Historical Contributions

Last Historical Contribution to The History of Sausalito

Published in October of 2008, Houseboats of Sausalito was Phil’s last historical contribution to the history of Sausalito.  The unique and colorful houseboat comunity has long been the centerpiece of life in Sausalito, and while these floating homes are well know, relatively few people know just how far back their history goes.  Not a recent phenomenon, as so many assume, the houseboat community has a history stretching back to the 1880’s and earlier. 

contribution to The History of Sausalito

While houseboats once exisited in nearly a dozen ports and sround San Frnacisco Bay – and indeed throughout the West Coast – the focus of this buoyant lifestyle is not the waters of Marine County, aslong the shoreline of Richardson’s Bay.  Over the years, a variety of forces – including the 1906 earthquake and fire, the building of bridges and the resulting deline of the gerryboat fleet, World War II, and legal pressures on the waterfront property owners – helped to shape life on teh water, Sausalito’s houseboat community, and this fascinating tale.

A classic history text published with the cooperation of the Stinson Beach Historical Society and the Bolinas Museum – Phil did the bulk of the historical and photo reasearch as a volunteer with the Bolinas Museum. This is the story of two small towns, Bolinas and Stinson Beach, and the body of water that separates and joins them. Although San Francisco’s packed urban skyline is visible from its shores, this part of West Marin is isolated in spirit and in fact. For thousands of years the territory of the Coast Miwok Indians, this land became the six-mile-long Briones Mexican land grant, a ranch that lasted less than a decade before being overrun with entrepreneurs, farmers, and failed gold miners. The towns that they built have been visited by earthquake, shipwreck, forest fires, ranchers, rumrunners, bohemians, and the National Park Service, and all of these have shaped their story. While Bolinas maintained its spirit of isolation, removing the road sign that might beckon visitors, Stinson Beach grew from a tent camp for urban refugees to a favorite coastal beach town visited by millions annually.

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