mvhs_review_1985 - Mill Valley Public Library

Thoughts from Babbie Dreyfus People of my age, or older (IS th ere
anyone o lder!) who lived in Mill Valley
before 19 15, m ight remember that there
was a small establishment bu ilt into the
group of redwoods o n the left of the
road between Eilst Blithedalc and the
Old Mill. It was known as "Agazellow's"
and was owned by a pleasant man of
approxi mately that name, who sold soft
dri nks, gum, ca ndy bars and so fort h to
the loca l chi ldren and the weekend
hik ers, most of whom went up the
Dipsea steps on t heir way to the varied
beauties of West Marin . Mr. Agazellow
not o nly provided refreshments, but he
made nice little hanging baskets of
latticed h azel-wood sticks . At one time
there was h ard ly a house in Mill Valley
that didn't have a fern or two in one of
those little baskets.
The weekend hikers were not the o nl y
vigo ro us walkers in those days. It
asto nishes me now that the whole
population of Mill Valley walked almost
everywh ere it h ad to go . There were a
few (possibly four) carriages for hire at
the statio n, but unless it was raining, or
o ne were heavi ly burdened, or very
fan cil y d ressed , they were not much
used. We all wa lked, men to trains,
women to the store or the movies o r on
visits, and children everywhere. My
brother and I, at six and seven, walked
from Helen's Lane to Gardner Vi ll a at
Park and Miller to a smal l school run
by a Germa n woman named Fraulein
Hartman n , and later to her school at
West Blithedale and Eldridge. A t nine
and ten we walked from our house to
the Up h3m house on Lovell Avenue
(wh ere the Canepa house is now) to go
swi mming.
This unavoidable walking explains, of
course, wh y th ere were so many flights
of steps in all parts of Mill Valley. The
ea rly residents loved th e views from the
hills, but didn't have cars. They HAD
to have shortcuts.
I wonder how many teenagers today
would co nsider HIKING to Muir Beach
(we called it Big Lagoon) to go
swimming? To my generatio n it seemed
li ke a perfectl y reaso nable (as well as the
o nl y) way to get a day at the beach.
And some even hiked to Stinson (we
called it Wi llow Camp).
The first car that came into our family
was my brother's Model-T Ford roadste r
with overhead valves, whatever they
were, and by that time I was sixteen
and the re we re more cars aro und,
though not many belo nging to
teenagers. When I think of goi ng up
and down Wi ldomar between Mo li no
and Helen's Lane in that car, my hair
stands o n end. I wonder what the world
wou ld be like if nobody had ever in­
vented the combustio n engine? On that
note I leave you.
About The Cover ­
Published By
The Mill Valley Historical Society
375 Throck morton Avenue
Mill Valley, Ca lifornia
Mr. Jeremy Gorman,
Mr. Norman Ortman,
Mrs. Janet Upham,
Mrs . Gene Stocking,
Mr. Earl Reinke,
Vi ce Pres iden t
"Camping at Mr. Schmidt's" is the ti tle of thi s wo nderful old sepia pri nt in th e
libra ry's History Room. Campi ng in Mill V alley in the 1890's and early 1900's was
a primitive outdoor adventure for some, a civil ized extensio n of city life for oth ers;
a sim ple tent in th e wi lderness for some, a semi-permanent , platform ed summer
home complete with linen , sil ver service and ca ndelabra for others. Rou n ds of par­
ties progressed from one lantern-rimmed site to the next in warm , wooded country­
summer M ill V alley.
The Mi ll Va lley Hi storical Society is gratefu l for t he cooperat io n o f Thelm a Per­
cy and the Mill Valley Library. The editor is gratefu l to the Ortman s - Bud and
Dorothy, H enri Boussy, Jack Barnard , Fred Sand rock, Edgar Sliney and Mary Ker
for providing t he con tent, advertisi ng and design of t h is ninth H istori cal Review.
ius 1derful old sepia print in t h e
Ie 1890's a nd early 1900's was
(tensio n of city life fo r o t hers ;
'm a nent, platformed summer
ra fo r others. Ro unds of par­
ext in warm, wooded countryc coopera tion of Th elma Per­
l to t he Ortmans - Bud and
<, Edgar Sli ney a nd Mary Ke r
this nin th Historica l Review.
existence the creek h as created some
dramatic features, such as the series of
shallow pools eroded into the bedrock
now called "the Th ree Wells. " It created
a site th at was distinctive enough to be
designated as one of the parks when the
city was incorporated. U pstream fro m
the "Three Wells" the waters drop fro m
ledges in the rock fo rm ation creating the
falls that gave "Cascade" canyo n its
name. These cascades and the
surroundi ng area were also preserved as
a natural public park when Mill Valley
was foun ded.
The native Indians must have revered
the canyo n. They must have been awed
by its forest cover and gra teful for the
abundance of game that it sheltered.
The clear stream provided them with
abundant fresh water and fi sh fo r the
catch ing. The remnants of t he Indian
trails in the ca nyon is evidence of the
earl y importance of the area ot their
culture and to their surviva l.
The first white settlers brought a new
set of values for the exploitation of the
resources of t he ca nyon. The first of
these, John Reed , was so impressed by
the force of t he creek that he selected its
banks as the site of his mill. The felling
of the virgin timber may date from that
time in 1936, when Reed considered this
land as part of h is "Corte Madera del
Presidio" rancho and proceeded to cut
wood for the uses of the presidio in
neighboring Yerba Buena. The demand
for lumber must have continued and
been accelerated by the needs of the
new city during the gold rush and the
period of growth th at followed the
influx of population into San Fran cisco.
The local lumber must have been
quickly ex hausted and the ca nyon area
reduced the denuded hillsides and
derelict stum ps. This devastatio n of the
land may have restricted its usefulness
and made it suitable o nly for grazing by
cattle. The original Mexican land grants
in California were so vast and the
terrain so wild th at the borders between
ranchos were vague and arbit ra ry.
Although the boundaries of Captain W.
H. Richardso n's Ra ncho Saucelito and
John Reed's Rancho Corte Madera del
Presidio were contiguous in the Mill
Va lley area they had never been clearly
delineated . As a result, John Reed built
his mill in a wild canyon which he
believed in good faith to be his
property. A fter C alifornia statehood in
1850, as the area was being divided
among the heirs of Rich ardson and
Reed , it became imperative to define the
boundaries. Following a bitter legal
struggle, the border separating the two
ranchos was set along "Widow Reed
C reek" bo rdering Mill Avenue. The
land west of the creek was designated as
Top photo: Thmckmorton past Jose/)hine. Above , the Lunquist Family resti ng b)' the 3 Wells (341 Cascade
Drive) after a hi ke [0 Muir Woods. A bit fa rther down the trail they pose by the Old Mill . 1890. A t right Albert
Gieseche raises a flag a t the to/) of Mt. Ta malpais with Ernest H euter, Sr. , right center on rock; Mr. Otto beloll'
him (w ith umbrella) and Fred and Charles Run)'on, left, w ith caps. The man directly in front of A. Gieseche is not
identified. JW1e 2 1, 1891.
wing by the 3 Wells (341 aseade
the Old Mill. 1890. At right A lbert
-ight center on rock; Mr. Otto belot( ,
directly in front of A. Gieseche is not
"Ra ncho Saucelito." This decisio n
placed Reed's mill and Cascade ca n yon
on Richardson land . The rancho passed
fro m Richardson control to t hat of his
manager, Samuel T hrockmorto n, who
divided the o riginal 19,000 acres into
smaller ranches which were lea ed out
as dairy farms.
Reminiscent of the pastoral era of Mill
Valley is the studio and home of
Richard and A nn O'Hanlon at 616
Throckmorto n Avenue . The property,
which extends up t he hillside to Lovell
Avenue, was formerl y a dai ry farm
ow ned and operated for years by the
Tony Freitas fam ily. Tony's son won
fame as a national baseball player. In
the day before milk delivery ro utes, the
neighbo rhood children used to come to
the ranch each even ing to fill a pail
with fresh milk fo r the next day's
T he O 'Hanlon's purch ased the
property in 1942. It totals abo ut 16 acres
and includes a sma ll barn, now the
O'Hanlo n teaching studio, which boa ts
the origin al 18"-wide redwood fl oori ng.
The small farmhouse, now much
enlarged, is t he fa mily ho me. Other
buildings on the property are the homes
of M rs. O 'Hanlon's brothers.
Cascade Ca nyon was wrenched
abruptly from its rural past in 1889
when Samuel T h rockmorton's daughter,
Susa nn a, signed over 3,400 acres of the
fo rmer Richardson estate to the San
Francisco Finance C ompa ny to settle a
debt of 100,000 dollars. T he land was
the site of the future Mill Valley.
Located west of Miller Avenue and
following O ld Mill Creek it made
Cascade C anyo n the "cradle" of the
future town .
Officers of the fin ance o mpany under
Joseph G reen Eastland, fo rmed the
Tam alpais Land and Water Compa ny to
"develop" the property. An engineer,
Michael O'Shaughnessy, was hired to
plan the streets, survey the building ites
and design the water a nd sewer systems.
The first auction of lots was held on an
, open and sun ny locatio n in Cascade
Canyon large enough to hold the crowd
of 2000 bidders. T he 6 acre site was
reserved by the company and do nated
to the public as a pa rk. As it included
Reed's old mill it was called "Old Mill
The source of the water supply for the
new town was O ld M ill C reek. A
reservoir was created beh ind an earth fill
and co ncrete dam near the junction of
Throckmorton Avenue and Cascade
Dri ve. It was the fi rst of several
constructio ns hindering the fl ow of the
creek. The reservoir surv ived un til the
recent year of the big drought when,
iro nica ll y eno ugh, it was d rained to
130 Cascade Dri t'e. Ma yers home.
prevent accidental drownings.
Besides the grid of streets,
O 'Sha ughnessy also designed a series of
casements with steps for access between
streets where the ca nyon was too steep
for cross streets. T hree sets of stairs are
sit ll in use from Cascade Drive; C ascade
Way, another set opposite Josephine and
a third near Marion Avenue.
If lumber had been the primary
resource of the canyon and pasture land
the second, the third was certainly its
natural beauty and salubrious climate.
The lots that were purch ased in 1890
were ideal campsites during the dry
summer months and were used as such
by the new landowners who were
anxious to escape t he cobblestones and
amenities of urban life in San Francisco
and trade them for the dust and
primitive discomforts of camp life. Tents
were quickly erected under the second
growth redwoods and families set up
housekeeping along the banks of Old
Mill C reek from which businessmen
could commute easily to their work in
San Francisco by the train that came to
Throckmorton Avenue, transfering to a
commute train to Sausalito and then by
ferry to San Francisco. By 1893
"summer homes" and cottages were
begi nning to replace the tents and tent
146 Cascade Drive . Mich acies(si< y house, 1890.
platforms of the vacationers. Some of
the homes were quite substantial and
decorative in the "Victorian style"
popular in the city. One of these
permanent dwellings is the handsomely
preserved Victorian at 382
Throckmorton, across from the Mill
Valley library. The diagonally placed
porch and the fashionable trim are
architectural features that indicate the
care and fine craftsmanship that went
into these early houses.
The early homes were identified by
names, some discriptive, some
humorous, some capricious but all
distinctive in the era before street
numbers came into general use. The
brown shingle house at 440
Throckmorton was known as "the
Orchard," from the many fruit trees
that surrounded it. Originally a "Queen
A n ne" style cottage built in 1890, it is
much modified and remodeled since the
1920's. A Miss Giesecke, visiting the
house in 1954, claimed that her brother,
41 8 Throckmorton Avenue. Kingwell home.
Albert, had built 440 Throckmorton
(and 146 Cascade), and that he
participated in the first raising of the
American flag on Mount Tamalpais.
The large property at 448
Throckmorton extends through to
Lovell Avenue. The well preserved
"Queen Anne" Victorian located there
was built in 1893 for the family of a
prosperous German immigrant, Otto
Emil Falch. The family occupied the
home for 70 years. It was extensively
expanded and remodeled in 1905 to
accommodate the growing family at
which time the octagonal tower, gables,
and dormer and bay windows were
installed. Built as a summer home it
became the permanent home of the
Falch family when they returned from a
trip to Europe at the time of the 1906
earthquake and fire. The marble
fireplace was brought over from their
San Francisco home by ferry and horse
drawn carriage.
Walter Falch, one of Otto's sons,
graduated in engineering from the
University of California. He became a
partner in the architectural firm of Falch
and Knoll and designed the Mill Valley
city hall. It is interesting to think that
the octagonal tower on the city hall was
inspired by his recollection of the tower
on his family home.
The Kingswell home at 418
Throckmorton was built in 1891 in a
classical revival style. It is included in
the Victorian anthology "Here Today"
as an example of elaborate period
architecture. It was the home of an ex­
supervisor and businessman from San
Francisco. It has been an apartment
house for many years.
The block of land along Cascade
Drive between Josephine and Eugene
belonged to Jerome Stanford, a nephew
of Leland Stanford. He built the
Victorian at 130 Cascade Drive in the
early 1890's. The property was sold to
the C arl Meyers family in the early
1900's. It was later purchased by Mr.
and Mrs. David Bork who cultivated a
large dahlia garden and used it for
frequent entertaining between 1914 and
1942. For the enjoyment of the public a
rock water fountain was added to the
garden in the 30's and 40's.
A ll the homes built in
not patterned after the e
Victorian arc hitecture th ,
fashionable at that time.
of distinctio n and origina
designed by architects to
individual aesthetic or tK
clients. O ne of the most I
innovative of the design ~
Francisco architect, Willij
planned the home at 465
for his client, Gustav Ma
German immigra nt. Mr.
wholesale diamo nd mere!
preside nt of the C aliforni
and Jewelry C ompany ofl
T he home was built in l'
"Waldruh, " or "Forest R~
the unique feat ures of the
billiard room with a raise
spectators two steps a bo~
level. The mantlepiece 0
bears the carved inscripti
" Wilkommen in WaldruH
1896. The Polk design h8
47 1 T hrockmorton
448 Throckmorto n Avenue. Falch home.
A~ ' enl!e .
altered as the entrance td
originally on Cascade Dr
pill ars still mark the loca
has replaced the broad
do uble entrance doors 0"
colo nial style that was a
the architect's design.
In 1933 the home was
Walter Schoening, an en
in t he Philippines, as a
and a residence for his rc
the eoutbrea k of World
Schoenings were internei
Japanese. T he empty hOI
over by the O ffi ce of Pr~
Ad ministraJion to house
the Sausalito and Mari
Much restoration had t
house by the Schoening!
in 1945.
The home at 276 Cas(
designed by Willis Polk 1
revival style with an ent
two large pillars on the
ri ve. "Breidablik."
h , one of Otto's sons,
engineering from the
California. He became a
~ architectura l firm of Falch
d designed the Mill Valley
interesting to thin k that
tower o n the city hall was
is recollection of the tower
,ell home at 41 8
n was built in 1891 m a
al style. It is included in
anthology "Here Today"
e of elaborate period
It was the home of an ex­
d businessma n from San been an apartment
ny years.
)f land along Cascade
1 Josephine and Eugene
erome Stanford, a nephew
nford. He built the
130 Cascade Drive in the
rhe property was sold to
ers family in the early
later purchased by M r.
id Bork who cu ltivated a
arden and used it for
:taining between 1914 and
enjoyment of the public a
untain was added to the
30's and 40's.
." All the homes built in the 1890's were
not patterned after the elaborate
V icto rian architecture tha t was
fashionable at that time. Many homes
of distinction and originality were
designed by architects to su it their
individual aesthetic o r that of their
clients. One of the most reliable and
in novative of the designers was the San
Francisco architect, Willis Polk. He
planned the home at 465 Throckmorton
for his client, Gustav Marcus, a wealthy
German immigrant. Mr. Marcus was a
wholesale diamond merchant and
president of the California D iamond
and Jewelry Company of San Francisco.
The home was built in 1893 and named
"Waldruh, " or "Forest Repose. " One of
the unique features of the house is the
billiard room with a raised dais for
spectators two steps above the floor
level. The mantlepiece over the fireplace
bears the carved inscription ,
"Wilkommen in Waldruh" and is dated
1896. The Polk design has been much
471 Throckmorton AtJenuc. Eloesser home,1 890.
altered as the entrance to the house was
originally on Cascade Drive where
pillars still mark the location. A deck
has replaced the broad porch and
do uble entrance doors of class ical
colonial style that was a characteristic of
the architect's design .
In 1933 the home was purchased by
Walter Schoening, an engineer residing
in the Philippines, as a summer home
and a residence for his retirement. At
the eoutbreak of World War II the
Schoenings were interned by the
Japanese. The empty house was taken
over by the Office of Price
Administration to house workers from
the Sausalito and Marin City shipyards.
Much restoration had to be done to the
house by the Schoenings on thei r return
in 1945.
The home at 276 Cascade was also
designed by Willis Polk in the colonial
revival style with an entrance between
two large pillars on the right of the
501 Throckmorton. HurtJey Klyce's
Ol.( 'n
house. It was built in 1893 for Benjamin
Washington, a direct descendant of the
Lawrence Washington branch of George
Washington's family and was known
simply at the Washington house. It was
acquired by the James Frickies in the
1940's. They built a drive and retaining
walls of thousands of cobble stones that
were once paving for San Francisco's
hilly streets. The cobbles prevented the
horses from slipping but being
detrimental to automobiles they were
removed and reputedly sold for ten
cents each.
Another wealthy German family, the
Arthur Elloessers, built their home at
471 Throckmorton, next to the Marcus
home, in 1893. Elloesser was the
inventor and manufacturer of "can't
bust 'em" overalls, a competitor to the
Levi Strauss "jeans."
The original entrance to the property
was a curving drive from Eugene Street
to what is now the rear of the house
where a living room is located. At one
end of this room a raised platform with
large windows once provided a view of
the mountain long since obscured by
neighboring construction and the
growth of shrubbery.
The Elloesser property included half a
block of land. There were stables near
510 Throckmorton Avenue. Built in the 1890's.
the entrance on Eugene. A cottage,
built between the stables and the house,
was the home of the Elloesser daughter
and her husband and is still in use
A violinist lived in rooms above the
stables. When they were torn down, he
bought the land and built the home
which stands there today. The rest of
the property remained undeveloped
until the 1960's.
One eminent member of the family
was Dr. Leo Elloesser, a noted surgeon,
who died in 1976 at the age of 95. He
was a former professor of surg~ry at the
U C medical school and chief of surgery
at Stanford Medical School. During
World War I he treated both German
and American wounded and was a
combat surgeon on the Loyalist side
during the Spanish Civil War. After
World War II he trained doctors for
both Chiang and Mao.
A few homes were individually
designed and distinct from their
565 Throchmorton. Eastland'oS "Burlwood. "
neighbors in style and concept. Such a
house was "Burlwood" built in 1891 at
565 Throckmorton Avenue for Joseph
Green Eastland. It was built in the
English Tudor style with two gabled
wings projecting forw ard from a broad
half-timbered facade enhanced by the
use of stained glass windows and leaded
Besides being chairman of the
Tamalpais Land and Water Company,
Eastland was president of the No rth
Pacific Coast Railroad and was also
involved in power companies in the bay
area. As a result, Burlwood was the first
residence in Mill Valley to have electric
power. The town of Mill Valley was
originally named "Eastland" and severa l
of the town's businesses were named
after him. Besides the post office there
was an Eastland Bakery, Eastland
Stables and an Eastland Hotel. In 1904
'Mill Valley" was adopted as the official
name of the town and the name
1 WOl108
)\\ 1-(l):J
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J1J '~/lrr:I
I\' S !r{
Clocku.'ise from top left:
?\1iss Marie Pa:-me in Cascade Can)'on, June 1900,
Rustic st)'le decor po/mlar at the tu m of the century huilt b)' the Outdoor Art CllliJ.
G iant Ba)' Tree along the creek. Earl)' caml) scene shott,S, among others, John SporriSt('Ood, Daniel O'Connell the Sausalito Poer and Roger M(lgee a t about age elct:en.
More of the prevalent n(stic furniture in the Mayer home garden (1 30 Cascade Drire) ;
Carl ;\1W,t:r, seated in foreground , his nephew, Albert C. Giesecke, standing at righr.
Bottom lefl , Cascade Dam and Resen'OlT built in 1889.
Damsel and donkey ready
Tamal/Jais. 1893.
climb Me.
Eastland gradually disappeared from the
railroad station and other enterprises
where it was superseded by the new
Eastland was one of the biggest
landowners in the canyon. In 1893,
Bluebird Cottage was built on part of
the large estate. It is a miniature of the
half-timbered mansion and was intended
as a play house and school room for the
Eastland children .
A lthough Burlwood was always
considered as a summer home, Eastland
retired to it for the last two years of his
life. After his death in 1907, his widow
moved down the peninsula and the
property was sold to the J. F. Meyer
family. For a number of years it was
owned by the A. M. Mercantile
Association and operated as a
recreational retreat for employees of the
Emporium. The small home at 585
T hrockmorton, reputedly designed by
Willis Polk, was originally a shower
house for the retreat. The large rou nd
openings at eit her end of the roof gable
were steam outlets from the showers,
used by the players from the tennis
courts th at used to be on either side of
the building. It was co nverted into a
home by the present owners about 40
years ago.
The most prevalent and influential
style of architecture in the canyon was
the brown shingle cottage of the turn of
the century. A typical example is th e
large house at 501 Throckmorton which
is featured in the archi tectural collection
"Here Today." It was built in 1900 by
Harvey Klyce as his own home and is
sti ll owned by members of his fam ily. A
feature of this home is the arched
porch, front and rear, and a motif that
is repeated in the arch over the
driveway. Si milar arches spanned the
tracks of the old Tamalpa is and Muir
Woods Railroad station in town and as
a structural and decorative em­
bellishment of the mountain hotel.
Harvey Klyce was probably the best
known of the earl y architects of Mill
Valley which boasts of 200 buildings
built by him . He studied architecture for
many years in San Francisco and his
houses are noted for their fi ne
craftsmanship and design. His first
house in Mill Valley was built on Lovell
and Summ it for a Dr. Swain. It was
later owned by the Mauers. The
driveway of his own home led to a large
barn which h as si nce been co nverted to
a home which faces Eugene Street. The
caretaker's cottage facing Cornwall
Street on the same property has been
much en larged to accommodate the
fam ily of Klyce's son , Melvin. The entry
to the house was originally off Eugene.
It was built in 1900 of board and batten
siding with a different roof line. In its
third generatio n , after Melvin died in
1976, it was again renovated by his so n,
Albert Klyce.
T he house at 390 T hrockmorton was
originally n amed "Stornaway Cottage"
for a town on o ne of the islands off the
coast of Scotla nd. It was the summer
home of Mrs. C hristy McCollum,
widow of the founder of the McCollum
Fishing and Trading Company wh ich
processed Alaskan codfi sh on the
western shore of Belvedere Island from
1877 to 1906. It was bought by the
Union Fish Company. A wing was
added to the house in 1929. In 1936 ,
the Jackson family, the owners of the
house who also operated a 5 and 10
cent store on Throckmorton Avenue,
turned it into a rooming ho use.
T he McCollum fam ily originally
owned the four lots bounded by Lovell,
Elma, Throckmorton and Cornelia
Avenues. Part of the property now
occupied by a house built by Harvey
Klyce, was originally a tennis court.
Mrs. McCollum's daughter, Mrs.
Charles Runyon, and her husband
summered at 161 Lovell Avenue.
T he two lots at 464 and 460
Throckmorton were bought by a San
Francisco contractor fo r his twin
daughters. Adjoining houses were built
on the property by Harvey Klyce. The
daughters moved into their two ho mes
after their weddings. T he couple living
at 460 Throckmorton were later
divorced and it became a rest home and
later a home for Episcopal nuns
changing ownership many times until
the present owner bought it in 1947 .
Except for the addition of a deck, this
Klyce home is unique in th at it h as not
been altered in any way. The
companion home next doo r at 464
Throckmorto n h as been much altered
from the original Klyce design. Long
occupied by the Dan Deedy fam ily
much of the remodeli ng was planned by
the local architect, Eugene Crawford.
T he property at 480 Throckmorton
was purchased as two lots in 1890 by a
San Fra ncisco attorney named Sharpe
for h is two daughters, Fanny and
Violet. T he sisters planted a circle of
redwoods th at is still there. The
imposing brown shingle house was built
in the center of the two lots and was
remodeled in later years by H arvey
Klyce. The house was later purch ased
by a Captain Timothy Murphy, a
seaman who sailed to the orient and
Australia. He introd uced the banya
banya tree th at is planted there.
The property at 501 T hrock morton
was the site of the "Monte V ista," one
of M ill Valley's early hotels in the
1890's. W hen the owner ran into arrears
it was purchased by E. L. Heuter who
renamed it the "Kenilwo rth Inn" and
Dining al fresco on the site of Kenilworth Hotel, corner of Cornwall and Throckmorton Avenues. Circa 1880.
reopened it as a summer hotel c<
with tennis court, a glass enclOse
di ning room that seated 100 gue:
a black carriage and horses to m
guests at the station. The ventur
not a financial success. Harvey ~
renovated the buildi ng and it We
reopened as a spa by Ernest SteE
real estate developer and membe
board of the Tamalpais Land an
Company. Blue mud baths were
provided for therapy in the base
area. T he building, which had 2~
rooms, a basement, main and ur
floors and an attic, was equi ppec
an elevator fo r the residents. WI­
failed a Dr. Fritz from Sa n Fra nc
used it as a sa nitarium for his pc
but th is was a fin ancial fai lure a~
The building, empty except for G
caretaker, burned to the ground
The elevator shaft still ex ists unc
present ho use on the site at 519
T hrockmorton which was built t
Symonds in 1926.
At one time it was contemplat
the commercial center of Mill V:
would be located near O ld Mill :
and a spur of the railroad was e:
from Dowd's stables to the site (
present library along T hrockmor
Avenue. The tracks never ran a~
the site of the old hotel and wer
used. They were removed in the
when the street was paved.
Captain Melvin Staples, a sea
traveli ng between San Francisco
H awaii, visited M ill Va lley in th,
summer and was so enamored 0
area th at he bought a 30-acre pa
the 1890 auction. T he land ran '
Cascade to Monte Vista and inc
the area of 277 Cascade where r
a home and called it "Yvetot," a
1905 . Two years later he brough
brother's five orphaned children
Hawaii to live there and retired
the sea to raise them. Captain S
was the first tax collector for Mi
after it was incorporated. He als<
as the second town marshall anc
in that office h ad t he prisoners
construct rock walls on h is prop
was a close friend of Harvey Kly
named his son, Melvin , after Ca
Staples .
Besides its resources of lumber.
water, beauty and climate, CasG
Canyon was also the source of t
"blue" stone th at was used to cc
walls , walkways, steps and founc
all over M ill Valley in the 1890' ~
quarry for this stone can be seer
opposite 422 Cascade Drive.
There are many important ho
this area whose architects are nc
known but wh ich contribute to
diversity of styles. The large hou
'orntmll and Throckmorton Avenues. Circa 1880. '
reopened it as a summer hotel complete
with tennis court, a glass enclosed
di ning roo m that seated 100 guests and
a black carri age and horses to meet the
guests at t he station . T he venture was
not a fina ncial success. Harvey Klyce
renovated the building and it was
reopened as a spa by Ernest Steele, a
real estate developer and member of the
board of the T amalpais Land and Water
Company. Blue mud baths were
provided for t herapy in the basement
area. The building, which had 25 guest
rooms, a basement, main and upper
floo rs and an attic, was equi pped with
an elevator fo r the residents . When th is
failed a Dr. Fritz fro m San Francisco
used it as a sanita riu m fo r his patients
but th is was a financial failure as welL
T he building, empty except for a
caretaker, burned to the gro und in 19 13 .
The elevato r shaft still exists under the
present house o n the site at 519
Throckmorto n which was built fo r Carl
Symonds in 1926.
At o ne time it was co ntemplated that
the co mmercial center of M ill Valley
would be located near O ld Mill Park
and a spur of the railroad was extended
fro m Do wd's stables to the site of the
present library along T h rockmorton
Avenue. T he tracks never ran as far as
the site of the old hotel and were never
used . T hey were removed in the 1920's
when t he street was paved.
C aptain Melvin Staples, a sea captain
traveling between San Francisco and
Hawaii , visited Mill Valley in the
summer and was so enamo red of the
area that he bo ught a 30-acre parcel at
the 1890 auction. T he land ran from
C ascade to Monte V ista and included
the area of 277 Cascade where he built
a home and ca lled it "Yveto t," around
1905 . Two years later he bro ught his
brother's five orpha ned ch ildren fro m
Hawa ii to li ve t here and retired fro m
the sea to ra ise them. Captain Staples
was t he first t ax collector fo r Mill Valley
after it was incorporated . He also served
as the seco nd to wn marshall and wh ile
in that office had the prisoners
co nstruct rock walls on h is property. He
was a close friend of Harvey Klyce who
named h is so n, Melvin , after C aptia n
St aples.
Besides irs resources of lumber, clear
water, beauty and climate, C ascade
Canyon was also the source of the
"blue" sto ne that was used to construct
walls, wa lkways, steps and fo undatio ns
all over M ill Valley in the 1890' . T he
q uarry fo r this stone can be seen
opposite 422 Cascade D rive.
T here are many important houses in
th is area whose archi tects are not
known but which co ntribute to the rich
diversity of styles. The large ho use at
by a house built by Harvey
was originally a ten nis court.
1cCollum's daughter, Mrs.
s Runyon, and her husband
Ted at 161 Lovell Avenue .
two lots at 464 and 460
cmorton were bought by a San
;co contractor for h is twin
ers. Adjoi ning houses were bui lt
property by Harvey Klyce. The
ers moved into thei r two homes
leir weddings. T he couple living
Throckmorton were later
:d and it became a rest home and
home for Episcopa l nuns
ng ownership many times unt il
'sent owner bought it in 1947.
for the addition of a deck , this
10me is un ique in that it has not
ltered in any way. T he
nion home next doo r at 464
~m o rton has been much altered
1e original Klyce design. Long
~d by the Da n Deedy fa mily
)f the remodeling was plan ned by
al architect, Eugene Crawford.
property at 480 Th rock morto n
•chased as two lots in 1890 by a
ancisco attorney named Sharpe
two daughters, Fanny and
The sisters planted a circle of
,ds that is still there. The
19 brown sh ingle house was built
:enter of the two lots and was
led in later years by Harvey
The house was later purchased
:tptain Timoth y Murph y, a
who sailed to the orient and
ia. He introduced the banya
:ree that is planted there.
)roperty at 501 T hrockmorton
site of the "Mo nte V ista," one
Valley's earl y hotels in the
When the owner ran into arrears
,urchased by E. L. Heuter who
j it the "Kenilworth Inn " and
'~. 146 Cascade known as "Ki ng's Castle"
was built from plans orde red through a
Sears Roebuck catalog. It contains 3000
square feet and includes a wine cellar.
The lot was purchased in 1890 by a
buyer named Hudso n . In 1892 it was
bought by A nto n M ich aelestsky, a San
Francisco wine merchant , for ten dollars
in gold coins. By 1902 is was sold to a
Mr. Liebman who hired Harvey Klyce
to build an additional 2000 square feet
onto the building. T he prope rty
changed hands in 191 7, 1939, 1948
(when it was bought for $ 11,000) and
again in 1984. G eneratio ns of children
have played King of the Mo untain o n
the spiral steps cut into the burls of the
redwoods in the grove of over eighty
T he large home at 586 Th rockmorton
was built in 1909 fo r the Edward
Michels family in the fashio nable brown
sh ingle "C alifo rn ia style." M r. Michels,
a Sa n Francisco tax atto rney, was one
of the organizers of t he Mi ll Valley
Burro Compa ny, The company owned
27 burros which were provided for tri ps
up Mount T amalpais at 25 cents per
hour or $ 1.50 per day.
A model of this house was on disp lay
at the Mill Valley Council Chambers in
city halL T he exterior appearance of the
house has been altered by the additio n
of a deck and a shed but the interio r
remains virtually the same.
As the commercia l heart of M ill
Valley retreats fu rther into the suburban
shopping centers, Cascade Ca nyon
retains the peace and seren ity that
attracted the first summer settlers and
eventually persuaded them to make t his
bea utiful area a setting for permanent
d wellings almost a hundred years ago
that were, are, and will be an
architectural heritage today and for
generatio ns to come.
Along the "All aboard this time machine for points north . .. " Scene: Foot of San Francisco's Market Street Pipe Line Date and Time: A Summer Sunday, 1931 A .D. 6:30 A.M. by Fred Sandrock
Legions of depression-weary " weekend warriors" anxious to escape the fog-enshrouded
city are purchasing tickets for such bucolic places as Baltimo re Park, Cazadero, Fairfax,
G len Ellen, and Larkspur. But most of those wearing 16" boots are headed for Mill Va lley.
Their earl y Northwestern Pacific ferry could be th e CAZADERO, EUREKA ,
SAUSALITO, or TAMALPAIS. Prom ptly at 6:45 the boat departs for Sausalito , that pic­
turesq ue little stairway town of little willows. O ne-half hour later they board one of the
modern , owl-eyed steel electrics for a 7:32 arrival in Mill Valley.
Mt. Tamalpais with its timbered and chaparral-covered slopes is their destination. Most
of the hike rs are carrying the descriptive map folder, "Hiking in M arin," courtesy of the
NWP, and know well the numerous approaches to the Moun tain . Some of o ur trampers
Below, Cascade Lane, the first of the three /lights of
head straight up Bern ard Street with its 180 steps leading to Summit Avenue and the
stairs that make up the step part of the Dipsea. Bot­
Temelpa Trail, the shortest route to East Peak and the Tavern of Tama lpais. Others direct
tom, heading down to Muir Woods through the Mi ne
their feet up Cascade Canyo n to join the Tenderfoot, Zigzag and other trails. Most,
Ridge Cut , Co 1915. Note the Pipe Line on the truss
however, are bou nd for the infamous Steps h ard by the Old M ill. A fter stepp ing up 671
bridge ("Trestle"). This site has been fi lled in and is
times they reach Edgewood Avenue at Sequoi a Valley D rive.
now Panoramic Highway. Nan cy Skinner Collectio n.
At this juncture a group of Germa n speakers peels off and co ntinues on th e Dipsea and
Cow Trails to their clubhouse, the Touristen-Verein built in 1912 . Others head fo r Muir
Woods and Joe's Place, Stinson Beach, and the roadho use and surf at Big Lagoon.
The main group, by now strung o ut, tu rns up Edgewood where it soon passes the
Belvedere Reservoir and Dam (Mill Valley Reservoir). Here the Pipe Line Tra il begins.
This reservoir was begun on May 13 , 1904, when the Mill Valley Water Company
entered into a contract with the Belvedere La nd Compa ny. Within five years intakes were
bu ilt on Fern, Laguna , Spike Buck, and Rattlesnake Creeks, all tributaries to Mu ir Woods'
Redwood Creek .
The first section of the gravity flow line consisted of 12,008 feet of eight inch riveted steel
pipe beginning with the Lower Fern Intake, elevation 997'. Th is li ne became the Pipe Line
Trai l, the most traveled and fondly remembered of all approaches to the Mountain .
Where it crossed Mine Ridge (Throck morton Ridge) became the site of the Mountai n
Home Inn in 1912.
O ur hi kers continue up th is historic trail as it snakes its way th rough cool redwoods and
ferns. At 55 1 Edgewood a group of "Schweizers" will climb some eighty-five steps to their
Swiss C lub Tell.
They pass the junction of the Tenderfoot T rai l wh ich today will take you down to 477
Cascade D ri ve . It was Mill Valley's Jan Mountj oy of 422 Cascade who spearheaded a suc­
cessful campaign in 1980 to save this ro ute from urbanization. Jan and Bob now reside in
Trinity County.
Shortly another contingent will break away. They are members of the Californi a A lpine
Club turning up slope to their lodge built in 1924.
After a good h our of brisk hiking covering two and one-h alf miles, the fi rst leg of the
day 's outing has been accomplished . We h ave arrived at Mountai n Home and the trestle,
the hikers' bridge over the recently dismantled Moun tain Railway. Ice cold lemonade is o n
tap and the hikers are refreshed and refueled for more serio us tramping to t he summits,
slopes , and camps o n the Mountain.
In April, 1985, the new Mounta in Home Inn opened for business to co ntinue the tradi­
tio n of welcoming hikers.
The leaking M ill Valley Reservoir was taken out of service o n September 28, 1967, and
replaced with a five millio n gallon steel tan k. Burrowing go phers had been a serious prob­
lem causi ng losses totaling 50,000 gallons a day. (At fi rst water was sold at the specified
rate of 20' per 1000 gallo ns, deli vered at the Mill Valley city limits o n the county road Camino A lto.) T he pipe lines were aba ndo ned in December of 1972.
Today only a fr agment of the original Pipe Line Trail survives. But what relics and
memories remain: Lengths of pipe, valves, stanchions , and the most obvio us, the well­
beaten trail, evidence not of erosio n but of millions of pounding boots.
Of all of the Mountain's trails, no ne seems to have a way of turning back the clock as
the Pipe Line and its connecting Steps!
DDDDDD Bili Coleman, Bob Lethbridge, and Bob Paulist contributed to this article. 000000
Enlarged section of the 1945 map b)' W. E. Je
· north .. ."
<.et Street )', 1931 A .D. 6:30 A.M.
Drs" anxious to escape the fog-enshro uded lees as Baltimore Park, Cazadero, Fairfax, ~a ring 16" boots are headed for Mill Valley. )uld be the CAZADERO, EUREKA, ):45 the boat departs for Sausalito , that pic­
O ne-half hour later they board one of the .val in Mill Valley. :al-covered slopes is their destinatio n. Most fo lder, "Hiking in Marin," courtesy of the es to the Mountain. Some of our trampers step leading to Summit Avenue a nd the
and the Tavern ofTamalpais. Others direct
~enderfoo t, Zigzag and other trails. Most,
ard by the Old Mill. After stepping up 671
,ia Valley Drive.
s peels off and contin ues o n th e Di psea and
Verein built in 1912. Others head for Muir
he roadhouse and surf at Big Lagoon.
1 S up Edgewood where it soo n passes the
~se rv o ir). Here the Pipe Line Trail begins.
4, when the Mill Valley Water Compa ny
ld Compa ny. With in five years intakes were
snake Creeks, all tributaries to Muir Woods'
isted of 12,008 feet of eight inch ri veted steel 997'. T his line became the Pipe Line )ered of all approaches to the Mou ntain. 1 Ridge) became the site of the Mountain ~va ti o n
T he Mountain Home Inn, photo courtes), of Lincoln
Fairley. At Left, hikers on the "Trestle," a bridge t(·hich
also carried the Pi pe Line over the railroad grade, 1918.
I anC)' Skinner Collection .
t snakes its way th rough cool redwoods and rs" will cli mb some eighty-five steps to their 'rail which today wi ll take you down to 477 tjoy of 422 Cascade who spearheaded a suc­
'ffi urbanization . Jan and Bob now reside in They are members of the Californi a A lpine 1924. two and one-half miles, the first leg of the arrived at Mountain Home and th e trestle, Mountain Railway. Ice cold lemonade is o n for more serious tramping to t he summits, n opened for business to continue the trad i­
lout of service on September 28, 1967, and 3urrowing gophers had been a serious prob­
ay. (At first water was sold at the specified ;fill Valley city limits o n the county road ­
:d in December of 1972. e Line Trail survives. But what relics and :anchions, and the most obvious, the well­
lillions of poundi ng boots. to have a way of tu rning back the clock as lb Paulist contributed to this article. 000000
Enlarged section of the 1945 mal) by W.
.. \, I
John Reed's first adobe at La Goma and Locke Lane where their first four children were born.
First Settlers: Reed and Richardson by Henri M. Boussy
with Edgar Sliney
The first Anglo-saxon settler in Marin
was an Irishman, Joh n T homas Reed.
Born in Dublin, in 1805, he went to sea
with a seafaring uncle at the age of 15.
He left the sh ip at Acapulco where he
stayed for six years and learned to speak
Spanish fluently. In 1826, he sailed to
Los A ngeles on a Mexican ship and
then continued north to Yerba Buena.
There he was befriended by the
commandant of the Presidio , Jose
Antonio Sanchez. As a young man of
21 he first met the commandant's
13-year-old daughter, Hilaria, the "pet of
the Presidio," whom he was later to
As he was anxio us to settle dow n he
requested a land grant from the
Mexican government. He had
discovered an area around "Wh aler's
Cove" near Sausalito that he greatly
coveted whi le on a sailboat trip on the
bay. The land was outside the
jurisdiction of the mission and therefore
available fo r homesteading by Mexican
citizens. Not being a citi zen he could
not acquire land in Mexican California.
T here was another obstacle to h is plans.
T he land that he wanted was in the
coastal strip th at th e Mexica n
government had declared a milita ry
zone necessary for the protection of t he
bay against Russian encroachment .
Probably advised by Commandant
Sanchez he set o ut to settle in land
no rth of the San Rafael mission. He
chose a site seven miles south of the city
of Santa Rosa in the Cotati area. Father
Amoros of the mission San Rafael gave
him cattle, tools, seeds and advice as
Reed was t he first pioneer in hostile
Indian lands. H e built a "palizada" and
planted h is first crop in the wilderness
onl y to h ave it destroyed by the C ot ate
Ind ians. Driven fro m the land he sought
refuge at the mission San Rafael where
he stayed until 1832.
He returned to Sausalito where he
bu ilt the fi rst fra me house in Marin
Cou nty. He bought a sailboat wh ich he
named , H ilaria , after the commandant's
daughter. Reed used it to ferr y
passengers across the bay and for
carrying fres h spring water from the
sources in Sausalito to the Presidio at
Yerba Buena .
In 1834, Reed became a citizen of
Mexico, on the year of the
secularization of t he missio ns. Frustrated
in his attempt to acqui re the Sausalito
peninsula he was, nevertheless, assigned
the fi rst Mex ica n land grant north of
the bay. The wilderness of modern
T iburon, Belvedere, Cori nthian Island
and parts of Corte Madera and Mill
Valley became the "Rancho Corte
Madera del Presidio," literally, where
wood is cut for the Presidio. To process
the wood Reed built the first saw mill in
Marin County in the fut ure Cascade
C anyo n . To equip h is mill he had to
t rade the reso urces from h is land ; 300
elk skins, 20 bear skins and 200 cattle
hides, with the Russians at Fort Ross for
a circular saw, a grist mill (probably the
o rigin of the sto ne now in the yard of
th e Outdoor A rt C lub in Mill Valley) ,
flour, guns and ammu n itio n.
As his fi rst home o n his own land
Reed built a one-story adobe , measuring
18' by 30 ', in the prese nt Locust area. It
was to th is ho use that he brought h is
bride, the former H il ari a Sanch ez,
whom he married o n O ctober 12, 1836.
That fall he was also appointed
admi nistrator of mission San Rafael, a
post which he occupied only a fe w
mo nth s before he was succeeded by
T imothy M urph y and Reed was able to
return to his bride and his rancho.
With his lum ber interests and the sale
of the improved breed of cattle which
he imported and raised , the ra ncho
prospered. By 1843 he was reputed to be
running 2000 head of cattle and 200
horses. His fam ily also h ad increased by
the b irth of his fo ur ch ildre n; Jo hn
Joseph , H il arita, Maria Inez and
Ricardo. A larger home was needed . He
began building a two-story adobe near
wh at is now LaGoma and Locke Lane.
T he h acienda, patterned after the
Sanchez adobe in San Mateo where
Reed and h is bride h ad ho neymooned,
was 24' by 45' in size . Th e walls
averaged th ree feet in thickness, each
sto ry had three rooms and the entire
house was encircled by a do uble
veranda five feet wide in the accepted
Span ish colo nial manner. T he
constructio n work o n both th e mill and
the adobe houses was probably do ne by
local Indians who also performed the
labor of running the rancho and
In the late spring of 1843, befc
house was completed, John Reec
tracted a fever or pneumonia. In
tempt to cure him by phlebotom
well intentioned friends severed ;
artery and he bled to death on J
1843 at the age of 38. He was bL
the cemetery at mission San Raf;
Archangel and in the 1880's his
was moved to Mt. Olivet cemete
where records of his burial site h
fo rtunately been lost.
Under the prevailing Mexican
Ranc ho Corte Madera was split
ways among his children. The 6<
which included the Mill Valley-f
area were granted to his daughte
As they were minors his widow I
tinued to operate the ranc ho.
Reed's rancho, in the present)
Valley area, touched on another
ican land grant, the Rancho SaUl
with no clearly defined boundari
tween the two. Originally grantel
Nicolas Galindo in 1835, the ran
was transferred to the ownership
Captain William Richardson, a r
who built the first house in San
cisco and port commander of th(
in 1836. William Richardson's ca
was plagued with business failure
1856, ailing and in financial strai
put the Rancho Saucelito into tr
h ands of an administrator, Samu
T hrockmorton, and died two me
later. Richardson and Reed were
John Joseph Reed (left) , son of John n
Joseph Reed. Photo at right from left I
Cannelita Natit'adad Garcia (Mrs. H
Nativadad was the daughter of Hilaria
John Joseph Reed, son of John Tho)
lrces from his land; 300
ear ski ns and 200 cattle
~ Russians at Fort Ross fo r
a grist mill (probably the
:one now in the yard of
\ rt Club in Mill Valley),
:I ammunitio n .
10me on his own land
ne-story adobe, measuring
[he present Locust area. It
use that he brought his
ler Hilaria Sanchez,
ried on O ctober 12, 1836.
as also appointed
Jf mission San Rafael, a
occupied only a few
he was succeeded by
)hy and Reed was able to
'ride and his rancho.
1ber interests and the sale
:d breed of cattle which
l d raised, the rancho
1843 he was reputed to be
lead of cattle and 200
oil y also had increased by
s four children; Jo hn
a, Maria Inez and
ger home was needed . He
: a two-story adobe near
aGoma and Locke Lane.
patterned after the
: in San Mateo where
)fide had honeymooned,
in size. The walls
feet in thickness , each
e rooms and the entire
ircled by a double
et wide in the accepted
al manner. The
'ark on both the mill and
ses was probably done by
, ho also performed the
labor of running the rancho and the
In the late spring of 1843, before the
house was completed, John Reed con­
tracted a fever or pneumonia. In an at­
tempt to cure him by phlebotomy, his
well intentioned friends severed an
artery and he bled to death o n Ju ne 29,
1843 at the age of 38. He was buried in
the cemetery at mission San Rafael
Archangel and in the 1880's his body
was moved to Mt. Olivet cemetery
where records of his burial site h ave un­
fortunately been lost.
Under the preva iling Mexican law the
Rancho Corte Madera was split four
ways among h is children. The 646 acres
which included the Mill Valley-Alto
area were granted to his daughter, Inez.
As they were minors his widow con­
tinued to operate the rancho.
Reed's rancho, in the present Mill
Valley area, touched on another Mex­
ican land grant, the Rancho Saucelito,
with no clearly defined boundaries be­
twee n the two . Originally granted to a
Nicolas Galindo in 1835, the ranc ho
was transferred to the ownership of
Captain William Richardso n , a pioneer
who bu ilt the first house in San Fran­
cisco and part com mander of the bay,
in 1836. William Richardson's career
was plagued with business failures. In
1856, ailing and in financial stra its, he
put the Rancho Saucelito into the
ha nds of an administrator, Samuel P.
Throckmorton, and died two months
later. Richardso n and Reed were con-
John Joseph Reed's Rancho Corte de Madera del Presidio situated on the knoll . Circa 1884.
vivial friends and had never considered
the need for a rigid definition of the
boundary between their two properties
but Richardson's heirs claimed that the
Reed mill had been constructed on their
property and sued to support their
claim. They co nvi nced the court and in
1860 the boundary was established at
Widow Reed Creek along Miller
Avenue. East of the creek was Reed
land and west was Richardson property.
Later, the area that was to become part
of Mill Valley, was inherited by
Throckmorton's daughter, Suzanna. In
1889, Suzann a surrendered 3,790 acres
to the San Francisco Savings Union to
satisfy a debt of $100,000 against the
former Richardson e tate. It was o n part
of this land that included Cascade
Ca nyon that the future Mill Valley was
It is to these two pioneers that Mill
Valley owes homage. To Jo hn Reed for
the "Old Mill," the first settlement and
the land east of Widow Reed Creek and
to William Richardson for the land west
of the creek and the site of Cascade
Canyo n we are indeed grateful!
Jo hn Joseph Reed (left), son of John Thomas and Hilaria Reed, with Hugh Boyle I, husband of Carmel ita Natit'adad Garcia, who was the half sister of John
Joseph Reed. Photo at right from left to right: Maria Ynez Reed (Mrs. Thomas Deffebach) , Barbara Sibrian, Hilarita Reed (Mrs. Benjamin Lyford), and
Carmelita Nativadad Garcia (Mrs. Hugh Bo)'le) . Maria Ynez and Hilarita were daughters of John Thomas Reed and Hilarita anchez Reed. Carmelita
Nativadad tvas the daughter of Hilaria Sanchez Reed and her second husband , Barnardino Garcia. Barbara Sibrian was the mother of Clotilde Reed (daLlghter
John J
Reed, son of John Thomas Reed. Photo taken probably about 1859.
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