberry location off private cul-de-sac near open space. www.134ReedBoulevard.com • Offered at $1,495,000
49 Bellevue • Belvedere Original Corinthian Island Ark, the “Sea Bunk” offers waterfront living with San Francisco skyline views. Representrd the Buyer • Offered at $1,795,000
16 Escalon • Mill Valley Breathtaking views and adjacent to open space. Amazing home with easy access to town. Represented the Buyer: Multiple Offers Offered at $1,349,000
60 Seafirth • Tiburon Architecturally impressive Seafirth Community home. Large scale rooms and open floor plan featuring walls of glass capturing captivating Bay views. Represented the Buyer. Offered at $2,295,000
123 Baltimore • Corte Madera Baltimore Park-One of the most sought after downtown Corte Madera & Larkspur neighborhoods! Resort like Craftsman Vintage home completely updated with period details. Rear pool area and pool house—your own private resort! Represented the Buyer • Offered at $1,695,000
276 Ricardo Road • Mill Valley Gracious & charming Strawberry single level 3BD/2BA updated and expanded home. Incredibly beautiful kitchen and amazing lush gardens on a large, level lot with expansion potential. www.276Ricardo.com • Offered at $925,000
875 Chamberlain Court • Mill Valley East Coast Style Nantucket rebuilt in 2003 to perfection! Huge level lawn and property. www.875Chamberlain.com • Offered at $1,749,000
300 Montford • Mill Valley Incredible level & sunny Homestead Valley location. Generously proportioned spaces, floor to ceiling windows & captivating rear yard. Represented the Buyer: Multiple Offers Offered at $925,000
Joan L. Kermath—MBA DRE #01308538
Marin County Luxury Homes www.JoanKermath.com | Jkermath@pacificunion.com 415.233.3031 Top 1% in Marin County • Member of “TAN” & “MPG” – Top performing Marin agent networks
Marin Neighborhoods | Winter 2011-2012 11
Downtown San Rafael
Positively Fourth Street!
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the years, cattle drives, parades, Memorial hangings and shootouts, cardsharps, low-riders, toreadors and Franciscan Park friars have made Fourth Street Marin’s Mission Mission most urbane gathering spot. 5 th It’s been all of that since Marin’s first Av. San Rafael Av. inhabitants, the Coast Miwok, settled 4th in an area between today’s Fourth Street and Fifth Avenue at the base of the S t. region’s northern hills. A few centuries 3rd of fun, fishing and foraging later, soldiers, priests and “converted” Indians from Mission San 2nd P.O. Francisco de Asís across the bay arrived at what is now the S t. corner of Fifth Avenue and A Street in December of 1817 and established Mission San Rafael Arcangel, the 20th and nextto-last mission in the chain from San Diego to Sonoma. In 1834 the missions were secularized and converted into pueblos by edict of the new Mexican government. San Rafael pueblo and its The main business of San Rafael, however, was livestock. 101 environs were granted to Tim Murphy, a genial Irishman who acted The surrounding hills were home to thousands of head as both Indian agent (he spoke Miwok with a brogue) and alcalde of of cattle, and it was common to see the herds driven up the pueblo. Murphy’s most famous contribution to the local history, Fourth to the slaughterhouse on San Rafael Creek. however, was his inauguration of Oct. 24 as San Rafael Day, which The town of San Rafael was incorporated in 1874. An elaborate started as a feast to honor St. Rafael Arcangel, and over the decades (it new Greek Revival county courthouse was erected with cupola, lasted 52 years) turned Fourth Street into a riotous scene of dancing, columned portico and, just inside the front door, a gallows. All of San gorging, all-night drinking, horse racing, blackjack, bullfighting and Quentin’s executions were carried out here, including that of murderer every other sort of revelry indulged in by ranchers, prospectors and Lee Doon; convivial onlookers nearly rioted in their mad scramble scum from the Barbary Coast out for a killing. over the body for souvenirs after the hanging, and thereafter execuAfter California joined the union in 1850, forty-eight 300-squaretions were performed at San Quentin instead. foot city lots were laid out along numbered and lettered streets The 1906 earthquake and fire shot San Rafael’s population up from projecting from the mission, which also acted as Marin’s first county 4,000 to 6,500 as refugees from San Francisco raced for the suburbs. courthouse. Just up Fourth was the log jail where hangings Eleven years later, thousands of onlookers lined Fourth Street to cheer were conducted from a nearby oak tree. Company D of the Fifth Infantry as they marched down to the Union Depot to head overseas and whip the Kaiser. Fourth Street suffered a blow in 1957 when fire destroyed a block of businesses between D and E streets, but downtown has undergone other, more positive changes in the past several decades. The old train depot was lovingly restored in 1971 and now houses the Whistlestop organization. There were merchant-sponsored redevelopment projects in 1963 and again in the ’70s, and Fourth Street’s been repaved at least twice by Ghilotti Brothers, a company with a San Rafael pedigree dating back to 1914. The street itself gained international fame in 1973 as the lowriders’ main drag in George Lucas’s American Graffiti. Smack in the middle of all this multicultural urbanity rises the gorgeously restored Rafael movie palace, a city landmark for much of this century. Fourth Street, in other words, remains Marin’s main drag.—MATTHEW STAFFORD
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photo by Ken Piek ny
DOWNTOWN SAN RAFAEL AT A GLANCE FIRE Station 1, 1039 C St.; Station 2, 210 Third St. LIBRARY San Rafael Public Library, 1100 E St. PARKS Albert Park, Boyd Memorial Park
bec om e the foc al poi nt of The Raf ael Film Cen ter has San Raf ael nig htli fe.
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POST OFFICE 910 D St. PUBLIC SCHOOLS San Rafael High, 185 Mission Ave.
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The antiques capital of the West
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between wild and quirky Fairfax to the west and bustling, centrally located San Rafael to the east, perched beneath the rolling hills of the Ross Valley and the majestic slopes of Mt. Tamalpais, San Anselmo is truly a place unto itself. With a slow-paced small-town vibe, well-groomed parks and quaint eateries and boutiques lining its stately downtown streets, it appears at fi rst glance to be a relatively easy-to-peg town. But that sublime exterior belies a rich, colorful history and more than a few hidden corners. The area that would one day be known as San Anselmo has always been blessed with breathtaking natural beauty. Before the arrival of European settlers, Coast Miwok inhabited the region. The Miwok, whose territory stretched as far north as Bodega Bay and covered all of Marin and part of Sonoma, no doubt favored the area because of the creek with its abundance of fish and the rolling oak-covered hills that provided both shade and acorns. The arrival of the Spanish and the establishment of the missions spelled the end of the Miwok era and paved the way for what is now downtown San Anselmo to be included in a vast land grant to wealthy friends of the Mexican government in the mid-1800s. More than two decades after California was added to the Union, the North Pacific Coast Railroad rolled through and shook things up in the mid-1870s, adding a line that ran from Sausalito to Tomales via San Anselmo, which for a few years appeared on maps simply as Junction. By the 1880s, the town had adopted its less utilitarian moniker, inspired by Juan Bautista Cooper’s original Punta de Quintin land grant, which marked the area as Canada del Anselmo. The arrival of the railroad—as well as the construction of the San Francisco Theological Seminary in 1892—predictably brought growth, development and expansion. Today San Anselmo is among Marin’s most popular and beloved burgs. In addition to the myriad restaurants and shops that make the town a topnotch Bay Area shopping and dining destination—some call it the antiques capital of the Northern California—San Anselmo also boasts a handsome, well-stocked library, several fine schools and some of the county’s best parks and outdoor
San Anselmo Memorial Park
Downtown San Anselmo
Bald Hill O.S.P.
ve i S e m inas A Ave
Greenfield Ave Creek Park
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Pacifi c Sun Hom e & Gard en
Bol selmo attractions, all set An San to the backdrop of the still-pristine, meandering creek. The town holds a number of special events, highlighted by the annual downtown antiques fair. Lovely and secluded Creek Park plays host each year to a number of alfresco Film Night in the Park screenings. With high-class commerce juxtaposed against natural beauty, a diverse citizenry composed of artists and professionals of every stripe, a rich history and a boundless future, it’s easy to see why San Anselmo shines as one of the brightest jewels in Marin’s decidedly ornate crown. —JACOB SHAFER
DOWNTOWN SAN ANSELMO AT A GLANCE
photo by Ken Piek ny
FI STATION Ross Valley Fire Department, Station 19, 777 FIRE San Anselmo Ave.; Station 20, 150 Butterfield Rd., San Anselmo Sa LI LIBRARY San Anselmo Public Library, 110 Tunstead Ave. PA PARKS Lansdale Park, corner of Center Blvd. and Lansdale; Cr Creek Park, downtown San Anselmo; Memorial Park, Veterans Pl. of off San Francisco Blvd.; Robson-Harrington Park, 237 Crescent Rd.; So Sorich Ranch Park, end of San Francisco Blvd.; Faude Park, top of Br Broadmoor Ave. between Indian Rock Rd. and Tomahawk Dr. PO POST OFFICE 121 San Anselmo Ave.
d its name from the utilitarianIn the 1880s the town change elmo. ‘Junction’ to Canada del Ans
14 Pacific Sun
PU PUBLIC SCHOOLS Brookside Elementary, 116 Butterfield Rd., San An Anselmo; Wade Thomas Elementary, 150 Ross Ave., San Anselmo; Si Sir Francis Drake High, 1327 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., San Anselmo
All Stores Open & Welcome Your Business Serving Our Neighbors Since 1967 West America Bank 721-1169 Safeway 456-9157 Subway 456-1170 Lee Nail Care 459-6868 Bradley Real Estate 455-1080
Beauty Store USA 453-9569 Gold Dreams Damselﬂy Unlimited 453-3050 Silver Screen Video 457-8360 Lark Shoes 258-9954 Adriana Sweets Open in 2012
CVS 456-4004 Easy Street Café 453-1984 Peet’s Coffee & Tea 306-0310 Hot Wok Chinese Food 454-0877 Burritoville 459-7443
Precision 6 Haircutting 457-5340 Red Hill Pet Center 457-0927 Red Hill Cake & Pastry 457-3632 Holiday Cleaners 457-9992 Swirl 451-0190
800-900 Block of Sir Francis Drake Blvd. redhillshoppingcenter.com Marin Neighborhoods | Winter 2011-2012 15
Where Marin met the modern world...
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dar Hill D
r. Ce one of the Bay Area’s earliest built outdoor Terra Linda Sleepy Hollow Divide Sk shopping malls, a set of y 1960s ranch-style homes that Las Rap became postwar architecture De l Gan classics and the Jetsons-like Frank a L as Lloyd Wright Civic Center across the highway, Terra Linda is Marin’s most fully Colindas R d. realized contribution to the modern era. Post Located in the Las Gallinas Valley area of 101 Office Oleander Rd. the county, with about 10,000 residents, Terra Park T. Linda was developed on the former land of Manuel Fre el M it a nu s T. Frietas, one of the original immigrant PortugueseMa Hillview Pk w Spanish land-grant owners. Freitas, who immigrated to Park y. the U.S. in 1896 and made his fortune in banking, ran the Ga Maria B. Freitas lli n a area—about 6,000 acres—as a dairy farm. Freitas’s former ranch s Memorial Park Av. house is currently the location of St. Isabella’s Catholic Church and School on Trinity Way. As the Freitas land was subdivided following World War II, the Terra Linda neighborhood emerged Kaiser E sm Medical e ye r and became one of the county’s busiest areas of development Center throughout the 1950s and ’60s. One of its most renowned developments in the area was the No proliferation of what became known as Eichler homes, the va A lb i courtyard-centered, naturally lit style popularized by architect on D ev . o Joseph Eichler from 1955 through the following decade. Terra market goods, n vd e Bl Dr. H in d Linda boasts about 900 Eichlers. lunch destinaLocated beyond the parkway that bears the Freitas name, the tions and muchMall at Northgate has been a shopping destination for Terra needed infusions Linda residents—as well as the entire county and beyond—since of takeout coffee. opening in 1965. One of the state’s earliest built outdoor malls, To the east of Terra Northgate has often been ahead of the mall game design-wise; Linda, across Highway 101, it converted to an enclosed building in 1987 when the then-new is the landmark Marin Civic Center, Village in Corte Madera brought a bit of outdoor-mall competidesigned by Frank Lloyd Wright; its space-age modern architection to Marin and had a major remodel just a couple of years ago. ture—intended from a design standpoint to blend in with the Nearby is Northgate One Shopping Center, which is closer in rolling Marin hills—brings many Wright devotees to the area design to a strip mall, offering neighbors to tour the structure. The Civic Center’s futuristic persona has been put to great effect in such sci-fi fi lms as 1994’s Gattaca and George Lucas’s debut 1970 feature THX 1138. Still unincorporated into the 1960s, Terra Linda founded its own Community Services District to serve the neighborhood, but in the early 1970s the area was annexed by the city of San Rafael. Despite their decades-long status as San Rafaelites, when asked the place they call home, residents are still almost certain to reply, “Terra Linda.”—SHELLEY SHEPHERD KLANER
e c il l o ont
photo by Julie Vader
FFIRE Station 6, 650 Del Ganado Rd. LLIBRARY Civic Center Library, 3501 Civic Center Dr., #427 P PARKS Maria B. Freitas Memorial Park P POST OFFICE 603 Del Ganado Rd.
n space. nded by timeless trails of ope Modern Terra Linda is surrou
16 Pacific Sun
P PUBLIC SCHOOLS Terra Linda High, 320 Nova Albion Way; V Vallecito Elementary School, 50 Nova Albion Way
Pacifi c Sun Hom e & Gard en
TERRA LINDA AT A GLANCE
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Marin Neighborhoods | Winter 2011-2012 17
Where Marinites go for the sunny side of the life
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northwest neighborhood of central San Rafael Ope Mount known as “Sun Valley”–unimaginatively called Cre nS st w pa c Tamalpais Neighborhood 13 in the San Rafael General Plan–includes ood e Cemetery most of Fifth Avenue, from H Street to the end. From there it meets Mount Tamalpais Cemetery, as well as K Street Dr. and the residential area extending west and including the streets of Humboldt and Solano. But Sun Valley carries So Sun H u la no the kind of “location cache” that will spur folks from the mb Valley outlying Rafael Highlands, Fairhills, Forbes and Racquet 5t h o l d t Pk. Club communities to claim Sun Valley as their place of residence Av . as well. And why not? The oldest section of Sun Valley was built up between 1882 and 1900; the San Francisco earthquake brought another wave of setThe neighbor5t h Forbes tlers north in ’06. hood has its J Hill Res. In 1914, the area became Marin’s own mini-Hollywood, as the own shopping California Motion Picture Corporation set up shop at the end of center/ K Street. Under the auspices of San Francisco entrepreneur George community Middleton and his would-be-It-Girl, wife Beatriz Michelena, the gathering spot 4t h CMPC utilized the rustic Sun Valley hills to produce a series of at the corner of S t. country melodramas; one of its more sophisticated productions, Fifth and Calian opera-inspired silent called Mignon, was filmed at what is now fornia; included is a laundromat, a the playground of the Sun Valley Elementary School, at Fifth and needlepoint shop, computer services center Happy Lane. Alas, Marin was not Tinsel Town North and by the and a hair and nails salon. Just past Scenic Avenue on early ’20s CMPC had gone bankrupt, its Sun Valley studios sitting Fifth is the West End Nursery, a family-owned shop that vacant until burning down in the early 1930s. provides the area’s gardening and landscape supplies. At the opposite The area remained relatively unchanged until the post-World end of Fifth Avenue is the Marin Monument Company—a monuWar II baby boom birthed with it a need for more housing, with ment itself since the early 1920s—which outfits granite and bronze hillside development occurring steadily throughout the 1960s and memorials for next door’s full-service, 130-year-old Mt. Tamalpais ’70s, leading to the neighborhood’s much-discussed architectural Mortuary & Cemetery. diversity. (Though in general, Sun Valley is comprised primarily of Sun Valley Park, on Solano Street between California Avenue and large, single-family homes, with a smattering of some duplexes and K Street, is a 2-acre recreation area with a playground and jungle gym, small apartments.) basketball court, sheltered picnic tables and—although signs calling While friendly, the idyllic residential community of Sun Valley for leashes are prevalent—a moderately sized open plot of grass just is not quiet about issues concerning its peaceful habitat, and the ac- perfect for playing catch with your dog. Another prized amenity is the tive neighborhood association regularly holds meetings to discuss Rafael Racquet and Swim Club, found up Racquet Club Drive, where changes to the cemetery and nearby school, traffic flow, park renomembers can still have lunch and enjoy the beatific views of Sun Valley vations, market updates and the like. with a backdrop of Mt. Tamalpais and the surrounding East Bay hills. Strolling through the neighborhood today, it’s easy to see why turnof-the-century residents originally flocked to Sun Valley. It’s the kind of place where the local market displays two public bulletin boards, mostly touting dog-walking services and job postings. It’s where residents will argue over the loss of a hiking trail or debate whether the cemetery should restructure its borders. Where a momma deer and her two offspring can silently trot across the street, impervious to residents mowing their lawns or children scooting by on their bikes.
S t. S t.
S t. E liz a bet h
Pacifi c Sun Hom e & Gard en
photo by Julie Vader
SUN VALLEY AT A GLANCE FFIRE Station 1, 1039 C St. LLIBRARY San Rafael Public Library, 1100 E St. P PARKS Sun Valley Park, Solano St. and K St., Boyd Memorial Park, B St. and Mission Ave.
ly 20th acted Marinites since the ear Sun Valley’s charms have attr San Rafael. of hub tling bus a was od century, when the neighborho
18 Pacific Sun
P POST OFFICE 910 D St. P PUBLIC SCHOOLS Sun Valley Elementary, 75 Happy Lane
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