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A Good Life: 





> i . O L > ;-. O L t. M A . M A H I N C O . C A L . 

A History of the Dairy and Beef Ranches 
of the Olema Valley and Lagunitas Canyon 

Golden Gate National Recreation Area 

and Point Reyes National Seashore, 

Marin County, California 

by D. S. (Dewey) Livingston 






From the collection of the 

f d 

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o PreTinger 

u v Jjibrary 

San Francisco, California 

Printed on Recycled Paper 

637.1 Livings! 1995 
Livingston, D. S. 

A good life : dairy 
farming in the Olema 

A Good Life: 



A History of the Dairy and Beef Ranches 
of the Olema Valley and Lagunitas^drayon 

*& y x k 
Golden Gate National Recreation Alfe^ <>A 

and Point Reyes National Seashore^) * 

mir-WlM f j". I fc-. 4- 1 I f* **.\\&fW*\ r* l T ' .'. ' 

Marin County, California 

by D. S. (Dewey) Livingston 


Golden Gate National Recreation Area 
Point Reyes National Seashore 


San Francisco: 

National Park Service 

Department of the Interior 




Cover: Nelson Olds Ranch ("Woodside"), 1869 
courtesy of the Boyd Stewart family 

Fronticepiece: Ole fence on the Don Mclsaac Ranch, 1991 
photograph by Dewey Livingston 

Produced as a cooperative effort between 

Point Reyes National Seashore, Golden Gate National Recreation Area 
and the Western Regional Office, National Park Service 

Design, maps, contemporary photographs and production by Dewey Livingston 
Copy prints by The Photo Lab, San Francisco 

Table of Contents 

























Golden Gate National Recreation Area, established by Public Law 92-589 
on October 27, 1972, covers approximately 73,000 acres in San Francisco, San 
Mateo and Marin Counties. Point Reyes National Seashore, authorized on 
September 13, 1962 and established on October 20, 1972, covers approximately 
70,000 acres of the Point Reyes Peninsula in Marin County. The entire portion 
of Golden Gate National Recreation Area north of Bolinas Lagoon, of about 
10,000 acres, is managed by the Superintendent, Point Reyes National 
Seashore. The ranches in this portion, comprising the Olema Valley, the 
Tocaloma area or "Lagunitas Loop," and a portion of Pine Gulch near Bolinas 
are the subject of this study. 

The ranches included in this Historic Resource Study are within the 
boundaries of Golden Gate National Recreation Area except for the Bear Valley, 
Teixeira and Hagmaier Ranches, which are within Point Reyes National 
Seashore; those three ranches, which have been written about in a recent study 
mentioned below, are included for geographic and historical continuity. This 
study focuses primarily on operating ranches in federal ownership, most of 
which continue to exist under agreements known as reservations of use and 
occupancy. Sites of former ranches (McCurdy, Jewell, etc.), are described but in 
less detail than the occupied sites. 

A previous historic resource study, A Civil History of Golden Gate 
National Recreation Area and Point Reyes National Seashore, California, 
prepared in 1980 by NFS historian Anne Coxe Toogood, dealt with the ranching 
history in the area, but did not provide enough detail to adequately assist day- 
to-day management, planning and interpretation of the existing cultural 
resources. The purpose of this report is to fill those gaps with a detailed, 
ranch-by-ranch history and evaluation. Research methods included site 
inventories using criteria established by the NFS List of Classified Structures 
and the National Register of Historic Places, interviews with current and 
former ranch occupants, and extensive archival research. Ms. Toogood's study 
was invaluable in preparing the introductory chapters. 

This study acts as a companion volume to the Historic Resource Study, 
Ranching on the Point Reyes Peninsula: A History of the Dairy and Beef 
Ranches Within Point Reyes National Seashore, 1843-1992, published in 1993 by 

the National Park Service. Together, the two reports cover adjacent areas with 
compatible histories and resources and are practically identical in format. 
Three chapters in this volume are taken almost verbatim from the earlier 
document to provide historical continuity, and other chapters on general 
subjects have been adapted from the Point Reyes volume. The adjacent areas 
of Point Reyes Peninsula and the Olema Valley are historically compatible yet 
have their own distinctive patterns and resources. 

Research has revealed that the entire area comprising the Olema Valley 
and Lagunitas Loop has had significant historic ranching activity, and therefore 
may be eligible for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places as a 
locally or regionally significant rural historic district. Further study and 
evaluation of the Olema Valley's cultural landscape is recommended; the area is 
most appropriate for a multidisciplinary Cultural Landscape Study. 

This Historic Resource Study will fulfill the requirements of the National 
Park Service Management Policies and NPS-28, Cultural Resources Manage- 
ment Guidelines, concerning proposals which affect cultural resources. The 
study will also assist the National Park Service in compliance with Section 106 
of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended, and in the 
associated consultation process with the State Historic Preservation Office, 
accomplishing the inventory, identification and evaluation of historical resources 
within the parks' ranching zones to comply with Executive Order 11593, 
"Protection and Enhancement of the Cultural Environment." It is intended as a 
complete narrative history of ranching in the Olema Valley and Lagunitas Loop, 
providing basic reference material for planners, resource managers, and 
interpreters to facilitate the proper care, interpretation and management of 
these cultural properties within Golden Gate National Recreation Area and 
Point Reyes National Seashore. 



The Olema Valley is a gem. Its possesses a gentle beauty that speaks of 
a good life. It is a quiet valley of rolling pastures lined with oak trees, dramatic 
forests, and a handful of small farms with their barns, sheds and houses 
sometimes hidden in glens and only noticed by sharp eyes. While most of the 
valley and the surrounding area appears to be left over from the 19th century, 
it is in fact part of our 20th century national park system. 

Despite its status as a National Recreation Area, virtually all of the 
Olema Valley retains its historic rural ranching character. The former dairy 
ranches, many with pioneer structures intact, continue to thrive under the 
stewardship of families who have been here for generations. Since creation of 
the park in 1972, most of the resident families remain, and to them I give my 
heartfelt thanks. Rarely does one find such old-fashioned hospitality and 
sincere interest in a subject; all were happy to open their homes and dust off 
their memories for me, which is most appreciated as this book couldn't have 
been written without them. My family was fortunate to live on on an active 
Olema Valley ranch for many years and to get a taste of the true life of the 
valley. For the positive influences on my children and the warm acceptance 
which we were given by his family, I dedicate this book to the memory of 
Armin Truttman, a well-loved and highly admired member of the Olema and 
California dairy ranching community. 

People with Olema Valley roots have been found all over California; they 
generously and enthusiastically shared then: knowledge with this stranger, 
usually with only a phone call as an introduction. Also, I thank the people 
loaned photographs to the project, especially Roy Farrington Jones who 
generously loaned the excellent pictures of the ranches taken by his father. 

Libraries and archives, local and regional, played a large part in research 
for this report. The archivists and librarians in the many institutions that I 
visited in quest of Olema Valley facts are too many to mention, but I thank 
them all. Alice Lake of the Marin County Recorders Office, now retired, was 
always helpful at finding obscure information in that office. The archive that 
acted as the foundation of this research was the Jack Mason Museum 
Collection, from which many photographs and much information has been 
culled over the years. Local historians added to the project as well, including 

Bill Allen, Rae Codoni of Modesto, Phil Frank, Fred Sandrock, Suzanne Baty, 
Jocelyn Moss and especially, the late Point Reyes historian Jack Mason, who got 
me going on all this years before joining the National Park Service. 

At Point Reyes National Seashore, former Chief of Interpretation and 
now Superintendent Don Neubacher deserves credit for creating this project; at 
Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Park Historical Architect Ric Borjes 
gave his full support and helped see it through to its completion. GGNRA Park 
Historian Steve Haller read the final draft and offered much-needed comments 
on short notice, as did Park Curator Diane Nicholson and archivist Dennis 
Copeland. John Dell'Osso, Acting Chief of Interpretation at Point Reyes helped 
immensely in the last weeks of the project, as did former secretary Terry 
Edinger and her successor Leslie Price. I also thank the administrative staff 
and seasonal interpreters at both parks for their support and interest. 

At the National Park Service's Western Regional Office, Regional 
Historian Gordon Chappell and Historian Jamie Donahoe were especially 
helpful, scouring two drafts and offering help as the project went along. Also, 
special thanks to Thomas D. Mulhern, Chief, Park Historic Preservation, whose 
efforts to have these documents published is greatly appreciated; and Regional 
Historical Architects Craig Kenkel, Hank Florence and Robbyn Jackson, all of 
whom have inspired the author. In Washington, D.C., Chief Historian Edwin C. 
Bearss offered comments and support, as did his staff. 

This book, documenting the history of the Olema Valley ranches and the 
families who have come and gone over the last century and a half, took more 
than four years to complete; during that time many other major projects were 
accomplished, resulting in a sporadic work schedule and frustrating delays. All 
involved have shown a great deal of patience and understanding, and I can only 
hope that all will enjoy and be enlightened by the following work. 


HISTORIC CONTEXT: Olema Valley Dairy and Beef Ranches 1834-1945 

Establishment of the Spanish hospital mission at San Rafael in 1817 
brought domestic grazing animals to west Marin County. Two decades later 
Mexican land grantees brought additional cattle and livestock to the Point 
Reyes area. A regionally significant dairy industry developed starting in 1857 
and thrived for over 100 years; a number of the original dairy ranches continue 
to operate within the boundaries of Point Reyes National Seashore and, as beef 
cattle ranches, in Golden Gate National Recreation Area. 

As a region, Point Reyes and the Olema Valley played an instrumental 
part in the development of the dairy industry in California. Point Reyes dairies 
were among the first large-scale and high-quality dairies in the state, and at 
one time the Shatters' butter district was considered to be the largest in the 
world. Before 1857, dairy products for consumption in San Francisco were 
shipped from the East Coast or produced locally by very small dairy operations 
of questionable quality. 

Vital dairy production equipment and methods developed at Point Reyes- 
area dairies were adopted nationwide. Local dairymen stayed at the forefront 
of industry modernization, and still do. 

Marin County led the state's counties in dairy production (volume) into 
the 1890s. Point Reyes area dairies produced what was widely considered to be 
the highest quality butter in the state for the last half of the 19th century. 

Point Reyes and Olema Valley dairies attracted immigrants from Ireland, 
Switzerland, the Azores, Scandinavia, and many other counties, bringing a rich 
ethnic mix to the area that remains to this day. Marin County was a primary 
destination for immigrants from Switzerland and the Azores in the 1860s 
through the early 1900s. Many immigrant families eventually purchased their 
own property and are the foundation of the population in Marin County today. 

This study documents the significance of the system of dairy ranches at 
Golden Gate National Recreation Area and Point Reyes National Seashore for 
its contribution to the state's dairy industry and the commerce of San 
Francisco. With many of the ranch complexes remaining in use, all dating from 
1857-1880, and with most of these retaining their individual historic integrity, 
the ranches as a whole or in part appear to be eligible for nomination to the 
National Register of Historic Places with regional historic significance. 




N I H 

The first map of Marin County ranches as a whole, by A. Van Dorn, 1860. 



Section II 


of the Olema Valley 




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Topographic map of the Olema Valley from Point Reyes Station to Bolinas Lagoon. 


A. Introduction 

Marin County's Olema Valley is the ramrod-straight cleft that separates 
Bolinas Lagoon from Tomales Bay, and "mainland" Marin County from the 
Point Reyes Peninsula; it is one of the most visible geographic influences of the 
famous San Andreas fault in California. Usually considered as one valley, It is 
actually composed of two valley/watersheds: the eight-mile-long Olema Creek 
watershed draining northwesterly from the Randall and northern McCurdy 
Ranches towards Tomales Bay, and the six-mile-long Pine Gulch Creek 
watershed draining southeasterly from south of Five Brooks towards Bolinas 

The Olema Valley is unique in that, due to the activities of the 
underlying San Andreas Fault over the past thousands of years, the valley is 
virtually a straight line for ten miles, continued by the similar line of the 
narrow 14-mile-long Tomales Bay to the north. In fact, Tomales Bay is merely 
a submerged section of the Olema Valley, as is Bolinas Lagoon to the south. 
For two miles near the center of the valley, roughly between Five Brooks and 
Thirteen Turns, Olema and Pine Gulch Creeks run side-by-side in opposite 
directions for two miles, a situation that has undergone much scrutiny by 
geologists during the last century. 

The valley is a fertile one in many ways, with relatively small portions of 
rich bottom lands, good pasture land on the east slope and dense fir forests to 
the west. All of these resources, including the plentiful water resources of the 
west side, have been exploited over the last century and a hah by dairymen, 
farmers and loggers. The cultural characteristic of the valley appears timeless, 
with century-old ranches still in operation and little more than the pavement 
on the narrow, winding state highway to remind visitors that they are in the 
twentieth century. 

The natural division made by Olema Creek in the northern two-thirds 
and Pine Gulch in the southernmost part of the valley set the tone for historic 
development in the Olema Valley. The creeks acted as boundaries dividing the 
lands of Rancho Punta de los Reyes, owned by a family of powerful lawyers 
named Shatter, and Rancho Tomales y Baulines, owned by the aging veteran 
Mexican soldier Rafael Garcia; at the far south adjacent to Dogtown is the 

perpendicular line of the Gregorio Briones' Rancho las Baulines boundary. 

The Shafter family constructed a vast system of tenant dairies that 
stayed under family control until 1939; Garcia and Briones sold off their 
property to hardworking and ambitious families from the east coast who 
developed farms and ranches to their own tastes and style, unhindered by 
landlords and the demands of standardization. Out of this grew the unique 
Olema Valley Dairy District, with a somewhat insulated and comfortable 
lifestyle, yet successful and respected by the rest of the county. Of the six 
Olema Valley ranches discussed in this report, two have been under the 
continuing ownership of their founding families, and the others have seen few 
changes in ownership after a brief interval of title turbulence in the early years. 

The Lagunitas Loop ranches, so-called because they line Lagunitas Creek 
and the northern Olema Valley and can be visited by taking a "loop" road in the 
area, have their own unique histories. Three of these were part of Rancho 
Nicasio, the largest of the Marin County land grants; they were prominent 
Swiss-owned dairies, called in some reports the "Italian farms." It is hoped this 
report will shed light on these lesser-known ranches of the region, and bring 
into focus the rich history of the Olema and Bolinas area and the challenges of 
local historic preservation. 

B. Coast Miwok Settlements in the Olema Valley Area 

The Coast Miwok Indians are among at least four groups known as 
Miwok in California; the word means "people" in Sierra Miwok dialect. The 
tribe was reportedly composed of up to 15 independent tribes of up to 200 
people; according to Miwok historian Beverly R. Ortiz, the name was "given by 
linguists to several groups speaking related languages." The Coast Miwok 
occupied an area comprising all of today's Marin County and much of southern 
Sonoma County, in which more than 600 village sites have been identified by 
archaeologists and ethnographers, most of which are located in drainages near a 
salt water bay, where most of the food was found. Many local names, including 
Olema and Bolinas, are believed to derive from Miwok dialect. Olema-loke is 

the only verified Miwok name found on the Point Reyes Peninsula, possibly 
meaning "Coyote Pass." 1 

The Coast Miwok were hunters and gatherers, living in an environment 
teeming with game, birds, fish, shellfish, nuts, fruits and vegetables. The 
temperate weather allowed the inhabitants to occupy permanent villages such 
as Olema-loke. 2 

At least two European explorers had contact with the Coast Miwok in the 
16th century: the Englishman Francis Drake spent five weeks on the Marin 
Coast, apparently at Drakes Bay, and had extensive contact with the Coast 
Miwok in 1579; Sebastian Rodriguez Cermeno, a Portuguese sailing for Spain, 
lost his ship in Drakes Bay in 1595 and, like Drake, recorded impressions of the 
native peoples he met. Both men claimed the land for their monarchs but 
never returned. The Coast Miwok presented themselves in a simple, direct way 
to these explorers and the Spanish pioneers who were the first whites to move 
onto and settle the Indian lands in California. The Indians' open and friendly 
acceptance of the early white men left them vulnerable to the ambitions of the 
Catholic missionaries and Spanish military frontiersmen who first occupied the 
lands around the Golden Gate beginning in 1776. 3 

Spanish Lieutenant Don Felipe de Goycoechea passed through the Olema 
Valley in 1793 and left the following narrative: 

This place is very well fitted for any kind of 
establishment. There are good lands for crops, a 
sufficient supply of water and a great abundance of 
wood-red pine, oak, madrone, laurel, willow and a 
grove of hazelnut trees .... Here there is a 
settlement which the natives abandoned for the 
adjoining forests when we passed by it. I pacified 
them by means of the interpreter and ordered them 
to assemble in their settlement. Although they did 
not all do so I divided among them two strings of 

'Sylvia Barker Thalman, The Coast Miwok Indians of the Point Reves Area (Point Reyes: Point 
Reyes National Seashore Association, 1993), pp. 6-7; Beverly R. Ortiz, "A Coast Miwok History," 
We Are Still Here: A Coast Miwok Exhibit (Bolinas: Bolinas Museum, 1993), p. 5. 

2 Thalman, The Coast Miwok. pp. 6-7. 

3 Marilyn Ziebarth, editor, "Special Issue The Francis Drake Controversy: His California 
Anchorage, June 17 July 23 1579." California Historical [Societvl Quarterly 53. No. 3 (Fall 1974): 
274-286, 287-288. 

beads and some of our food. By doing this we were 
able to count in the surroundings, in little groups, 
about one hundred and fifty souls, more or less. 4 

De Goycoechea recommended a site near the Indian village in Olema Valley "as 
the most appropriate [place] for founding a mission or establishment, as all 
around there is a sufficient number of natives." He also commented on the 
Tomales Bay area, noting that there was "a wonderment of various settlements 
along the Bay Shore." De Goycoechea's 1793 encounter occurred as Miwok 
men, women and children were being taken to the mission at San Francisco for 
conversion to Catholicism, a fact that likely accounts for the distrust he faced at 
Olema. At the time groups were hunting new mission sites, "recruiting heavily 
by means of private parties and expeditions from the Costanoans and Coastal 
Miwok." The establishment of Mission San Rafael Archangel in 1817 
contributed to the disappearance of Miwok culture in the Olema Valley and 
elsewhere, at least temporarily. After the missions were secularized in 1833 
and mission lands dispersed to grantees, many Coast Miwok returned to find a 
changed land, where oak trees had been cut for fire wood, elk and game had 
been killed in great numbers and cattle grazed in the hills. 5 

4 As translated by Henry R. Wagner in his article, "The Last Spanish Exploration of the 
Northwest Coast and the Attempt to Colonize Bodega Bay," California Historical Society Quarterly 
10. No. 4. (December 1931): 342. 

5 Wagner, "Last Spanish Expedition," p. 345; Lawrence Kinnaird, "History of the Golden Gate 
and Its Headlands" (typescript written for the National Park Service), 1962, 1967, pp. 35 and 128; 
Sherburne F. Cook, "The Conflict Between the California Indian and White Civilization" I-IV, 
Ibero-Americana 21-24 (Berkeley: 1943), republished as a book in 1976 by U. C. Press, 1:75. 


C. Lands Grants and Early Settlement in the Olema Valley 6 

Prior to the 1833 secularization act passed by the Mexican Congress, 
most of the land in the San Francisco Bay area belonged to the missions, the 
Presidio of San Francisco, the Spanish crown and, after 1822, the Mexican 
government. Mission San Rafael claimed all of today's Marin County, and the 
Missions San Francisco de Asis (Dolores), San Jose, and Santa Clara held rights 
to huge tracts along the south and western shores of the bay. During the 1820s 
only seven veterans of the Spanish and Mexican frontier troops of the San 
Francisco district received grants of land, all of which were in the east and 
south bay areas. Many other soldiers also expressed a desire to settle on some 
land of their own, and many filed for land grants after the decree to secularize 
the missions went into effect in 1834. 7 

The Mexican government in 1824 and 1828 tried to encourage settlement 
on the California frontier by passing a colonization law and then formulating 
regulations for obtaining title to the lands requested. The 1828 regulations 
gave the Governor of California exclusive right to make land grants of up to 
eleven leagues, or nearly 50,000 acres. Most of the ranches granted, however, 
contained five leagues or less. 

The process of acquiring a land grant proved to be the critical factor in 
determining the legitimacy of Mexican ranches after the American government 
took possession of California. A person requesting a land grant had to follow 
certain procedures laid down in the regulations of 1828. First, he submitted a 

6 Sections C through F are adapted and expanded from original text by Anne Coxe Toogood in 
the Historic Resource Study, A Civil History of Golden Gate National Recreation Area and Point 
Reves National Seashore. California (Denver: Historic Preservation Branch, Pacific 
Northwest/Western Team, Denver Service Center, National Park Service, Department of the 
Interior, 1980), with alterations reflected in a draft National Register nomination compiled by 
James P. Delgado (Historian, WR/GOGA), Roger Kelly (Regional Archeologist, WR), Anna C. 
Toogood (Historian, DSC), Gordon Chappell (Regional Historian, WR), Robert Cox (Regional 
Historical Architect, WR) and Thomas D. Mulhern (Chief, Cultural Resources Management, WR), 
May 1, 1979. Many portions have been added and some corrections to the original text made by 
the author. 

7 W. W. Robinson, Land in California . . . (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1948), pp. 
45-57; Hubert Howe Bancroft, History of California. 7 Volumes (San Francisco: The History 
Company, 1884-1890), Vol. 2, pp. 592-593; Beechey, on his visit to the San Francisco Presidio in 
1826, learned that the soldiers felt aggrieved that they did not receive a portion of land after ten 
years service on the frontier. John W. Dwinelle, The Colonial History of San Francisco (San 
Francisco: Towne and Bacon, Book and Job Printers, 1863), p. 43. 

petition to the Governor, providing him with information on his family and on 
the land in question, as well as a map, or diseno, of the land. The Governor 
then sent the petition to a local officer to confirm the accuracy of the 
information. If the officer reported favorably, the Governor granted the land, 
but the title was not considered valid until sanctioned by the Territorial 
Deputation, or local assembly. 

Four conditions governed the continued ownership of a rancho: (1) that 
within one year the grantee settle the land and erect and occupy a permanent 
dwelling; (2) that the grantee might fence or otherwise enclose his land but not 
obstruct public roads, crossings, or easements; (3) that the rights of the Indians 
be reserved and protected; (4) that the grantee obtain from the local magistrate 
the act of juridical possession to define the measure of the boundaries of the 

The fourth condition, when carried out, assured the grantee physical 
identification of his rancho boundaries. The event turned into something of a 
community affair, as neighbors of the new landowner were summoned to 
witness and concur with the marking of the property lines. The local 
magistrate appointed two cordeleros who carried the pole ends of a cord which 
usually measured fifty varas (approximately 137 feet, 6 inches). With everyone 
following on horseback, one cordelero, under the direction of the magistrate, 
rode forward from a pile of rocks which marked the beginning of the property 
line, until he reached the end of the cord. He then put his pole down on the 
ground and the second cordelero rode ahead, and thus they continued around 
the rancho boundaries, which another official kept count of the number of 
cordeles made in the process. Any objections raised by the neighbors were 
settled by the magistrar right on the spot, so that upon completion, the juridical 
possession finalized the demarcation of the rancho lands. 8 

Despite the colonization laws to encourage settlement in California, only 
fifty ranches had been granted to private individuals by 1830; and most of them 
were to the south of San Francisco Bay. Pressure, however, was mounting to 

Robert H. Becker, Designs on the Land. Disenos of California Ranchos and Their Makers. 
(San Francisco: The Book Club of California, 1969), Introduction, n.p.; U. S. Congress, Senate, 
Report of the Secretary of the Interior Communicating a Copy of the Report of William Carey 
Jones, special agent to examine the subject of land titles in California (S. Doc. 18, 31st Congress 
1st Session, 1851, Serial 859). The Jones Report is also extensively quoted in Munro-Fraser, 
History of Marin County, pp. 151-194. Robert G. Cowan, Ranchos of California. A List of Spanish 
Concessions 1775-1822 and Mexican Grants 1822-1846 (Fresno: Academy Library Guild, 1956) p. 

secularize the missions, and on November 20, 1833, the Mexican Congress 
issued a Decree of Secularization. On April 16, 1834, the Congress passed an 
act putting secularization into effect. Between 1834 and 1846 the mission 
possessions rapidly slipped into private ownership, as the Mexican Governors 
granted more than 500 ranches, most of which were carved out of mission lands 
and stocked with mission horses, cattle and sheep. 9 

Foreign visitors to California in the late 1830s and 1840s frequently 
characterized the California rancheros as indolent, pleasure-loving people. To 
the American, British, and French, these cattlemen neither farmed nor 
manufactured products for their own use because they simply preferred to let 
their cattle bring them an income. In 1844, Sir George Simpson remarked on 
the great decrease in sheep in California and suspected that the loss was due to 
the rancheros' laziness and to their slaughter of sheep to increase their stock of 
horned cattle. 

The rancho herds served a dual purpose by providing the rancheros with 
hides and tallow to trade with foreign merchant ships and beef, the main staple 
of their diet. Some rancheros raised small patches of corn, beans, and grain for 
bread or tortillas, and some home industries on the ranches provided them with 
harness, leather, soap, oil, wool, and other items of daily use. For the most 
part, however, the rancheros depended on trade with foreign ships to supply 
their manufactured products and to satisfy their taste for elegant accessories. 

Foreign criticism of the Californio rancheros usually went hand-in-hand 
with an admiration for the Californios' open and abundant hospitality, their 
joyful celebrations of dancing, singing, and feasting, and their exceptional 
equestrian skills. 

The ranches made up small pockets of population in a countryside that 
had been sparsely settled to allow for the vast grazing ranges needed to feed 
the large cattle herds. Even though they were physically isolated, the 
rancheros gathered frequently to observe religious and political holidays, to 
enjoy bull and bear fights, rodeos, births, and weddings. The rancheros' 

"Senate, Jones Report. 31st Cong., 1st Sess., 1951, p. 3; California, Surveyor General, Special 
Report of the Surveyor General of the State of California ([Sacramento]: Eugene Casserly, State 
Printer, 1852), pp. 28-29; Paul W. Gates, ed., California Ranchos and Farms 1846-1862 (Madison: 
The State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1967), p. 3; Bancroft, History 2: 663. Bancroft also notes 
here that only one or two of the fifty ranches granted followed the 1828 regulations. John Walton 
Caughey, History of the Pacific Coast (Los Angeles: Privately published by the author, 1933), pp. 
165-66; Dwinelle, Colonial History, p. 63; Robinson, Land in California, pp. 30-31, 61. 


parochialism, their love of leisure, and their dependence on foreign imports, 
however, contributed to the eventual American takeover which, in turn, marked 
the rapid decline of the Mexican rancho lifestyle in California. 10 

D. Marin County Ranches 

In 1834 the first Mexican rancho granted in today's Marin County went 
to John Reed, an Irishman by birth and a naturalized Mexican citizen. Twenty 
other applicants received the remaining land in Marin County before the 
American takeover in June, 1846, seven of whose ranches lay within the 
existing boundaries of Golden Gate National Recreation Area and Point Reyes 
National Seashore, four of which are pertinent to this report. 11 


1. Rancho las Baulines 

Possibly in response to the Decree of 1833, which set the secularization 
of the missions into motion, Rafael Garcia moved his family to Bolinas Bay, and 
constructed the first known non-aboriginal residence on the western shore since 
Mission San Rafael had laid claim to the lands. Garcia had completed his 
required ten years service as a frontier soldier in the Mexican army during 
which time he apparently commanded a small force of soldiers, commonly called 

10 Sir George Simpson, Narrative of a Journey Round the World. During the Years 1841 and 
1842. 2 Volumes (London: Henry Colburn, 1847), Vol. 1: 294; Charles L. Camp, ed., "James 
Clyman, His Diaries and Reminiscences," California Historical Society Quarterly 5. No. 3 
(September 1926), pp. 257-258; J. P. Munro-Fraser, History of Marin County. California (San 
Francisco: Alley, Bowen & Co., 1880), pp. 47-49; Dwinelle, Colonial History, p. 86; Caughey, Pacific 
Coast, pp. 155-156; Robinson, Land in California, p. 139; Lieutenant Wise, U.S.N., Los Gringos: or 
An Inside View of Mexico and California, with Wanderings in Peru. Chile, and Polynesia (New 
York: Baker and Scribner, 1849), p. 71; Cowan, Ranchos. pp. 5-9. 

"Reed's Rancho Corte de Madera del Presidio covered one square league of land on the 
Tiburon Peninsula. Jack Mason, in collaboration with Helen Van Cleave Park, Early Marin. 2nd 
rev. ed. (Inverness: North Shore Books, 1976), p. 11; Munro-Fraser, Marin County, p. 189. 

12 The name Bolinas apparently originates from a Spanish (H. H. Bancroft was convinced it was 
Spanish for whale) or Indian word and has seen many spellings: Baulines, Baulinas, Baulenes, 
Ballenas. This report uses the spelling contained on the original land grant patent, Rancho las 


an escolta, who were assigned to protect Mission San Rafael. Garcia, a corporal, 
and his men reportedly proved themselves to be valuable members of the 
community by fighting off Indian attacks on the mission and by helping with 
the construction of mission buildings. 13 

In July of 1835, Garcia petitioned for a grant of two leagues in the 
"Canada de Baulenes", and in March 1836, he received his grant. His diseno 
failed to depict the rancho with any accuracy and later contributed to a 
boundary conflict with neighboring rancheros Richard Berry and Antonio Osio. 
Garcia called his rancho Tomales y Baulenes, a name which probably described 
Olema Valley between Tomales Bay and Bolinas Bay. 

In an effort evidently to accommodate his brother-in-law, Gregorio 
Briones, Garcia moved his rancho headquarters or hacienda to a site near 
today's town of Olema, while Briones' family took up residency near Bolinas 
Bay, presumably in Garcia's vacated hacienda. Gregorio Briones sent his eldest 
son, Pablo, aged fourteen, to Bolinas Bay in the fall of 1837, to take charge of 
the rancho and to erect any necessary buildings. The following year Ramona 
Briones and her other children joined Pablo, while Gregorio stayed behind to 
complete his service as alcalde (mayor) of San Mateo. 

In 1843, Gregorio Briones filed a correction deed with the local 
government declaring that Garcia had transferred the land to him some seven 
years earlier (1836) and that he had been living there about that length of time. 
Not until February 11, 1846, however, did Briones officially receive title to two 
leagues of land (8,911 acres), which he called the Rancho Las Baulines. 14 

Gregorio Briones, like his brother-in-law Rafael Garcia, had completed a 
ten-year enlistment as a frontier soldier. Gregorio and his wife, Ramona Garcia 
de Briones, were born in California; Gregorio in Monterey, and Ramona in San 
Diego. They were married sometime around 1822. After retiring as a soldier in 
1827, Gregorio continued his public service as alcalde of the Contra Costa in 
1835, regidor of San Francisco in 1836, alcalde of San Mateo in 1838, and sheriff 

13 Munro-Fraser, Marin County, p. 276; "A Chronological History of Marin County," 3 Volumes 
typescript, 1: n.p. 

14 Robert H. Becker, "Historical Survey of Point Reyes," Land Use Survey. Proposed Point Reyes 
National Seashore (San Francisco: Region Four Office, National Park Service, February, 1961), p. 
42; Munro-Fraser, Marin County, pp. 112, 194, 418; Bancroft, History 3. pp. 712-713; Cowan, 
Ranchos. pp. 18 and 104; Bliss Brown, "Rancho Los Baulines," February 10, 1937, p. 1, in "Marin 
County, Mexican Land Grant," Works Progress Administration Project, Typescript, no date, Marin 
County Library, San Rafael. 


of San Rafael in 1846, the year he received his land grant. Even though 
Gregorio and his family moved to Rancho Baulines in the late 1830's, he 
maintained an interest in the community growing at Yerba Buena, and by 1845 
he had applied for and received six lots of property in the village. 15 

Within two years after he moved to Bolinas Bay, Briones took steps to 
legalize his claim to two square leagues. In 1841, neighboring grantee to the 
south Capt. William A. Richardson, accompanied by fellow grantees Timoteo 
Murphy, Domingo Sais and Rafael Garcia, made a rough measurement and 
demarcation of the ranch boundaries for Briones on the local magistrate's 
authority. The resulting map or diseno accompanied Briones' application for 
the land which his son, Pablo, personally carried to the Governor in Monterey 
and Los Angeles. 

According to Richardson's later testimony, he ran the boundary lines: 

on the South East by Sausalito farm, on which I live 
on the North West by the place called "Canada Serro" 
the land of Rafael Garcia, on the North East by the 
ridge on Mountain of Tamalpais, which runs South 
East and North West, and on the South West by the 
Pacific Ocean. 16 

Briones' rancho bordered Bolinas Lagoon and included the mesa lands of 
the Bolinas peninsula and the timber-rich gulches and steep grassy pastures of 
Bolinas Ridge. The cattle he raised thrived and multiplied into the thousands. 
The house which he, his wife, and five children lived in was partially adobe, 
containing four rooms, two bedrooms, a sitting room and kitchen. Briones 
received guests with liberal hospitality. He won the respect of his peers as "an 
honest, upright and truthful man" who with few exceptions, "did not have an 
enemy in the world." 17 

Although Briones managed well during the transition years of the 

''Bancroft, History 2: 730, 3: 704-706, 4: 669, 5: 669-670, 682-683; Dwinelle, Colonial History. 
p. 62 and Addenda No. 22, p. 36; Brown, "Rancho Los Baulines," p. 4. 

'"Testimony of William A. Richardson in Land Case 189 ND, Baulenes, Bd. 21. July 24, 1854. 
Transcript in 174SD, Los Baulenas, Bd. 8, No. 51, in Jacob N. Bowman, "Testimony of William 
Antonio Richardson in Private Land Grant Cases 1850-1855," pp. 136-138, Bancroft Library, 
University of California, Berkeley. 

17 Munro-Fraser, Marin County, p. 264. 


American takeover, he and his family gradually faded from the West Marin 
scene, as did the lifestyle they shared on Rancho las Baulines. 

2. Rancho Tomales y Baulines 

The first buildings in the vicinity of what is now the town of Olema, 
California, were the adobe structures that comprised the hacienda or 
headquarters of Don Rafael Garcia's 9,467.77 acre Rancho Tomales y Baulines. 

Garcia had first settled the area around 1837, when he had moved north 
from his home in present Bolinas to accommodate his brother-in-law, Gregorio 
Briones. Garcia moved onto the lands claimed by James Richard Berry, the 
grantee of Rancho Punta de los Reyes, but Berry reportedly acquiesced the 
lands in Garcia's favor. 

Sometime in 1837, Garcia moved his family, servants and livestock into 
the Olema Valley and built a "palizada", a home built of wood and thatch. In 
later testimony, Garcia was said to be living in a new "timber" house. This 
would seem to indicate that the home was built in late 1837. 

The actual date of construction of Garcia's later adobe structures is 
uncertain; it would seem that they were erected in the late 1830's or early 
1840's. In 1841, Garcia entertained Captain John Paty at his rancho "on the 
west side of Baulines Bay near a creek," but this description actually fits the 
original Garcia home at Bolinas, unless the correspondent misreported Tomales 

Rancho Tomales y Baulenes had been granted to Don Rafael on March 
18, 1836. The boundaries as finally surveyed took hi what had originally been 
part of Berry's Rancho Punta de los Reyes, with Garcia owning most of the 
Olema Valley, bordered by Olema Creek, Bolinas Ridge, and Tomales Bay. It 
was on this vast acreage that Don Rafael ran his large herd of livestock and 
established his home. 

Garcia's hacienda near Olema grew into a comfortable home and 
headquarters for his rancho with its thousands of livestock and what may have 
been a steady stream of visitors. A writer in 1880 described the old Garcia 

He built a very large adobe house for the use of his 
family, which stood on the present site of Thomas 


CrandalTs house [W Ranch]. The work was done by 
Indians, and an Indian was foreman and had full 
charge of the work. He afterwards built two more 
adobe houses for the use of his servants and 
employees; also several frame buildings. In the olden 
and balmy days of the Spanish-Mexican regime, the 
Summa Swnmarwn of the dolce far niente style of life 
of that age could be found at this ranch. 18 

The hacienda at the Rancho Tomales y Baulenes consisted of Don Rafael's 
home, two or more adobe buildings for his servants, and several frame 
buildings. Garcia reportedly had 3,000 head of cattle, "one of which was 
slaughtered daily to supply the demands of the establecimiento"; 400 horses that 
"bore the ranch brand"; and "extensive flocks of sheep and herds of swine [that] 
formed a part of the princely possessions of the Garcia estate." Garcia built at 
least two corrals for his livestock; one apparently for horses near the hacienda, 
and another built in the Olema Valley on the present Boyd Stewart Ranch and 
used to hold Garcia's few tame cattle. Wild game roaming on Garcia's (and 
probably Osio's and Berry's) land attracted guests who came to hunt and visit 
with the Don. 19 

The rancho apparently was self-sufficient, no doubt because Garcia's 
Indians, former neophytes trained at Mission San Rafael, could wash, cord, spin, 
and finally weave the wool into cloth; tan the hides and make boots and shoes 
from the leather; and farm, ranch, and prepare the food for the ranchero and 
his family. The use of Indian servants was not an uncommon practice, as many 
other rancheros also had staffs of trained Indian servants. 20 

Joseph Warren Revere, an American lieutenant stationed at Sonoma, 
visited Garcia's ranch during its heyday. Revere described a fiesta he attended 
as a guest of Garcia at his Bear Valley headquarters in August 1846. Revere's 
party had been salvaging a rich array of articles from a shipwreck nearby and 
returned in a festive mood. When Revere and his associates arrived, a feast 
was prepared. "Fat muttons and beeves were slaughtered by Don Rafael; and 
the cocina was alive with women preparing the various dishes affected by 

18 Munro-Fraser, Marin County, p. 277. 
19 Ibid.. pp. 277-278. 

20 Munro-Fraser, Marin County, pp. 277-278; Bancroft, History 2: 598; Garcia's house and corral 
are located on the Plat of the Rancho Tomales y Baulines of October 6, 1865. 


native Californians . . . ." According to Revere, the staple at Garcia's was 
tortillas and "beefsteaks broiled on the coals,--called carne asado." 

Garcia's house was well-appointed with European finery, perhaps with 
treasures of the wrecked ship and others: 

The long, low, one-storied house, with its spreading 
eaves, was profusely illuminated with the best wax- 
candles in bronze or plated candelabra of artistic 
patterns, adorned with artificial flowers of every hue; 
while the rugged walls were concealed with framed 
engravings: and beneath them was arranged elegant 
furniture in buhl and marquetrie, on which stood 
crowds of bottles, from which the company regaled 
themselves with unlimited champagne, and the 
delicate wines of the Rhine and Burgundy . . . . 21 

Garcia treated Revere to a party not to be forgotten, complete with 
"exhibitions of skill with the lasso" and a duel between a bear and a bull. Early 
on, "the rancheros, who had brought their guitars and fiddles strapped on their 
backs, soon struck up merry tunes; and the light-hearted Spanish girls and their 
cavaliers danced thejarabe, the waltz, and other national dances, all night long; 
while the elders sat about amusing themselves with monte and euchre." 22 

Under the Mexican government of California, Garcia prospered. His 
herds were large and continued to grow; his family lived around him on his 
large domain where he ruled as a grand patriarch; he was also on good terms 
with most of his neighbors. 

When at home on the rancho, Garcia treated his visitors with generous 
hospitality, including Lieutenant Revere, who stopped at Garcia's again in 1847. 
Revere and a party of sixteen soldiers had been riding hard in pursuit of a band 
of Mexican outlaws who also had found their way to Garcia's but had fled 
hurriedly at the soldiers' arrival, leaving behind their hats, a freshly 
slaughtered bullock, and twenty-four good horses which had been stolen from 
neighboring ranches. Evidently the open house provided by Garcia precluded 
turning away travelers, no matter what kind of character their appearance 

21 Revere, Joseph W., Keel and Saddle. A Retrospect of Forty Years of Military and Naval 
Service. Boston: James R. Osgood and Company, 1872. pp. 184-185. 

22 Ibid.. pp. 184-185. 


Garcia extended his hospitality to Revere and his men, and invited 
Revere to join him and several neighboring rancheros on an elk hunt. The offer 
was accepted and Garcia provided Revere and two of his men with fresh horses 
for the day. 23 

Garcia and his neighboring rancheros appreciated the Point Reyes 
Peninsula for the vast herds of elk which grazed on its exceptional natural 
pasturage. Sir George Simpson in 1841, had marveled at the cattle and horses 
feeding on the grassy slopes of the peninsula and observed they "were growing 
and fattening, whether their owners waked or slept, in the very middle of 
winter, and in the coldest nook of the province." The elk, while still relatively 
isolated and undisturbed on Point Reyes, gained even higher esteem among the 
Californios who prized their fat for cooking. 24 

Point Reyes' heavy dews and proximity to the sea fostered a great 
luxuriance of wild oats and other grains and grasses which supported the huge 
elk herds. August was the best time of the year to hunt because the elk then 
had grown to their fattest, making them easy prey for the specially-trained 
horses and their riders, whereas, only a few months later, "the fleetest horse 
could hardly overtake them." On the elk hunt with Lieutenant Revere, the 
Californio hunters carried no firearms, but instead, a rope or riata, "the 
unfailing companion of all rancheros." Through the lifting fog they caught sight 
of "not less than four hundred head of superb fat animals," six of which the 
rancheros, with some help from Revere, brought down and killed with a lima, 
(a crescent-shaped stone used for hamstringing the elk), a knife, and Revere's 

Elk furnished a popular staple, tallow, for which the Californio rancheros 
felt considerable gratitude. Revere overheard a Californio, who had an elk 
entangled in his riata. address the struggling beast as "cundo", or brother-in-law, 
and assuring him that he only wanted a little of his lard to cook tortillas. Once 
processed, the elk fat possessed a "superior hardness, whiteness and delicacy", 
which evidently was consumed in enormous quantities. From the six elk killed 
on the first day of the hunt with Lieutenant Revere, the Californios obtained at 
least 800 pounds of tallow which they stored in two large hides, doubled in the 
middle and laced with thongs on the sides. The next morning, the rancheros 

23 Joseph Warren Revere, Naval Duty in California (Reprint, Oakland: Biobooks, 1947), p. 64. 
24 Simpson, Narrative 1: 274. 


rode off again to continue the hunt, leaving Revere to observe the great 
quantity of elk killed on Point Reyes. 'We passed many places, on our way 
back, where mouldering horns and bones attested to the wholesale slaughter 
which had been made in previous years by the rancheros of the neighborhood." 
The beleaguered elk already were dwindling in numbers, and according to an 
account related by Rafael Garcia, the surviving herds swam across Tomales Bay 
to the wilderness of Sonoma County sometime in the late 1850's or early 1860's. 

Revere also offered comments on the state of the Point Reyes rancho in 
1846. The hunting party camped for the night at "what was called the rancho, 
but in arriving we found nothing but a broken down corral [this is apparently 
Osio's headquarters at the later site of C. W. Howard's F Ranch on Drakes 
Estero]." En route to the rancho they passed "a herd of cattle so little civilized 
that the very antelopes were grazing amongst them." Point Reyes, then at the 
dawn of American control, had reverted to its wild and natural state, awaiting 
the arrival of the dairymen who would make the peninsula famous. 25 

3. Rancho Nicasio 

Rancho Nicasio, at 56,807 acres the largest of the Marin land grants, was 
given to Pablo de la Guerra and Juan Cooper in 1844, ending a sad chapter in 
California history when the remaining Coast Miwok were brazenly swindled out 
of 80,000 acres that had been promised them by Mariano Vallejo, military 
commander of the northern frontier. De la Guerra and Cooper hired surveyor 
Jasper O'Farrell to divide the grant into five sections which, by 1851, had been 
sold. Cooper sold Section 4, of 8,695.27 acres on which stand three of the 
ranches subject of this report, to Benjamin Buckelew on October 25, 1850, for 
$10,000. 26 

25 Bancroft, History 4: 664; Robinson, Land in California, pp. 63, 204; Munro-Fraser, Marin 
County, p. 151; Senate, Jones Report. 31st Cong., 1st sess., 1851; Becker, "Point Reyes," p. 43. 

26 Munro-Fraser, Marin County, p. 283; Mason, Early Marin. pp. 59-67. See Mason for the 
entire story of the Nicasio land case. 


4. Rancho Punta de los Reyes 

On March 17, 1836, James Richard Berry applied for and was granted 
35,000 acres. Berry, a Mexican national of Irish descent who had served Mexico 
as a colonel during the Spanish War, named his domain Rancho Punta de los 
Reyes. Berry visited Point Reyes with Captain of the Port of San Francisco, 
William L. Richardson, who related many years later: 

He came to me in the early part of 1836 with 
recommendations from the then commandant of 
California, Don Nicolas Gutierrez, to pass him over to 
the north side of the Bay of San Francisco . . . in 
order to select some land granted to him for his 
services as a Colonel in the Mexican Army and I did 
so. He returned to my house at Yerba Buena [San 
Francisco] about three weeks afterwards on his road 
to Monterey. He came back again about a month 
after with his grant to take possession of his land at 
Punta de Reyes, which is in what [is] now Marin 
County. 27 

Berry chose property comprising practically the entire Olema Valley from what 
he evidently considered to be Garcia's grant north, including what would 
eventually become the town of Olema. The northern section of two leagues 
extended up the shores of Tomales Bay, including the area that would become 
the town of Inverness fifty years later. Berry brought cattle and heifers to the 
ranch and built a one-story house in the northern Olema Valley, at a location 
on Olema Creek reportedly adjacent to the future town of Olema, on the main 
road, on the west bank of a stream which fed into Tomales Bay. Berry filed a 
juridical possession and survey with the military commander at Sonoma which 
was later found to be invalid. 28 

Berry sold the two leagues on Tomales Bay in 1838 to Joseph E. Snook, a 
naturalized Mexican citizen and veteran sea captain and merchant of the Pacific 

27 Testimony of William A. Richardson in Land Case 418 ND, copies at National Park Service, 
Western Regional Office, San Francisco. 

"Testimony of William Richardson, October 27, 1853, in Land Case 418 ND Punta de Reyes, 
Bd 7, October 27, 1853, No. 43, Bowman, "Testimony" p. 115, Bancroft Library, U. C. Berkeley; 
Jack Mason, Point Reves. The Solemn Land (Inverness: North Shore Books, Third Edition, 1970), 
p.21; Becker, Point Reves. p. 42-43. 


Coast trade routes. However, sale of granted property was not allowed under 
the terms of Berry's grant. On September 18, 1838, Snook wrote to Mariano 
Guadalupe Vallejo, at that time Military Commander of the Northern Frontier, 
for advice: 

You know that on the voyage past I bought from Don 
James Berry 2 leagues of his rancho, situated on 
Point Reyes . . . and the other day I put there 56 head 
of cattle by Mr. Rafael Garcia, whom I am paying $12 
per month . . ., but I do not have papers for the 
rancho. I hope that you will be my counsel as to the 
manner in which I can secure the necessary papers 


Snook chose or was advised to denounce the portion of the grant he had 
purchased from Berry. In this process a citizen could challenge the ownership 
of property if the terms of the grant were unfulfilled; in Snook's case the 
denouncement was based on the fact that Berry's grant was unoccupied, and 
the denouncement was no doubt applied for with Berry's approval. In fact, 
Berry probably would have lost the land entirely had the governor known that 
he had illegally sold a portion of it. Snook won title to the 8,878 acres under a 
ruling by the Mexican governor in June of 1839. As one historian interpreted 
the transactions: 

Snook officially denounced the land he had unofficially 
bought from Berry. Berry officially acceded to the 
denouncement of the land he had unofficially sold to 
Snook. In June of 1839, the land was officially 
regranted to Snook, and Berry officially retained the 
remainder of his land, with Snook's money unofficially 
in his pocket. 30 

About 1837 Snook had built a small house at the northwestern corner of the 
rectangular parcel (on today's Rogers Ranch) for his ranch foreman. Situated 
on the north side of a small creek draining into Schooner Bay, the house was 

29 Joseph E. Snook, letter dated September 18, 1838, in Vallejo, Mariano Guadalupe, 
Documentos para la Historia de California, V, doc. no. 172, mss. at Bancroft Library, University of 
California, Berkeley. 

30 Becker, Point Reves. p. 42. 


?; ' r4mjsW- : 

Detail of a map of the Berry grant made for Bethuel Phelps in 1854. Berry's house is marked in the left center 
and Garcia's in the lower right. Reproduction in the Point Reyes National Seashore Collection. 


built of logs as thick as a man's thigh, plastered with clay, with a thatched tule 
roof, measuring about 15 by 12 feet and seven feet high. 31 

Within months after winning title, Snook mortgaged his Rancho Punta 
de los Reyes and traded it to Antonio Maria Osio on September 28, 1839. Osio, 
the administrator of the custom house in Monterey and grantee of Rancho Isla 
de los Angeles (Angel Island) on San Francisco Bay, soon petitioned the 
governor for the remaining eleven leagues, or sobrante, on Point Reyes. After 
three years of administrative delays Governor Manuel Micheltorena awarded 
the 48,829-acre grant on November 20, 1843, to Osio, who moved his family to 
Point Reyes that year. 32 

Osio soon found himself in a dispute over proper boundaries of the 
rancho, setting the stage for later events. Berry, who had retained six leagues 
of his grant in the Olema Valley, began to run his cattle on Osio's sobrante. 
Berry had been pushed out of his own land by Rafael Garcia, grantee of Rancho 
Tomales y Baulines to the south; Garcia had given his Bolinas land to his 
brother-in-law Gregorio Briones and moved north onto Berry's ranch, where he 
had settled in comfortably, calling his new property Rancho Al Punta El Estero. 
Until Osio received his vast sobrante, the apparent feeling in the area was that 
there was plenty of land to spare, hence the informal mode of use and 
settlement. 33 

Osio sued Berry in 1844, an action that brought to light Garcia's move 
north. Jose Maria Castanares, the government attorney in Monterey, ruled in 
Osio's favor and recommended that Garcia return the land to Berry by moving 
back to Bolinas. But Berry pulled out of the fray abruptly, transferring his 
property to his friend Stephen Smith of Bodega, "being debtor to Don Estevan 
[Smith] for various sums with which he has aided me." Berry, who had 
reportedly acquiesced to Garcia, died soon after. In the end, Garcia stayed on 
Berry's property and Osio was satisfied that his rancho was not being 
encroached upon. 34 

31 Mason, Point Reyes, p. 22-23; G. W. Hendry and Jacob N. Bowman, "The Spanish and 
Mexican Adobes and Other Buildings in the Nine Bay Area Counties, 1776 to about 1850," 
unpublished manuscript, 1940, pp. 96-97. 

32 Munro-Fraser, Marin County, pp. 190, 194. 

33 Becker, Point Reyes, p. 42; Mason, Point Reyes, pp. 42-43. 

34 Mason, Point Reyes, p. 25. 


While Oslo lived at Point Reyes beginning in 1843, he continued to work 
in Monterey, as justice of the superior court from 1840 to 1845, as a substitute 
congressman in 1843, as captain of the defenses in 1844, and as judge at San 
Rafael in 1845. He had hired a "Spaniard" named Pakito as his major domo, 
according to an 1880 account. After the American takeover in 1846, Osio moved 
his family to Hawaii, then settled in Baja California. Osio mortgaged the 
property to a man named G. W. Bird, then sold it to Andrew Randall in 1852. 
Meanwhile, Smith sold his Berry ranch to cattleman Bethuel Phelps on 
September 25, 1848, for $15,000. 35 

When California gained statehood and the first legislature created Marin 
County in 1850, the new county government found nothing but confusion at 
Point Reyes. Few of the landowners lived there and the true acreage of their 
properties was unknown. Tax assessments of 1851 indicated that Osio owned 
only two leagues, while his eleven leagues of the sobrante received no notice. 
Berry's tract, transferred to Smith then sold to Phelps, was described as, "The 
tract of land formerly owned by Berry containing six leagues owners unknown 
lying between Punta Reyes and Garcia also running on said tract of land is 200 
head of cattle belonging to said farm." The fact that Bethuel Phelps recorded 
his purchase in Sonoma County may explain some of the confusion. 36 

E. Land Claims Under Scrutiny 

In 1851, the United States Congress passed an "Act to Ascertain and 
Settle the Private Land Claims in the State of California" which created a 
three-man Board of Land Commissioners, who were appointed by the President 
to examine and determine the validity of the Spanish and Mexican land grants 
in California. The Land Commission, which began hearings on January 2, 1852, 
represented only a first legal step, as both sides~the land claimant and the 
United States-had the right of appeal in the California District courts, and 
when necessary, in the State's Supreme Court. As common practice, the United 
States attorneys entered an appeal to the courts, extending the litigation and 
making the average length of time between the initial petition to the Land 
Commission and the final patent on the land seventeen years. 

35 Munro-Fraser, Marin County, p. 302. 
36 Toogood, Civil History, pp. 69-70. 


In the midst of this lengthy legal process, most claimants went bankrupt. 
Some who had received confirmation of their grants from the Board of Land 
Commissioners had their titles invalidated in district courts. Presented with 
financial difficulties and the pressing demand for land from growing numbers of 
Americans in California, some sold off sections of then- land before receiving a 
final American land title and patent. Consequently, clouds remained over many 
coastal land titles for years after California became a state in 1850. 

With some 1,400 land claims before the Board of Land Commissioners, 
California had a constant demand for lawyers. San Francisco's law bar included 
some of the most skilled and knowledgeable attorneys in the state. Many of 
these lawyers directed their energies towards acquiring property themselves, 
often accepting rancho lands as payment for their services. By the close of 
1866, vast tracts in Marin County had fallen into the hands of San Francisco 
attorneys, while not one of the original rancho grantees remained to witness 
the nearly completed American takeover of the land. 37 


"Becker, Designs on the Land. Introduction, n.p.; Marshall McDonald and Associates, Report 
and Recommendations on Angel Island 1769-1966 Prepared for the Division of Beaches and Parks, 
State of California, 1966, p. 60; Robinson, Land in California, p. 106; Mason, Early Marin, pp. xii 
and 82; Becker, "Point Reyes," p. 43. 


Rancho Nicasio (Black) 

Punta de 
los Reyes 




Punta de ( 

los Reyes 

Rancho Nicasio 


Tomales y 
^ \ Baulines 

A V 



Rancho San Geronimo 

Rancho Tomales y Baulines (Phelps) 

Pacific Ocean 


Rancho Las Baulines 

The Mexican ranches in the Olema Valley area. 



Bolinas Bay 

F. Ranches in Transition 

1. Rancho las Ban lines 

According to available tax schedules and records, Gregorio Briones fared 
well for nearly a decade after the American takeover. The agricultural schedule 
for Marin County in the 1850 United States census shows that Briones claimed 
possession of 13,230 unimproved acres (4,409 more than granted as Rancho 
Baulenes in 1846), 50 horses, 300 other cattle and 15 swine, with a value of 
$10,000 on his farm and $4,500 on his livestock. The 1854 county tax records 
indicated that Briones had built a new house and had added 100 sheep and 
goats to his property, helping to raise his total valuation to $833,414, more than 
three times that of 1850. 

The 1860 United States Census, however, revealed the Briones family's 
material losses during the latter part of the 1850s. According to agricultural 
schedule, four family members together owned less property than many of the 
new settlers. Gregorio apparently had given charge of his lands to his children, 
for he was not included in the 1860 schedule. He died on May 16, 1863. 38 

Gregorio Briones had filed his claim to two square leagues of Rancho Las 
Baulines on January 31, 1853. More than one year later, on May 15, 1854, the 
Land Commissioners confirmed his title, but the District Court process held up 
the final validation of his claim until April 2, 1857, when Briones officially 
became owner of the 8,911. 34-acre rancho, as surveyed by the United States 
Deputy Surveyor, Robert C. Matthewson, in October of 1858. 39 

38 California, U. S. Census 1850, Partial Schedules, Schedule 4, Productions of Agriculture, 
Marin County, p. 15; Marin County Assessments, 2 Volumes, 2: 1954-1955, p. 256, on microfilm at 
Bancroft Library; 8th U. S. Census, 1860, Products of Agriculture, Bolinas Township, pp. 23-26; 
"Chronological History of Marin County," 1: n.p. 

39 Munro-Fraser, Marin County, p. 194, quotes from Judge Ogden Hoffman's Report of Land 
Cases Determined in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California which 
he published in 1862, having been the principal judge presiding in the district court in San 
Francisco. Robinson, Land in California, p. 263; "Plat of the Rancho Los Baulines finally 
confirmed to Gregorio Briones ... by Robert C. Matthewson, Deputy Surveyor, October 1858, 
Containing 8911 34/100 acres." A copy of the plat is in Patent Book A., p. 157, MCRO. Jack 
Mason in Last Stage for Bolinas (Inverness: North Shore Books, 1973), p. 15, wrote that R. C. 
Matthewson surveyed the Bolinas rancho in October 1858 and found it contained four square 
leagues, not two, but the 8911 34/100 acres indicated on the above plat equals two leagues. The 
1858 plat showed five American residences on the east side of Bolinas Lagoon and a steam saw 
mill located near the road on the northeastern portion (Dogtown area) of the rancho. 


Detail of the plat of Rancho las Baulines ("Baulinas Rancho") by U. S. Deputy Surveyor R. C. Matthewson, 1858. 

Marin County Recorders Office. 


As early as July 1852, Gregorio Briones began to sell his lands to the 
Americans, contingent on the confirmation of his title to Rancho Baulines. On 
July 4, 1852, he sold to Isaac Morgan a tract of land on the east side of Bolinas 
Bay, contained by Richardson's Rancho Sausalito boundary, the ridge line, and 
the San Rafael trail which dropped west from the ridge to the bay shore. 
Either Briones was extremely generous or very naive with financial 
arrangements, for Morgan was able to live rent free on the land he planned to 
buy until Briones received a valid title, and then he paid only five dollars per 
acre. Thus, until 1857, Morgan held claim by agreement to the eastern shore of 
Bolinas Bay without compensating Briones, and beginning that year the Briones 
family's lands were reduced by about 2,600 acres. 

Briones' rancho possessed two physical advantages: the protected harbor 
of Bolinas Bay and the redwood trees in the gulches of Bolinas Ridge. With San 
Francisco growing by great leaps and bounds, several Americans beginning in 
1849, had made arrangements with Briones to cut timber and run sawmills on 
2,200 acres on the northeast quarter of the rancho. Briones sold the acreage to 
Charles Correns, and that land passed through many hands before becoming 
the Wilkins and Bourne Ranches of the 1870s. 

The Briones family livestock and residences remained on the western 
half of the bay until, parcel by parcel, Briones' heirs began to sell off the 3,000 
acres left to them by Gregorio 's will. Today, after the passing of Rose Briones 
of Dogtown, no known member of the Briones family or then- descendants lives 
upon the Rancho las Baulines. 40 

2. Rancho Tom ales y Baulines 

Rafael Garcia's transition years under American authority followed the 
same general pattern as Briones', with the exception that his decline in 
material possessions was much more rapid. According to the 1851 county tax 

40 Deeds Book B, pp. 3, 156-158, 296-297, Book C, pp. 102, 187-188, Book D, p. 67, Marin 
County Recorders Office (hereinafter cited as MCRO); Mason, Last Stage, pp. 15-16; on pp. 15-16 
and 94-95, in the same source, Jack Mason identified Captain Morgan as an 1849 American 
pioneer in Bolinas Bay and as one of Gregorio Briones' only American friends. Morgan worked on 
timber crews which sent lumber for wharves to San Francisco. Munro-Fraser, Marin County, p. 


Detail of the plat of Rancho Tomales y Baulines as finally confirmed to Rafael Garcia, 1865. 

Marin County Recorders Offfce. 


assessments, Garcia had the most valued improvements of all rancheros along 
the coast to his south and west, from Point Reyes to the Golden Gate. The 
value of his personal estate, however, was comparatively low, being $11,700, 
indicating that Garcia's wealth lay in his land, its structures and his livestock. 
The total valuation came to $44,700, a considerable sum for the times. By 
1854, Garcia's total property valuation had dropped to $38,315, more than half 
of it directly based on the assessment of 8,800 acres. The rancho still remained 
intact, however, and supported a variety of livestock, including 200 wild cattle, 
150 tame California cattle, 20 tame California horses and mares, 12 wild horses, 
three mules and various pigs, sheep and goats. These numbers reflected only a 
fraction of Garcia's vast property during his years under Mexican rule. 41 

Garcia's land, then, contained the key to his future, and on March 23, 
1852, only months after the Land Commissioners began their sessions, he filed 
his claim for Rancho Tomales y Baulines. Between litigation before the Land 
Commission and the District Court, the claim was not confirmed until October 
19, 1858. The following year Garcia entered a law suit against Oscar Shafter, et 
al., San Francisco attorneys who, by 1858, had acquired all of the Point Reyes 
peninsula and who had their eyes on Garcia's land. The legal battle dragged on 
for six years, draining Garcia of what capital he had at his disposal. Garcia had 
evidently gained experience in the American legal system earlier in the 1850s, 
for his name appears frequently on a list of plaintiffs who sued in District 
Court. Garcia, in fact, filed a suit each year from 1852 to 1856. 

Garcia's biggest day in court occurred on March 9, 1864, as he defended 
his ownership of Tomales y Baulines. U. S. Deputy Surveyor R. C. Matthewson 
had redrawn the boundaries of the west Marin ranches, cutting more than 
13,000 acres off of the original Berry grant which he considered to be 
improperly defined at the time it had been claimed. The Shatters, who owned 
the Berry grant, wanted Garcia's land as their due, citing the loss of the 13,000 
acres, and claimed that Berry's acquiescence was a forgery. By this time, 
Garcia had already sold much of his land, and his lawyer A. T. Willson pleaded 
for the threatened Garcia and his landholders. Judge Ogden Hoffman, after 
hearing from the parties involved, ruled in Garcia's favor. The next year Garcia 
received a survey plat to his rancho which contained 9,467.77 acres, 605 acres 
more than that confirmed to him by the 1858 validation of his title. Never ones 

41 Marin County Assessments, Vol.1, 1851, and Vol. 2, 1854, Bancroft Library; Munro-Fraser, 
Marin County, pp. 177-178. 


to leave a courtroom emptyhanded, the Shatters were rewarded with the huge 
13,644.66-acre Phelps patent, called a portion of Tomales y Baulines, which 
covered all of the land between Garcia's Olema Valley and the summit of Mt. 
Tamalpais to the southeast, including the rich timber lands of the upper 
Lagunitas Canyon, as well as some 1,800 acres of Briones' land, that would 
become the McCurdy Ranch. 42 

The difference of 605 acres in Garcia's grant probably reflected the 
disparity between the written grant (2 leagues or roughly 8,880 acres) and the 
actual survey of the rancho boundaries performed at the juridical possession of 
the land. Garcia's 1865 plat, however, indicated the extent to which his lands 
had been sold to Americans, probably to pay his endless legal expenses from 
over a decade in court. 

Since 1849 Garcia had leased land to various parties for logging, lime 
production, and grazing and farming. On Christmas Day, 1855, Garcia began 
selling off most of Rancho Tomales y Baulines, in a transaction with Victor 
Post, a partner in Samuel P. Taylor's paper mill which was being constructed 
on Garcia's property. Less than a year later, on September 25, 1856, Garcia 
sold a parcel which consisted of 4,366 acres in the Olema Valley to Daniel and 
Nelson Olds. The parcel represented nearly half of Garcia's land, which he sold 
at less than two dollars per acre. 43 

The following year, in 1857, Garcia sold to John Nelson and William E. 
Randall another 1,400 acres just south of the Olds tract in Olema Valley, for 
$2,000, again accepting less than $2 per acre. He began to sell lots in Olema 
and there a town was established. Thus, before his title had been finally 
confirmed Garcia had relinquished nearly sixty percent of his holdings. In fact, 
the site of Garcia's hacienda on the west side of Olema Creek ended up in the 
final surveys as part of Rancho Punta de los Reyes. Rafael Garcia had little 
time to deal with this, as he died on February 25, 1866, only four months after 
he received his official survey and patent to the rancho. Garcia left his 
remaining 3,089 acres north and east of Olema, as well as six town lots in 
Olema, to his wife and seven other heirs. Garcia's adobe reportedly fell in the 

^Mason, Early Marin. pp. 142-143; "Plat of the Rancho Tomales y Baulines Finally Confirmed 
to Rafael Garcia," 1865. 

"Deeds Book C, pp. 46, 66 and 144, MCRO; "Abstract of Title and Certificate of Search, Part of 
the Rancho Tomales y Baulinas," compiled for James McMillan Shafter, collection of PRNS. 


earthquake of 1868, and on the site Charles Webb Howard built his Bear Valley 
Ranch. 44 

The will of Rafael Garcia asked that he be buried "in a sacred graveyard, 
either in my ranch or any other," that one acre be sold with the proceeds to be 
"applied in masses for the good of my soul," that "the land which constitutes the 
cemetery be left for the benefit of my heirs" (no such cemetery exists today; the 
Olema Cemetery was established almost 20 years later), that his widow receive 
the Garcia house and "the property on which it was situated, and a third part of 
my lands," and that the remaining lands be divided "in equal parts among my 
heirs." Hard times followed for the Garcia heirs. They divided the 3,089 acres 
he had left to them into seven parcels, and soon most of it was gone. 45 

Many of the settlers were covetous of the Garcia lands. In a story so like 
that of so many other Californios, the Garcia lands dwindled into nothing. By 
1880, most of the 3,089 acres left by Don Rafael to his heirs were in the hands 
of the American settlers, principally James McMillan Shafter. 

The lands of Maria Loreta Garcia were very nearly lost to her in 1872, 
when the sheriff threatened "to take everything she owned" when she became 
indebted to the local grocery store for $396. She apparently settled the bill, for 
in 1873, she was residing in her home nearby. 

Calamity then struck the Garcia family. On April 17, 1873, the "Senora" 
was visited by a young blacksmith who wished to marry her. After some 
heated discussion, in which she apparently refused, the blacksmith pulled a 
Navy pistol and shot Senora Garcia in the breast. She fell to the floor and was 
attempting to rise when he fired again, this tune at her head, killing her. After 
trying to burn the adobe, he fled to a nearby home, where in front of horrified 
onlookers, he confessed his crime and shot himself in the temple. 46 

"Hoffman Report as cited in Munro-Fraser, Marin County, p. 192; Appendix A, Marin County, 
District Court, Miscellaneous Series, Nos. 1-292, Suit Nos. 83, 22, 135, 122, 215, 197; Appendix B, 
Marin County, District Court, Old Series, Nos. 1-238, Suit No. 72, California State Archives, 
Sacramento, California; "Plat of the Rancho Tomales y Baulines finally confirmed to Rafael Garcia 
as located by the U. S. Surveyor General . . . October 6th 1865 Containing 9467 77/100 acres," 
Patent Book B, P. 65; Deed Book C, pp. 66, 94, MCRO; Hendry and Bowman, "Adobes," p. 125; 
Mason, Point Reyes, p. 45. 

45 Probate Register B, p. 65 No. 61, Deeds Book H, p. 77, MCRO. Garcia's estate was valued at 
$25,000 to $30,000. Garcia's surviving children were Maria Dolores (Hurtado), Maria Hilaria 
(Noriel), Jose, Juan, Felipe, Feliz and Ava Thomas, a minor. 

^Munro-Fraser, Marin County, pp. 245. 


Between the death and endless pressure by the settlers, the Garcias lost 
their lands, "much of it at the sheriffs auctions". By 1880, Juan Garcia, who 
lived in his two story frame home near the site of his father's adobes, brother 
Jose, and Felix, who lived in Olema were apparently the only members of the 
family remaining in the area. Felix lost his property to Shafter, then operated 
a saloon in town from July 1876, to April 1879, when he lost all to his creditors. 
In time Felix Garcia left town and died a pauper in San Rafael in 1900. 47 

Brother Felipe Garcia operated a stage line from Sausalito to Olema in 
1870. A news correspondent wrote of "the splendid line of stages ... a large 
amount of the pleasure and comfort enjoyed being due to the provisions made 
by Mr. Garcia, who may be considered the prince of stagists . . . ," 48 

In 1888 Jose Garcia, as executor of his father's will, made an attempt to 
recover all of Garcia's land plus $10,000 in a lawsuit against landowners on the 
rancho, including Shafter, C. W. Howard, Joseph Bloom and John Nelson. The 
suit was dismissed after the defendants claimed that the suit amounted to 
fraud "for the purpose of wrongfully depriving the petitioners of the possession 
of their said lands." 49 

Juan Garcia did his best to hold the family name in esteem. Born on the 
Rancho Corte Madera del Presidio in 1838, and named after Father Juan of the 
San Rafael mission, he spent most of his life with his wife Guadaloupe and 
children in his father's Olema Valley. He farmed in the area, and ran a livery 
business, as described by Bertha Stedman Rothwell: 

When Don Rafael Garcia died in 1866, he left to his 
son Juan the remnant of his once famous stable .... 
This Garcia stable consisted of a large number of well- 
bred horses and a large assortment of vehicles and 
saddles. The saddles and harnesses were embellished 
with the usual silver mountings which were a familiar 
sight in the early Spanish regime. This stable Juan 
Garcia prized dearly, and it became his life's ambition 
not only to keep intact what remained but also to 

Mason, Earthquake Bay, pp. 92; "Abstract of Title and That of Encumbrances on the Nelson 
Hotel Lot, Olema" Vols. 1 and 2, Jack Mason Museum. 

48 Marin Journal. November 26, 1870. 

49 Marin County Superior Court, Register 2 No. 852, Jose Garcia vs. Nelson et al., in "Abstract 
. . . Nelson Hotel" Vol. 1. 


perpetuate the memories of his father's reign in 
Marin County as a Spanish Don. 

"Jim" [Taylor, owner of the Camp Taylor resort about 
four miles from Olema] contacted Mr. Juan Garcia 
and contracted with him to take over the 
management of the livery stable service for the hotel 

Juan was delighted with this opportunity to not only 
add financially to his livelihood but to also place 
before the public his prized possessions and thorough- 
bred horses. His stable and equipment were brought 
to Camp Taylor and I can still, in memory, see the 
astonished guests as Juan Garcia, himself a typical 
Spanish Don, drove around to the front of the hotel 
each morning to take a large number of hotel guests 
for a day's drive through beautiful Bear Valley. Mr. 
Juan Garcia had a large "Carry-all." This was a six- 
seated conveyance which could comfortably seat 
twenty-four persons. This coach with his four 
beautiful horses, bedecked in their silver-mounted 
harnesses, champing at their bits, attracted each day 
an interested crowd of spectators. Mr. Juan Garcia 
appeared each morning at precisely ten o'clock, seated 
proudly in the driver's seat of this immaculate 
equestrian outfit . . . . 50 

Juan Garcia lost all too, apparently through gambling. According to the 
San Rafael Independent, Garcia "permitted the yellow gold to slip through his 
fingers . . . the gambling table was one of his weaknesses, and he often bet a 
thousand dollars at the turn of a card." Juan died penniless at age 80 in 1913. 
Today, there are no Garcia descendants living in the Olema Valley. 

50 Bertha Stedman Rothwell, Pioneering in Marin County (typescript, 1959), pp. 185-187; 
Munro-Fraser, Marin County, p. 456. 





/ v ; j u 

/ > \ 32-r* 
/ ^ tf^^l 





Tracing of a detail of the plat of the western part of Rancho Nicasio as confirmed to Benjamin Buckelew, 1 858. 

Note Capt. Allen's house at the site of the future entrance to the Cheda Ranch, and the location of Taylor's 
paper mill, now marked by a plaque in Samuel P. Taylor State Park. Original in Marin County Recorders Office. 


3. Rancho Nicasio 

Benjamin Buckelew, who also owned Rancho Punta de Quentin on the 
east shore of Marin County, sold much of his Nicasio land to William J. Miller. 
The son of Marin pioneer James Miller who settled in San Rafael in 1845, 
William was educated at Jesuit College in Santa Clara and went into business 
dealing cattle and land. His Nicasio land was only a part of his 8,000 acres 
around the county; he may have been the county's largest taxpayer until the 
Shatter family took hold of their Point Reyes ranches. Miller built a large hotel 
in Nicasio in 1867. 51 

As in all of the county, dairying became the major industry in Nicasio. As 
J. P. Munro Fraser wrote in 1880, "Butter is here, as elsewhere, the product, 
although the business of dairying is not conducted on quite so large a scale, by 
individuals, as in some other sections." Nicasio Township became noted for its 
numerous cheese factories, and still supports a number of dairy ranches. 52 

In 1866 Miller sold two parcels totalling more than 2,000 acres on the 
extreme west edge of Buckelew's grant, 932 acres to Gaudenzio Cheda for 
$4,500 and 1,202 acres to Joseph and John DeMartin for $6,000. These ranches 
developed into dairies and are now part of Golden Gate National Recreation 

4. Rancho Punta de los Reyes 

Antonio Osio sold his holdings at Point Reyes, including Snook's two 
leagues on Tomales Bay and the vast sobrante, to Dr. Andrew Randall of San 
Francisco on January 8, 1852. Randall, a geologist with medical training, came 
to California late in 1849 and soon became customs inspector and postmaster at 
Monterey. He won a seat on the first California legislature and founded the 
California Academy of Sciences. Upon purchasing the Point Reyes ranch he 

51 Munro-Fraser, Marin County, p. 287; Mason, Early Marin. pp. 44-45; Jack Mason, in 
collaboration with Helen Van Cleave Park, The Making of Marin (1850-1975) (Inverness: North 
Shore Books, 1975), p. 140. 

52 Munro-Fraser, Marin County, pp. 282-283. 


hired a foreman, Josiah Swain, and built a house for his wife and four children 
at what became the site of F Ranch. 53 

Within a year Randall apparently had a flourishing cattle ranch, although 
it is doubtful that he spent much time there. His property assessment for the 
year 1854 listed land and improvements valued at $178,365. 54 

Earlier in 1854 Randall had purchased the remainder of Berry's ranch 
from Phelps with $150,000 he had borrowed. Having already purchased Osio's 
Point Reyes property and other parcels of land across the state, Randall soon 
found himself deeply in debt. His problems were exacerbated by a financial 
depression all over the country and he soon found himself pursued by creditors. 
The Point Reyes ranch was foreclosed, setting the stage for a confusing and 
costly battle over the property. 55 

One creditor, Joseph Hetherington, sued Randall; the Doctor refused to 
answer questions from the judge during a debt hearing and fled to Sacramento 
where he was arrested for contempt of court. Finally, on July 24, 1856, 
Hetherington approached Randall in a San Francisco hotel and shot him to 
death. After Hetherington's arrest, the city's vigilance committee seized him 
and hanged him two days later in front of a large cheering crowd. 56 

Elizabeth Randall found herself not only a widow pregnant with her fifth 
child but saddled with Andrew's debt of $237,000. Randall's credit troubles not 
only led to his murder, but as Jack Mason wrote, "out of the turmoil was to 
come a series of events that helped to write California legal history." 57 

Osio's mortgage to Bird had by 1853 grown from $3,000 to $8,400, with 
the Point Reyes land put up as collateral. At a foreclosure sale, Thomas G. 
Gary purchased it, obtained a deed from the sheriff, then sold it to John G. 
Hyatt, who in turn sold it to Thomas G. Richards and Samuel F. Reynolds. All 
received deeds from the sheriff. At the same time, on January 5, 1855, Dr. 
Robert McMillan obtained a judgment against Randall and recorded the 

Mason, Point Reyes, p. 24; Jack Mason, Point Reyes Historian (Inverness: North Shore 
Books, Vol. I-Vra, 1976-1984), pp. 726-735. 

54 Marin County Tax Assessments Vol. 2, 1854, p. 314, Bancroft Library, University of 
California, Berkeley. 

55 Mason, Historian, pp. 731-733. 
56 Ibid.. pp. 731-733. 
"Mason, Point Reyes, p. 29. 


judgment a week later which created a lien against the estate. Jesse Smith had 
also obtained a judgment against Randall, even before McMillan had, but failed 
to record it until February 20, 1855. McMillan and Smith were also issued 
deeds by the sheriff. And Randall, still alive at this point, mortgaged the 
premises to William I. Shaw. 58 

It was Marin County Sheriff G. N. Vischer who had foreclosed the 
property to each of the claimants, apparently pocketing the $2,000 he had 
collected from them. The claimants, McMillan, Smith, Hyatt, Reynolds and 
Richards, soon found that they had been conned by the sheriff. With the 
exception of McMillan, the group hired a lawyer; the wealthy McMillan, 
however, hired Shatter, Shafter, Park and Heydenfeldt, one of the most 
respected law firms in San Francisco. The firm's senior partner, Oscar L. 
Shafter, was a powerful figure in California title litigation. Historian Mason 

McMillan was the only one with enough money to 
clear Randall's property of the liens against it. His 
attorney Shafter went to Sheriff Vischer's office twice 
--first to ascertain what the hens were; again on 
December 13, 1856, with the cash in hand. He 
counted it out on the desk-$24,146.08-and told the 
sheriff to deposit it in McMillan's bank "to save the 
interest during litigation." The sheriff instead put it 
in two banks of his own choosing. Indignantly Shafter 
got out an injunction and impounded the funds. 
Richards, Hyatt and the others took their case into 
district court where they argued that McMillan and 
Shafter by impounding the money were admitting 
they had no intention of parting with it--that in 
reality it had not been paid at all. The judge agreed 
and found for Richards et al. Shafter prepared an 
appeal to the state supreme court. 59 

As Richards, Hyatt, Reynolds and others lived on Point Reyes, McMillan sued in 

58 Ibid.. p. 27; Delos Lake, U.S. Attorney, District of California, to United States Lighthouse 
Board, "The Title of O. L. Shafter, James McM. Shafter, and Charles Webb Howard to La Rancho 
Punta de los Reyes Sobrante . . .", circa 1869, copy at Point Reyes National Seashore (hereinafter 
cited as PRNS); Deeds Book B, pp. 69, 147, 179, 286, 300, Book C, p. 183, Book D, pp. 13, 15, 16, 
18, 20, 28, 30, MCRO. 

59 Mason. Point Reves. p. 30-31. 


ejectment, in addition to appealing the district court's decision. The supreme 
court decided in McMillan's favor on May 31, 1858. Meanwhile, John and 
Samuel Reynolds had conveyed the land to Stephen Marshall, creating further 
problems for the litigants, and McMillan sold away part of the property. 60 

On January 14, 1857, before receiving the final judgment, McMillan 
conveyed a two-thirds interest in his Point Reyes holdings to the law firm that 
represented him, Shafter, Shatter, Park and Heydenfeldt; the firm paid 
McMillan $50,000. Then, on April 7 of the same year, they bought the Snook 
parcel of the original Rancho Punta de los Reyes from Randall's widow at 
auction for $14,700, or one-tenth of what Randall had paid for it in 1854. The 
partners then bought out McMillan's third interest for $20,000, and as a result 
owned almost the entire Point Reyes Peninsula. As Mason wrote: "The total 
price paid for Point Reyes was $84,700. How much cash the lawyers were out 
of pocket has fed the fires of speculation on Point Reyes for a century. A good 
part of the purchase price was undoubtedly written off as legal fees owed by 
McMillan. How much, who knows?'* 1 

The Shafter firm then successfully beat down challenges by Shaw, holder 
of Randall's mortgage, and the Reynolds' buyer, Marshall. Oscar Shafter wrote: 

After a series of tremendous fights we have beaten 
our adversaries at all points and what is more have 
humbled the strongest and the proudest of them. 62 

The Shatters also personally evicted six or seven people still occupying the 
point, including Richards and probably Hyatt and Reynolds as well. This action 
cleared the way for the Shatters' development of what would become the 
largest dairy operation hi California, in which the partners divided the 
peninsula into more than 30 ranches occupied by tenants. 63 

60 Lake, "La Punta de Los Reyes"; Deeds Book C, pp. 122, 125-126, MCRO. 

61 Mason, Point Reyes, pp. 33-34; Lake, "La Punta de Los Reyes"; Deeds Book C, pp. 125-129, 
349, MCRO. 

62 Oscar L. Shafter, Life. Diaries and Letters of Oscar Lovell Shafter. Flora H. Loughead, ed. 
(San Francisco: The Blair-Murdock Company, 1915), p. 203. 

63 Mason, Point Reves. pp. 36-37; Lake, "La Punta de Los Reyes". 


G. Pioneer Dairies in the Olema Valley 

1. California Dairy Development to 1857 

Dairy farming is one of the most important industries 
in the civilized countries of the world, and health, 
wealth, and prosperity of a country is largely denoted 
by the extent and condition of its activity. e 

, 64 

The effect of the 1849-50 Gold Rush on the once-sleepy territory/state of 
California has been well documented, as thousands of people converged on the 
San Francisco Bay area seeking their fortunes. Along with the immigrants 
came a need for food, particularly dairy products. According to the 1850 census, 
only 705 pounds of butter and 150 pounds of cheese were produced in the state 
that year. Miners in the Sierra foothills relied on small dairies based in the 
San Joaquin Valley, who in the spring would drive their cows to the mountains, 
bringing along the necessary dairy utensils to make butter and cheese. These 
nomadic dairies stayed until the October frosts, when the herds and wagons 
returned to the valley. The dairies reportedly made products of good quality, as 
the demand (and prices) were high. 65 

San Franciscans, on the other hand, initially made do with butter 
imported from the east coast or Chile, salted and packed in firkins and, in the 
case of the Chilean product (according to a contemporary correspondent), 
"partaking strongly of the character of hog's lard, which we always believed to 
be one of its principal ingredients." The East Coast butter was not much 
better, as it often emitted a "most ancient and fish-like smell." 61 

By 1854 dairies in Sonoma and Santa Clara Counties provided fresh 
butter and cheese to San Francisco. Milk, highly perishable, could only be 
produced in or near the city itself, whereas butter could withstand a day's 
journey and cheese even more under reasonable conditions. Sonoma County 
proved to be the city's major supplier of butter and cheese until 1862, when 

64 R. G. Sneath, "Dairying in California" (Overland Monthly. January-June, 1888), p. 387. 

65 Compendium of the Ninth Census, compiled by Francis A. Walker, Sup't of Census. 
Washington: Government Printing Office, 1872, p. 711; Sneath, "Dairying in California," p. 387. 


"Toogood, Civil History, p. 94; San Francisco Daily Alta California. May 25, 1854, p. 2. 


Marin County surpassed its northern neighbor in production of both 
commodoties. 67 

By 1857 a number of dairies had been established on the Point Reyes 
Peninsula and in the Bolinas area. That year Randall and Nelson started a 
dairy in the Olema Valley, followed closely by Karner and Baldwin, the Olds 
family and D. D. Wilder. Each built a dairy operation making the best use of 
their land, taking into account then* transportation, feed and water needs. 

2. Sites and Construction 

Adequate supplies of feed and water determined the location of a dairy 
ranch. Pioneers found both in the Olema Valley. Forests of Douglas fir, oak 
and other trees covered most of the west slope of the valley, providing firewood 
and lumber. The east side of the valley was mostly grassy, with the timbered 
gulches getting thicker farther south. A great deal of logging and some clearing 
occurred in these areas, as well as around Bear Valley. 68 

The dairymen chose a reasonably flat site, central to the grazing area and 
with a spring nearby, which provided both for the ranch house and for the cows 
in the corral. The spring would be boxed and the water conveyed in pipes to 
the various outlets as needed. A house or two, a barn for hay and horses, 
fences and corrals, and the creamery (or dairy house) were the first structures 
to be built. Later came larger barns and bigger houses for the occupants. 
Andrew Howe, an Olema carpenter, built many barns in the area during the 
1880s, all of a typical design. The barns were usually large, constructed with 
mortise-and-tenon joints in the superstructure and nailed boards and planks in 
the framing and sheathing. They contained milking galleries with wooden 
stanchions and central areas and lofts for hay storage, all well-drained. Large 
entrance doors typically stood centrally on the long side of the barns, often 
under gable-roofed additions off the main roofline. 

67 Toogood, Civil History, pp. 94-96; John S. Hittell, Commerce and Industries of the Pacific 
Coast of North America (San Francisco: A. L. Bancroft and Co., 1882), p. 261; California, Surveyor 
General, Annual Report of the Surveyor-General of the State of California for the Year 1862, 
(Sacramento: P. Avery, State Printer, 1863), pp. 62-63. That year, Marin County produced 
200,000 pounds of butter to Sonoma's 191,400; Mann's cheese output was 300,000 pounds to Santa 
Clara's 250,000, San Mateo's 75,000 and Sonoma's 66,700 pounds. 

68 Ibid.. December 16, 1875 and November 16, 1883. 


3. Typical Dairy Layout 

The typical dairy ranch consisted of a dwelling, milking corral, dairy 
house, horse barn, calf shed and pig pens, in addition to any necessary 
outbuildings. The horse barn was used to store hay as well. From early on the 
Olema Valley dairymen built the larger milking barns (which later became used 
as and referred to as hay barns), unlike their Point Reyes counterparts who 
made do without large barns until the 1880s and as late as 1920. 69 

Within decades almost all of the ranchers planted trees as windbreaks hi 
the ranch complexes. Typically in a straight line or an L shape, the trees 
effectively created protected yards in this windy climate. Blue gum eucalyptus 
trees (eucalyptus globulus) were a common choice in the 19th century. First 
documented in California in 1856, the fast-growing Australian native enjoyed a 
surge of popularity in California in the 1870s for use as lumber, firewood, 
landscaping, and windbreaks. The imported species of tree proved worthless as 
lumber and messy as an ornamental, and fell from favor by the turn of the 
century. Many of the Olema Valley dairies had stands of eucalyptus, or the 
coniferous Monterey cypress (cupressus macrocarpd), a closed-cone California 
native with a rapid growing rate. Many of the current stands of cypress were 
planted after the turn of the century. Today, groves of eucalyptus and/or 
Monterey cypress stand at the Wilkins, Teixeira, Hagmaier, Randall, Bear 
Valley, Zanardi and Mclsaac Ranches. Lone specimens or stands of eucalyptus 
or cypress are found on most of the other ranches in the area. Many of the 
former ranch sites such as the Biesler, Lupton, Jewell and Neil Mclsaac 
Ranches are marked by trees. 70 

4. Immigration 

The first dairies hired family members, transients and Gold Rush 
veterans as workers. By the 1860s a wave of immigration swept Marin County, 
and many of these immigrants found work on Olema Valley dairies. 


Marin Journal. July 10, 1890, p. 3; interview with Joseph H. Mendoza. 

'"Kenneth M. Johnson, "Eucalyptus," Out West Vol. VI, October 1971, pp. 41-49; Philip A. 
Munz, A California Flora (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1959), p. 61. 


Dominating these were Swiss and Portuguese. Italian-speaking Swiss arrived in 
great numbers from the Valleys Maggia and Verzasca in the southern Alps. 
Thousands of men left their overpopulated, poverty-stricken villages in 
Switzerland to come to Marin County and California, and most stayed. These 
men were sponsored either by their villages or by a man who had already found 
success in the United States, and repaid their passage in labor; wives and family 
members soon followed. A similar situation occurred with Portuguese from the 
Azores, or Western Islands, about 800 miles west of mainland Portugal. 
Azorean laborers arrived beginning in the 1860s, having traveled by ship around 
Cape Horn to Hawaii, then to San Francisco, a trip of about three and a half 
months. Azorean immigrants brought religious and social customs to Point 
Reyes, including the religious festival, Festa do Diuino Espirito Santo or 
Festival of the Holy Ghost. 71 

Many of these immigrants, especially the Portuguese, received criticism 
from "Americans" about coming to the country, working for cheap wages, then 
buying up the productive land. R. G. Sneath wrote: 

Most of these arrivals are young men about of age, 
and physically able to do any labor. Their experience 
in the home country, except that of milking a cow, is 
of little value to them here, and not being able to 
speak English, they are perforce compelled frequently 
to work for their board and a very few dollars per 

This is true not only of the Swiss but of all foreigners, 
and is the principal reason why foreigners that 
employ many laborers, especially in the dairy and 
vegetable line, have become wealthy in a few years. 
They have thus been able to crowd our own people to 
the wall in many industries where labor is the chief 
factor, and their presence in the country is looked 
upon by many unfavorably. 72 

Most of these complaints, however, were countered by general support of the 

71 Rae Codoni, The Corippians. A Retrospective View (Riverbank, CA: Baker Graphics, 1990), 
pp. 17-21; Hallock F. Raup, "The Italian-Swiss in California," California Historical Quarterly. 
December 1951, pp. 308-309; August Mark Vaz, The Portuguese in California (Oakland: I.D.E.S. 
Supreme Council, 1965), pp. 53-57; various documents in Leases. MCRO. 

72 R. G. Sneath, "Dairying in California," Overland Monthly. January-June, 1888, p. 389. 


local populace and the patriotic deeds of the immigrants. One correspondent 
wrote of the typical dairy tenant in 1886: 

His children are educated at the district school. He 
adorns his premises with trees and flowers and the 
sound of the piano and parlor organ is heard in the 
land. He pays his rent-be it $22.50 or $25 per cow- 
semi-annually, does his duty by his neighbor, and lives 
like what he is--an honest, intelligent country 
gentleman. 73 

5. Early Transportation in the Olema Valley Area 

Early dairymen and their families faced substantial odds in transporting 
their goods to market in San Francisco. Ocean travel dominated Point Reyes 
commerce for the entire 19th century, although the construction of a narrow 
gauge railroad in 1875 improved the reliability and lessened the risks of 
transport to the dairymen in reasonable proximity to the depots. Overland 
travel, common for trips to the local towns, was not a favored method until 
highway improvements commenced in the 1920s, although the Olds family of 
Olema preferred to travel overland to Petaluma, then by schooner to the city, 
thus avoiding an ocean voyage. 74 

Geography, natural resources and existing transportation routes 
determined the location of new towns in the area. One of the oldest towns in 
Marin County, Bolinas, was founded in 1849 as a shipping point for lumber 
taken out of the Bolinas Lagoon area. A nearby settlement and location of the 
lumber mills, Dogtown (renamed Woodville in 1870), failed to grow and 
remained an obscure outpost. These areas were reached by a trail from San 
Rafael that crossed Bolinas Ridge above the Weeks Ranch. Olema, founded in 
1857 by hotel keeper/rancher Benjamin Winslow, became the hub of Point 
Reyes commerce, with hotels, saloons, services, and a scheduled stagecoach 
service. Travelers approached the village on a trail over the ridge, passing the 
paper mill. Olema lost its prominence with the coming in 1875 of the North 

73 Maria Waterman, in San Francisco Chronicle. October 30, 1886. 

74 Jeremiah Stanley Olds, "Recollections of Woodside," February 18, 1939, handwritten 
manuscript in Boyd Stewart Collection. 


Pacific Coast Railroad, which bypassed Olema and provided Galen Burdell the 
opportunity to build a new town called Point Reyes Station two miles to the 
north. 75 

a. Overland Travel 

The aboriginal transportation route through the Olema Valley is 
undocumented, but probably followed the banks of Pine Gulch and Olema 
Creeks for much of the way. What would have been a foot trail was no doubt 
altered with the arrival of wagons and ox teams by the 1840s. The 
appointment of road overseers contributed to the improvement and 
maintenance of local roads, but no complete map of the precise routes previous 
to 1867 has been found. 

One well-documented route is the portion of the San Rafael Road or Old 
Olema Trail that connected Olema to Lagunitas Creek in the vicinity of the 
Jewell Ranch. It is unknown whether this was the Indian trail, or was adopted 
by grantees and settlers; there is not much doubt that this is the route used by 
Rafael Garcia and other settlers of the 1840s. The trail left the site of Olema 
near the present Druid's Hall and headed almost due east up the back of the 
ridge to the summit, then down a spur to Lagunitas Creek at a point north of 
the Jewell ranch house; Garcia's 1856 land sale to Daniel and Nelson Olds used 
the trail as the north boundary of the property, and fence lines remain, 
separating the Mclsaac/Merz/Stewart grazing permits. The route remains in 
use as a right-of-way for PG&E utility poles. 76 

Responding to demands of rural residents for better public roadways, 
county engineers surveyed and constructed a new county road from Bolinas to 
Olema, then east to near Lagunitas, in 1867. According to the survey by county 
surveyor Hiram Austin, the official road followed the previously used route with 
a few exceptions: 1) Austin devised a new route up "Strain's Hill" north of 

75 Mason, Historian, p. 178; Munro-Fraser, Marin County, pp. 264-269; Jack Mason, 
Earthquake Bay. A History of Tomales Bay, California (Inverness: North Shore Books, 1976), pp. 
78, 95. 105; Louise Teather, Place Names of Marin (San Francisco: Scottwall Associates, 1986), pp. 
11, 21, 31-32. 

76 Deeds Book H, p. 77, MCRO; Payne J. Shatter, "Early Roads in Marin," San Rafael 
Independent. November 23, 1929. 


Dogtown, bypassing the steep track that followed the grant line on the small 
ridge north of Henry Strain's ranch; 2) Austin bypassed the old Olema Trail 
with a totally new grade over the Bolinas Ridge from the town of Olema to the 
Jewell Ranch on Lagunitas Creek; and 3) switching banks along Lagunitas 
Creek in today's Samuel P. Taylor State Park, parts of which were superseded 
by the North Pacific Coast Railroad in 1873-74." 

The State of California adopted the county road from Sausalito to 
Tomales and beyond as State Route 52 in 1927, part of the soon-to-be-famous 
coast route from San Diego to Humboldt County. State engineers widened and 
paved the roadways and built concrete bridges and culverts, almost always 
following the original alignment of the 1867 Austin roads. 78 

Based on documentary information from a number of early maps and 
plats, it is apparent that the current state highway follows precisely the route 
of the first county road constructed in 1867, although with two major 
exceptions: 1) from the intersection adjacent to Bolinas Cemetery to a point 
south of Dogtown, now known as Horseshoe Hill Road, which was the original 
county road until bypassed by the current Olema-Bolinas Road; and 2) from the 
Randall House to a point south of the Olema Lime Kilns where the road 
followed the creek rather than the higher elevation in use now. The only other 
exceptions are minor realignments of curves for safety reasons, such as two 
small segments opposite the Truttman Ranch complex and replacement of 
minor wooden bridges with culverts. 79 

On Sir Francis Drake Highway the same is true. The only major 
realignment of the 1867 route is the short bypass of the Tocaloma Bridge and 
easing of the curve opposite the Baty property on the west side of Olema Hill. 

The alignments of Platform Bridge Road, Bear Valley Road and the 
stretch of Highway 1 between Olema and Point Reyes Station are only 
improved (widened) versions of the original stage roads. Platform Bridge Road, 
reportedly named after the old wood and iron "platform" bridge at Tocaloma, 
was built after local landowners, including Joseph Codoni, petitioned the county 

""Plat of the Survey for the Relocation of the Road from Bolinas to Olema," and "Plat of 
the Survey, for the Relocation of the San Rafael and Olema Road," by Hiram Austin, 1867, CHS. 

"Interviews with Boyd Stewart and Gordon Strain. Highway 52 was changed to 1 by 1940. 
79 "Plat . . . Bolinas to Olema," 1867; U.S.G.S. quadrangle maps dated 1898, 1916 and 1952. 


for a road to Nicasio and beyond in 1870. The road does not appear on Austin's 
1867 plat of the Olema-San Rafael Road. 80 

The construction history of Bear Valley Road is elusive. It is known that 
pioneers traveled past Rafael Garcia's house (present site of park headquarters) 
to the foot of Haggerty Gulch at White House Pool, but it is unlikely that these 
early travelers crossed the marsh as the road has done since at least 1916. The 
route probably stayed west of the marsh, following the contour in the area of 
the Limantour Road, then to Haggerty Gulch. When the short levee was built 
on the marsh is unknown; Charles Webb Howard built the longer levee nearby 
on today's Sir Francis Drake Highway by 1875, no doubt to connect the new 
railroad town of Point Reyes Station with his ranches on the point, avoiding a 
long detour via Olema. Bear Valley Road was abandoned by the county in 1921, 
and reacquired in the late 1940s. 

The portion of Highway 1 between Olema and Point Reyes Station is 
mentioned numerous times in Garcia family deeds written as part of the 1868 
subdivision to Garcia's heirs. It appears to have been a private road, although 
the public used it and employed saloonkeeper Charley Hall to ferry them across 
Papermill Creek at Taylor's warehouse, site of today's highway bridge. When it 
became a county road is unclear. The highway, all the way from Point Reyes 
Station to Fairfax, was regraded in 1927, paved with concrete in 1929, and 
christened as part of Sir Francis Drake Highway the next year; it remains the 
same except for a layer of asphalt applied in 1985. 81 

At the southern boundary of the scope of this study, the county built the 
San Rafael- Bolinas Road in 1878 to replace the steep, prehistoric San Rafael 
Trail which crossed Bolinas Ridge from the Weeks Ranch to the confluence of 
Cataract and Lagunitas Creeks, site of today's Alpine Dam. The road started at 
the head of Bolinas Lagoon on the Wilkins Ranch and followed an easy grade 
near Wilkins' southern boundary to the summit of the ridge, then down to the 
aforementioned creeks and on to San Rafael via Ross. In 1884 the county 
changed the route to pass through Fairfax for a saving of mileage. This road, 
now called the Fairfax-Bolinas Road, has changed little on the west side of 
Bolinas Ridge, except for widening to about 12 feet and paving. 82 

80 Mason, Historian, pp. 485-488. 

81 Marin Journal. May 5, 1927 and November 12, 1929; "Abstract . . . Nelson Hotel.' 

82 Mason, Last Stage, p. 34. 



Dozens of dirt ranch roads traverse the gulches and ridges of the area. 
Most ridges from the valley floor to ridge tops have or had ranch roads running 
up their spines; some of these, such as on the Randall and McCurdy ranches, 
are used by hikers today. Many of the gulches have graded roads leading into 
the upper portions of the canyons, primarily used for wood gathering, but most 
of these are abandoned. 

b. Schooners 

The most efficient transport to be had in the 19th century was by sea in 
small, shallow draft schooners. While the coast of California had seen a great 
deal of maritime commerce before the Gold Rush, wherein goods from China 
and other areas were traded for hides and tallow. Fur hunters, seeking the 
coveted sea otter pelts, were also active on the nearby coast, as well as the 
everpresent smugglers. The Gold Rush brought the world's attention to San 
Francsico as the major port of the west coast, and the goods that could be 
obtained from the regions north and south were soon providing food, lumber 
and other building materials. 83 

Beginning in 1849 schooners regularly called on Bolinas, where lumber 
would be transported on small barges (lighters) to waiting schooners near the 
mouth of the lagoon. All of the ranches from the Five Brooks area south used 
Bolinas as their primariy shipping port; schooners calling at Bolinas included 
Esperanza, Fourth of July and H. C. Almy. Another landing site was at Samuel 
P. Taylor's warehouse on Lagunitas (Paper Mill) Creek near the site of today's 
Point Reyes Station. Here again, lighters carried products to and from a 
schooner waiting in deeper water. 84 

83 James P. Delgado and Stephen A. Haller, Submerged Cultural Resource Assessment 
Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary and 
Point Reyes National Seashore (San Francisco: United States Department of Commerce, National 
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, and 
United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Golden Gate National Recreation 
Area, 1989), pp. 7-9. 

M Munro-Fraser, Marin County, p. 269; Mason, Earthquake Bay, p. 27; "Abstract . . . 
Nelson Hotel." 


Olema as it appeared about 1 900. John Nelson's Olema Hotel dominates the town. Jack Mason Museum 

Railroad Depot, Pt. Reyes Station, Cal. 

The North Pacific Coast Railroad, seen at Point Reyes Station, bypassed Olema when it was built in 1874. 
Jack Mason Museum Collection. 


c. North Pacific Coast/Northwestern Pacific 

A syndicate formed the North Pacific Coast Railroad (NPCRR) in 1871 
for the purpose of constructing a railroad and ferry line from San Francisco to 
the timber-rich Russian River area. Syndicate president James McMillan 
Shatter influenced the engineers to route the railroad through the Tomales Bay 
area to benefit the dairy ranchers, many of which were tenants of Shafter's. 
After procuring rights-of-way from local landowners, the narrow-gauge railroad 
was constructed during 1873-74 and opened for traffic on January 7, 1875. With 
termini in Sausalito and San Rafael, where company-owned ferries completed 
the connection to San Francisco, the line passed through the Ross Valley, over 
White's Hill and through the San Geronimo Valley, then into the narrow 
Lagunitas Canyon and across a trestle to the future site of Point Reyes Station. 
Here the NPCRR built a depot, and within a decade the new town had 
surpassed Olema in importance and commerce. The railroad continued north 
along the east shoreline of Tomales Bay and then inland to Tomales and 
onward to the Russian River area. 85 

Local dairymen and residents, as well as travelers from the city, used 
stops along the line including Camp Taylor, Taylorville (Pioneer Paper Mill), 
Jewell's, Tocaloma and Garcia. Jewell's and Garcia were dairy ranch flagstops, 
while Camp Taylor and Tocaloma attracted tourists to the hotels and camping 
facilities. A stage could be caught at Tocaloma for Olema and Bolinas. 

After a decade of failures and physical deterioration, the line was 
purchased and renamed North Shore Railroad. The new owners made 
improvements and, in 1907, sold out to a consortium of North Bay railroads, the 
Northwestern Pacific Railroad (NWP). The NWP rebuilt the tracks to standard 
gauge in 1920, but loss of lumber freight business and the advent of 
automobiles, trucks and improved roads led to the abandonment of the line 
northwest of Fairfax in 1933. The right-of-way reverted to the ranch owners. 86 

About 9 miles of the railbed of the Northwestern Pacific Railroad 
remains intact from Lagunitas to Point Reyes Station. It is paved as a multi- 

85 A. Bray Dickinson, Narrow Gaufte to the Redwoods (Berkeley: Trans-Anglo Books, 1967), 
pp. 41-42; Mason, Earthquake Bay, pp. 28-29. 

86 Dickinson, Narrow Gauge, p. 128. 


use trail from Samuel P. Taylor State Park to the Tocaloma Bridge, and used as 
a ranch road as far as the Genazzi Ranch, where the grade deadends at the site 
of a large trestle that spanned Papermill Creek about 1/2 mile from Point 
Reyes Station. All of this grade is within current park boundaries with the 
exceptions of the short portion which passes through private property at 
Tocaloma and the approximately two miles that pass through the private 
Gallagher Ranch; both properties are within GGNRA's legislated boundaries but 
have not yet been purchased by the federal government. 

1U MtUAolUlUMtt. 



North Pacific Coast Railroad, in Maria County, 



Romantic rides down Bear Valley to the Ocean Beach. To Point 

Reyes, where the Light House is located. To Tomales Bay, 

where Abalone Shells abound in variety above danger. 

To Bolinas, where fine Sea-bathing is found. 

All -within Easy Reach, of San Francisco, to and fro, the Same Day.' 
Apply In Person, OP by JLet&oi*, to 

Oleirta, Marin County, Cal. 


Small schooners carried passengers and cargo to and from San Francisco. This boat is docked at Bolinas 
around the turn of the century. Collection of Margaret Dowd. 

Bolinas was the major town to the southern Olema Valley families, where stores, churches and transportation 
to San Francisco could be found. This view is dated 1911. Courtesy of Jack Mason Museum. 


6. Historic Operation of the Dairy Ranches 
a. Grazing and Livestock 

Since the arrival of Francis Drake in 1579, visitors have noted the rich 
grasses of Point Reyes and their potential for exploitation. Spanish explorer 
Felipe DeGoycoechea described the "very good pasture and springs" during his 
visit in 1793. Joseph Warren Revere wrote, after his visit hi 1846, of "the 
superior quality of the pasture~the land lying so near the sea, that the dews 
are heavy and constant, adding great luxuriance to the wild oats and other 
grains and grasses." The cover of green grass led Isaac Steele to proclaim Point 
Reyes "Cow Heaven," and can be considered to be the prime factor in the 
success of the dairy industry here. 87 

A correspondent writing in 1875 noted "the fine natural pasture clear 
from evil growths, and, where the tenants have been true to their contracts, it 
is covered with a perfect carpet of rich grasses." On the eastern side of the 
peninsula at the Olema Valley, clearing of brush and forests was painstakingly 
producing additional grazing land. Ranch managers also introduced non-native 
grasses: "In places where improper cultivation has admitted a growth of sorrel," 
the correspondent wrote, "the land is being put in with Australian rye grass, 
seeding being thirty pounds to the acre." Eventually, aided by overgrazing, 
these non-native annual grasses literally took over the peninsula, shortening 
the feeding season and encouraging growth of brush and invasive plants like 
thistle and broom. 88 

The natural perennial bunch grasses extended the grazing season by 
months, but dairy cows still went dry during the winter. Dairymen 
experimented with feed, at times providing combinations of hay and cultivated 
ground feeds like corn, barley, wheat, oats and grasses. Experiments with sugar 
beets, mangel-wurzels, carrots, potatoes, and squash failed. Most dairy ranches 
in the area until the 1940s kept hayfields which provided the needed 
supplementary feed. Around the turn of the century scientists found that cows 
fed alfalfa produced more than double the butterfat than those fed entirely 

87 Revere, Naval Duty, p. 68. 

88 Jules G. Evens, The Natural History of the Point Reves Peninsula (Point Reyes: Point Reyes 
National Seashore Association, 1988), pp. 55-59; Marin County Journal. December 16, 1875, p. 3. 


grass from the range. The advent of cheap feed brought on trucks from the 
Central Valley led practically all of the dairymen to abandon their fields. 89 

The Shatters stocked their ranches with Durham and Devon cows, but 
experience proved that cross-breeding increased a cow's value as a milker. 
Popular early thoroughbreds included the American shorthorn (introduced in 
1858), Ayrshire, Devon, Alderney, and Jersey (a favorite family cow giving milk 
high in butterfat, introduced in 1874); by the 1880s Holstein-Friesian cows, with 
origins in Europe, were imported in increasing numbers and became, and 
remain, most popular. Holsteins were reasonably rich milkers, more gentle, 
and hardy; they were also more expensive. In 1870 a "good" milk cow could be 
bought for $40 a head. Today, Holsteins are bred to produce large quantities of 
milk with a lower butterfat content, reflecting the diets of modern Americans. 90 

By 1870 about 500 heifer cows were raised every year on Point Reyes, 
with most sent to other stock-raisers or to market in San Francisco. Up to 300 
cows and beef-steers were sold during the late 1860s, as well as more than 100 
horses. Hogs, a staple of the dairyman's enterprise, were fattened in the ranch 
pigpens on grains and skim milk left from the separating process, then shipped 
live or dressed to market on the schooner or train. Livestock from the Point 
Reyes area was typically high quality, boosting the prominence of California as 
a stock raising region. The Secretary of State reported in 1887, "few countries 
produce cattle that are superior in any respect to those now being raised in 
California, notwithstanding her youthful existence." Popular beef cattle 
included Hereford, Poll-Angus, and Galloway. The native Spanish cattle, raised 
primarily for hides and tallow, were never considered very good for beef. 91 

The milking season lasted from December through August. The best 
milk was obtained in the spring and early summer, after which the cows 
gradually dried up. In the 1860s a buttermaker averaged 175 pounds of butter 


per cow per season. 

89 Sneath, "Dairying in California," p. 391; DeGroot, "Dairies and Dairying," p. 357; Arthur R. 
Briggs, "Dairy Industry of California," California: Its Products. Resources. Industries, and Attractions. T. 
G. Daniels, Ed. (Sacramento: Superintendent of State Printing, 1904), p. 134. 

90 Peter J. Shields, "Cattle Raising in California," in Daniels, Ed., California: Its Products, pp 
128, 130; DeGroot, "Dairies and Dairying," p. 360; Sue Abbott, North Bay Dairvlands. (Berkeley: 
Penstemon Press, 1989), p. 34. 

9 'DeGroot, "Dairies and Dairying," p. 358; Sneath, "Dairying in California," pp. 387-388. 
92 DeGroot, "Dairies and Dairying," p. 359. 


b. Milking and Separating 

Laborers on the dairies milked the cows by hand until the 1920s and 
1930s, when milking machines became popular here. A milker found work on a 
dairy and was provided housing, food, and from $25 to $30 per month wages. 
One writer noted that the milkers were mostly "whites," with Chinese 
considered to not be satisfactory milkers. Off season, the milkers either found 
other work on the ranches or went to the cities for the duration. 93 

Unless it was raining, milking was done outdoors, in a well-drained 
central corral reserved for the purpose. Each milker took charge of a "string" of 
cows, usually 20-25, and could milk them in about two hours. The number of 
cows on a dairy ranch determined the number of milkers required to get the job 
done. According to an account of methods employed at the Pierce Ranch on 
Point Reyes published in 1880: 

The milkers use an ordinary flared tin pail, holding 
about sixteen quarts, and have their milking stools 
adjusted to them with straps. When the pail is full 
the milker steps into the strainer room and passes the 
milk into a sort of double hopper with a strainer in 
each section. From this the milk passes through a tin 
pipe to a vat which holds one hundred and thirty 
gallons. 94 

The milker returned to his "string" after depositing the contents of his bucket. 

During bad weather the milking was done in the barn. Here, cows 
entered the barn from one side, were secured into a stanchion, and milked by 
hand. The floors were wood, increasing the cleanliness, and the barn was 
washed out after every milking. Near the turn of the century, some milking 
barns were improved with concrete floors. Milking machines, invented in the 
1870s but not in popular use until the 1920s, decreased the number of milkers 
required and improved sanitation in the milking process. 95 

After being drawn from the cow, the milk was strained and separated, 

93 Ibid., pp. 357-358; Francis E. Sheldon, "Dairying in California," Overland Monthly 11. 
January-June 1888, p. 343; 

94 Munro-Fraser, Marin County, p. 298. 

95 Sneath, "Dairying in California," p. 391; interview with Joe Mendoza. 


the latter a time-consuming procedure requiring skill and timing. The 1880 
narrative continues: 

From [the 130-gallon vat] it is drawn off into strainer 
pails which hold five gallons each, and which have a 
large scoop shaped nozzle, from which it is poured 
into the pans. It will thus be seen that the milk 
passes through three strainers before it is panned. 
The pans are made of pressed tin and hold twelve 
quarts each, and are placed in racks, one above the 
other, before the milk is poured into them .... In 
the center of each room, there is a skimming 
apparatus which consists of a table about five feet 
long and two feet wide, placed upon a square pedestal, 
in either end of which there is a semi-circular notch, 
under each of which there is placed a can and holding 
ten gallons for the reception of the cream. In the 
center of the table is a hopper for the reception of the 
sour milk, from which it is carried off through pipes. 
Skimming is performed twice a day, morning and 
evening, and milk is ordinarily allowed to stand thirty- 
six hours before it is skimmed, but in very warm 
weather it is only kept twenty-four hours. This work 
is begun at three o'clock in the morning, and usually 
requires an hour and a half to complete it. Two men 
work at a table, one at each end. The skimmer 
consists of a wooden knife with a thin blade shaped 
much like a butters or farrier's knife. This is 
dexterously and rapidly passed around the rim of the 
pan, leaving the cream floating free upon the surface 
of the milk. The pan is then tilted slightly and the 
cream glides quickly over the rim into the can below. 
The milk is then emptied into the hopper and 
conducted to the hog-pen. This arrangement is so 
compete and compact that the pan is scarcely moved 
from the time it is placed upon the skimming table 
till the milk is emptied from it and no time is lost 
except in passing the pans from the rack to the table. 
An expert skimmer can handle two hundred pans an 
hour. In some dairies where the rooms are larger the 
skimming table is placed upon castors and can be 
trundled from place to place as convenience requires, 
and a hose is attached to the hopper leading to the 
waste pipes. 


The pan method described above required vigilance in watching the milk 
to avoid spoilage and carefully controlled environmental conditions. The 
scarcity of hot weather aided the Olema Valley dairyman in some ways, but 
new methods were sought to reduce the time needed for old-fashioned 
separating. Some complained that the "volatile and delicate flavoring oils" 
essential to the best butter production were lost in the pan method. 
Experimentation on the East Coast led to the invention by Dr. Karl Gustaf 
Patrik De Laval of the continuous discharge centrifugal cream separator, 
described in a contemporary journal: 

The machine is practically a large bowl which revolves 
at a rate of from six to eight thousand revolutions a 
minute. A simple contrivance forces the milk to 
follow the rotation of the vessel. The milk and cream 
being of different specific gravities, separate almost 
immediately upon being put into the machine. The 
milk being the heavier, passes to the circumference, 
and is forced up and out through a small delivery 
tube. The cream collects at the center, and rising up, 
overflows through the outlet at the top. 96 

These separators, powered by steam or gasoline engines, came into use on Point 
Reyes in the 1880s, and were in universal use by the turn of the century. The 
time saved and assurance of quality only furthered the production of fine butter 
in the area. 

c. Buttermaking 

Many ranches employed a buttermaker, who was often started as a 
milker and learned the skills on the job. The buttermaker reigned over the 
dairy house, and his responsibility to the owners was heavy. Again, the 1880 

The cream is then placed in the churn, which consists 
of a rectangular box in the shape of a parallelo- 
pipedon, the sides of which are two and five feet 

96 Sheldon, "Dairying" pp. 343-344; The De Laval Handbook of Milking (Poughkeepsie: De Laval 
Separator Company, ca. 1961), p. 15. 


respectively on the inside. It works on a pivot at the 
center of the ends, and is driven by a one-horse tread 
power. The desired result it attained by the breaking 
of the cream over the sharp angles of the churn, and 
the operation requires from twenty to forty minutes. 
The usual yield of a churning is two hundred pounds, 
although as much as three hundred and forty-seven 
pounds have been churned at once. The buttermilk is 
then drawn off and the butter is washed with two 
waters, when it is ready to have the salt worked into 
it. It is now weighted and one ounce of salt is allowed 
for each pound of butter. The worker is a very simple 
device and is known as the Allen patent, it having 
been invented by Captain Oliver Allen, of Sonoma 
county, and consists of two circular tables, one above 
the other and about four inches apart. The bottom 
one is stationary and dressed out so that all milk or 
water falling on it is carried off into a bucket. The 
upper disc is on a pivot, so that in the process of 
working all portions of the butter may be easily 
brought under the flattened lever used for working it. 
After the salt has been thoroughly incorporated the 
butter is separated into square blocks about the 
requisite size for two-pound rolls. The mould is also a 
patent device originated by Captain Allen, and consists 
of a matrix, composed of two wooden pieces shaped so 
as to press the butter into a roll, which are fastened 
to an extended shear handle, with the joint about 
midway from the matrix to the end of the handle. 
The operator opens the matrix, and passes it on 
either side of one of the squares of butter and then 
closes it firmly. The ends of the roll are then cut off 
even with the mould, and the roll is complete. Thin 
white cotton cloth is placed around each roll, and the 
stamp of the dairy is applied to one end of it, when it 
is ready for the market. The rolls are accounted to 
weigh two pounds each, but they fall short of that 
weight about two per cent or two pounds to fifty rolls. 

The fresh, packaged butter was then stored in a cool cellar, awaiting shipment 
on the schooner or train to San Francisco. Some butter was saved for the "dry" 
season in winter, when fresh butter was in demand. This surplus butter was 
packed in firkins, or made into two pound rolls, covered with light muslin 
wraps, then packed in salt brine in tight barrels. Tuning was everything in the 


sale of this off-season "pickled butter," as the prices fluctuated day by day in the 
fall and winter. 97 

The majority of the local butter, however, was shipped within days to 
market. The 1880 writer waxed about the quality of the local butter, 
enchanted by what he had witnessed at a Point Reyes dairy: 

It is thus that this elegant golden delicacy is prepared 
for our table, and among all the choice products of the 
glorious State of California none stands out in bolder 
relief, nor strikes the visitor to our coast more 
forcibly, none affords more real pleasure to the 
consumer than the wonderfully excellent butter which 
finds its way to the city markets from Marin county. 
In quality, color and sweetness it is not excelled by 
the famous butter producing sections of Goshen in 
New York, or the Western Reserve of Ohio. Nor is it 
equaled in any other part of the United States. What 
a field for contemplative thought: The verdant fields 
of grass, toyed with by the winds, bathed in a flood of 
sunshine and shrouded in folds of lacelike and fleecy 
mists fresh from the ocean with herds of kine feeding 
upon them; driven at eventime into the corral and, 
while thoughtfully ruminating, yielding the gallons 
and gallons of rich, pure, sweet milk; again we see it 
in great cans of yellow cream, fit for the use of a king; 
and then the golden butter, and such a delicious 
butter; Ready for the market and for the table of the 
epicure. The grass growing in the fields on Monday is 
the butter on the city tables the following Sunday! 98 

e. Marketing 

California dairies made 6 million pounds of butter in 1869, and the 
figures continued to grow during the next decades. Marin County was the 
highest producer at 1.5 million pounds, with the Shatters' Point Reyes dairies 
contributing the lion's share; the Olema Valley contributed to a lesser extent, 

97 Munro-Fraser, Marin County, p. 299; Sneath, "Dairying in California," p. 390; San Francisco 
Chronicle. October 30, 1886. 

98 Munro-Fraser, Marin County, p. 300. 


while keeping the quality levels high. All of the local butter was shipped via 
sea or rail to San Francisco commission houses, where the dairyman received a 
pre-arranged price and the commission merchant distributed the product." 

In 1870 the wholesale price of butter in San Francisco averaged 70 cents 
per pound (this was the price given to the farmer) in late November, reduced to 
40 cents by the end of February. From March through May the price dropped 
to a low of 30-35 cents, then advanced in June back to the 70-75 cents level 
where it generally stayed until November. When the price hit 40 cents the 
dairyman typically started packing it and waiting for a better market. A great 
deal of butter was exported: also in 1870, some 25,389 firkins were shipped by 
steamer to the East Coast, Japan, China and Pacific Islands, and 5,098 firkins 
and 3,154 kegs by railroad to the eastern states. 100 

Point Reyes butter, known for its high quality, commanded higher prices 
than that from other areas in the county and state. Some dairy farmers from 
these areas questioned the fairness of the reputation bestowed upon Point 
Reyes butter. One publication, The San Francisco Merchant, editorialized in 

It seems so strange that Olema and other points with 
almost the same climate and soil cannot reach the 
prices obtained by the Point Reyes dairymen by a cent 
or more, but such is the case. Which is the more 
probable, that the dairymen are particular in 
preparing their butter or that the soil and climatic 
conditions are somewhat different, or that the 
produce agents and commercial reporters are in 
league to bull Point Reyes products at the expense of 
other points of the same county? We think the 
complainants will find the cause or causes of the 
discrimination against them at home if they look 
carefully for it. 101 

The question arises, was Point Reyes butter overrated, with the help of the 

"Titus Fey Cronise, The Natural Wealth of California (San Francisco: H. H. Bancroft & Co., 
1868), pp. 162-163; "Partial Schedules for California, Vol. 2," Agricultural Recapitulations for 
California, Marin County, U. S. Census Bureau, 9th Census, 1870. 

100 DeGroot, "Dairies and Dairying," pp. 359-60. 

""Quoted in the Marin County Journal. March 20, 1879, p. 3. 

Shatters' business and political connections and social stature in San Francisco? 
Or was the butter quality indeed high enough to deserve its praise and prices? 
The Merchant's point about soils and climate brings up the fact that Point 
Reyes climate and soils were indeed different, both with increased moisture and 
entirely different soil conditions on the west side of the San Andreas Fault that 
increased production and quality. In addition, Point Reyes did not always 
command the highest prices, as stated in the Marin Journal's rebuttal to the 
San Francisco Merchant's editorial: 

We think it is an open question whether Point Reyes 
dairymen do obtain higher prices than others in this 
county. We know butter men in Olema, Nicasio, 
Marshall and Tomales, who claim that their product, 
placed side by side with Point Reyes, sells first, and at 
the same price; and they are reliable men. Point 
Reyes has become a synonym for gilt-edge butter, and 
deservedly so, but we are not clear that it outranks 
other places in this county . . . , 102 

By the 1920s, Point Reyes dairymen marketed cream rather than butter, as 
members of the Point Reyes Cooperative Creamery. Grade A market milk was 
sold through contracts with large creameries. 

7. Government Dairy Regulation 

During the first four decades of dairying in Marin County few if any laws 
regulating sanitation or product quality existed. While by 1888, English dairies 
operated under strict medical and scientific supervision, and the State of New 
York spent some $75,000 per year on dairy supervision, California adopted no 
regulations or means of sanitary or quality control supervision. 103 

Before the turn of the century, California began to follow national trends 
of using science to improve production and quality. California Governor James 
H. Budd appointed a temporary three-person State Dairy Bureau in 1895 and 
made the organization permanent in 1897. In 1906, the San Francisco Medical 

102 Ibid. 

103 Sneath, "Dairying in California," pp. 394-95. 


Society appointed a Milk Commission to set standards for fresh milk. The Pure 
Milk Law of 1915, which regulated conditions in which butter could be made, 
requiring pasteurization of cream, resulted in the formation of the Point Reyes 
Dairymen's Association and its Point Reyes Cooperative Creamery, built that 
year in Point Reyes Station. This act ended the manufacture of commercial 
butter on the ranches. Most dairymen from the Olema Valley trucked their 
cream to the creamery where it was processed into butter, cheese, condensed 
milk, dry milk powder, and casein. 104 

The Department of Agriculture succeeded the State Dairy Bureau in 
1919, creating a Division of Animal Industry that regulated dairying, livestock 
identification, disease control, meat inspection, and tuberculosis control. In 
1924 the Dairy Service of the Division of Animal Control became a separate 
branch within the Department of Agriculture, called the Bureau of Dairy 
Control, which operated until it was dissolved in 1933. In 1920, the Marin 
County Farm Bureau established an office in San Rafael and M. B. Boissevain 
was appointed as the county Farm Advisor. Under the auspices of University of 
California at Berkeley, established as an agricultural land-grant college, the 
farm advisor traveled to all of the farms in Marin County and shared the 
newest information from the scientific and agricultural community. Boissevain 
worked with the ranchers to improve the herd's health and production, feed 
quality and crop methods, erosion and range management, and sanitation 
problems. The farm advisor also participated in 4-H organizations throughout 
the county, and helped establish a local chapter of Future Farmers of 
America. 105 

These various regulatory agencies established sanitary standards for 
ranches and creameries, including construction specifications for milking barns, 
and performed tests on the purity of the milk as it came out of the cow. The 
dairy tester was a common visitor to any California dairy. He would check the 
milk for impurities and disease and measure butterfat content. The state 
began to certify dairies in the early 1920s, a process that eventually resulted in 
the A and B grading system. 

104 Marin Journal. February 22, 1906; Mason, Historian, pp. 736-737; interviews with Joe 
Mendoza, Boyd Stewart. 

105 Elsey Hurt, California State Government. An Outline of its Administrative Organization 
from 1850 to 1936 (Sacramento: Superintendent of Documents, 1936), pp. 12, 17; Abbott, North 
Bay Dairylands. pp. 15-16; Marin Journal. September 30, 1920. 


- mm 

Picking up cream at the Healion (Hagmaier) Ranch for the Point Reyes Cooperative Creamery in the 1 930s. 
Collection of the Lucchesi Family. 

Member workers (Point Reyes dairymen Bill Hall and Joe Adams) in the creamery making butter in the 1920s. 
Jack Mason Museum Collection. 


The revolution in the dairy industry involved this grading system, in 
which a dairy could become certified to ship fresh liquid milk, or "market milk," 
for home consumption after processing at a pasteurization and packaging 
facility. Grade A dairies required a milking barn with a concrete floor and walls 
with adequate drainage and ventilation. In the Olema Valley these 
improvements began to appear in the mid-1980s, and by 1950 practically every 
dairy was Grade A. Grade B dairies operated under less strict sanitary 
standards and produced only cream for processing into butter. During World 
War II, Grade B dairymen who could pass a sanitary inspection could sell liquid 
milk, called emergency milk, as a contribution to the war effort. 101 

The establishment of Grade A dairies changed the face of the Olema 
Valley dairies. The large wooden milking barns came into a new use as feed 
storage, and the old dairy houses or creameries were often remodeled into 
residences or torn down. The Grade A, or sanitary, barn became the center of 
activity at the ranch, and the cleaning of the barn and disposal of dairy wastes 
became more carefully practiced. Local dairies ceased to truck their own milk 
out, as larger creameries provided pickup service to the farthest dairies at Point 
Reyes. The days of ten-gallon cans of milk or cream gave way to the stainless 
steel storage tank and tanker truck. The early 1970s brought strict 
environmental laws to west Marin dairies, requiring large capital outlays for 
manure handling. Many of the small Olema Valley dairies did not even have 
room for these improvements, and most had been purchased by the federal 
government as parkland. As a result of these factors, by 1975, all of the Olema 
Valley dairies had gone out of business. 107 

H. Olema Valley Becomes Public Land 

1. County and State Acquisition, 1935-62 

A growing conservation movement in the San Francisco Bay area 
provided a boost for recreational lands in proximity to the urban areas. In 
Marin County, Muir Woods National Monument was created in 1908 as the first 

'^Interviews with Ron McClure, Joe Mendoza. 
107 Abbott, North Bay Dairvlands. pp. 82-83. 


Aerial view of the Olema Valley, looking north, taken in 1959. The Ralph Giacomini Ranch is in the center, 
Olema and Point Reyes Station in the distance. California Division of Highways. 


National Park in the San Francisco area. A number of county and state parks 
were created in the 1930s and 1940s largely through the efforts of local 
conservationists. The political climate of the late 1950s included a push for 
increasing park lands near major cities; Point Reyes National Seashore, 
authorized in 1962, laid the groundwork for the establishment of Golden Gate 
National Recreation Area ten years later. GGNRA enveloped a mix of urban, 
military, recreational and agricultural lands, including much of the western San 
Francisco waterfront and open space of southern Marin County. 

2. National Park Service Acquisition, 1963-88 

President John F. Kennedy signed Public Law 87-657 (S.476) on 
September 13, 1962, authorizing Point Reyes National Seashore. After a 
number of initial land purchases, including the massive Bear Valley Ranch, the 
authorizing acquisition funds had been spent. With park-designated lands 
slated for development and increasing public activism to "Save Our Seashore," 
as well as landowner complaints about paying higher taxes, the authorizing act 
was amended in 1969 to raise the acquisition ceiling to $57.7 million. Most of 
the park land purchases occurred during the early 1970s. The U. S. 
Department of the Interior officially established Point Reyes National Seashore 
on September 16, 1972, after sufficient land had been purchased to make the 
area efficiently administrable to carry out the purposes of the Authorizing Act 
of 1962 and its revision of 1969. 108 

Public sentiment fueled by the "Save Our Seashore" movement brought a 
push for additional park lands close to San Francisco. As the idea progressed of 
an urban park that also stretched north into rural lands of the Olema Valley, 
some landowners became alarmed. Rancher Boyd Stewart, a supporter of the 
park idea, recalled: 

Developers got very interested in the land when they 
started talking about the park .... There was a lot 
of interest shown in all of the ranches in the Olema 

'""Statement for Management Point Reyes National Seashore (revised May, 1990; National 
Park Service: 1990), p. 45. 


Valley on the part of outside developers and 
speculators. 109 

The interests described had little time to act. Public Law 92-589, authorizing 
Golden Gate National Recreation Area, was signed by President Richard Nixon 
on October 27, 1972. Included in the approximately 35,000 acres in the 
designated park boundaries were more than 8,000 acres of ranching land in the 
Olema Valley. The Acquisition Policy of the Act contained an important 
provision that helped significantly to ease the initial impact of the park on the 
ranching community. It specified that owners of improved properties could 
retain a right of use and occupancy for life or a term of 25 years. In the Olema 
Valley, four landowners elected to retain such rights, thus helping to maintain 
the stability of the local economy and the continuity of cultural values. On 
November 10, 1978, Public Law #95-625 increased the park's boundaries to the 
north and east of Olema, to include much of the Lagunitas Creek area in the 
vicinity of Tocaloma and Devils Gulch. This Act specifically mentioned 
agriculture as an appropriate continuing use of the area within park boundaries, 
and all of the owners in the area retained 25-year rights. More land, 1,214 
acres including Samuel P. Taylor State Park and more of the Lagunitas Loop, 
was added with Public Law 96-199 on March 5, 1980, and Public law 96-344 of 
September 8, 1980 added 1,096 acres of the McFadden and Genazzi Ranches. 
These boundary changes increased the lands in the Olema Valley/Tocaloma 
area to more than 10,000 acres. 

Three subsequent acts of Congress added acreage to Point Reyes 
National Seashore: 448 acres in the Inverness Ridge and Bear Valley areas in 
1974 (Public Law 93-550), about 2,000 acres in the Bolinas area in 1978 (Public 
Law 95-625), and an undetermined number of acres in the Inverness Park area 
in 1980 (Public Law 96-199). Under a management agreement with General 
Superintendent of GGNRA, the Superintendent of Point Reyes National 
Seashore manages 10,125 acres of the adjacent Golden Gate National 
Recreation Area, which is almost entirely in agricultural operation as beef and 
horse ranches. 110 

109 Golden Gate National Recreation Area Oral History Interview with Boyd Stewart, by 
Sara Conklin, June 15, 1993. 

110 Ibid., pp. 46-47; "Briefing Statement," Point Reyes National Seashore, January, 1987, pp. 1, 3; 
"Statement for Management," Golden Gate National Recreation Area, April 1992. 


Pioneers of the Olema and Bolinas area: Henry Strain (see page 71 ef seq.) and 
Omar Jewell (page 377 etseq.)- Fr om Munro-Fraser's 1880 History of Marin County. 


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A copy of the deed between Felix Garcia and James McMillan Shatter, one of the transactions 
signalling the end of the Garcia era at Olema. 



Section III 






STATION / "Genazzi 

Bear Valley 




Jewe " /L^x Samuel P. Taylor 

Marin Municipal 
Water District 

Hagmaier \ 

Olema Valley 


Lagunitas Creek 





Section III, Chapter A 


Rancho Baulines 





Golden Gate National Recreation Area 

.1 .2 .3 . .5 

Traced from USGS Quads - Contour Interval 200 1 
historic boundaries approximate 


Lands of 

Marin Municipal 

Water District 

McCurdy Ranch 

Wilkins SchoolV/r XT' 



(Audubon Canyon) 


o n 


Rancho Baulines 
(Golden Gate National Recreation Area) 

1. Description 

The Wilkins Ranch, called Rancho Baulines by its occupants for the last 
two decades, is a gem of vernacular architecture and in a rural setting: the 
white farmhouse and outbuildings sit on a knoll surrounded by green fields at 
the head of Bolinas Lagoon, acting as a picturesque welcoming scene to the 
northern section of Golden Gate National Recreation Area and Point Reyes 
National Seashore. The Wilkins family owned the ranch for more than a 
century and little has changed on the exterior from its original state. The 
1,397-acre ranch is composed of grassland, brush and forest, stretching from 
Bolinas Lagoon and Wilkins Gulch to the top of Bolinas Ridge. The ranch is 
bounded on the north by the former McCurdy/Righetti Ranch in GGNRA, on 
the east by lands of the Marin Municipal Water District, on the south by the 
Fairfax-Bolinas Road and the former Bourne Ranch (now Audubon Canyon 
Ranch), and on the west by State Route One and Bolinas Lagoon. 

2. History of the Wilkins Ranch 

The story of the Wilkins Ranch begins with the timbering and sawmill 
operations at Dogtown, a tiny village on the northwestern corner of the ranch. 
A party of "Forty-niners" led by James Hough arrived at Bolinas Lagoon late in 
849 with the intent to log the rich valleys of the area and export wharf timbers 
to the fast-growing new city, San Francisco. Gregorio Briones and Rafael Garcia 
sold exclusive timber rights to Hough, P. G. Hatch and Joaquin Armas "to fell, 
saw and otherwise make use of all the timber now standing on the rancho or 
farm" [Rancho las Baulines], for a period of 10 years. The deed also granted the 
right to "make roads, wharfs, mill houses, barns or other improvements . . . 
without paying for the timber." The agreement included the right to graze 
cattle and horses. Hough and his partners agreed to pay Briones and Garcia 
either one tenth of the profits from sale of the lumber or "one third part of all 
boards, shingles, joists or other lumber that they . . . shall cut, split or saw." 


At the end of ten years the Hough party will leave "at least one good saw mill 
and one good dwelling house." The contract could be sold to a third party, and 
if the partners did not commence building the saw mills within eight months 
the contract would be void. The men made a verbal agreement in July of 1849 
and drew a contract on October 12. They soon constructed a sawmill, on the 
flat above what would soon become Dogtown, with a capacity of producing 
about 8,000 board feet per day. 1 

Among the party were Joseph Almy, Charles Lauff, Bart Henderson, 
Benjamin T. Winslow, Hiram Nott and others, most of whom stayed in the area 
for the rest of their lives. The company built a large building, reportedly about 
100 yards north of the present Wilkins Ranch house, and began shipping wharf 
timbers to San Francisco. The timbers, for which the contractor received two 
dollars per running foot, were rafted from a wharf at the head of Bolinas 
Lagoon to a schooner waiting outside the entrance to the lagoon, near the 
location where the town of Bolinas developed in the following years. 2 

It appears that the Hough contract ended by 1852. That year Briones 
leased most of what became the Wilkins Ranch to George R. Morris, to farm 
and cut timber for $150.00 per month. At some point the lumber operation was 
given the name Pacific Lumber Company. Within five months Morris 
transferred the lease to Captain John Hammond and J. E. De La Montague. 
Hammond and his partner, for $27,500, received mill machinery, houses, 
implements, furniture and provisions, seven yoke of working cattle, two horses 
(a bay and a sorrel), and all the wagons, trucks, carts, carriages, iron, coal and a 
scow (probably the Julia, whose master was original partner Joseph Almy), in 
essence, the entire works of the Pacific Lumber Company. Hammond soon sold 
out to De La Montague, who went into debt in the ensuing year and founded 
the Baulines Mill Company in May, 1853. The mill works were reconstructed 
by Oliver Allen, an inventor and steam-power expert. Allen lived at the site for 
about two years. Allen's steam-powered circular saw reportedly cut six million 
feet of lumber during the following six years of operation. Other mills, 
including an additional Baulines Mill Company operation, soon followed. 
Various outfits placed sawmills in the surrounding area, on Peck's Ridge and 

'Deeds Book A, p 279, MCRO. 
2 Munro-Fraser, Marin County, p. 267. 


the Randall Ranch to the north and in the gulches draining into Bolinas Lagoon 
to the south. 3 

The products of the early sawmills were transported across the future 
Wilkins Ranch with great difficulty. About twenty years after the heyday of the 
operations at Dogtown, a writer described the process: 

The logs were drawn to the mills with heavy ox teams 
on carts, the wheels of which were made from 
sections sawed off from a log. The lumber was drawn 
to the head of the bay, and thence lightered out over 
the bar, where it was loaded on vessels for San 
Francisco. The transportation of this lumber required 
from six to eight vessels ranging in carrying capacity 
from eight thousand to one hundred and twenty 
thousand feet each. The remnants of the old lighter 
wharves are all that is now left to mark the site of 
these busy operations . . . . 4 

De La Montague's debts caught up with the company in May of 1854, 
when a creditor sued the company for $30,000 with interest. Hiram Grimes 
bought the company and lease in June of 1854 at a Sheriffs sale for $21,000; by 
now the assets included two saw mills, six lighters (scows) and a load of lumber 
at the embarcadero. The records of that year read like a messy stew of sales, 
mortgages and foreclosures, as Grimes sold his contract and Briones mortgaged 
the entire property, finally losing it to one Charles Correns who apparently 
resided in Germany. This January 29, 1856 transaction with Correns set the 
boundaries of the 2,200 acre tract that would become the Wilkins Ranch and its 
neighbors, the Bourne and Weeks Ranches on Bolinas Lagoon. 5 

Around all this activity grew the small village of Dogtown. A store, 
blacksmith shop and school eventually made the town prosperous enough to 
cause, in 1870, the city fathers to change the name to a more respectable 
"Woodville." The woodcutting eventually diminished but the townsite west of 

3 Ibid.: Deeds Book A, pp. 216-219,220-222, 248-249, 298, Book B, pp. 18-21, Mortgages Book A, 
pp. 93-95, 96-100, 102-105, MCRO; Delgado and Haller, Submerged Cultural Resource Assessment 
p. 120; Oliver Allen Papers, Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley. 

4 Munro-Fraser, Marin County, p. 269. 

5 Deeds Book A, pp. 463-464, 465-466, Book B, pp. 66-67 and 161-163, Book C, pp. 8-9, 
Mortgages Book A, pp. 224-225, 227-228, 234-235 and 279-280, MCRO. 


The copper mine works on the Wilkins Ranch, 
about 1903. Part of the structure is a residence. 
National Park Service Collection. 


As the sawmills at Dogtown 
finished stripping the surrounding gulches 
of their redwood timber, another 
consumptive industry was beginning in 
the same area. During the Civil War in 
1863 owners of the Union Copper Mining 
Company, including Pablo Briones, opened 
a mine in what they called Union Gulch 
(the name probably derived from the 
political orientation of its owners or 
managers in support of the Union against 
the Confederacy); another group, the Pike 
County Mining Company, opened a mine 
in Pike County Gulch about a mile south. 
A newspaper noted in 1864 that the 
companies were "pushing forward their 
tunnels with vigor, and are sanguine with 
success." The mine at Pike County Gulch, 

however, failed. Work continued at the Union into 1867, when Cantrill & McCormack 
sought a rich ledge through hard rock. But the next year the mines were at a standstill, 
the newspaper reporting that they were "rich in copper, but no silver to extract it." 
Over the years the Union mine did ship several tons of ore out for reduction to England. 
The mining boom occurred in many areas of the county, but most operations "fizzled". 
The low price of copper and the high cost of transportation worked against gaining any 
financial success. 

In the late 1860s William W. Wilkins purchased the property on which the mine 
stood, and made agreements in 1875 with James K. Maddock and in 1877 with Joseph 
Lauricella to "work continuously in prospecting and developing the mining interests in 
[Union] Gulch." The next reported activity was in 1895 when a prospect shaft was being 
sunk, revealing a 12-foot vein of "sulphurets of copper and iron." Fifty tons of copper at 
$45 per ton was taken at that time. At some point around the turn of the century the 
canyon was renamed Copper Mine Gulch. 

Wilkins leased the mines again in 1900 to Captain Thomas Whitelaw, who 
"imported a lot of ancient mine machinery" and eventually turned the operation over to 
"Wildcat" Pearson. After showing poor results and failing to pay laborers and creditors, 
Whitelaw and Pearson were evicted by a court order brought by Wilkins, who had also 
suffered the loss of cattle into the mine shafts. In 1917 and 1918 the Chetco Mining 
Company worked the mines for the last time, removing 22,500 pounds of copper ore 
which was transported by a small local schooner, the "Owl", to Pittburg, California for 
processing. Chetco's operation, employing 25 workers and using up-to-date equipment, 
developed the mine to its greatest extent and no doubt made the most profit of all the 
attempts during the last half century. 

At least two tunnels, securely closed against intruders, remain at Copper Mine 
Gulch, as well as remnants of the operation including foundations, rusty boiler and a 
cabin site; the road from Dogtown to the mines can still be traced for much of the way to 
the site. At least two tunnels, securely closed against intruders, remain at Copper Mine 
Gulch, as well as remnants of the operation including foundations, rusty boiler and a 
cabin site; the road from Dogtown to the mines can still be traced for much of the way to 
the site. 

Sources: Toogood, Civil History, pp. 201-205; Mason, Last Stage, pp. 61-62; Marin 
County Journal. April 8, May 2 and 9, November 11, 1863, June 11, 1864, March 16 and 
30, April 13, 1867, and April 4, 1868; Leases Book B, p. 291, Deeds Book P, p. 460, 


the county road continued to the present as a small residential community. 
The eastern part of the town was sold in 1866 and 1868 to W. W. Wilkins, who 
developed the ranch that is the subject of this chapter. 6 

In August of 1857 Correns made an agreement with Nathaniel Page, Jr. 
to take and mill lumber, and in early 1858 sold the 2,200 acre property to Page; 
the deed for this transaction established the property as the Page Tract, a 
name that would figure in deeds for decades to come. Page and his partners 
Solomon Sharp and Francis Belden apparently kept the sawmills going and paid 
taxes on the land until making an agreement in 1864 with a group of men 
calling themselves the Morgan Land Company. Page then sold the tract to the 
group, Isaac Morgan, William W. Wilkins, John M. Burke, L. C. Pyle, Samuel 
Clarke and S. P. Weeks, on August 1, 1866, for $7,000. 7 

The apparent leader of the partnership, Captain Isaac Morgan, had 
arrived at Bolinas in 1851 and was the first to purchase land from Gregorio 
Briones. Morgan purchased a tract covering much of the east side of Bolinas 
Lagoon and established the Belvidere Ranch, where he grew apples, had a small 
dairy and farm, built boats and cut wood. Morgan and his partners in the Page 
Tract purchase were all neighbors who had pioneered in the area during the 
previous decade. 

During the following two years, 1866 through 1868, partners Burke, 
Weeks and Pyle sold out their interests to Wilkins, and in late 1868 Clarke sold 
his 2/7th to Peter Bourne. In November of 1869 Bourne and Wilkins split up 
the tract, with Bourne taking the southern 794 acres where he developed a 
dairy ranch and Wilkins the larger northern tract of 1397.14 acres; he also 
bought adjacent tidelands at the head of Bolinas Lagoon from L. C. Pyle. Thus 
the Wilkins Ranch was created, and soon it prospered. 8 

6 Marin County Journal. November 26, 1870. 

7 Deeds Book B, pp. 368-371, 377, 378, Book C, pp. 187-188, Book E, p. 614, MCRO; 
Assessments 1859-1865, in Abstract, Wilkins. 

"Deeds Book E, p. 620, Book F, pp. 403 and 416, Book G, p. 597, Book H, pp. 66, 199, 276 and 
403, MCRO. Peter Bourne's family owned the ranch south of Wilkins well into the 20th century. 
Today it and its neighbor to the south, the Weeks Ranch, comprise the Audubon Canyon Ranch. 


Left, William Wallace Wilkins in a photo 
taken about 1880. Below, Mary Butler 
Morse Wilkins. Courtesy of Ruth Rathbun. 


William Wallace Wilkins arrived in San Francisco at the height of the 
Gold Rush, on September 17, 1849. Born hi Middleton, Massachusetts in 1824, 
Wilkins had joined the Gold Rush with one of the earliest joint stock companies 
of 65 members which brought as part of its cargo on the La Grange a 
disassembled steamer for use in Sacramento River trade. Upon its completion 
the steamer, christened Commodore Jones by its makers, made the first voyage 
of any steamer from Benicia to Sacramento; it subsequently became that city's 
first jail. Wilkins worked in various mines until late 1852, when he came to the 
Bolinas area where he met with Capt. Morgan. Wilkins leased Morgan's ranch 
with the intent of starting a dairy, but instead was employed by Morgan as the 
ranch manager. He then bought out Morgan's partner in the ranch and made a 
living for almost ten years cutting cordwood and railroad ties for a commission 
house in San Francisco. His interactions with Morgan and other neighbors led 
to his final purchase and settlement on the Wilkins Ranch. 9 

According to family accounts, Wilkins built his large barn soon after 
purchasing an interest in the property in 1866; the barn appears on the first 
survey for a road around Bolinas Lagoon in February of 1868. He also built a 
creamery, horse barn and a number of outbuildings. Also, a number of 
residences around Dogtown, dating from the sawmill era, remained on the 
ranch under lease from the owner. Wilkins made agreements with miners to 
reopen the copper mines on the property that had been first explored in 1863 
(see sidebar). 

Wilkins did not continue to operate the dairy; in 1870 he leased the 
ranch to Angelo Pedrotti, a Swiss immigrant, for five years at $1800 per year. 
Included in the lease were 150 cattle, 8 head of horses and colts, plus all of the 
"teams, carts, machinery, tools and implements now on the tract." Later, in 
1883, Angelo's brother James Pedrotti took a five year lease on the dairy. 10 

Reportedly the fine Wilkins house was built around 1875 as he prepared 
to get married and start a family. In 1876 he married Mary B. Morse, sister of 
a neighbor down Bolinas Lagoon, Benjamin Morse. The couple had five 
children, twins Mary (May) and Bessie (born 1876), James G. (Jim) (1878), 
Helen (1882) and Edith (1884). Jim and his twin sisters worked on the ranch, 

9 Munro-Fraser, Marin County, pp. 428-430; Prof. J. M. Guinn, History of the State of 
California and Biographical Record of the Coast Counties (Chicago: Chapman Publishing Co., 
1904), pp. 393-394. 

'"Deeds Book I, p. 310, Leases Book A, p. 523, Book B, p. 121, Book C, p. 130, MCRO. 


and Jim eventually took over the operation of the dairy with his wife, the 
former Helen DeFraga of the McCurdy Ranch. Helen and Edith were sent to 
schools outside of the area and both eventually graduated from Stanford. 11 

A biography published in 1894 noted that "for many years [Wilkins] has 
conducted a dairy on his place, milking about eighty cows, and has a model 
establishment fitted up with every convenience, among which may be 
mentioned a fine modern refrigerator. The power is all supplied by water." 
Wilkins had a water-powered generator which ran the separators and a sawmill, 
with which he milled lumber from his property on Bolinas Ridge. Later the 
system reportedly powered electric milking machines and lights in the house 
and barns. The area did not get commercial power until Marconi Wireless 
Telegraph Company of America built an important trans-Pacific transmitting 
station nearby in 1914. n 

W. W. Wilkins was known for his handiness with machines and tools. In 
1881 he was awarded $1,029 after construction of the San Rafael-Bolinas Road 
took an unplanned route through the property in 1878, and as part of the 
settlement he was allowed to keep a gate at the foot of the grade for a period of 
three years. He built a self-operating gate at the foot of the road that rated 
mention in the San Rafael newspaper. A few years later he lost two fingers 
while building a bridge near his ranch. He worked on the roads in his 
neighborhood, at one point employing sixteen men on the San Rafael-Bolinas 
Road, making it "one of the best roads in the county." 13 

At the turn of the century the Wilkins Ranch was producing 2,250 pounds 
of butter per month from 64 cows at the height of the season. Eventually the 
number of cows rose to about 125. 14 

Fire caused a great deal of damage on the Wilkins Ranch a number of 
times. In late 1890, a fire burned an estimated nine-tenths of the Wilkins land; 
the San Rafael newspaper wrote of "hungry flames which have licked the hills 
and gulches clean of feed for many miles." A similar fire did much damage in 

H Munro-Fraser, Marin County, p. 430; interview with Helen Wilkins and Kenneth Wilkins. 

12 Guinn, Coast Counties, p. 394; interview with Helen Wilkins and Kenneth Wilkins; Pacific 
Service Magazine. Vol. VI, No. 5, October 1914, p. 148, courtesy of Ted Wurm. 

13 Deeds Book R, p. 620, Book V, p. 484, MCRO; Marin County Journal. March 4 and July 28, 
1881; Marin Journal. November 5, 1885, May 6, 1886. 

14 Marin Journal. June 20, 1901; interview with Kenneth Wilkins. 


1904, including destroying bridges and culverts on the Fairfax-Bolinas Road, and 
a huge fire in 1945 burned from Stinson Beach almost to Novato, taking much 
of the Wilkins Ranch pasture and timber. Kenneth Wilkins recalled that the 
remaining structures at the copper mines were destroyed in the fire. 15 

W. W. Wilkins died on March 21, 1911 at age 85. A newspaper eulogized 
him as "a man of sterling worth, and one who had everybody as his friend." His 
son Jim, who had been studying to be a doctor, took over the ranch and 
continued the dairy operation much as it had been. Jim Wilkins married his 
neighbor from the McCurdy Ranch, Helen DeFraga in 1922. The family divided 
the two-story house into two units to accommodate the couple. Jim and Helen 
Wilkins and their two children, Kenneth and Shirley, occupied the east half 
which had previously been storerooms. Jim's mother and sisters Edith and 
Bessie lived in the western side of the house. Daughter May married neighbor 
Alex McCurdy and moved to Mill Valley, and Helen married a Mr. Myers. 16 

Either W. W. or Jim Wilkins made a number of alterations to ranch 
structures early in the century. The family added a hipped roof lean-to dining 
room to the west side of the house and enclosed the front porch. An unusual 
cross gable and shed were added to the south side of the barn some time 
between 1907 and 1933, creating more storage space and a room with windows 
for a hired hand. 17 

By 1920 butter was no longer produced at the ranch. Jim Wilkins 
shipped cream from his Jersey herd until building a Grade A Dairy around 
1933. The family made it through the depression in fairly good shape, although 
they had trouble getting good hired hands. Three of their best hired hands 

15 Marin Journal. October 30, 1890 and September 15, 1904. 

16 Marin Journal. March 24, 1911. Jim Wilkins gained some local notoriety for running in a 
early Dipsea Race, now the second oldest footrace in the country. The following descriptions of 
Wilkins Ranch history is derived from personal interviews with Mrs. James (Helen) Wilkins, 
Kenneth Wilkins, Shirley (Wilkins) Park and Ruth (Myers) and Rex Rathbun, and from an oral 
history tape, Helen and Kenneth Wilkins. The Story of the Wilkins Ranch, recorded July 18, 1979 
by Carla Ehat and Anne T. Kent for the Oral History Program, Moya Library Guild, for the Marin 
County Library, Civic Center, San Rafael. Helen Wilkins and her son Kenneth are now deceased. 

17 This information is derived from a comparison of dated photographs taken by the Marin 
County Association of Tramps and Wanderers, Ltd., a spirited hiking group, in 1898-1901 in the 
collection of the Sausalito Historical Society; a photograph taken 1906 or 1907 by G. K. Gilbert for 
the U. S. Geological Survey, in the U.S.G.S. Library, Menlo Park; and others taken between 1933 
and 1955 by Farrington Jones, a San Anselmo real estate appraiser, courtesy of Roy Farrington 


during this time were former wheat farmers from North Dakota who had come 
west with the dust bowl migration of the mid 1930s. The hired hands lived in 
the old creamery which had been remodeled into a bunkhouse. The family sold 
vegetables and chickens to supplement the meager income made at the dairy. 
Two orchards of apples and pears had been established earlier, one between the 
house and the barn and the other in the field west of the calf barn; a few trees 

World War II proved to be a hardship for the family with son Kenneth, a 
key laborer at the dairy, being drafted. For reasons unknown, the Army 
occupied the northern part of the ranch during part of the war; Kenneth 
Wilkins described how he and his father had to be escorted by soldiers in order 
to take care of the cattle in the pastures around Copper Mine Gulch. 

Between 1951 and 1954 Jim Wilkins remodeled his family's eastern 
portion of the old house. The ornate enclosed porch was removed and replaced 
with a huge picture window with views to the lagoon. An addition on the east 
side extended the house by about 10 feet. The interior was remodeled with 
lower ceilings, a different stairway, and a new flagstone fireplace and chimney. 18 

Kenneth was also drafted to serve in Korea. Shortly after his return Jim 
Wilkins died. Kenneth and his mother unsuccessfully ran the dairy and soon 
leased it out to a succession of tenants including Tony Silva, who lived in the 
east portion of the house after the sisters passed away. Kenneth Wilkins went 
into the firewood business, cutting oak, bay and fir cordwood in the hills of the 

Dairying at the ranch ended in the mid-1960s when Carnation, the San 
Francisco creamery to which the Wilkins milk was sold, was bought by a Texas 
company and the milk contracts in the area cancelled. Nearby dairyman Steve 
Balzan attempted to get the Wilkins family involved in his local Jersey dairy 
business but failed. 

Faced with skyrocketing taxes (reportedly from $1,200 per year in the 
early 1960s to $22,000 in 1969) and low production at the ranch, the Wilkins 
family decided to sell the ranch. They had already been approached by a land 
developer who proposed clustered homes on the property; that plan did not 
succeed. Then in 1970 a young, newly wealthy publisher from the East Coast 
found what he saw as his new country home. 

'"Documented by Farrington Jones in 1951 and 1954, courtesy of Roy Farrington Jones. 


The Wilkins Ranch, after more than 100 years under the control of only 
two generations of the family, was sold on December 29, 1970, to Nicholas 
Charney, founder of Psychology Today and at the time publisher of The 
Saturday Review. Members of the Wilkins family retained a 30-acre parcel 
south of the ranch complex but were unable to legally build on the land. 19 

Charney and his friends transformed the Wilkins Ranch into a communal 
experiment in creative agriculture and living; the occupants christened it 
Rancho Baulines after the name of the original land grant. A news reporter 
described the endeavor as one given energy by the young "New Pioneers" who 
arrived, "drawn to its beauty and excited by its potential as an agricultural 
community." In 1972 fourteen people lived at the ranch, working on an organic 
garden, planting crops, remodeling the 100-year-old barns into living spaces, and 
running a horse-boarding operation. The old water system, carrying water from 
Lewis Gulch to the ranch complex, was rehabilitated. Ruth Rathbun, a 
granddaughter of W. W. Wilkins, and her husband Rex Rathbun managed the 
ranch, and Mary Tiscornia, who had settled on the ranch before the sale to 
Charney, operated the horse facilities. Meanwhile, the National Park Service 
created Golden Gate National Recreation Area and included the Wilkins Ranch 
within its boundaries. 20 

After a number of business reverses, Charney was unable to keep up his 
payments to the family and sold a two-month option on the property to the 
Trust for Public Lands in 1973; the land was transferred to the National Park 
Service in July of that year. Mary Tiscornia, the last of the 1970s occupants to 
remain on the ranch, has been raising a small number of beef cattle and 
keeping her many horses on the property, as well as rehabilitating many of the 
buildings. Tiscornia operates under a lease administered by Point Reyes 
National Seashore. 21 

19 Official Records. Book 2426, pp. 171 and 183, MCRO. 
20 Point Reyes Light. August 3, 1972. 
"'Official Records Book 2709, p. 663, MCRO. 


3. Buildings and Historic Resources 

Eight historic buildings remain on the Wilkins Ranch. Two sheds evident 
in early photographs were removed many years ago. Three of the structures 
were remodeled into residences in the early 1970s. Only two non-historic 
structures are in evidence on the ranch. 


a. Main Residence (OV-01.01) 

By some reports the house was built by W. W. Wilkins about 1876, but it 
may have been constructed earlier. It has been in continuous use as a 
residence since it was built. It is a 38' by 66' two-story wood frame building 
with horizontal drop siding and overlapping bands of "fish scale" shingles and 
square shingles under the gables. One section of the east wall is composed of 
asbestos shingles. The main roof is a gable, and additions to the building have 
varying roof types from gables to sheds; there is an old hipped roof addition on 
the west side of the house which dates from before 1933. Many of the windows 
are shuttered and there is much fancy woodwork trim. There are three brick 
chimneys, one of which was added about 1953. 

The house was divided between two family members in 1922. The west 
hau of the house was basically unaltered on the interior, but the east half was 
thoroughly, but not irreversibly, remodeled about 1953. The west half features 
high ceilings and plaster walls with picture molding, and a stairway with 
mahogany posts and bannister. The east half of the house has been remodeled 
with lowered ceilings, linoleum floors, a new flagstone fireplace and modern 

The old house has been preserved at great expense by the current lessee 
and is in good condition. A future goal of restoration of the original east front 
porch is desirable; elimination of the 1950s picture window would restore much 
of the integrity of the house. At present, the historic integrity of the house is 

22 The numbers in parentheses are the park building numbers; OV numbers include 
buildings in the Olema Valley within Golden Gate National Recreation Area, while PR numbers 
are in Point Reyes National Seashore. 


b. Barn (OV-01.05) 

This 57' by 93' barn, perhaps one of the earliest surviving structures on 
the ranch, sits on a slope of the hill. The barn features hand-hewed redwood 
beams and a basement area with log walls. It is three stories high, L-shaped, 
with a hay storage area on the top floor. The gable roof has a peculiar cross 
gable and hipped shed on the south and west sides which, according to historic 
photographs, was added between 1906 and 1933. A small bedroom, probably for 
a ranch hand, is in a corner of the barn. There are various windows and 
openings. The shingle roof has been covered with corrugated metal roofing. 
Attached to the south wall is a 30' by 57' concrete and metal Grade A dairy 
barn which had a milking capacity of about 30 cows. It is no longer used for its 
intended purpose but is used for temporary horse stalls. Remains of the 
manure transport system can be found in the barns; the tracks mounted on the 
ceiling carried buckets of manure to a pit behind the chicken sheds. The 
extensive tramway between the barn and the pit has been dismantled. In the 
early 1970s a small amount of land was graded on the west side of the barn to 
create a driveway to the north side. The historic integrity of both of the barns 
is good. 

c. Creamery (OV-01.04) 

This building, originally the 16' by 20' separating house and butter 
manufactory and later the ranch bunkhouse, has been enlarged and remodeled 
into a comfortable 27' by 40' residence although it retains a number of key 
historic features. The original small gable-roofed building has a lower story of 
stone forming a cool cellar with an old wooden door and window. The upper 
story is wood, with two additions, a shed on the north and a recent addition 
extending the gable on the east wall. This addition doubled the size of the 
structure. Distinctive diagonal sash windows have been added to the south 
side, and has a narrow deck. It is now used as a caretaker's residence. Because 
of extensive alterations, the historic integrity of the creamery is poor. 

d. Horse Barn/Calf Shed (OV-01.07) 

The old 18' by 30' horse barn is a typical, small rural barn with gable roof 


and shed sides, with random-width vertical board siding and a corrugated metal 
roof, except for the west shed which retains its old wood shingles which are 
deteriorating. It was used originally for sheltering calves and an occasional 
horse with hay storage in the loft. It has been abandoned for many years and 
some of the siding is missing; the barn is in poor condition. Its historic 
integrity, however, is excellent. 

e. Garage/Shop (OV-01.06) 

This wood-frame, three room building was a carriage house, shop and 
garage until the 1970s. Tractors were parked under the building. Jim Wilkins 
remodeled the front to include a modern garage door in the early 1950s and the 
residents during the Charney ownership further remodeled interior and the 
front, eliminating the large doors and enclosing the wall with windows. The 
interior has been altered. 

The 21' by 30' building is two stories with an open shed as the lower 
floor where the log posts and concrete retaining wall that supports the upper 
story are visible. It has a gable roof with composition shingles, random-width 
vertical board siding, four of the original six-over-six double-hung wood sash 
windows, and two wood doors. Some structural work has been done on the 
underpinnings but the many of the log posts are not plumb. The building is in 
fair condition and is now used as a recreation room. Its historic integrity is fair. 

f. Shed 

A small wood frame shed sits on a slope behind the residence. Although 
it appears to be old, it was built by the current occupant with used lumber, and 
is used as a storage area. It is 8' by 12', with a shed roof covered by asphalt 
shingles, board and batten siding, double access doors, and a concrete 
foundation. It is in fair condition but is not historic, although i is compatible 
with the historic scene. 

g. Pump House (OV-01.02) 

This old building was the granary used by the family in the early days of 
the ranch, but it received its name from the antique gasoline pump (original to 


the site) which sits in the front. It is an 8' by 18' gable-roofed building with a 
small shed addition on the east. It has random-width board and batten siding, 
various windows (some new), and a small entrance porch. The roof is 
corrugated metal. Because of some alterations, its historic integrity is fair. 

h. Bull House (OV-01.09) 

This small old barn housed livestock and is now used for storage. It is 12' by 
18' with a gable roof, board and batten siding, a sliding door and a window, and 
a stock chute on the west side. It is in fair condition but is deteriorating, and 
has good historic integrity. 

i. Well House (OV-01.11) 

This structure is more than 50 years old. A pump in this small structure 
brings water from a nearby gulch for ranch uses. It is 6.5' square with a 
corrugated metal shed roof, board and batten siding, and a door. It is in fair 
condition but is deteriorating; its historic integrity is fair. 

j. Gates, Fences, Corrals 

The fences seem to follow the original lines, but have been replaced over 
time with newer materials. Mary Tiscornia has been restoring historic split 
picket fences in the vicinity of the calf barn. The fences are a critical component 
of the cultural landscape values at the Wilkins Ranch. 

k. Orchard and Trees 

Remains of a historic orchard survive in the area east of the main 
residence, west of the barn, and south of the old creamery. Some of the trees 
appear to have been planted around 1900 or earlier. 

By examining early photographs of the ranch one sees at least two large 
eucalyptus trees in the vicinity of the creamery. These were cut down in the 
1940s and the stumps remain. An old windbreak of Monterey cypress extends 
from the granary to the fenceline north of the barn. Large oaks once 
surrounded the house; one on the east side of the house was cut in the 1950s, 


one picturesque tree at the southwest corner of the house died and was 
removed around 1992, and the last one remains at the northwest corner of the 
house and is dying. Mary Tiscornia believes that siltation as a result of the 
flooding in early 1982 killed the trees. 

1. Copper Mines (OV-016 & OV-017) 

Located more than a mile up Copper Mine Gulch on the north part of the 
ranch property, these copper mines were developed around 1863 and worked 
until 1917. The remains include two open shafts (now barricaded with metal 
bars), scattered remains of buildings, concrete foundations for equipment in the 
creek bed, various rusting machinery and boiler parts, and the road from 
Highway 1 to the site. 


4. Historic Significance of the Wilkins Ranch 

The Wilkins Ranch is significant as an early Bolinas Lagoon-area dairy 
ranch, perhaps the best physical example of those remaining on park land. The 
house and main barn are architecturally significant as examples of rural 
vernacular design using fine craftsmanship. Despite alterations on four of the 
buildings, the historic integrity of the ranch is good, particularly from a cultural 
landscape perspective. Rancho Baulines is one of the best-maintained examples 
of a historic dairy ranch in Golden Gate National Recreation Area. 

Historic Features 

1. Main Residence, ca. 1876 

2. Barn, ca. 1868 

3. Creamery, ca. 1870 

4. Horse Barn/Calf Shed, ca. 1870 

5. Garage/Shop, ca. 1880 

6. Pump House, ca. 1900 

7. Bull House, ca. 1900 

8. Well House, ca. 1930 

9. Gates, Fences, Corrals 

10. Orchard and trees 

11. Copper Mines 

well house 





W. W. and Mary Wilkins had twin girls, Mary (called May) and Bess, pictured here circa 1 880. 
Courtesy of Ruth Rathbun. 


; - ; 


The Wilkins Ranch as it appeared between 1 897-1 901 . Kate Harlan Collection, Sausalito Historical Society. 

Wilkins family and friends from the "Marin County Association of Tramps and Wanderers, Ltd."; W. W. Wilkins 
appears in the right background. Kate Harlan Collection, Sausalito Historical Society. 


W. W. Wilkins as he appeared in 1894. Courtesy of Ruth Rathbun. 


The Wilkins Ranch appears this 1906 photograph by G. K. Gilbert. Note that the barn has yet to have an 
addition. Pilings from the lighter wharf can be seen on the left. U. S. Geological Survey Library, Menlo Park. 

The Wilkins children around 1896: Edith, Jim, Helen, Bess and May. Courtesy of Ruth Rathbun. 


Haying time at the Wilkins Ranch, circa 1920s. Courtesy of Ruth Rathbun. 

A view to the northwest of the Wilkins Ranch taken around 1945. The implement shed in the center is gone, 
as is another small barn on the right in front of the milking barn. This photo and the six following were taken 
by appraiser Farrington Jones of San Anselmo. Courtesy of Roy Farrington Jones. 


Bess Wilkins is on the horse, with the granary (pump house) in the background. Courtesy of Ruth Rathbun. 

The barn as it appeared in 1933, with the new Grade A barn on the left. Courtesy of Roy Farrington Jones. 


The creamery at Wilkins Ranch in 1951, used as a milker's residence. Courtesy of Roy Famngton Jones. 

The Wilkins garage in 1943, later remodeled into a small residence. Courtesy of Roy Famngton Jones. 


Above, the Wilkins house before remodeling, 1951 . Note the shutters and the old enclosed porch. Below, the 
house after remodeling, 1954. The porch has been incorporated into the living room with a picture window, 
rooms added on the right and a new fireplace has been added. Courtesy of Roy Farrington Jones. 


A view of the Wilkins Ranch barn and Grade A dairy in 1943; a tramway for hauling manure to a basin is 
visible on the left. Courtesy of Roy Farrington Jones. 

A view of Dogtown taken in 1952, looking south. Marin County Historical Society Collection. 


The milk room of the Grade A dairy barn at Wilkins Ranch as it appeared in 
1943. The stairs led to the hopper where the fresh milk was poured for 
cooling before shipment; the cooling tower is visible in the right rear. 
Courtesy of Roy Farrington Jones. 



v/ Wr '!/- ^ 
v^v^-'^ /( ! ' a> v v ' -%?- 

^- X *^T'7 / ' r ' .' ,'>*-- 

Detail of the U. S. Coast Survey map of Bolinas Lagoon made in 1854 showing the future site of the 

Wilkins Ranch at the head of the lagoon, the lighter wharf (circled) and the saw mills at Dogtown. 

Register No. 452, California State Lands Commission, copy at Point Reyes National Seashore. 


Portion of Alfred Easkoot's survey of the Bolinas Lagoon road, 1868. Note W. W. Wilkins' barn at the head of 
Bolinas Lagoon. Marin County Department of Public Works. 



Section III, Chapter B 







Golden Gate National Recreation Area 

Point Reyes National Seashore 

J .2 .3 

Traced from USGS Quads - Contour Interval 200' 
historic boundaries approximate 


Lands of 

Mann Municipal 

Water District 


Strain/Teixeira Ranlh , ' first sch ' si 
r ' - _ -~~ -~/ 

Wilkins Ranch 



i i 


(Golden Gate National Recreation Area) 

1. Description 

The McCurdy Ranch is a large, mostly wooded property north of 
Dogtown in the Pine Gulch drainage. A small dairy was operated here until the 
1920s. The 1,590-acre parcel (originally 1,835 acres) is bounded on the north by 
the former Randall Ranch, on the east by lands of the Marin Municipal Water 
District, on the south by the Wilkins Ranch, and on the west by the Teixeira 
Ranch and Point Reyes National Seashore. An 80-acre parcel across Highway 1, 
the location of David McMullin's farm, is mostly flat and is within the 
boundaries of the National Seashore. The land is hilly with grasslands in the 
north and south corners, and second and third growth redwood forests on much 
of the property; a rapidly expanding line of eucalyptus marks the southern 
boundary. There are no buildings on the ranch; it has been vacant for about 40 

2. History of the McCurdy Ranch 

Irish immigrants Samuel McCurdy and David McMullin arrived in 
California around 1852 and settled on this property some time before 1860. 
McMullin was listed in the 1860 census as owning only two head of oxen and no 
land. Soon the duo obtained 1,835 acres of land on the Phelps patent of Rancho 
Tomales y Baulines that had likely been logged during the heyday of the 
sawmills during the 1850s. The Shatter law firm sold the pair additional lands 
in 1865 and 1867. 23 

The two were farmers and woodcutters, both raising families on the 
ranch. Others, such as George Morris and probably Timothy Cronin, lived on 
the property before McCurdy and McMullin owned the property and apparently 
continued in residence. Cronin was hanged in 1868 after being convicted of 
killing his wife; after neighbors became suspicious about Mrs. Cronin 's absence, 
the local constable found her body buried under a newly constructed duck pond 

23 8th U. S. Census, 1860; Deeds Book E, p. 423 and Book F, p. 436, MCRO. 


on the property. Cronin ran but was lassooed by Pablo Briones and taken to 
trial. The southernmost gulch on the McCurdy Ranch is called Cronin Gulch. 24 

The woodcutting operation took up much of the partners' time, although 
they were listed as farmers in the 1870 census. McMullin was 40 at the time 
and had a wife, Mary, and seven children; an eighth would come the next year. 
They lived in a house on a knoll on the western, 80-acre parcel, with an 
orchard. McCurdy, 32, was unmarried at the time, and lived with his brother 
John. McCurdy and McMullin owned 16 milk cows and 24 oxen, no doubt used 
in the logging operation; they had no crops but hay, and made 800 pounds of 
butter the previous year. In 1870 Sarah Randall, McMullin and McCurdy's 
neighbor to the north, leased a right-of-way to the duo for hauling wood off the 
ridge. They rented the dairy on the property to other parties, including James 
Pedrotti in 1875; Pedrotti took possession of the "Hill" ranch with 80 cows and 
heifers at $18 per head rent. McMullin and McCurdy retained the right to take 
wood from the property. In September of 1885 McMullin rented his farm to 
Frank Foster and moved to Oakland. He sold his share of the land to McCurdy 
in 1890. 25 

By 1900 McCurdy had married and had seven children. He had built a 
substantial two-story house on a knoll near the county road, and with his sons 
operated the dairy, making 2,100 pounds of butter per month from 60 cows in 
1901. The McCurdy orchard produced apples, cherries and pears. Lumbering 
continued on the ranch; in 1904 Achille Bonaiti, a storekeeper in Bolinas, ran a 
sawmill on the McCurdy ranch. His mill reportedly produced 18,000 to 20,000 
feet of redwood lumber per year. At an unknown date a dam was installed in 
Cronin Gulch to collect and distribute y;ater to Bolinas. 26 

The Marin Journal described the McCurdy Ranch in early 1906: 

The McCurdy Ranch is one of the best equipped dairy 
ranches in the county. They have good buildings and 
the dairy machinery is run by electric power which is 

24 Marin County Journal. May 9, 1868; Mrs. Cronin's murder is detailed in Munro-Fraser, 
Marin County, pp. 242-243. 

25 Population and Agriculture Schedules, 9th U. S. Census, 1870; Leases Book A, p. 72 and 
Book B, p. 387, MCRO; Marin Journal. September 10, 1885 and July 31, 1890. 

26 Population Schedules, 12th U. S. Census, 1900; Marin Journal. June 20, 1901; Guinn, Coast 
Counties, p. 1450. 


developed by the water power on the place. The 
house and other buildings are also lighted by 
electricity, and the cost is trifling. 27 

McCurdy rented the ranch to Manuel DeFraga in late 1905. DeFraga had 
leased the Shatter Home Ranch on Point Reyes for many years and was an 
experienced dairyman. He brought his wife Nellie and seven children to the 
McCurdy Ranch; two more, Harold and Edward, were born there. The children 
attended school at the Wilkins School in Woodville. While the DeFragas were 
in residence the McCurdys sold the ranch to Charles McMaster. The DeFragas 
left the ranch for Palo Alto in 1921, but their daughter Helen stayed and 
married neighboring dairyman Jim Wilkins. 28 

The McMaster family sold the ranch to Dr. Ethel Righetti in 1935. Some 
time later the house burned down and the ranch was used only for grazing and 
occasional timber cutting. By the 1960s no structures remained at the McCurdy 
Ranch; Boyd Stewart and Dennis Wisby leased the grazing land, a small fire 
wood company cut wood on the land, and Western Evergreen, a San Francisco 
nursery firm, paid for rights to collect greens for floral displays. A hunting 
camp was located in a redwood grove on the McCurdy Trail. In 1969 a logging 
operation commenced on the upper reaches of the property but was shut down 
by the county for substandard logging practices. The old McMullin homestead 
parcel was sold in 1972 for Point Reyes National Seashore, and the bulk of the 
ranch purchased from the late Dr. Righetti's six children for $2,500,000 in June 
of 1974 for Golden Gate National Recreation Area. 29 

3. Historic Resources 

No buildings remain on the McCurdy Ranch, and because of disturbances 
from recent logging activities, none of the ranch roads appear to have historic 
integrity. The ranch boundary fences are mostly intact but with newer fabric. 

27 Marin Journal. February 8, 1906. 

28 Deeds Book 129, p. 139 and Book 167, p. 284, MCRO; interview with Marie (DeFraga) 
Davidson, Edward DeFraga and Helen (DeFraga) Wilkins. 

29 Official Records Book 300, p. 170, MCRO; Appraisal Report: Righetti Ranch (Sebastopol: 
Harding Appraisal Co., 1973); tract files (L-1425), Tract 04-101, Righetti, Ethel estate, PRNS. 


A line of eucalyptus trees marks the southern boundary of the ranch property, 
and these have spread over the last 50 years to create a forest, reducing the 
integrity of this landscape feature. 

4. Historic Significance of the McCurdy Ranch 

While the McCurdy Ranch has significance in the area's history, the 
ranch possesses no integrity because of the lack of historic resources. However, 
the McCurdy Ranch has potential cultural landscape values that should be 
evaluated as soon as possible, as the historic grasslands are rapidly being 
covered by broom, brush and trees. The ranch area has potential for historical 

Historic Features 

1. McCurdy Trail 

2. Road up Peck's Ridge 

3. Orchard remains 

Members of the McCurdy family on horseback at the barn, around the 
turn of the century. Courtesy of the Tom Barfield family. 


Members of the McCurdy family on a wagon loaded with what appears to be corn, circa 1900. 
The photographer is looking west towards the county road. Courtesy of the Tom Barfield family. 

The McCurdy Ranch, looking west/northwest, around 1915. Note the house at far left. Courtesy of the 
DeFraga family. 


Detail of the 1867 "Plat of the Survey for the relocation of the Road from Bolinas to Olema" by Hiram Austin, 

showing the area around Dogtown. Note the new grade "up Strain's Hill," the school at the McCurdy Ranch, 

[David] McMullin's house and the house labeled Burk in what is more commonly called Lewis Gulch 

on the Wilkins Ranch. California Historical Society Collection. 




Section III, Chapter C 




Strain Ranch 









Golden Gate National Recreation Area 


J .3 .4 

Traced from USGS Quads Contour Interval 200 1 
historic boundaries approximate 



Hagmaier Ranch 

Olema Valley 

\ pre-"1 867 road 

McCurdy Ranch 

South End Ranch 





Former Strain Ranch 

(Point Reyes National Seashore) 

1. Description 

For most of its existence, the Teixeira (formerly Strain) Ranch was a 248- 
acre dairy ranch, but today the ranch complex is within a 3.6 acre area leased 
by the previous owners while the balance is unrestricted park land. The ranch 
is located in what has been called Pine Gulch, occupying both sides of Pine 
Gulch Creek north of Woodville (Dogtown). The land is now mostly brushy and 
wooded, as it has not been grazed since it was purchased by the federal 
government in 1971. It is bounded on the north by the Hagmaier Ranch, on 
the east and south by the former McCurdy/Righetti Ranch, and west by lands 
once part of the 0. L. Shafter Estate. The ranch is located on State Route 1 
about four miles north of Bolinas. 

2. History of Strain/Teixeira Ranch 

The Strain/Teixeira Ranch has existed under the administration of only 
two owner-families, the Strains (1856-1920) and the Teixeiras (1920-present). 
Marin County pioneer Henry Strain founded the ranch and developed most of 
the historic ranch structures and features that remain on the ranch, while 
Joseph Teixeira added and improved on these over the remaining years. 

Henry Strain was born in the county Monaghan, Ireland in 1826. He left 
Ireland at age 16 for New York City. A contemporary biography detailed his 
early life in America: 

He worked at the hatter's trade for three years; he 
then went to Connecticut and found employment in 
the Smithfield Cotton Manufacturing Company until 
he embarked for California. On March 5, 1852, he 
sailed in the steamer "Prometheus" for Nicaragua; 
thence per sailing vessel to the Isthmus. In Panama 
he was detained three months from an attack of fever, 
which, having departed, he sailed for San Francisco, 
where he arrived in the month of July. Mr. Strain at 


once proceeded to Hangtown, now Placerville, but on 
account of ill-health only worked in the mines for one 
month; seceding from this occupation he commenced 
that of prospecting, which he continued until he left 
the district. 30 

Strain came to Bolinas in March of 1853 and ran a team for the mill company at 
Dogtown and operated the steamboat "Union." He worked at various jobs 
around Bolinas until buying the 78 acres of land that he had been living on in 
Pine Gulch north of Dogtown from Gregorio Briones on January 22, 1857. He 
then bought another 20 acres from Briones on September 30, 1858. Strain cut 
the alder trees on his land and sold them as firewood, then cleared the stumps 
for farmland. By 1859 Strain had an operating farm where he grew 300 bushels 
of Irish potatoes and ten tons of hay during the year. He kept only five milk 
cows at that time, as well as one horse and twenty other cattle. 31 

Strain found himself caught up in the title litigation between Mexican 
grantees Rafael Garcia and Gregorio Briones and the law firm of Shatter, 
Shafter, Park and Heydenfeldt. The lawyers claimed that the land in question 
actually fell in the Shatters' Rancho Punta de los Reyes. After the Shafter 
partners had won title to this part of Briones' land, Strain had to repurchase it. 
He purchased 203.2 acres from the Shatters in 1861 and another 45.44 acres 
(for $908.80) in 1870, bringing the size of his ranch to 258 acres. He planted a 
eucalyptus tree marking the northeast corner of the property; the tree stands 
today alongside Highway One. 32 

Strain built barns and a dairy and developed a limited dairy business. As 
his biography noted, "from these small beginnings Mr. Strain gradually worked 
himself into the dairying business, until he is now [1880] the possessor of a fine 
farm of two hundred and fifty-eight acres and forty milch cows." 33 

The 1870 census listed Strain as owning land valued at $2,500 with a 

30 Munro-Fraser, Marin County, p. 427. Two other men, Robert Strain and John Strain, settled 
in Bolinas at the same time as Henry Strain; it can be assumed that they were related but this has 
yet to be documented. 

31 Ibid.. p. 427; Population and Agriculture Schedules, 8th U. S. Census, 1860. 

32 Deeds Book B, p. 312, Book C, pp. 220 and 380, Book E, p. 629, and Book I, p. 115, MCRO; 
interview with Gordon Strain. 

33 Marin County Journal. May 14, 1870; Munro-Fraser, Marin County, p. 427. 


personal estate of $1,500. He and his Irish-born wife, Marcella, had five 
children at the time, Henry, William, Winfield Scott, Henrietta (Etta), and Ella. 
The couple would have three more children, Everett, Lillian (Lillie), and Anna. 
Strain produced $1,967 worth of butter, potatoes and hay on the ranch in 1869, 
having expanded his dairy herd to 23. Ten years later, according to the 1880 
census, Strain had increased his dairy herd to 38, producing over 18,000 gallons 
of milk to be made into butter (apparently elsewhere). Strain may have 
shipped cream on a schooner from Bolinas during those years. The ranch 
contained 125 acres of grazing land, with a 25-acre hayfield and about 100 acres 
of unusable land. 34 

The original road through Strain's property led past the ranch in the 
valley, then up the grant line on the small ridge north of the ranch buildings. 
The county built a new Olema-Bolinas road up "Strain's Hill" in 1867, one that 
took a curvy course with an easier grade up the side of the small ridge. Strain 
reportedly planted the eucalyptus trees that line the road today on State Route 
One on the northeast section of the ranch. 35 

In the early 1880s Strain built a new house for his family, a stately two- 
story Victorian residence on a knoll overlooking the dairy. The date of 
construction was either 1880 according to family tradition, or 1885 when a 
county newspaper noted in July that "Mr. Strain's house is progressing very 
fast. It will be the finest house in Bolinas when completed." Strain planted a 
windbreak of Monterey cypress north of the new house and an orchard on the 
hillside below. 

When the house was nearing completion Strain leased the dairy, 
according to the newspaper, "to be in style with his neighbors." Apparently the 
ranch was leased out for much of the time the Strain family owned it, although 
the Strains continued to live in the new residence. At the turn of the century 
the Strains' Portuguese tenant J. A. DeBorba milked 44 cows, from which he 
made 1,500 pounds of butter per month. 36 


'Population and Agriculture Schedules, 9th and 10th U. S. Censuses, 1870 and 1880. 

35 "Plat of the Survey, for the Relocation of the Bolinas and Olema Road," by County Surveyor 
Hiram Austin, 1867, California Historical Society; Marin County Journal. March 15, 1883; 
interview with Gordon Strain. 

36 Marin Journal. July 23 and October 15, 1885, and June 20, 1901. The news accounts may 
have been speaking of another Strain family; according to Gordon Strain, the house was built 
when his father Everett was ten years old, or about 1880 or 1881. Young Everett recalled hauling 


After Henry Strain's death his widow deeded the residence portion of the 
ranch in 1901 to her surviving children as a gift. All of the heirs except Ella 
had moved off the ranch by that time: with their father's help Will and 
Winfield had leased the Kellogg dairy ranch near Crescent City, to be joined 
around 1890 by Everett; in 1883 Etta had married Matthias Pedrotti, a San 
Rafael dairyman who became a prominent banker in that city; Lillian married 
and lived in Bolinas; and Annie obtained an education and worked at a bank in 
San Rafael. 37 

Everett Strain returned to the Bolinas ranch around 1901 and married 
Mary McCurdy, a daughter of Samuel McCurdy from the ranch across the road. 
The couple raised three boys in the house, Harold, Everett Jr. and Gordon. 
Strain's mother and sister lived upstairs in the house. Everett took over the 
dairy business, milking about 40 Jersey cows with the help of a hired hand. 
The Strain dairy produced butter during these years, milking by hand and 
making cream and butter with a separator and churn powered by water 

After milking, the cans of fresh milk would be hand carried across the 
foot bridge and poured into a hopper in the side of the creamery. The three- 
room creamery was located at the site of the later Grade A milking barn, and 
was apparently the original Strain home. A smaller adjacent building, also of 
three rooms, housed the hired hand and had a storage room for grain. The 
family sold much of the butter in San Rafael; Mary Strain took the butter boxes 
to the head of Bolinas Lagoon where she met the Bolinas-to-San Rafael stage, 
by 1911 a modified Stanley Steamer. The Strains raised hogs as well, feeding 
them grains mixed with skim milk, and selling them at the Bolinas wharf. 
Everett Strain also cleared land and planted extensive crops on the 
ranch, including peas on the western side hill, and corn, potatoes, vegetables, 
and hay in the bottom land. He planted an orchard south of the horse barn to 
supplement his father's original orchard on the hillside west of the house. 
Strain developed a water source upstream on Pine Gulch Creek (or a tributary) 

bricks for the foundation of the new house. 

37 A great deal of information about the Strain family originates from an interview in November 
1994 with Gordon Strain, as well as notes taken from a family videotape interview with Mr. Strain 
made in 1986 and notes provided by Mr. Strain to PRNS in 1976; a biography of Matthias Pedrotti 
is found in Ira B. Cross, Financing an Empire: History of Banking in California (Chicago: The S. J. 
Clarke Publishing Co., 1927), pp. 486-487. 


and built a flume and ditch to deliver the water to the cropland in the area 
between the milking barn and the McCurdy boundary fence to the south. 
Strain and his hired man also cut cordwood for market during the time when 
the cows were dry. His saw was also powered by water pressure. Strain sold 
the produce and cordwood in Bolinas, most of it going to San Francisco by 
schooner. Surplus corn was chopped up by the children and used as feed. 

Everett's father Henry Strain had built a horse barn during the early 
years of his occupation of the ranch. He built it on a side hill with the stables 
facing the drive from the county road to the dairy. By placing the barn in a cut 
on the hillside he gained access to the upper story from behind. Everett Strain 
continued to use the old horse barn for stabling his work horses. He cut a 
better road on the hillside for easier access to the top floor. The family used a 
carriage shed near the horse barn for storing their wagon and buggy. 

The children of Everett and Mary Strain attended the Wilkins School in 
nearby Dogtown. The family had a private phone system that connected with 
neighboring ranchers and an exchange in the store in Bolinas. For many years 
the house had no running water, so Everett's mother Marcella did the washing 
in the creek upstream from the milking barn. Mary McCurdy Strain was 
known as a good cook, preparing food for the family and hired hand from the 
garden; a butcher in Olema, Martinelli, delivered meat to the ranch regularly. 
The family kept chickens in a large chicken shed northwest of the barn. The 
Strains bought their first car, a Studebaker, in 1914. Everett Strain helped 
maintain the county road, hauling rock from the Randall Ranch in his 
Studebaker to fill potholes. 

Although located within yards of the San Andreas fault, the Strain Ranch 
survived the 1906 earthquake with very little damage. Family tradition tells 
that the cows stampeded and were stray for two days. Photographs taken 
shortly after the temblor show chimneys and barns intact, but a fence offset 
about ten feet on the fault line west of the barn. The photographs, taken by 
geologist G. K. Gilbert, also show with great clarity the split picket and barbed 
wire fences in the corrals southwest of the barn, the original creamery, the 
orchard and the large Strain house on the hill (even the family laundry is 
visible on the clotheslines next to the house). The forests of Bolinas Ridge to 
the east are obviously scarred by the major fire of 1904. 38 

""Photographs by G. K. Gilbert are found in the U. S. Geological Survey Library, Menlo Park, 


In 1920 Everett Strain moved his family to Palo Alto where he 
established the Mayfield Dairy; his mother and sister remained living upstairs 
in the ranch house. The Strain family rented the dairy, first to a tenant that 
proved unsatisfactory and then to Joseph and Mary Teixeira. 

Teixeira, born in St. George, Azores, had immigrated to the United 
States at age 17 and worked on dairies in Fresno, Point Reyes (for James 
McClure at G Ranch), and Tiburon. The Teixeira family bought the previous 
tenant's dairy business and moved to the Strain Ranch in November of 1920. 
The family, including Christina and Anthony, born in Tiburon, and Molly, 
Joseph, Irene, and William, born on the Strain Ranch, shared the big house 
with Henry Strain's widow Marcella and her spinster daughter, Ella. During 
this time and after Marcella's death Ella Strain occupied the upper floor of the 
house and reserved the parlor downstairs. The Teixeiras lived in the 
remainder of the house until Ella's death in 1935. Eventually the entire ranch 
was inherited by the youngest daughter, Anna Strain. 39 

Joseph Teixeira milked about 65 cows on the ranch at first, separating 
the cream and shipping it to the cooperative creamery in Point Reyes Station 
for processing. Teixeira equipped the ranch with gasoline engines which drove 
the milking machines and separator. The Teixeiras used the old creamery for 
cooling the milk (in cans in a cool trough) and separating the cream until local 
builder Eddie Alberti constructed a Grade A barn in the early 1940s. The old 
dairy and a shed were torn down at that time. Teixeira grew crops on various 
parts of the ranch, including potatoes, ryegrass and oats. Commercial electric 
power reached the ranch in 1941. 

The Teixeiras bought the property from Anna Strain on December 26, 
1941 after twenty years of tenancy on the ranch. After Joseph Teixeira's death 
in 1951 the property was divided among the surviving members of the family. 40 

After building the Grade A barn Joseph Teixeira retired and his oldest 
son Anthony (Tony) took over the business in 1945. Tony Teixeira shipped 
fresh milk from the ranch, eventually milking more than one hundred cows. 
The dairy ceased operation in 1972 after the National Park Service purchased 
most of the property for Point Reyes National Seashore on December 8, 1971. 

39 Copies of map dated September 1, 1900 and deed dated January 2, 1901, and notes from 
interview with Gordon Strain in 1975 by Ron Treabess, PRNS. Teixeira family information from 
interviews with Christina Teixeira Silveira, Irene Teixeira and Molly Teixeira Waters. 

40 Official Records Book 422, p. 321, Book 838, p. 171, and Book 1227, p. 370, MCRO. 


A remaining parcel of 23 acres across Highway One was purchased in 1974 for 
Golden Gate National Recreation Area. 41 

At the time of the first park purchase, four members of the Teixeira 
family lived at the ranch. Christina and her husband Joseph Silveira built a 
one-story house on a .6 acre lot in the Everett Strain orchard south of the main 
house in 1948, and youngest daughter Molly and her husband Tun Waters 
remodeled the upper floor of the old horse barn into a living quarters in 1971. 
Irene Teixeira and her brother Tony and his wife shared the main house. In 
1991 the Silveiras moved to San Rafael and their home became a housing unit 
for Point Reyes National Seashore personnel; the Waters' moved from the 
horse barn in April 1995 and the barn is vacant. 

3. Buildings and Historic Resources 

Nine historic buildings and three structures, including two historic 
bridges, remain at the Strain/Teixeira Ranch. The original pioneer Strain 
house, creamery, various sheds and a privy (PR-230) have been demolished over 
the years. A number of buildings have been built since the Teixeiras bought 
the property in 1941. 

a. Main Residence (PR-226) 

The main residence on the Teixeira Ranch is the Henry Strain house 
built in 1880 or 1885. The home, on a promontory with a commanding view of 
the ranch and valley, has been in use as a residence since that time. It is a 
two-story, 27' by 48' wood frame building on a brick foundation. The exterior is 
clapboard with scalloped shingles on the second story, but the shingles have 
been covered with what appears to be large square asbestos shingles. The roof 
is an offset gable with metal roofing made to imitate wood shingles. The house 
has boxed cornices with decorated frieze and brackets. There are two porches, 
but the rear one has been enclosed. The house has had only minor alterations 
both exterior and interior, and is in good condition. Although the house has 

41 Official Records. Book 2524, p. 485, Book 2484, p. 137, and Book 2850, p. 251, MCRO. 


had surface alterations such as the siding and roof, they are reversible; the 
house possesses good historic integrity. 

b. Barn (PR-228) 

The Strain/Teixeira Ranch barn, located across Pine Gulch Creek from 
the ranch complex, was reportedly built by Henry Strain before 1870. It is a 
two-story, 45' by 84' wood frame structure with random-width vertical board 
siding. There are doors on the east and north sides. The gable roof, originally 
shingled, has been covered with corrugated metal. The interior is a large open 
space with a partial hayloft on the north and west walls. The west wall slopes 
out to become a stall area, in which up to thirty cows would be placed for 
milking in wood stanchions, which are extant. The floor is wood planking. A 
lean-to feeding structure is attached to the west side. The barn is currently 
used for storage. Storm damage on the southwest corner was repaired in 1993. 
There is termite damage and the barn is in fair condition. It has excellent 
historic integrity. 

c. Horse Barn (PR-229) 

The three-story 27' by 28' board and batten horse barn was reportedly 
built about 1876 by Henry Strain. It faces south and is located on the ranch 
access road. It has a gable roof with composition shingles with a wall dormer 
facing south. The upper floors were converted to a residence in 1971. The 
lower story is in use as a shop and is not significantly altered. The front 
(south) side had vinyl siding applied in 1990; new windows are aluminum sash. 
Because of the alterations the horse barn possesses little historic integrity, but 
it could be restored in the future if funds allowed. 

d. Bridges (PR-231 & PR-232) 

A 15-foot long footbridge (PR-231), built of log stringers, with a six-foot 
wide wood plank deck and wooden handrails, crosses Pine Gulch Creek from 
the Grade A barn to the old barn. It was built before 1900, is abandoned, and is 
in poor condition. A second bridge (PR-232) was built for automobiles north of 
the footbridge. It is 29' long, 15' wide, with concrete abutments, heavy timber 


stringers, 3"xl2" plank deck and braced wooden railings, and is still in use. Its 
historic integrity is good. 

e. Grade A Barn (PR-227) 

The 33' by 72' sanitary barn was built by the Teixeiras during World War 
II on the site of the old dairy house. Built in the typical fashion of concrete 
foundation and lower walls, wood frame with horizontal drop siding, and 
corrugated metal roof, the barn consists of a milking parlor and a milk room 
with a breezeway between, connected by a continuous gable roof with a long 
ridge vent. An open bay on the north end has a set of large rolling doors. The 
barn has not been significantly altered. It is no longer hi use and has good 
historic integrity. 

f. Garage/Shed (PR-233) 

This open-front, 3-bay shed is located between the horse barn/residence 
and the Grade A barn. Gordon Strain remembers it as the same shed that 
existed here before 1920. It measures 20' by 43', with a corrugated metal shed 
roof and vertical random-width board siding. The remains of original opening 
shapes are extant in some bays; there have been some structural modifications, 
and a fuel shed has been added on the north side. It is in fair condition and 
possesses fair historic integrity. 

g. Fuel Storage Shed (PR-234) 

This small, 18' square open-front shed has an almost flat corrugated 
metal roof, corrugated metal walls, and board walls separating the two bays. A 
newer matching bay was added to the west. The shed contains fuel tanks and 
is in fair condition; its historic integrity is fair. 

h. Stock Shed (PR-239) 

The stock shed, located in the field behind the old barn, is actually two 
structures of similar dimensions joined together. The 18' by 30' structure has a 
low gable roof with corrugated metal sheathing on the roof and walls, although 


some vertical board siding remains visible. The south section is open on two 
sides for stock access. The deteriorating structure is in fair condition and 
possesses little historic integrity. 

i. Small Shed (PR-413) 

A 7' by 10' stock shed sits in the pasture behind the old barn. It has a 
corrugated metal shed roof, vertical board siding, and no foundation. It is in 
fair condition and has fair historic integrity. 

j. Wood Shed (PR-414) 

A 6' by 8' shed with corrugated metal walls and roof, open on the north 
side. Wood sills are deteriorating and structure is leaning but still used for 
cordwood storage. It has fair historic integrity. 

k. Roads 

Three roads and a trace road remain on the Teixeira Ranch. The 
driveway from the highway to the main house dates from the 1880s and retains 
its character-defining features, foremost of which is the loop turn-around at the 
house front porch; a large magnolia tree stands in the center of the circle. 
Another road is the access to the ranch complex, leaving the highway just south 
of the residence road and leading past the horse barn/residence and Grade A 
barn to the bridge and old barn. This road appears to be the oldest in 
continuous use. Another road leads upstream on Pine Gulch Creek, part of 
which is now in use as the southern portion of the Olema Valley Trail. All are 
dirt roads. A trace of the original Spanish/Mexican-era Olema-Bolinas Trail, in 
use until 1867, can be found ascending the ridgeline north of the main house 
past the water tank, but the area is fast becoming covered with brush. This 
was one of the only places that the surveyor bypassed the old Mexican trail to 
any significant degree as he laid out the new county road in 1867; that survey is 
followed today by Highway One. These old roads have fair to good integrity. 


1. Gates, Fences, Corrals 

The fence lines have apparently not changed significantly since the Strain 
family ran the ranch, but over the years the materials have been replaced near 
the ranch complex and fencing has been removed on the rangeland; their 
integrity is fair. 

m. Windbreak Trees and Orchard 

A line of Monterey Cypress trees define part of the north boundary of the 
ranch complex, just north of the main house. These trees are more than 100 
years old. The orchard south of the horse barn/residence dates from the later 
Strain era, 1901-1920, although many of the older trees are gone. Only one 
tree remains from the original Henry Strain orchard located west of the house. 

The portion of Highway One known as Strain's Hill or Thirteen Curves is 
lined with century-old eucalyptus trees, reportedly planted by Henry Strain 
after the road was built in 1867. The historic trees are probably on the 
CalTrans right-of-way. One tree marks the northeast corner of the Strain lands 
and was planted by Henry Strain in the mid- 1860s. 

n. Other structures 

There are three other small outbuildings on the property, all built less 
than 50 years ago by the Teixeira family. The Silveira house and its 
outbuildings were built in 1948 in the orchard south of the original ranch 
complex. The historic ranch outhouse (PR-230) was removed around 1990. 


4. Historic Significance of the Teixeira Ranch 

The Teixeira Ranch is significant as a pioneer farm of the Bolinas area. 
The hay barn and horse barn are very early surviving examples of 1860s farm 
architecture, and the 1880/85 Strain house is a rare example of vernacular/ 
Victorian residential architecture in the region. The structural integrity of the 
buildings varies: the barn, built without nails, is in fair condition but needs 
treatment for structural deterioration; the horse barn has been altered a great 
deal on the exterior and upper interior; the main house is in very good 
condition, having been well-maintained during the last century, although its 
historic integrity has been reversibly compromised by alterations such as the 
asbestos siding. Overall the ranch possesses good historic integrity and is an 
important part of the cultural landscape of the Olema Valley. 

Historic Features 

1. main residence, 1885 

2. Grade A dairy barn, c. 1945 

3. barn, ca. 1870 

4. horse barn-residence, ca. 1876 

5. foot bridge, pre-1900 

6. bridge, c. 1940-45 

7. garage/shed 

8. fuel storage shed 

9. stock shed 

10. small shed 

11. wood shed 

12. gates, fences, corrals 

13. cypress trees, ca. 1880 

14. orchards, ca. 1880 & 1900 

15. ranch driveways, ca. 1867 & 1880 

16. trace of original Olema-Bolinas Road, ca. 1840s 


Highway 1 

Pine Gulch Creek 





Effects of the 1906 earthquake are dramatic in this scene on the Strain Ranch; the fence was offset about six 
feet as it straddled the San Andreas Fault. Note the old dairy buildings to the right of the barn and the results 
of a huge fire on the ridge two years earlier. G. K. Gilbert photo, U.S.G.S. Library, Menlo Park. 

1906 view north towards the Strain Ranch, center, with David McMullin's orchard visible in the foreground. 
The eucalyptus lining Strain's Hill can be seen in the center distance. U. S. Geological Survey Library. 



The Teixeira house (above) and barn (below) as they appeared in 1 994. NFS photos by Dewey Livingston. 


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Detail of the 1873 "Official Map of Marin County" by Hiram Austin, showing Bolinas and Woodville. Note the 
ranches of Wilkins, McMullin & McCurdy, Henry Strain, B[enjamin]. Miller, P. Figeras [sic] and Mrs. Randall. 

Jack Mason Museum Collection. 



Section 111, Chapter D 







Point Reyes National Seashore 


0_ .1 3_ .3 .4 .5 

Traced from USGS Quads Contour Interval 200 1 
histonc boundaries approximate 


Randall Trail / 


South End Ranch 



"Hagmaier Pond" 


Teixeina Ranch 


including Biesler Ranch 

(Point Reyes National Seashore) 

1. Description 

During the last 50 years the Hagmaier Ranch has consisted of two 
smaller ranch complexes, one of which was removed in the early 1970s. 
Historically known as the Miller and Figueras Ranches, the two were merged in 
the late 1930s when purchased by the Hagmaier family, and today the 
remaining ranch complex serves as park housing and storage. 

Hagmaier Ranch lies in the upper, or southern, end of the Olema Valley, 
where Olema Creek enters the flat valley for its journey to Tomales Bay. It is 
in an interesting geographic area on the San Andreas fault where Olema Creek 
flows north on the east side of the ranch and Pine Gulch Creek flows south on 
the west side. Flanked on the west by forested hills beyond Pine Gulch Creek 
and on the east by grassy hills with encroaching brush and forests, the ranch is 
on a relatively level site of about 500 acres. Olema Creek and State Highway 1, 
a paved, two-lane road, serve as the ranch's eastern boundary. A gravel 
driveway provides access to the ranch buildings. The Olema Valley Trail 
passes through the west edge of the ranch, and the Randall Trail connects 
hikers coming from Highway One to the Olema Valley Trail, just north of the 
existing ranch complex. 

2. History of Hagmaier Ranch 

Benjamin Miller settled in the upper Olema Valley as early as 1856, 
apparently claiming unoccupied land that would figure in subsequent title 
litigation. He eventually purchased his land from the Shatter law firm on 
March 6, 1861, for $3,264.05, or about $15 per acre. Miller, born in Ohio around 
1812, gained local renown for the murder of his neighbor, William Randall, in 
1861, as described in the following chapter. 42 

Miller had developed the ranch extensively by 1860, when he was 

^Munro-Fraser, Marin County, pp. 239-240, 278; Population Schedules, 8th U. S. Census, 


recorded as producing 3,000 pounds of butter from 100 cows during the previous 
year, as well as raising peas, beans, wheat, oats, and 2,000 bushels of Irish 
potatoes. Miller had horses, sheep, oxen, and pigs, valued at more than $6,000. 
He evidently remained on the ranch throughout his prosecution for murder. A 
correspondent from The California Farmer visited the Miller Ranch in early 
1862 and published the following report: 

Mr. B. Millar [sic] has 217 acres of good land, and 
rents a league more from the great "Shafter claim." 
He has 300 head of stock, 75 milkers; makes no butter 
yet; had no hay or root-crops; will plant root-crops this 
year for stock. Made in 1861, from 30 cows, 75 to 100 
pounds of butter a week. Mr. Millar [sic] has large 
and well-planned barns, and good buildings generally; 
desires good schools, roads, bridges, etc., and ready to 
aid them. Has suffered much by unsettled titles. 43 

Miller put his property on the market in 1869, advertising a "1 1/2 story 
dwelling house containing 8 rooms, also a fine orchard, straw & hay shed 
130x30 ft, wood shed & all necessary out buildings, divided into 6 lots." Swiss 
immigrant Giuseppe Bassi purchased the property for $5,000 in July 1869, and 
the next month Miller auctioned his 25 milk cows, 25 two-year-old heifers, 39 
spring calves, ten head of horses, 20 head of hogs, "a lot of poultry," farming 
utensils, household furniture, and other items; he then moved to Watsonville 
where he died in 1879. 

Giuseppe Bassi and his wife Mary occupied the ranch, making butter and 
raising hogs, until selling the ranch to Henry Betten in 1872. Betten milked 
cows at the ranch but did not make butter there, selling his milk to a creamery. 
In 1880, Betten was listed as having produced $1,750 worth of milk and crops; 
Betten also kept 70 chickens on the ranch. In 1883 Betten held a community 
dance in his dairy barn. His house burned down on July 12, 1888, and a few 
months later Betten sold his Jersey herd and tools and apparently moved to 
Bolinas. 44 

Betten rented the dairy ranch to Toroni and Bareuchi in 1890. Daniel 
Bondietti rented the Betten Ranch from 1895 to about 1913. Bondietti, a Swiss 

43 Agricultural Schedules, 8th U. S. Census, 1860; The California Farmer. April 4, 1862, p. 1. 
44 Marin County Journal. September 26, 1883, July 12 and November 5, 1888. 


immigrant who arrived in 1884, had a wife and seven children and also rented 
the Lake Ranch at Point Reyes from the O. L. Shatter estate. In 1901 
Bondietti was recorded as milking 40 cows, from which he made 1,260 pounds 
of butter per month. According to the 1910 census record, Bondietti employed 
his children as milkers. Bondietti bought a ranch on Tomales Bay and moved 
there in 1913. The ranch had passed through a few hands while leased by 
Bondietti until it was purchased by Thomas Healion, an Irish immigrant who 
had arrived in Marin County as a young man in the 1860s. Healion died in 
1909 and passed on the ranch to his son Arthur and his wife Caroline, who after 
Bondietti left, operated the dairy, built a new house, and raised a family there. 46 

The 290-acre property directly north of the Healion Ranch has been 
known most popularly as the Biesler Ranch. Pablo (or an Americanized "Paul") 
Figueras, born in Spain about 1819, settled on this ranch in the late 1850s, 
probably purchasing or renting it from Rafael Garcia or Gregorio Briones. He 
served as Justice of the Peace for Bolinas Township in 1858-59, and 1860-61. 
Figueras officially bought the property from Shatter, Shatter, Park and 
Heydenfeldt, after the law firm won title to the property in court, in 1862 for 
$1,700. He later sold 11 acres, including the roadway to his ranch to which he 
retained a right-of-way, to neighbor Sarah Randall for $100. Apparently 
Figueras and his brother Louis farmed potatoes at the ranch and had no dairy. 
In 1870 Figueras and his brother employed five laborers at the ranch, raising 
oats and hay and caring for 11 oxen and eight horses. 46 

German-born John Biesler bought the Figueras Ranch shortly before 
1880, after a life in the gold mines of California. The ranch had fallen into 
neglect, so Biesler spent much time and money improving it. By 1880, Biesler 
was selling 8,000 gallons of milk per year from 17 cows. Biesler died in 1893 
and passed the ranch to his sons John H. and Fred W. Biesler, who lived there 
with their mother. A biography described the ranch shortly after the turn of 
the century: 

45 Financing an Empire, p. 528; Guinn, Coast Counties, pp. 694-699; Marin County Journal. 
May 22, July 17, and August 28, 1869, p. 3; Deeds Book G, p. 474, and Book L, p. 153, Leases 
Book D, p. 91, MCRO; Population Schedules, 13th U. S. Census, 1910. 

46 Munro-Fraser, Marin County, pp. 232-233; Population Schedules, 8th U. S. Census, 1860; 
Agricultural Schedules, 9th U. S. Census, 1870, and 10th U. S. Census, 1880; 
Deeds Book C, p. 406 and Book E, p. 534, MCRO. 


[The Biesler brothers] have since conducted it as a 
dairy, taking pride in making it a model in all 
respects, having an up-to-date separator run by water 
power, and many other modern dairy conveniences. 
Most of the dairy product is marketed in San 
Francisco, where it commands a good price. The 
Biesler boys, as they are familiarly known, are both 
hard-working, industrious men, upright and honorable 
in their business dealings, and in all respects worthy 
sons of a good father. 47 

The 1920 census lists Fred Biesler at the ranch, with partners George 
Hagmaier (Biesler 's second cousin) and John Krochler, an Austrian immigrant. 
John H. Biesler died around 1922, leaving the property in Fred's hands. The 
Dougan family rented the dairy ranch from Fred Biesler for about two decades 
until 1948, when longtime Olema dairymen Elfie and Florentine Franzi rented 
the ranch for a dairy. Florentine died in 1951, and Elfie died in 1967 after the 
house burned. 48 

San Francisco contractor George Hagmaier, who had lived on the Biesler 
Ranch to the north in 1920, purchased that 289.76-acre ranch from Fred Biesler 
on October 28, 1937. Soon after, he bought the 179.15-acre Healion Ranch from 
Arthur Healion's widow, Caroline, on May 2, 1938. Hagmaier went to work 
improving the property, while residing for the most part in Alameda and 
continuing in the contracting business. 49 

At the time George Hagmaier bought the ranch it consisted of about five 
major buildings, including the Healion's large house, a smaller house for 
workers, a two-story barn that had apparently been converted to a dwelling 
with a garage on the bottom floor, a medium-sized milking barn, and a two- 
room calf barn. All but the Healion house appeared to be from the Miller or 
Bassi era. Hagmaier made many improvements at the Healion ranch during his 
first years of ownership. The first year he tore down some of the old buildings 
and built a bunk house and two tool sheds, and rebuilt the old wooden milking 
barn after it burned in a dramatic fire in 1940. George Gomez managed the 

47 Guinn, Coast Counties, pp. 694-699; Agricultural and Population Schedules, 10th U. S. 
Census, 1880. 

""Population Schedules, 14th U. S. Census, 1920; Bavwood Press. June 10, 1951. 
49 Hagmaier era information from an interview with Daniel Hagmaier. 


dairy until 1942; milk was trucked to the creamery in Point Reyes Station. 
With the United States entry into World War II and subsequent demand for 
dairy products, Gomez proposed to lease the dairy for his own business, but 
Hagmaier chose to close the dairy and auctioned the dairy stock in early 1942. 
After the end of the war, Hagmaier stocked the ranch with beef cattle. 
Hagmaier's son Daniel spent a great deal of time at the ranch and, after his 
father's death, made additional improvements during the 1950s, including some 
interior remodeling of the main house. The ranch was rented to Dan Quinn, 
who ran cattle on the ranch, when it was purchased in 1972 by the National 
Park Service. 

At the Biesler Ranch the old buildings, probably dating from the Pablo 
Figueras and John Biesler era, remained intact although somewhat ramshackle. 
They consisted of a two-story, "T"-shaped house, a milking barn, a dairy, a 
wagon shed, and a horse barn. All were of a distinctive early California 
vernacular style. In 1966 the old Biesler house and dairy barn burned, leaving 
Elfie Franzi without his longtime home. The Park Service obliterated the 
remains of the Biesler Ranch in the early 1970s; only a row of cypress trees and 
a couple of orchard trees remain. 50 

3. Buildings and Historic Resources 

The Hagmaier Ranch consists of five buildings and a water system, all 
more than 50 years old. 

a. Main House (PR-415; PORE residence #172) 

The main house, built by the Healion family around 1915 to replace their 
pioneer dwelling, is a 34' by 53' two-story home on a knoll overlooking Olema 
Valley. It has a gable roof with wide dormer windows facing north and south. 
A spacious porch wraps around the north and east sides of the house, with a 
tall, brick chimney on the north porch. The siding is a combination of shiplap 
on the first floor and shingles on the second floor, all painted white, with 
unpainted wood shingles on the roof. The house has not been seriously altered 

50 Interview with Daniel Hagmaier; Bavwood Press. July 7, 1966, p. 1. Descriptions of the 
ranches are obtained from photographs, ca. 1938-1941, loaned by Daniel Hagmaier. 


on the exterior since the Hagmaiers bought the ranch in 1938, except for the 
installation of aluminum windows in some areas and some interior remodeling; 
the original windows are mostly 8-over-l and 6-over-l double hung wood sash. 
The house is in good condition and has good historic integrity. 

b. Bunk House (PR-416; PORE residence #173) 

The bunk house, built in 1938 for ranch hands, has the simple 
appearance of a century-old farm house, with a gable roof and shed extension 
on the west side. The 33' by 37' house has horizontal drop siding and is 
painted white. Windows are 1-over-l wood sash. The interior is rustic, with 
dark-stained wood paneling and white trim. The house is in good condition and 
possesses good historic integrity. 

c. Hay Barn (PR-417) 

The hay barn, built to replace an old milking barn that burned around 
1941, is a wood frame structure with a corrugated sheet-metal roof and walls. 
It has eleven 6-light windows, five of which are currently boarded up, and large 
and small rolling doors. It is used for storage, and is in good condition. The 
barn possesses fair historic integrity. 

d. Sheds (PR-418 & PR-419) 

Two large sheds stand between the bunk house and the main house, 
both built by George Hagmaier in 1938. The larger, north shed (PR-418) is 25' 
by 40' with a corrugated metal gable roof, wide vertical board siding and large 
rolling doors on both the north and south sides. The south shed (PR-419) is 20' 
by 36' and is similar in appearance to the north shed. Both are painted red; 
they are used as garages and for storage today, and are in good condition with 
good historic integrity. 

e. Road to Ranch 

The gravel driveway to the ranch from Highway One appears to follow 
the same route as in 1898 when it first appeared on a U. S. Geological Survey 


map. The bridge was reportedly replaced by George Hagmaier in the early 
1940s. The old road to the Biesler Ranch has been obliterated. 

f. Trees 

No historic trees are found at the Hagmaier Ranch. A grove of Monterey 
cypress and the remains of an orchard are found at the Biesler Ranch site. 

4. Historic Significance of the Hagmaier Ranch 

The Hagmaier Ranch is a significant part of the Olema Valley ranching 
district, 1856-1945. Settled by a Marin County pioneers Benjamin Miller and 
Pablo Figueras in 1856, the site is one of the oldest non-prehistoric habitations 
in the Point Reyes area. Most of the buildings on the site are vernacular farm 
buildings from a more recent era, about 55 years old, but the main ranch house 
may be architecturally significant as a rare local example of the sprawling 
midwestern farmhouse, with its wide verandas and dormer windows; it is 
unique among the remaining West Marin farmhouses in the area. The integrity 
of the ranch, although reflecting the circa 1940 improvements, is excellent. 

Historic Features 

1. main house, ca. 1915 

2. bunk house, 1938 

3. barn, 1941 

4. north shed, 1938 

5. south shed, 1938 

6. road to ranch, ca. 1870s 

7. cypress and fruit trees, Biesler Ranch 



Pine Gulch Creek 





building removed 



Two views of the Hagmaier Ranch, taken between 1939 and 1941 . Above, looking northeast, below, looking 
west. Courtesy of Daniel Hagmaier. 


The Biesler Ranch is seen in the backgound in this view from the Hagmaier Ranch taken in 1941 . One can 
clearly see the barn, outbuildings and distinctive house. Courtesy of Daniel Hagmaier. 


A view of the Biesler Ranch showing the outbuildings with the old house in rear. Photograph taken in 1 941 . 
Courtesy of Daniel Hagmaier. 


^xj^KTSl "^ 


Two views of the Biesler Ranch. Above, the old Pablo Figueras house, which burned in 1966; below, the 
creamery. Photographs taken in 1 941 . Courtesy of Daniel Hagmaier. 



Section III, Chapter E 






Golden Gate National Recreation Area 

.1 .2 .3 .4 .5 

Traced from USGS Quads Contour Interval 200' 
historic boundaries approximate 


Giacomini Ranch 

Lands of 

Marin Municipal 

Water District 

ti/^ /- / McCurdy Ranch 


Biesler Ranch site 

Hagmaier Ranch "\ 



(Golden Gate National Recreation Area) 

1. Description 

The Randall Ranch is a 1400-acre property located almost exactly 
between Bolinas and Olema, leading one rancher in the 1950s to name it the 
Midway Ranch . Noted for its longtime operation under the pioneer family of 
William and Sarah Randall, the ranch has had many owners during the 20th 
century and is now only a shell of its former self. Only the prominent 2-story 
Randall house remains, and it has stood abandoned for two decades. The parcel 
is almost square in shape with a diagonal boundary at the south end. The 
ranch is on the west slope of Bolinas Ridge, with the east boundary being the 
summit of the ridge and the west boundary Olema Creek and the state 
highway. The ranch is bounded on the north by the Ralph Giacomini Ranch, on 
the east by lands of the Marin Municipal Water District, on the south by the 
former McCurdy Ranch and on the west by the former Hagmaier and Lake 
Ranches on the Point Reyes Peninsula. The ranch is crossed by four dirt ranch 
roads leading to the ridge top; one, the Randall trail, is a designated trail in the 
GGNRA system. At least three older abandoned roads are extant on the 
property as well, one of which is the original Olema to Bolinas Road in use from 
1867 to 1927. A stock pond near the southern boundary is a popular swimming 
hole for Bay Area residents. 

2. History of the Randall Ranch 

William Edgar Randall, born on May 13, 1824, learned the trade of 
carpentry in his native Greensboro, Vermont. In 1849 he married fellow 
Vermonter Sarah Seaver, who was born on October 6, 1826. In the spirit of the 
era, the young couple joined the Gold Rush to California. Arriving in San 
Francisco on May 2, 1850 aboard the ship Hannibal, the Randalls made a few 
attempts at businesses in that city and San Jose but soon headed for the gold 
fields. The Randalls returned to San Jose in the fall of 1853 and it was here 
that they probably met John Nelson. Nelson, born in Sweden in 1819, also 
came to California with the Gold Rush. He settled in San Jose area at the 


same time as Randall, where he operated a pig farm in the Santa Clara Valley. 
Randall and Nelson joined forces and went to Oregon in the spring of 1855 to 
try their luck in the mines there. After some time, including a stint fighting 
Indians in 1856, they purchased a herd of cattle in the Willamette Valley of 
Oregon and drove it to Olema, arriving in January, 1857. 51 

Randall and Nelson looked for land in the area and purchased 1400 acres 
in the southern Olema Valley drainage from Rafael Garcia and his wife on May 
2, 1857. They paid the Garcias $2000 and commenced dairy ranching. 
According to a neighbor, the men created "a large dairy establishment" and 
made "extensive and valuable improvements thereon in buildings and fences". 
They built ranch buildings along Olema Creek at the center of the western 
edge of the property, with a simple farmhouse nearby. Randall's granddaughter 
wrote of "the huge barn built by [Randall] without the use of a nail . . . ." 
Another dairy complex was built about a mile south of the main ranch on the 
county road. 52 

Nelson sold his share in January of 1860 for $3000 and went to work for 
his longtime friends, the Olds, on the next property north; he eventually 
became involved in the growth of the village of Olema, where he opened the 
Point Reyes House, a bar and billiard parlor, ran the stage line to San Rafael 
and for many years owned the Olema Hotel, a centerpiece of the town for more 
than 50 years. 53 

The 1860 census recorded W. E. Randall, age 38, as having land valued at 
$3625 and an estate of $2150; Sarah's two sisters and a brother lived at the 
ranch as well. Randall had improved 300 acres of his land, owned 32 milk cows, 
two head of oxen, four horses, 40 other cattle and nine pigs; the previous year 

51 Munro-Fraser, Marin County, p.425; [GGNRA Park Historian] James P. Delgado, untitled 
manuscript dated September 18, 1980. Delgado's article appeared in a edited form in Mason, 
Historian, pp. 584-586. According to family tradition, son Raymond was born in an Oregon fort 
during an Indian massacre. 

52 Land Case 68 ND, U.S. vs R. Garcia, Bancroft Library, pp. 83, 85; interview with Boyd 
Stewart; "Personal History of William Edgar Randall and His Wife, Sarah Seaver Randall," 
manuscript by an unidentified granddaughter of the Randalls, circa 1955, in park files. The author 
appears to be Rue Randall Clifford, who wrote a brief history of her family in 1955 at the time of 
her donation of Randall's Gold Rush diaries to the Bancroft Library. The manuscript notes that 
the old barn fell into the creek in the early 1950s. 

M Deeds Book E, p. 530, MCRO; Marin County Journal. March 20, 1869; 9th U. S. Census, 
1870. John Nelson died in 1898. 


the ranch had produced 5000 pounds of butter, 500 bushels of Irish potatoes 
and 400 pounds of honey. Daniel Seaver, Sarah's brother, produced 4300 
pounds of butter on a dairy on the south part of the ranch. A man named 
William Peach lived on Randall land; he owned 35 milk cows and 40 other 
cattle. His relation to the Randall family is unknown, and one John Peach 
appears on the census as residing with Sarah Randall ten years later. 54 

William Randall, known to his family and friends as Edgar, did not have 
long to enjoy the fruits of his labor. On June 7, 1860, Randall's neighbor 
Benjamin Miller killed him in a long-simmering boundary dispute. A history of 
Marin County written in 1880 detailed the murder. Reportedly angry that 
Randall and Nelson had purchased land that he coveted, Miller "commenced a 
fierce war against them, and on two occasions shot at and missed" Nelson. 
Miller allegedly shot at Randall seven times in the days before the final act, 
here described: 

The day before while Randall was riding along the 
road, a ball whistled close by his head. It would seem 
that Miller was in the habit of tearing down Randall's 
fence, and permitting his stock to run at large upon 
the ranch. On the morning of the shooting, Randall 
and his brother-in-law were driving out the stock 
when they came to a gate where they found Miller 
and his son, each armed, Miller with a rifle and the 
latter with a double-barrelled shotgun. Some words 
passed between them, when, on the arrival of another 
brother-in-law, the gun was taken from the younger 
Miller by the new-comer. Upon this, Miller, the elder, 
presented the rifle which he carried at the last 
arrival, when Randall rode up towards Miller with a 
small pistol in his hand, on this move Miller whirled 
around and fired at Randall striking him in the 
abdomen. This was at 10 a.m.; at 7 p.m. he died. 

A good Samaritan rode on horseback some 25 miles to San Rafael for a doctor; 
by the time the doctor arrived the victim was dying. Randall was buried in a 
small graveyard established on a knoll north of the ranch. Miller, although 
sentenced to 11 years in prison, went free and eventually took the case to the 

"Population and Agriculture Schedules, 8th U. S. Census, 1860. Peach may have been the 
husband of Sarah's sister Jane. 


Supreme Court. He later settled in Watsonville "where he dropped dead in the 
street" in 1879. 65 

At the time of her husband's death Sarah Randall had five young 
children, her husband's debt, and limited knowledge of the dairy business. No 
doubt with the help of her brother and neighbors, Mrs. Randall recovered from 
her tragedy and kept the dairy ranch going. Soon, however, problems arose 
over ownership of the Randall land. 56 

Rafael Garcia had been granted two leagues but the map delineating his 
properties had been carelessly drawn. A new survey cut out about 2,000 acres, 
including Mrs. Randall's ranch. According to the new map Garcia would have 
had no right to sell the property to Randall and Nelson. The government could 
claim this land, but the Shatter law firm claimed that the land belonged to 
them as part of the old Berry claim which they had rightfully purchased. The 
matter went to court on October 22, 1862. Mrs. Randall appeared, arriving late 
and explaining that she was delayed "by remote residence, the inclemency of 
the weather, the difficulties in traveling, and by ... many other pressing duties 
and obligations." Also present in the courtroom were Salvador Vallejo, Ignacio 
Pacheco and James McMillan Shafter. Mrs. Randall's case may have been saved 
by the testimony of her neighbor to the north, Daniel Olds, Jr., who stated that 
he was present at the time of the survey and felt her claim was true, and noted 
that she was "very industrious and devotes herself incessantly to the care of her 
family and the conduct of her dairy operation. She knows as little about legal 
matters as the majority of American matrons." The Shatters did not get the 
Randall Ranch and other Garcia lands as threatened, but instead received the 
immense Phelps patent to the east. 57 

In March of 1862 a correspondent for The California Farmer visited and 
wrote that the family "has 1200 acres, 200 head of stock, 100 milkers; had 60 
milkers last season and made 400 pounds of butter a month; no hay or root 
crops now, and making no butter; lost some stock." Mrs. Randall leased a 

55 Munro-Fraser, Marin County, pp. 239-240; "Personal History," p. 1. 

56 At the time of their father's death the ages of the Randall children were: Elizabeth Deborah, 
9 (born October 25, 1850); William James, 8 (April 1, 1852); Fannie Jane, 6 (May 2, 1854); 
Raymond (or Ramon) Leon, 4 (May 31 1856); and Mary Lorraine, 1 (April 4, 1859); Mary was the 
only Randall child born at the Olema Valley ranch. 

"Land Case 68 ND, U. S. vs R. Garcia, Bancroft Library, p. 87; Mason, Point Reyes, pp. 45-47; 
notes by Jack Mason in Jack Mason Museum Collection, Inverness. 


portion of the ranch to her sister Jane's husband. She wrote to her brother in 
1864 and provided news of the ranch: 

We are having one of the pleasantest winters I ever 
experienced in California, grass has grown finely and 
at the present time feed is very good. I have 18 fresh 
cows which we are milking with a prospect of about 
60 this season. I sold only butter for 42 1/2 cents pr. 
Ibs. last year but fresh butter is now selling for .55 
and 60 cts. and I am making about 75 Ibs. pr. week 

Times are very good here and money is plenty. Geo. 
Urie is at work for me still but I shall require another 
man soon. 

Willie [son William James] is old enough to do 
considerablyt;] he brings in the cows night & morning 
besides looking after my cattle which takes 
considerable riding . . . , 58 

The Randall lands grew slightly when in 1866 Pablo Figueras sold a small 
part of his ranch across the county road to Mrs. Randall for $100. The parcel 
included the driveway to Figueras' ranch, on which Figueras retained a right-of- 
way. The next year county surveyor Hiram Austin laid out a new county road 
through the Randall Ranch, today's Highway 1. Someone, perhaps Seaver or a 
Randall son, planted eucalyptus and cypress trees along the roadway in the 
vicinity of the south ranch. In 1870 Mrs. Randall leased a right-of-way to 
Samuel McCurdy and David McMullin for hauling wood from their tract of 
timber to the south to the county road. 59 

The 1870 census listed Sarah Randall as head of the household. Her 
oldest child, Elizabeth, did not reside at the ranch at the time the census was 
taken, and William was 18. Also in residence was Sarah's sister Margaret 
Seaver, one John Peach, age 40, and a Swiss dairy laborer. Sarah's brother 
Daniel Seaver lived down the road, at the site now marked by eucalyptus trees 

58 The California Farmer. April 8, 1862, p. 1.; letter to "Brother William [Seaver]" dated January 
25, 1864, collection of Bancroft Library. George Urie (or Eurie) lived in the northwestern corner of 
the ranch as of 1867, when his house appears on a map of the new county road. 

59 Deeds Book E, p. 534, Leases Book A, p. 72, MCRO; "Plat . . . Bolinas and Olema Road," 


near the Hagmaier Ranch. Seaver, 35, was a dairyman with $1000 worth of 
assets, and lived on the southern portion of his sister's land with his wife Annie 
and infant daughter Charlotte. By this time the Randalls had improved 740 
acres of land, with the entire ranch valued at $18,000. The Randall dairy 
produced 5000 pounds of butter that year, and Seaver made 3000 pounds. 
Between the two dairy ranches on the property, there were 72 milk cows, 50 
other cattle, 52 pigs and 11 horses. Mrs. Randall's farm produced 65 bushels of 
winter wheat, 600 bushels of oats and 75 tons of hay; Seaver grew 100 pounds 
of potatoes. The figures show that Mrs. Randall, with the help of her family, 
had indeed developed a prosperous dairy farm. 60 

The five Randall children grew up in a sort of idyll at the ranch, the 
death of their father notwithstanding, riding to the nearby Olema School at 
Five Brooks on horseback, gathering huckleberries in the surrounding woods 
and then drying and preserving them by the bushel. The children were no 
doubt a large factor in their mother's prosperity in the dairy business. Oldest 
son William, known as Willie and later W. J., was born at Murphy's Camp, 
California on April 1, 1852. He attended boarding school in Petaluma and was 
eight years old when his father was killed; he then attended local schools and 
graduated from Heald's Business College in San Francisco in 1873. He 
apparently ran his uncle Daniel Seaver's ranch up the road for many years, and 
married Abbie Perham in 1879. William left the ranch around 1881 to run his 
own dairy businesses on Point Reyes, including the famous Pierce Ranch and O. 
L. Shafter's L Ranch. Raymond Randall, born at Angel's Camp in the Oregon 
gold country while his father was mining there, took over the Randall business 
in the 1870s after his marriage to Harriet "Hattie" Weeks, a neighbor to the 
south. The couple had six daughters while living on the ranch, Lottie, Myra, 
Elizabeth, Helen, Sadie, Fanny and Aileen. The family referred to the place as 
the Bell Ranch, because the cows wore bells. Raymond's sister Mary became a 
schoolteacher, beginning at the Garcia School in Olema in 1879 and then 
teaching at the nearby Olema School at Five Brooks in 1883. Mary was 
married to M. H. Clifford of San Francisco in her mother's house in 1885. 
Oldest sister Elizabeth married P. Tripp of San Francisco in 1886. 61 


'Population and Agricultural Schedules, 9th U. S. Census, 1870. 

61 Letter to "Dear Cousin Mary" from Fannie Randall, October 1863, in the Randall Papers at 
Bancroft Library; Marin County Journal. July 17, 1879, September 20 and November 1, 1883 and 
April 10, 1884; Marin Journal. November 26, 1885 and November 26, 1886; letter to Jack Mason 


A granddaughter of the Randalls wrote many years ago about her 

[Sarah Randall] carried on an active business in butter 
and other dairy products with commission merchants 
in San Francisco. The products were shipped by small 
boats from Bolinas .... My grandmother was active 
in the pioneer Methodist church. Seminary students 
came by horseback on Saturdays. She housed them 
until Monday morning when they returned to San 
Rafael, after preaching on Sundays. She also helped 
to establish the Sunday School in Bolinas. 

Mrs. Randall was among the founders, along with neighbors Nelson Olds and L. 
K. Baldwin, of a "Tent of the Order of Rechabites" in Olema in 1870. 62 

By 1880 it appears that Sarah Randall did not live on the ranch at all and 
that all Seavers were gone. The census that year lists William J. Randall at the 
old Seaver dairy (near today's Hagmaier Ranch), where he, his wife Abbie and a 
farm laborer owned 40 milk cows as well as horses and calves. Randall did not 
make butter, but sold 17,875 gallons of milk to a creamery. His ranch was 
valued at $8200. Raymond Randall rented the main ranch from his mother for 
shares of the produce. Living with him was his wife Hattie, infant daughter 
Lottie, sister Mary the schoolteacher, and two hired hands. The dairy sold 
35,007 gallons of milk to a creamery, from 67 cows. The ranch also housed 
eight horses, 72 calves and other cattle, 60 pigs and 24 chickens. The value of 
all products was listed at $3475, with a total value of the farm at almost 
$13,000. 63 

Perhaps to accommodate Raymond's growing family, Mrs. Randall had a 
larger house built east of the county road, across the road from the dairy 
buildings. The exact date of construction is unclear; the 1880 census does not 
reflect an outstanding improvement in the value of the buildings there. One 
report states that Mrs. Randall began construction in 1880 and completed the 
house in 1881. The two-story Victorian, with elegant trim and ample space, 

from Lottie Randall Taylor (daughter of Raymond Randall), age 88, May 1968, Jack Mason 
Museum Collection. 

62 "Personal History," p. 2; Marin County Journal. June 11, 1870. 
"Population and Agricultural Schedules, 10th U. S. Census, 1880. 


became a showplace in the Olema Valley and still stands today. According to 
the county newspaper, Sarah Randall planned to have a new barn built in 1884. 
A fire in 1890 destroyed most of the pasture and fences on the ranch; the 
newspaper called 10-year-old Lottie Randall "the little heroine" of the disaster. 64 

Mrs. Randall apparently returned to the ranch and lived alone there in 
later years but was eventually persuaded by her children to leave and live with 
them in town. Sarah Seaver Randall died on January 24, 1907, and left the 
ranch to her grown children Elizabeth Tripp, William, Fanny Tullar, Raymond 
and Mary Clifford. Upon his death William left his 1/5 share to his three 
children in 1909, and Fanny left her portion to her two daughters Diadama and 
Mary after her death in 1911. The family had spread far and wide and decided 
after Fannie 's death to sell the home ranch. 65 

At the end of 1911 the Randall heirs sold the ranch to Millerton 
(Tomales Bay) dairyman George Woodley. The ranch was rented to tenants 
during this period, including the Silveira family and Frank Fostine, both of 
whom ran the dairy. For a short time in the early 1930s, tenants ran sheep on 
the ranch. Woodley 's daughter Nellie Deevy had inherited the ranch in 1924, 
and she and her husband Dan had a Grade A barn built behind the house 
around 1934, one of the first in the Olema Valley. The family moved to the 
ranch at that time and operated under contract to Marin Dell Milk Company. 
The Deevys also built a large hay barn with horse and calf sheds along the side, 
behind the Grade A barn. Deevy 's heirs sold the ranch in 1942 to Umbert "AT 
Borello and his partners, Angelo Devencenzi and Donald L. Cooper, who 
continued a Grade A operation; Borello bought out his partners a year later. It 
was some time after this that the Randall-era barns across the road were 
destroyed. 66 

Ernest Kettenhofen, a former ship's captain (and later a Marin County 
supervisor), bought the Randall Ranch from Borello in 1951. Kettenhofen ran 
cattle and sheep on the ranch and built two stock ponds in southern drainages. 

64 Delgado, p. 4; Marin Journal. April 10, 1884, November 20 and December 11, 1890. 
65 Deeds Book 114, p. 338, Book 120, p. 320, Book 133, p. 417, MCRO. 

66 Deeds Book 139, pp. 418 and 420, Book 140 pp. 149 and 150, Official Records Book 50, p. 86, 
Book 343, p. 175, Book 450, p. 410, Book 723, p. 227, MCRO; Population Schedules, 14th U. S. 
Census, 1920; interviews with Dan Deevy and Joseph Silveira. 


Around this time the Truttman brothers, who rented pasture for their dairy 
cows from Kettenhofen, named the place "Midway Ranch. 1 * 7 

The last owner of the ranch, a corporation run by State Senator Alan 
Sieroty and called Gottshalk-Sieroty Co., built a small cabin in the woods south 
of the ranch complex. They rented the ranch house to a tenant and the 
pasture to neighboring dairyman Ralph Giacomini. The remaining land was 
zoned A-2, allowing development of a density of one unit per two acres, 
although in reality the property was not appropriate for such density because of 
steep slopes. A 1973 appraisal considered development of second homes and 
recreational type units as well as timbering as the best use of the land. The 
tenant at the time had a horse ranch called "Sunrise Ranch." The federal 
government purchased the Randall Ranch on May 6, 1974 for $1,118,300. Ralph 
Giacomini continues to graze cattle on the pastures under a special use permit. 
The federal government purchased by condemnation 90 acres of the western 
part of the ranch for Point Reyes National Seashore in 1975, property no longer 
in use for grazing. 68 

The superintendent of Point Reyes National Seashore had the remaining 
barns and outbuildings removed soon after the purchase and intended to 
demolish the unoccupied Randall House. The keeper of the National Register 
of Historic Places declared the house eligible for the National Register in 1979, 
spurring the park to attempt historic leasing on the old house. This effort 
failed through the lack of acceptable proposals, and again the house faced 
demolition. Discovery in the 1980s of a rare big-eared bat colony in the attic 
has given the place at least a temporary reprieve. 69 

"Official Records Book 723, p. 227, MCRO; interviews with Ernest Kettenhofen and Armin 
and Frank Truttman. 

68 Official Records Book 1157, p. 617, Book 1210, pp. 113 and 292, Book 2539, p. 609 and Book 
2790, p. 457, MCRO; "Appraisal Report: Sieroty Ranch." (Sebastopol: Harding Appraisal Co., Inc., 
1973), pp. 1, 9, 11-13; Tract file (L-1425): Tract 04-103 Sieroty Co. Inc. et al, PRNS. 

69 Tract files, PRNS; National Register files, GGNRA; interview with Dr. Gary Fellers, National 
Biological Survey. 


3. Historic Resources 

The circa 1881 Randall house is the only remaining building on the 
property. Declared eligible for the National Register of Historic Places in 1979, 
the house is on the List of Classified Structures. The site of the Daniel Seaver 
dairy has been vacant for most of this century. 

a. Sarah Seaver Randall House (OV-05.01) 

The Randall house is a wood frame Victorian structure with Italianate 
detailing, with stick type brackets at the eaves and trim at the outside corners 
and with handsome pediments over most of the front and side windows. A 
combination hip and gable roof has a middle flat portion which contains the roof 
access hatch. Some fascia trim is missing and there has been an addition of a 
small single story room off the kitchen side. A front porch had been added 
which interrupted the pediments over the downstairs front windows; this 
deteriorated porch has been replaced by the park with a flat shed porch, the 
sole purpose of which is to protect the front of the building. The front porch 
covers about 110 square feet, and the side porch 56 square feet. The house 
rests on a brick foundation. 

The building is sheathed in horizontal siding, all painted white. A major 
portion of the of the south side has been treated with an added finish of banded 
shingles-alternate bands of horizontal shingles and shingles of fish-scale 
pattern-each band being about three and a half or four feet wide. This was 
added over the original horizontal siding at some time in the late 1800s when 
the chimney was removed from that side of the house. The original windows 
were wood two over two double hung sash. A side porch with a concrete floor 
has been put on adjacent to the small addition by the kitchen. The rear 
elevation is essentially unadorned with no special window trim and no brackets. 
Exposed plumbing and vent lines are evident and were no doubt added to 
accommodate a bath which was put in on the second floor. 

The interior shows four large rooms on the lower floor with a generous 
entry/stair hall and with the add-on room and bath off the kitchen. The first 
floor contains 1,084 square feet. There is a fine open stair which leads to the 
second floor, but the bannister has been stolen by vandals. Upstairs are four 
generous bedrooms, a nice upper hall space, and a large bath and storage room 


which must originally have been another bedroom. The upper floor contains 
948 square feet. Access to the attic and ultimately the roof is by a ceiling hatch 
located in a closet off a rear bedroom. 

Originally the house had decorative finials on the roof ridges, as well as 
two porches which were embellished in the Victorian fashion of the day. The 
original front porch was replaced before 1940 with a larger one that covered the 
entire lower front of the house. It was removed by the Park Service. 

Heat was originally supplied by stoves which were vented through one 
flue. The house has no fireplaces. Redwood and pine trees have been planted 
in the yard within the last 30 years and obscure views of the house from the 
west and south. 

The building is structurally sound, showing no evidence of foundation 
settling or severe deterioration. It has been unoccupied for 20 years, and 
vandals have taken some exterior trim and have almost stripped the interior. 
Plaster is falling inside and there is almost no ventilation. 

Because of alterations and vandalism, the Randall House possesses only 
fair historic integrity. With proper funding it could be restored and used to 
interpret the ranching history of the area. 

b. Roads 

Three useable ranch roads cross the Randall Ranch from west to east, 
leading from the state highway up grassy ridges to the top of Bolinas Ridge, 
where a ridge-top track connects them all. One such road leaves the highway 
at a point north of the house, the next from a gate near the north former stock 
pond, and the southernmost from near the south "Hagmaier" pond. The latter 
one is called the Randall Trail and passes the Sieroty cabin. A fourth, the 
northernmost, is now inaccessible from the ranch property because of a 
washout in a major creek crossing; it is now accessed from the Giacomini Ranch 
to the north. At least two older abandoned roads, believed to date from the 
19th century, provide access to the ridge with easier grades. One leads from 
the house and dairy complex to the current ranch road, which it leaves 1/3 of 
the way from the top in an easier grade to the summit near the northeast 
boundary corner, and the other ascends from the gulch that had formed the 
north stock pond. Both are overgrown but the grades are mostly intact. 

The original Olema-Bolinas Road, built in 1867 and in use until 1927, was 


rebuilt in situ along most of the valley, but one lengthy original section was 
bypassed and remains, mostly on the Randall Ranch. The grade follows Olema 
Creek north to near the lime kilns, where it joins the current highway. This 
section is mostly overgrown and has been damaged by a slide near the old 
Bolema Club Road crossing. 

c. Fences, gates, corrals 

With only a few exceptions, the original boundaries of the ranch have not 
changed since 1857 on the west side. Some older fencing is found but the 
interior patterns have been changed over the years; overall the integrity of the 
fencing system is poor. 

d. Trees 

Two old eucalyptus trees, located on the highway opposite the northwest 
corner of the house, mark the Randall Ranch site. The Seaver dairy site south 
of Hagmaier Ranch is marked by a grove of eucalyptus and cypress trees, which 
also line the highway at this point and surround the ranch site. These trees 
appear to be well over 100 years old; buildings have been gone from the site for 
more than 50 years. 

A large eucalyptus and a large Douglas fir mark the site of the old 
graveyard north of the ranch site. The graves and markers were moved by 
1907 to other cemeteries, but the trees are significant as part of the landscape 
marking the site. 

Overall, tree growth on the ranch is expanding rapidly from its circa 1900 
condition, reportedly due to overgrazing by sheep in the 1930s and lack of 
adequate grazing which keeps the remaining native grassland clear. Young fir 
trees and brush are filling in the pasture on the slopes of the ranch, creating 
what will eventually become a forest rather than a historic ranching landscape. 
Early photographs show practically no trees on the slopes except in the gulches. 
Evidence from aerial photographs show that much of the encroaching growth 
has occurred in the last 40 years. As a natural process, however, it is debatable 
whether any action should be taken to protect the historic grasslands. 

At the time of park purchase, a gable-roofed garage (OV-05.02) stood in 


the yard near the house, and the Deevy's Grade A barn and open barn stood 
behind the house towards the gulch. Both structures were removed after 1975. 

4. Historic Significance of the Randall Ranch 

The Randall House is the lone survivor of the legacy of William and 
Sarah Randall. The couple are among the earliest American settlers in the 
Olema Valley; the story of Mrs. Randall's operation of the ranch and raising a 
large family after becoming widowed contributes significance in the area of 
women and the development of the west. The ranch may be regionally 
significant for its contribution to the 19th century dairy industry in the Olema 
Valley, an industry that provided food products to a growing San Francisco 
during the later years of the Gold Rush. Unfortunately, the surrounding ranch 
buildings are gone and the house has been altered and vandalized, a fact which 
severely impacts the integrity of the ranch site. 

Historic Features 

1. Randall House, circa 1880 

2. Ranch roads, dates unknown 

3. Trees at Seaver ranch site, cemetery site, circa 1860s 

4. Original county road along creek, 1867 


William Edgar Randall, in a daguerrotype taken before he left for California, 1849. 
Bancroft Library. 


William Edgar and Sarah Seaver Randall, in a daguerrotype taken before the young couple 
left for California in 1849. Bancroft Library. 




and her 




after the 

murder of 

William E. 






The second Randall dairy ranch located a mile south of the home ranch. Here, Randall kin operated a dairy 
until before the turn of the century. The location is marked by trees on the highway today. Bancroft Library. 


The first known photograph of the Sarah Seaver Randall house, circa 1885. Note the chimney on the south 
side, the roof decorations and the front porch. Bancroft Library. 


The Randall house, windmill and outbuilding, circa 1885. Bancroft Library. 

The Randall house, circa 1890-1900. Note that the chimney has been removed and fish scale shingles have 
covered the south wall. Bancroft Library. 


Sarah Seaver Randall later in life, circa 1900. Bancroft Library. 


A remarkable 1906 view looking north in the upper Olema Valley shows the almost treeless hills (now largely 
forested) and the second Randall dairy in the center. The Olema-Bolinas Road can be seen on the right. Today 
the hills are largely covered with brush and trees. U.S.G.S. Library, Menlo Park. 

The Randall House as it appeared in 1994. Note the new porch and trees in the yard. A/PS photo by Dewey 


Historic Base Map 




Highway 1 

old road 

original dairy 
buildings (site 

Olema Creek 

= building removed 


Bolinas Pr 


Detail of the 1898 United States Geological Survey's first published map of the Tamalpais quadrangle. 



Section III, Chapter F 


Muscio Ranch 





Golden Gate National Recreation Area 

.1 .2 .3 .4 .5 

Traced from USGS Quads Contour Interval 200' 
historic boundaries approximate 



Wildcat Ranch 

Randall Ranch 


Former Muscio Ranch 
(Golden Gate National Recreation Area) 

1. Description 

The Ralph Giacomini Ranch, historically called the Muscio Ranch and 
Blake Ranch, is squeezed into a narrow valley at a major bend in Olema Creek 
on the south end of Five Brooks. The ranch lands are composed of 614 acres of 
rolling grassland with a great deal of forest in and near the many gulches that 
drain the ranch. The land is a transition zone from the mostly grassy 
northwest-facing hills of the north part of the valley to the recently-wooded 
hills south of the ranch. Mixed hardwoods, evergreens and redwood grow on 
the ranch. The ranch is bounded on the north by the Lupton Ranch, on the 
east by the Lupton and Randall Ranches, on the south by the Randall Ranch 
and on the west by Olema Creek and Five Brooks. The ranch complex is 
located at the northwestern corner of the ranch adjacent to Highway 1. 

2. History of Giacomini Ranch 

Rafael Garcia sold 4,366 acres of the Olema Valley and Lagunitas Canyon, 
roughly half of his holdings, to Daniel and Nelson Horatio Olds on September 
25, 1856. The Ohio-born Olds brothers came west with the Gold Rush, arriving 
in San Francisco in July of 1850. One of their shipmates, John Nelson, would 
purchase a large tract just south of theirs seven years later. According to 
family tradition, the Olds brothers financed their purchase in Olema Valley 
after striking a rich vein of gold while prospecting in the Sierra Nevada and 
selling out to an eastern company. After spending a few years operating a 
merchandise store in San Leandro, Alameda County, the family came to Marin 
County. The Olds brothers paid $8,000 to Garcia, or less than two dollars per 

acre. 70 

Many members of the Olds family soon arrived in the Olema Valley: 

70 Deeds. Book C, pp. 66 and 68, MCRO; interview with Boyd Stewart; Nelson Olds, Jr. to Boyd 
Stewart, January 28, 1936, Stewart Collection; undated obituary of Nelson Olds, Jr., PENS; 
Toogood, Civil History, p. 180. 


THE OLEMA LIME KILNS by Gordon Chappell, Regional Historian 

On July 13, 1850, Rafael Garcia leased to James A. Shorb and William F. Mercer 
"all that tract or parcel of land known as the ranch of the first party of the first part and 
called or named Tunta el Estero de Male,' for all limeing & timber & wooded purposes." 
The lessees, respectively a county judge and a clerk in the judge's court, were to have the 
"privilege of building lime kilns, quaring [quarrying] & using lime stone, wood for burning 
the kils and the entire timber privilege of the Rancho." In exchange, Shorb and Mercer 
were to give a third of all the lime burned to Garcia. Furthermore, they were to pay four 
dollars each for trees cut for timber or fuel, and they were prohibited from cutting any 
trees over three feet in diameter at the base-that is, the trees most useful for lumber. 
Garcia, in turn, was to furnish oxen, carts and Indian labor, to haul all the lime to the 
embarcadero at Bolinas Lagoon, and to provide assistance in loading lime onto the ships 

Undoubtedly the developers of this short-lived lime producing industry hoped to 
find a large and ready market in a San Francisco made a boom-town by the Gold Rush 
which had commenced only a year before and which was destined to continue for several 
years. Employing no doubt Indian labor, Shorb and Mercer built three lime kilns aling 
Olema Creek. The first of these barrel-shaped kilns was built of locally quarried stone laid 
up in clay mortar. Very likely, lime burned in this kiln was used in constructing the other 
two immediately adjacent to the north, and a platform on the north end for storage of lime. 
The fine grained dark-gray limestone was quarried from a Franciscan formation on the 
hillside above the kilns, using a stripping technique which took advantage of natural 
fractures, rather than explosives. 
Archeological investigation suggests 
that no single kiln was fired more than 
four times, and that there were no more 
than a total of twelve firings for all of the 
kilns. The quantity of limestone 
excavated from the quarry site supports 
this conclusion of very limited use. A 
contract dated March 15, 1852 indicates 
that the kilns were in use, being tended 
by a "Spaniard" (meaning, no doubt, a 
Californian of Mexican background). A 
deed dated September 25, 1856, suggests 
that kilns were idle by that date if not 
abandoned. Maps dated 1852 show a 
house located about fifty yards 
downstream and on the opposite (west) 
side of the creek; it may have been 
associated with the operation of the 
kilns, but today only traces of the 
structure remain, as it reportedly 
burned at an undetermined date long 

Presumably there were better 
and cheaper sources of lime for use in 
San Francisco with which the Olema 
industry could not compete, resulting in 
its failure between 1853 and 1856, no 
doubt with financial loss to its builders. 

Written as part of the nomination to the 
National Register of Historic Places; the 
Olema Lime Kilns were listed on the 
National Register on October 8, 1976. 

The Olema Lime Kilns have been a curiosity in Marin 
County for more than a century. Photo taken circa 1935. 
Point Reyes National Seashore Collection. 


Daniel and Nelson's wives and children, sisters Martha Olds Powell and 
Emeline Olds Winans, and parents Daniel, Sr. and Lois settled there for at least 
a short time. 71 

By 1858 the Olds family had settled into dwellings in three locations in 
the Olema Valley. Nelson Olds and his young family occupied a house they may 
have built at the present location of the Giacomini Ranch. The census of 1860 
listed Nelson Olds at this location with his wife Lavina and three young 
children, Kate, Nelson and Irene (Jennie). Three hired hands included Olds' 
longtime friend John Nelson, former partner of William Randall to the south 
and future hotelkeeper and stage driver in the town of Olema. Olds controlled 
over 1900 acres, 50 of which were improved and growing winter wheat, peas, 
beans, oats, hay, barley and Irish potatoes. The census taker counted almost 
100 head of livestock, including 21 horses, 61 milk cows and cattle, 2 oxen and 
13 pigs, all valued at $2,460. The entire ranch was valued at $6,250 with an 
additional $300 worth of farm implements and machinery. Olds' personal 
property was valued at $2,497. 72 

The correspondent from The California Fanner visited Nelson Olds' 
ranch early in 1862 and found it under the charge of John Nelson, who had 
recently left his partnership with William Randall on the ranch to the south. 
The Farmer reported a great increase in livestock since the census a year and a 
half earlier: Olds had 650 head of stock, including 100 milk cows and 50 horses, 
although no butter was being made at the time. The next year Daniel Olds, Jr. 
took over the land as his half in the brothers' land division. Nelson and his 
family moved a short distance north not long after. 73 

In late 1864 Daniel Olds, Jr. sold 614.86 acres to his sister, Matilda C. 
Wood, who subsequently married Albert Moore of San Rafael. From the mid- 
18608 to 1871 Mrs. Moore leased the ranch to two dairymen from New York, 
Norman Meriness and Garrett Lansing. In 1870 the two men made 2,000 
pounds of butter from 65 cows, as well as raising oats, wheat and hay. 
Meriness and Lansing left the ranch when it was sold by Mr. and Mrs. Moore to 

71 01ds family notes, Stewart Collection; Population Schedules, 8th and 9th U. S. Censuses, 
1860 and 1870. 

72 Plat of Rancho Tomales y Baulines, 1858, PENS; Population and Agriculture Schedules of the 
8th U. S. Census, 1860. 

73 The California Farmer. April 4, 1862, p. 1; Population Schedules of the 8th U. S. Census, 


Giuseppe Muscio and Angelo Pedrotti on August 1, 1871. It appears that during 
the Muscio era that most of the extant buildings on the ranch were built. 74 

Giuseppe Muscio was born in Someo, Canton Ticino, Switzerland on 
October 22, 1846. Muscio emigrated to the United States at the age of 
eighteen. For five years he worked on the famous Pescadero dairy owned by 
ex-Point Reyes dairyman Isaac Steele, where he learned the fine art of 
buttermaking, and also worked in Henry Cowell's lime kilns for a number of 
years. After buying the ranch in the Olema Valley Muscio married Marianna 
Albertoli. The couple had eight children, Dante, Eda, Oliver, Lelia, Romano, 
Henry, Lena and Camillo. Mrs. Muscio died in childbirth in 1888, at age 35, 
while giving birth to her ninth child, who did not survive. Muscio remarried in 
1895, to Josephine Giannini. 75 

Little is known about Muscio 's partner Angelo Pedrotti, also a Swiss 
immigrant. Pedrotti apparently sold his share in the ranch to Muscio after only 
a few years of partnership. Pedrotti had been leasing the Wilkins Ranch and 
later leased the Lake Ranch from the O. L. Shafter Estate; he bought a Garcia 
ranch at the town of Olema before 1892. Pedrotti died at his Olema ranch in 
1895 at the age of 48. 76 

Muscio owned 66 milk cows in 1880, as well as 30 cattle and pigs and 
chickens. With the help of hired man John Blasdell, he harvested 60 tons of 
hay the previous year on 23 acres of his property. His children grew up to work 
on the ranch, and some of them eventually operated dairies of their own. 77 

Muscio and his family moved to Evergreen, near San Jose, for eight 
years, from October, 1881 to October, 1889. During Muscio's absence his Olema 
Valley dairy ranch was leased to Peter Tognazzi, noted by the local paper as 
having been "long and favorably known as a successful dairyman." After the 
death of his wife at Evergreen, Muscio returned to the Olema Valley. Tognazzi 

74 Deeds Book E, p. 266, Book G, p. 30, and Book J, p. 240, MCRO; Plat of Road from Bolinas 
to San Rafael, 1867, CHS; Population and Agriculture Schedules, 9th U. S. Census, 1870. 

7S Guinn, Coast Counties, p. 480; Financing an Empire, p. 513; Population Schedules of the 10th 
and 12th U. S. Censuses, 1880 and 1900; Marin Journal. November 29, 1888; Muscio family notes 
courtesy of Fern Muscio Gilliam. Giuseppe Muscio eventually Americanized to Joseph. 

76 Population Schedules, 10th U. S. Census, 1880; interview with Juanita Sweeney, 
granddaughter of Angelo Pedrotti. 

"Guinn, Coast Counties, p. 480; Population and Agricultural Schedules of the 10th U. S. 
Census, 1880; interview with Fern Muscio Gilliam. 


then leased the Pacheco Ranch in Novato for a year, but returned to the Olema 
area where he died in 1893. A contemporary biography praised the Muscio 

In recording the merits of the many dairy farms 
which abound in Marin County, that owned by Joseph 
Muscio must not be omitted. Situated between 
Olema and Bolinas, in Bolinas Township, it is rich in 
pasture and grazing land, and in every way well suited 
to the purpose to which it has been devoted 
.... At this time [1894] he has a herd of milch cows 
numbering sixty, and has his place well fitted up with 
almost every known convenience for the better 
handling of his business, the power for his separator, 
etc., being principally furnished by steam. 78 

Joseph Muscio continued to operate the dairy under his high standards, a 
biography noting that "it has been his life's principle to ami at quality rather 
than quantity, and there is no better article produced in Bolinas township than 
that turned out of this dairy." A Marin County newspaper recorded Muscio's 
dairy as making an average of 2,220 pounds of butter per year from 57 cows at 
the turn of the century. 79 

Muscio retired from the dairy business in 1914 and moved to Oakland. 
He spent his last years in Point Reyes Station with his son, Dante, and died at 
age 75 on October 19, 1921. Muscio's sons were well-known around the Point 
Reyes area, working on the Shatter Ranch and leasing a number of ranches on 
the Point Reyes Peninsula. Many in the family eventually settled in the 
Central Valley. 80 

The ranch had been leased to Irishman Walter Wilson and his family by 
1919. Muscio's heirs sold the family ranch on September 8, 1922, to Charles 
and Margaret Blake; Wilson continued the dairy operation under a lease with 
the Blakes until 1936. Alexander McCall and his wife Agnes moved to the 

78 Marin County Journal. October 20, 1881; Marin Journal. October 10, 1889 and November 12, 

79 Guinn, Coast Counties, p. 480; Marin Journal. June 20, 1901. 

80 Guinn, Coast Counties, p. 480; Cross, Coast Counties, p. 513; Marin Journal. August 14 and 
September 1, 1919; Point Reves Light. December 14, 1967; interviews with Owen and Oliver 
Muscio and Fern Muscio Gilliam. 


ranch from the O. L. Shatter Estate's M Ranch on Point Reyes in 1936 and 
marketed Grade B cream from their 63 cows until the ranch was sold to Samuel 
and Alberta Smoot of Petaluma in 1940. 81 

The Smoots attempted to operate the ranch but in 1941 decided to leave 
and leased it to Horace Edrington, who upgraded the dairy to a Grade A 
operation. Ralph and Margaret Giacomini of Petaluma bought Edrington 's 
dairy business in 1958, and operated the dairy under lease from the Smoots 
until 1972. Since that time the Giacomini family has run beef cattle on the old 
Muscio Ranch and the adjacent Randall Ranch. 

In 1971 the Smoots sold 84 acres on the western edge of the ranch to the 
National Park Service for inclusion in Point Reyes National Seashore. Three 
years later a banker, John Connelly of Mill Enterprises, Inc., bought the 
remainder of the ranch and almost immediately sold it to the National Park 
Service as part of the newly established Golden Gate National Recreation Area. 
The Giacominis continued to occupy the ranch after it was sold to the National 
Park Service and operate it today under a special use permit. 82 

3. Buildings and Historic Resources 

Eight historic buildings remain on the Giacomini Ranch. Three rare 
historic chicken coops and a shed (OV-06.04, 06.05, 06.09, 06.10) were 
demolished around 1990. 

a. Main Residence (OV-06.01) 

The old Muscio Ranch house began as a small, simple farmhouse until 
some years later a more substantial portion was added to it. The original (east) 
part of the house, appears to have been the Nelson Olds house occupied by that 
family circa 1858-1864. It is a simple, gable-roofed wood frame house with a 

"'Official Records Book 15, p. 15, Book 322, p. 139 and Book 450, p. 315, MCRO; interviews 
with Andrew and Annie Porter and Agnes McCall. The lease to the McCalls provides an inventory 
of stock and equipment on the ranch: 63 cows, 65 other cattle, two horses, 150 tons of hay, a cat 
tractor, Model A truck, 94 chickens, two DeLaval magnetic milking machines, and a #15 Primrose 

82 Interview with Ralph and Margaret Giacomini; Official Records Book 2468, p. 610, MCRO. 


boxed cornice and frieze, similar to the Pinkerton house nearby (which was 
reportedly the original James Winans home on the lot next door). It has mostly 
horizontal drop siding with a shiplap wall and open porch on the north. 

The later addition, dating from circa 1880-1900, is now the front (west) 
side of the house, facing the highway. It has a hip roof with gablets at the hip; 
the exterior is horizontal drop siding with alternating bands of square and 
"fishscale" shingles above. The roof of the front portion is a gablet. Overall the 
house measures 30' x 65', with a front porch with chamfered posts, and an 
antique picket fence surrounding the yard. 

The house is basically unaltered except for the addition of utilities, a 
remodeled den, and an added skylight in the kitchen. Most of the windows are 
one-over-one double hung wood sash. The house appears to be in fair condition, 
with surface maintenance good but the need for foundation work evident. 
Minor alterations have not greatly affected the historic integrity of this 

b. Barn (OV-06.07) 

The barn is a Grade B milking barn no longer used for milking. It is a 
45' x 105' wood frame building with random-width vertical wood siding with 
glassless window openings. Some of the original milking stalls with wooden 
stanchions have been enlarged for feeding beef cattle. The floor is earth in the 
center and concrete in the milking galleries. The roof is wood shingles covered 
with corrugated metal roofing. Minor alterations have not impaired the historic 
integrity of this building. 

c. Grade A Dairy Barn (OV-06.03) 

This Grade A milking barn was built in two sections, the first and 
smaller section about 1940 and the larger section about 1945. The 28' x 68' 
barn is constructed from concrete, wood and corrugated metal. It has a gable 
roof with a long ridge vent, and there is a breezeway separating the milk room 
from the larger milking parlor. A number of the original six-light windows are 
covered with corrugated metal. An open shed was added to the north side. The 
barn is no longer used for milking. Minor alterations have not affected the 
historic integrity of this building. 


d. Horse Barn (OV-06.06) 

This barn is probably more than a century old. It is a common 28' x 36' 
wood frame barn with gable roof and shed side gallery, random-width vertical 
wood siding, and a corrugated metal roof which covers the older wood shingles. 
Inside it has four stalls for horses and a small hayloft. The barn, with mudsill 
foundation, is situated on the bank of a small creek which is subject to erosion; 
at this writing the northeast corner post is dangling over the creekbed although 
the roofline shows no sign of serious failure. Because of this situation, the barn 
is considered to be in poor condition and will require foundation work and 
streambank restoration. This building has excellent historic integrity. 

e. Carriage Shed (OV-06.02) 

This century-old structure is unique to the Olema Valley ranches. 
Basically a 20' x 32' shed-roofed structure on mud sills with three open stalls, 
the upper portion has a two-room living quarters once used by a hired hand. It 
has random-width vertical board siding and a wooden stairway on the west side 
leading to the upper rooms. The older shingle roof is covered with corrugated 
metal roofing. The east wall is failing. The building is in fair condition. Minor 
alterations have not affected the historic integrity of this building. 

f. Dairy House (OV-06.08) 

The original dairy house, where butter was made and, later, cream was 
separated, may have been built as early as 1870. It is wood frame double-wall 
construction, with a gable roof covered by corrugated metal. An opening on the 
south side is plastered over. It has shiplap and horizontal drop siding on the 
exterior (parts of the north side are covered with plywood, some shiplap is 
missing) and lath-and-plaster on the interior. The building has a concrete floor, 
probably added after the turn of the century. It has a corrugated metal roof. It 
is in fair condition with a number of repairs needed. Minor alterations have not 
impaired the historic integrity of this building. 


g. Wood Shed (OV-06.11) 

A small vertical woodshed which appears to be at least 100 years old 
stands east of the house. It is 13' x 21' with a gable roof, random-width vertical 
wood siding, an arched door on the west and a small access door on the east. It 
appears to be unaltered except for a corrugated metal roof. It is in fair condition 
although a large vine on the west wall is impacting the structural integrity. 
Minor alterations have not impaired the historic integrity of this building. 

h. Fences (OV-06.13) 

The fences appear to follow traditional pasture layout although some 
cross-fencing has been removed. Fence fabric has been replaced over the years, 
with the original split redwood picket fences being replaced with barbed wire 
and horizontal board fencing. The old picket fence around the residence is an 
important part of the landscape and adds to the overall integrity of the ranch. 
Some metal circulation fences installed in the 1940s remain at the Grade A 
barn. The boundaries of the ranch have not changed since 1864. 

i. Olema Lime Kilns 

The 1850 kilns, located on the west side of the highway south of the 
ranch complex, were stabilized in 1976 and are listed on the National Register 
of Historic Places. 

4. Historic Significance of the Giacomini Ranch 

The Giacomini Ranch has local historic significance as one of the pioneer 
Olema Valley dairies. The house, actually two joined together, is 
architecturally significant as a unique vernacular farm house, with its unique 
roof line and scalloped shingles. The fact that the two houses were joined 
illustrates the needs of the family as it expanded over the years. The ranch 
buildings are fine examples of the structures needed to operate a small dairy, 
and continue to be used by the lessee. 


Historic Features 

1. Residence, ca. 1858, 1880s 

2. Barn, ca. 1880s 

3. Grade A Dairy Barn, 1940 

4. Horse Barn, ca. 1870 

5. Carriage Shed/Bunkhouse, ca. 1870 

6. Dairy House, ca. 1870 

7. Woodshed, ca. 1880s 

8. Gates, Fences, Corrals 

Giuseppe and Marianna (Albertoli) Muscio. 
Courtesy of Fern Gilliam. 





water tank 


Giuseppe Muscio and his second wife, Josephine, circa 1 900. Courtesy of Fern (Muscio) Gilliam. 


The Muscio Ranch as it appeared early in the century. From Pictorial History of Marin County Schools. 

A load of equipment for the Marconi Wireless station at Bolinas is hauled from the train depot at Point Reyes 
Station up Muscio Hill in 1914. Courtesy of Helen Harris. 


Detail of the 1865 plat of Rancho Tomales y Baulines showing the central Olema Valley. "Kearney's [sic: 

Karner's] house is the future Truttman Ranch, Andrew Powell is at the Stewart Ranch, Daniel Olds is at 

the location of Pinkerton's house at Five Brooks, and Nelson Olds is located at the Giacomini Ranch. 

Note the lime kiln marked in the bottom right. Marin County Recorders Office. 



Section III, Chapter G 






Golden Gate National Recreation Area 

.1 .3 .4 

Traced from USGS Quads Contour Interval 200' 
historic boundaries approximate 

1 . Benevenga home (old school house) 

2. Pinkerton home 

3. Holcomb home (modern) 



Stewart Ranch 

Lupton Ranch 

old Wildcat road 1 
(Stewart Trail) ' 

Five Brooks Stables 

sawmill site) . C " "*-^ 

Wildcat Ranch 
(Shatter) f 




G. FIVE BROOKS (Pinkerton and Benevenga residences) 
(Golden Gate National Recreation Area) 

1. Description 

Two houses sit between the State Highway and Olema Creek at Five 
Brooks, the Pinkerton and Benevenga residences. Both were associated with 
the historic Parsons (Lupton) Ranch, one as the original Parsons (and possibly 
Olds) residence combined with the old Winans house; the other was the 
schoolhouse at Five Brooks. The properties were divided from the ranch in the 
1930s and 1964, and were under separate private ownership at the time of 
federal purchase. 

The Pinkerton residence consists of two historic houses joined together: 
the original, gabled Parsons house, built in 1865 or earlier, and what was 
probably the original home of James Winans, moved here some time after 1870. 
The house has improvements dating from the late 1960s; four old sheds stand 
to the rear of the house. The house has been well kept by its owner-occupant, 
William Pinkerton, retaining its historic flavor and integrity. The house is 
painted red and is in good condition. 

The Benevenga house, once the Olema and Five Brooks School, was 
moved from its original location across the highway about 1937 and remodeled 
into a residence. The original structure is partly intact, but significant 
alterations have impacted the building's historic integrity. The home is painted 
a soft yellow and is in good condition. 

An old orchard, no doubt the Parsons family orchard, exists between and 
around the two houses. Some trees appear to be well over 100 years old. 

2. History 

Daniel Olds, Jr. occupied what may be the north section of the Pinkerton 
residence in 1858. Olds sold the property in 1865 to Charles Parsons, who 
either moved into Olds' house or built a new one soon after the purchase. 
Parsons' daughter Ella was born in the house in 1867, and she resided there 
until her death in 1938. At the time the house was called "Minerva Lodge," 
after Ella's mother, Minerva Wittenberg Parsons. Some time after a neighbor 


m if nnf\f\lSC CMCSCI- . . : ~= VS PVEBROOKS eimtxviaoH n ' 

FIVE BROOKS ^=^t=SS5=r' =;~=^=S^^=r~ \^ OLEMA VALLEY - 

I I V I- UI\VXV/IX* -T3JS;~v^.- ~ ~~Z~-SS=:-s \\\ MAMN COUNTY 

SUBDIVISION - ~" ., A x B_ 

Five Brooks, today the 
name of a trailhead in the 
National Seashore, has a long 
and varied history. It actually 
encompasses the area not only 
around the trailhead but the lower 
places along Olema Creek from 
the highway bridges to Stewart 
Horse Camp. 

The origins of the pleasant 
name Five Brooks is unknown. It 
is true that up to five seasonal 
creeks join Olema Creek in less 
than a mile of its length in this 
section. People settled here as 
early as they did Olema, and the 
first school in the district was 
established here in 1862. Pioneers 
Nelson and Daniel Olds, James 
Winan, John Garrison and others 
built houses along the creek. 
Picnickers gathered at "Laurel 

Grove", apparently the site of today's Stewart Horse Camp. James McMillan Shafter, 
who owned the land west of Olema Creek, stationed his portable sawmill at Laurel 
Grove between 1883 and 1890 ("cutting fine lumber," commented the local press), and 
his manager, Charles Noyes, had a home here. 

The 20th century came to the area with a bang when, in 1912, landowner 
Charles N. Post filed a plat for a residential subdivision of 110 lots called Fivebrooks. 
Post dedicated the roads, such as Olema Avenue, Central Avenue and Howard Way, to 
the public. While dozens of lots sold, with many buyers taking more than one of the tiny 
lots to provide a reasonable lot size, only a handful of houses were built. The 
subdivision was abandoned in 1933 and by the 1940s much of the property came up for 
auction; Boyd Stewart bought up about 60 lots adjacent to his ranch at a tax sale. 

Stewart recalled some of the people who did live there, such as Johnny (the 
Frenchman) Morere, a retired San Francisco chef who lived for a quarter century in his 
cabin until his death in 1958; a San Francisco fire chief who had a two-story house (and 
a barn) which burned in the 1950s; and a member of the well-known Paladini family 
who made a fortune in the local fishing industry. 

The Sweet Lumber Company of Coos Bay Oregon leased land at Five Brooks in 
1956 and constructed a sawmill, complete with a three acre mill pond and "pepper 
shaker" slash burner. The loggers were hard at it when the National Seashore was 
proposed and called off operations in good faith after finding themselves perceived as 
one of the biggest threats in the public eye to the conservation of the area. The last 
trees went through the mill around 1963. 

The Stewarts sold 301 acres comprising Five Brooks to the National Park 
Service in 1971, keeping a reservation on three acres for use as a horse camp. Harold 
Hart had been operating a horse rental business for Stewart and continued until 1980. 
Today, Five Brooks Stables operates as a park concession owned by Fred Vaughn. 

Sources: Marin Journal. October 18, 1883, July 4, 1889, May 15 and July 31, 1890; plat 
map in Subdivisions Book 4, p. 32, MCRO; Joan Reutinger, "Five Brooks-West Marin's 
Forgotten Village..." Coastal Post. November 15, 1982; interview with Boyd Stewart; 
tract files, PRNS. 


to the south, James Winans, moved away from the area around 1870, Parsons 
moved Winans' house to his property and joined it to the south wall of the 
original house. Parsons and his family resided here for many years. Mrs. 
Denman's grandson Earl Lupton sold the house and lot to William Pinkerton in 
1964, who renovated the house, enclosing an open porch on the front and 
somewhat modernizing the interior and adding a larger window on the front. 83 

The Benevenga house originated as the Olema School, serving families in 
the Olema Valley and Bolinas Ridge area since about 1860. To avoid confusion 
with the Garcia School in the town of Olema, the name was changed to the 
Five Brooks School in 1915; Garcia School then took the name Olema School. 
The first Olema School was built about 1860 on the road south of the highway 
bridges opposite today's Giacomini Ranch. Some time between 1873 and 1895 a 
second schoolhouse was built on the Parsons Ranch across the county road from 
the Parsons residence. The new school served the mid-valley families until 
closing in 1927, and then stood empty for almost a decade. John and Ella 
Denman moved the property including the schoolhouse to a lot across the state 
highway and did some minor remodeling, then rented it as a vacation cottage 
for a short time. The Denmans sold the schoolhouse to Ralph and Emma 
Benevenga in 1938; the Benevengas remodeled it into a home and moved there 
permanently in 1941. Emma Benevenga, a prominent West Marin citizen and 
sister of neighbor William Pinkerton, no longer occupies the house at this 
writing; it is rented to a tenant. 84 

3. Buildings and Historic Resources 

Four historic buildings and a historic orchard make up the 
Pinkerton/Benevenga complex. 

The Pinkerton house is composed of two houses joined together, one 
north and one south, as well as a shed garage attached to the west. The 

83 Plat of Rancho Tomales y Baulines, 1858, PRNS; files of Marin County Recorders Office; 
interviews with Earl L. Lupton, William Pinkerton and Emma Benevenga. 

"School Registers, Marin County Office of Education; Gerald J. Foley and Perry McDonald, 
Pictorial History of Marin County Schools (no publisher noted, 1976), pp. 17, 35; "Plat . . . Bolinas 
to Olema," 1867, California Historical Society; "Official Map of Marin County," 1873, PRNS; Point 
Reyes Quadrangle map, U. S. G. S., 1916; interview with Emma Benevenga. 


original house on the location is the north half, a one story wood frame 
dwelling with board and batten siding and a hip roof. Porches both front and 
back have been enclosed, and some interior remodeling has occurred, but the 
home retains its historic character. The south section is reportedly the older, 
moved to the site and joined to the Parsons house some time between 1870 and 
1900. It is a one-and-a-half story wood frame, gable-roofed building with boxed 
cornice and frieze. It has horizontal wood siding, which is apparently original. 
Alterations have somewhat impaired the historic integrity of this building. 

Two long, wood frame sheds, with shed roofs, are in back of the 
residence; the longer one with a shed roof, 21' x 77', is connected to the 
southwest side of the house. It may have been a carriage house, with ports 
enclosed at some other date. The other, 15' x 32' with a gable roof, was 
reportedly constructed by John Denman from materials obtained by dismantling 
a small barn on the property. Both are in fair condition and are used for shop 
space and storage. A 12' x 16' tractor shed, 7' x 10' pumphouse and a 4' x 5' 
outhouse also remain near the creek. Their historic integrity is good. 

The old Five Brooks schoolhouse, moved a short distance to this location, 
has been altered significantly in the 1940s, and a shed dining room addition was 
added in 1971. It is in good condition but major alterations render its historic 
integrity poor. 

4. Significance of the Pinkerton/Benevenga Residences 

The Pinkerton residence, actually two historic houses joined together 
more than 75 years ago, has local historic significance as two early, possibly 
pioneer dwellings in the Olema Valley. The house may have been built by 
Daniel Olds, Jr. circa 1856-58, or was built by Charles Parsons in 1865; the 
additional house was evidently built by James Winans around 1860. The house 
was occupied by the Parsons family and others, serving as the ranch owner's 
home separated by a mile from the dairy, often operated by tenants. Its 
connection to the historic Lupton Ranch is important. The house is in good 
condition although it has been altered on at least two occasions. 

The Benevenga residence is a rare local example of a surviving rural one- 
room schoolhouse, but its historic integrity is greatly compromised by the fact 
that it was moved from its original location and has been extensively alterated. 


Historic Features 


Pinkerton Residence and attached shed, ca. 1858-1865 

Pinkerton Shed (detached), ca. 1900 

Pinkerton tractor shed, ca. 1900 

Pumphouse, ca. 1900 

Outhouse, ca. 1900 



1 / 

tractor shed/v \^J 





The Olema School on the Parsons Ranch as it appeared about 1890. The ramshackle appearance was soon 
remedied with drop siding and a paint job; it would later be called Five Brooks School. Point Reyes National 
Seashore Collection. 

The old school house after being moved across the highway, late 1 930s; at the time it had been used for 
rentals and would soon be remodeled into a permanent home. Courtesy of Emma Benevenga. 


The Sweet Lumber Co. logging operation at Five Brooks, 1959. Point Reyes National Seashore Collection. 

The Pinkerton house at Five Brooks in 1 994. WPS photo by Dewey Livingston. 


Detail of the 1860 map, the first complete map of Marin County ranchos, by Aaron Van Dorn 
showing the Olema Valley and the head of Tomales Bay. Courtesy of Fred Sandrock. 



Section III, Chapter H 


Parsons Ranch 





Section III, Chapter H 


Parsons Ranch 





Former Parsons Ranch 

(Golden Gate National Recreation Area) 

1. Description 

The Lupton Ranch, historically known as the Parsons Ranch, has been in 
the same family for its entire existence. The old ranch complex is not visible to 
the public from Highway One; hikers glimpse it from the Bolinas Ridge Trail or 
through the trees on the Stewart Trail, but otherwise the ranch is practically 
unknown to the public. The owner has built a new house by the highway, and 
sold two historic buildings across the highway to other parties. The 836-acre 
ranch is, like its northern neighbors, mostly rolling grassland with wooded 
gulches. The historic ranch complex, consisting now of a house, barn and water 
tower, was located on the grassy ridge about half a mile east of Five Brooks. It 
is reached by a narrow dirt ranch road. 

2. History of the Lupton Ranch 

Not long after the pioneering Olds family divided their property in 1863, 
Daniel Olds, Jr. sold two parcels that would become the Lupton Ranch. A tiny 
part of James McMillan Shafter's Rancho Punta de los Reyes was added to the 
ranch as well. The three transactions that led to the current (since 1888) 
boundaries of the Lupton Ranch occurred as detailed below: 

First and foremost, on October 28, 1865, Daniel Olds, Jr. sold 800 acres to 
Charles S. Parsons, a thirty-year-old native of Massachusetts who had been 
working for his brother-in-law, Levi K. Baldwin, on the successful Baldwin and 
Karner dairy (now Truttman Ranch) only a few miles north of his new 
property. It is possible that Baldwin, known for his generosity in helping young 
men get a start in business, loaned his wife's younger brother the money to 
make the purchase; Parsons had been managing a Shafter Ranch leased to 
Baldwin before the purchase. 85 

85 Deeds Book E, p. 415 and 440, MCRO; Population Schedules of the 8th and 9th U. S. 
Censuses, 1860 and 1870; E. S. Harrison, History of Santa Cruz County. California (San Francisco: 
Pacific Press Publishing Co., 1892), p. 333. 


Parsons had married Minerva T. Wittenberg, daughter of Peter 
Wittenberg for whom the tallest mountain on the Point Reyes Peninsula is 
named. Minerva, nineteen years old at the time of the purchase, was born in 
Georgia and raised in Texas and on her father's mountain-top ranch above 
Olema. By 1870 the Charles and Minerva had produced two children, Charles, 
born in 1865 (died at age 18 in 1883), and Ella, born in 1867. According to the 
1870 census, Parsons employed his brother, John, and his wife's brother, also 
named John, and a carpenter. John Parsons lived on the ranch with his wife 
and two children. The family lived in a house on the Olema-Bolinas Road while 
developing a dairy on the hill above. This family home likely was Daniel Olds' 
original home, or may have been built by Parsons in 1865 or shortly thereafter. 
The house has survived and is now occupied by William Pinkerton at Five 
Brooks (see page 187). 86 

Parsons built a house, creamery, barn and various outbuildings on the 
ranch, at a site overlooking the Olema Valley less than a mile up Bolinas Ridge 
from Five Brooks. By 1870 Parsons, in partnership with Swiss dairyman Joseph 
Righetti, operated a dairy of 74 milk cows, 40 cattle and 35 pigs. Parsons and 
Righetti produced 10,000 pounds of butter that year, as well as wheat, oats, 
barley and hay, all valued at almost $8,000. The partners paid out $1,200 in 
wages and board that year to Righetti 's three Swiss-born milkers. Righetti and 
his hired hands probably lived at the dairy ranch on the hill. 87 

Charles Parsons had a keen interest in Marin County roads and 
transportation; he served as the roadmaster of the Olema Valley district in 
1867, maintaining the county road with the help of paid laborers. As early as 
1865 he owned half interest with W. L. Barnard in a livery business in San 
Rafael, the county seat and largest town in Marin County. Barnard sold his 
share to Alva Jewell, a west Marin neighbor of Parsons, in 1879 and the 
business became known as Parsons and Jewell. Later that year Parsons sold 
his share to Jewell's brother, William, and the business name changed to Jewell 
Brothers; that business was dissolved in 1886. 88 

86 Population Schedules of the 8th and 9th Censuses, 1860 and 1870; Plat of Rancho Tomales y 
Baulines, 1858, PENS; "Plat . . . Bolinas to Olema," 1867, California Historical Society; Marin 
County Journal. September 20, 1883; interview with Earl Lupton. 

"Schedules of Agriculture and Industry, 9th U. S. Census, 1870. 

88 Marin County Journal. March 16, 1867, August 14 and September 25, 1879; Marin Journal. 
March 18, 1886; Deeds Book E, p. 313, and Book I, p. 284, MCRO. 


The Parsons Ranch made the local news in 1867 with this exciting story: 


On Thursday of last week a monster of a wild-cat . . . 
made its way to the place of Mrs. C. S. Parsons, where 
a great commotion was manifest among the poultry, 
and the bones of a dozen or more were strewn upon 
the ground in a short time . . , 89 

The second parcel of land to come into the Parsons Ranch was a small lot 
located on a curve in Olema Creek known as "Winan's Place" opposite the 
original Olema School across the Olema-Bolinas Road. Daniel and Nelson Olds' 
brother-in-law James Winans occupied the land, part of Rancho Punta de los 
Reyes Sobrante owned by James McMillan Shafter, from about 1858 to some 
time in the 1860s. Winans, born in Ohio in 1810, farmed the land and raised a 
family with his wife, the former Emaline Olds. In 1860 Winans milked fifteen 
cows, made 200 pounds of butter, and raised almost 1500 bushels of winter 
wheat, oats, barley and Irish potatoes, and five tons of hay. It is likely that he 
leased additional land from Shafter, as his small plot could not have supported 
such an operation. Winans had left the area for San Rafael by 1870, and on 
October 11, 1875, Shafter sold the small parcel to Charles Parsons. Parsons 
moved the Winans house across the creek and added it to his existing home, 
doubling the size. 90 

The third and final parcel to join the Parsons Ranch was 47 acres at the 
top of Bolinas Ridge above Five Brooks that Thomas Longley had bought from 
Daniel Olds in 1870. According to the 1959 reminiscence of Bertha Stedman 
Rothwell, whose family knew the Oldses and the Longleys, Nelson Olds built a 
two-story house on the ridgetop which was known as "The Home Ranch of 
Nelson H. Olds" until the Oldses permanent home was built in 1864 at 
Woodside, today's Stewart Ranch. Rothwell reported that Omar Jewell, who 
later built a dairy ranch on Lagunitas Creek, occupied the ridge ranch for a few 
years with his family until purchasing his ranch to the northeast from Nelson 


'Matin County Journal. June 29, 1867. 

90 Deeds Book Q, p. 38. MCRO; Population and Agriculture Schedules, 8th and 10th U. S. 
Censuses, 1860 and 1880; Olds family notes courtesy of Boyd Stewart; interviews with Emma 
Benevenga and William Pinkerton. 


Olds. Longley moved into the house after the Jewell family had moved to their 
dairy. Rothwell recalled the Olds/Longley farm: 

I can distinctly remember this country farm-house. It 
was a large two story wooden building similar in 
appearance to other houses built in the early pioneer 
days of Marin County. This home was kept neat in 
appearance by a fresh coat of white-wash each Spring. 
The surroundings of this home were composed of a 
very large barn, a wagon and farm implement shed 
and the dairy where the butter was made. This 
completed the group of buildings on the ridge. Of 
course the usual pig sty was set apart from the other 

I can remember as a very young child [1880s] often 
climbing with my mother and her other children, one 
mile up the steep hillside trail through the Shafter- 
Howard forest, to visit with Mrs. George [sic] Longley 
and her family .... 

As a child there was one distinctive feature about this 
place which interested me. It was the first time in 
my life I had ever seen a well with a hand-pump 
attached. It fascinated me to see the water siphoned 
out of the well into a bucket placed under the outlet 
of the pump. Prior to this time I had always seen 
water flow freely from a creek or hill-side spring. 
This home being situated as it was on a crest of a 
range of hills the water supply could only be obtained 
by digging a well and depending on the laborious task 
of operating a hand-pump when a supply of water was 
needed. There was no windmill or water tank 
connected with this well. 91 

British-born Thomas Longley came to California in 1857 and worked as a 
miller in San Francisco before settling in the Olema area. He operated a dairy 
in 1860, at an unknown but nearby location, making 1333 pounds of butter that 
year and employing two hired hands. Longley didn't own any livestock that 
year except for a horse; he may have made butter for Daniel Olds, who owned 
twenty milk cows but made no butter himself. Around 1865 Longley moved to 

91 Rothwell, Pioneering, pp. 231-232. 


the hilltop ranch formerly occupied by Jewell. By 1870 Longley raised wheat, 
oats, barley, hay and potatoes on sixty acres of land, no doubt including the 47- 
acre parcel and other land rented from Daniel Olds. 92 

Longley lived in the two-story house in a protected cove on the ridge 
sheltered by five eucalyptus trees in a line to the east of the house. The 
ridgetop road from Samuel P. Taylor's paper mill to Bolinas passed by the 
house. Travelers of this route reportedly used Longley's house as a watering 
point. Longley was listed in the 1870 census as a farmer, with real estate 
valued at $800 and personal property of $400. Longley's son Charles, born in 
1852 in Michigan, worked on the farm. Upon Thomas Longley's death in July 
of 1870, Charles took over the small ranch until selling it to Minerva Parsons 
on October 6, 1888. Charles Longley then operated a dairy a number of miles 
up Bolinas Ridge for a few years before settling in Inverness where he was a 
founding member of the school board there. Charles Longley died in 1944. 

According to a number of sources, the Longley house on the ridgetop was 
moved down to the Parsons Ranch soon after the 1888 sale, where it has stood 
since. An existing one-story board and batten house was connected to the two- 
story house, producing a home of comfortable size. On the ridgetop, only the 
trees planted by Olds or Longley, known to locals as the Five Sisters, remain. 93 

Charles Parsons bought 86 acres of land in Santa Cruz near his brother- 
in-law's dairy in 1879, but then decided not to move there. In 1881 he and his 
wife moved to Petaluma and continued leasing out their dairy ranch. John 
Fuller and Christopher Blasdell rented the dairy in 1880, while William Dunn 
rented the Parsons home on the county road. Parsons' widow tried 
unsuccessfully to sell the ranch in 1895. Near the end of 1890, Olema Valley 
pioneer Daniel Olds, Jr. and his daughter Annie Baily rented the Parsons home, 
where Olds had lived when he first came to the valley in 1856. The newspaper 
noted the next year that "Olema ranch life agrees with him." Olds died in 1896. 
Angelo Pedranti, a Swiss dairyman who had previously worked on a Bolinas 
dairy and then the Bloom Ranch north of Parsons, rented the Parsons dairy 

92 Deeds Book I, p. 195, MCRO; Guinn, Coast Counties, p. 984; Population and Agriculture 
Schedules, 8th and 9th U. S. Censuses, 1860 and 1870. 

93 Population and Agriculture Schedules, 9th U. S. Census, 1870; Marin County Journal. July 
23, 1870; Marin Journal. October 11, 1888; interviews with Earl Lupton, Boyd Stewart and 
Dorothy Meloney, granddaughter of Charles Longley. 


until 1890 when he moved to C. W. Howard's Z Ranch, once occupied by Mrs. 
Parsons' father, Peter Wittenberg. 94 

In 1901 Mrs. Parsons rented the ranch to the son of her neighbor, Oliver 
Muscio. The lease did not include two fields by the county road, and required 
Muscio to "deliver two tons of hay to her barn on the west side of the county 
road." 95 

Erminio (Herman) Franzi rented the dairy after Muscio left. His family 
stayed at the Parsons Ranch until about 1945. Franzi, who died in 1911, and 
his wife Angelina had a daughter and three sons, Florentino, Atillio and Elfie, 
who became dairymen in their own right and operated the dairy together. Jim 
Colli recalled his employment as a milker at the Parsons Ranch in 1922 for 
Florentino Franzi; brother Elfie also worked as a milker and became the last 
surviving brother to run a dairy in the area. Electricity was installed on the 
ranch in 1925. 96 

Children from the Parsons Ranch and surrounding homes attended the 
Olema School, established in 1860 on Shafter lands across the road from James 
Winan's house. A schoolhouse in the town of Olema was called Garcia School, a 
matter that caused some confusion over the years. In 1915 the school was 
renamed Five Brooks School, and Garcia School was renamed Olema School. At 
some time between 1873 and 1895 a new schoolhouse was built on the Parsons 
property at the foot of the ranch road on the east side of the county road. The 
Marin County Department of Education closed Five Brooks School in 1927, and 
students were reassigned to Olema School. Ralph and Emma Benevenga 
remodeled the abandoned schoolhouse, moved across the road some years 
earlier by John Denman, in the mid- 1940s. 97 

After the death of Minerva Parsons the title went by decree in 1921 to 
her daughter, Ella Denman. Ella had married John R. Denman in 1888 and 
moved to Petaluma, but returned to the family property about 1934 after 

94 Marin County Journal. November 6, 1879 and April 21, 1881; Marin Journal. October 2 and 
9, 1890; Population Schedules, 10th U. S. Census, 1880. 

96 Leases Book F, pp. 272-273, MCRO; Marin Journal. September 7, 1901. 

96 T 

^Population Schedules, 12th U. S. Census, 1900; interviews with Jim Colli, Earl Lupton, 
Emma Benevenga and Tom Pinkerton, who helped his father wire the ranch with electricity 
around 1925. 

""Plat . . . Bolinas to Olema," 1867, California Historical Society; School Registers, Marin 
County Department of Education, San Rafael; interview with Emma Benevenga. 


suffering from the stock market crash. John Denman closed down the dairy 
operation about 1945, after asking Elfie Franzi to leave, and put a herd of sheep 
on the ranch. The Denmans lived in the old family home called "Minerva 
Lodge" on the county road which, during their lifetime, became a state highway. 
Mrs. Denman died of a stroke in 1938 at age 71, leaving the ranch in life estate 
to her husband John and to her daughter, Mrs. Lupton. John and his son 
Charles continued the sheep ranch through World War II. Two parcels on the 
west side of State Route One were sold, the first in 1938 to Ralph and Emma 
Benevenga, the other in 1953 to John C. Williamson. 98 

When both John Denman and Mrs. Lupton died in 1954, the ranch 
passed to Mrs. Lupton's son, Lt. Col. Earl Lane Lupton. Lupton leased the 
ranch to Lynn Elphick, who continued to run sheep on the hills until about 
1960. In 1964 Lupton sold the old Parsons home on the highway to William 
Pinkerton, who remodeled the historic house. A parcel adjacent to the 
northern Five Brooks bridge was sold to Thomas Holcomb in 1967." 

Lupton retired from a career in the U. S. Air Force in 1970 and moved to 
the ranch, building a large house overlooking the highway in 1971 and 
establishing a herd of beef cattle. During this construction the lower part of 
the old ranch road was rerouted to serve the new house. Between 1967 and 
1993 Lupton rented the house on the old Parsons dairy ranch to longtime 
family friends Tom and Ollie Pinkerton. The house has been vacant since Tom 
Pinkerton's death in 1993. 10 

The 836-acre Lupton Ranch was sold to the National Park Service on 
March 25, 1974, after 109 years in the Parsons family. Earl Lupton negotiated 
a 25-year reservation of use and occupancy for his 1971 home and grazes a 
small herd of beef cattle under a special use permit. 101 

In December of 1994 the two-story section of the old ranch house was 
knocked down without Section 106 compliance under orders from John Sansing, 
the superintendent of Point Reyes National Seashore, an act in direct defiance 

98 Deeds Book 232, p. 25, and Official Records Book 458, p. 292 and Book 790, p. 139, MCRO; 
Marin Journal. December 15, 1938; Point Reyes Light. November 11, 1976; interview with Earl L. 

"Official Records Book 1820, p. 362, MCRO; interview with Earl Lupton. 
'""Point Reves Light. December 14, 1967; interview with Earl Lupton. 
'"'Administrative files, PRNS. 


of National Park Service cultural resource management policies. Subsequently 
the water tower and barn were stripped by wood salvagers and effectively 
destroyed. At the time of this writing, the site is mostly rubble and is slated 
for site restoration. 

3. Buildings and Historic Resources 

Until recently, two buildings and two structures remained of the historic 
Lupton Ranch. The small dairy house (OV-09.03) and shearing shed (OV-09.05) 
had been demolished around 1990 because of deterioration. The recently 
destroyed structures will be described here for the record. 

a. Ranch House (OV-09.01) 

The ranch house consisted of what is believed to be the original Nelson 
Olds and/or Thomas Longley home that had been built on the ridgetop above 
its current site around 1859. The 19' x 24' two-story house was moved after 
the Longley family sold their property to Charles Parsons in 1888. Parsons 
attached an existing 22' x 36' one-story building to the east side of the older 
house some time before 1900. Both sections had gable roofs and horizontal 
drop siding, although portions of the exterior walls had been covered with 
asphalt roll roofing for protection. The one-story section had board and batten 
siding under the drop siding. The two-story section had original 6-over-6 
double-hung wood sash windows, while the one-story portion featured various 

The house had not been altered for the last 75 years. The house was 
dilapidated, but due to lack of alterations had excellent historic integrity. 

b. Old Milking Barn (OV-09.02) 

At 50' x 61' this Grade B milking barn was smaller than most barns in 
the Olema Valley. It was a one-and-a-half story, gable-roofed, wood frame barn 
with random width vertical wood siding. The original shingle roof was covered 
with corrugated metal roofing. There were 80 milking stalls and a hay loft. 
The barn was in fair condition, but its historic integrity was good; it was a 


unique structure in the valley. This ranch never upgraded to a Grade A dairy 
because the owners switched to a sheep operation in the 1930s. One corner 
shed room of the barn, once used as a stable, was removed around 1990 because 
of advanced deterioration. 

c. Water Tower (OV-09.04) 

A 700-gallon wood water tank, sitting on a wooden tower about twenty 
feet above the ground, was built prior to 1900. The base, of concrete piers, 
measured 12' square. The tower was surrounded by three old eucalyptus trees 
which appeared to hold it up; it had long been out of use and had severe 
structural deterioration. 

d. Ranch Road (OV-09.06) 

The one-mile road to the Lupton Ranch dates from 1865 or earlier. It 
may have been developed by Thomas Longley as an access between his ridgetop 
home and the Olds residences in the valley in the late 1850s. The lower .25 
mile of the road has been realigned and altered, although the original remains 
mostly intact but unused (the Olema/Five Brooks school house stood at the foot 
of this alignment until the 1930s). The upper part that leads to the ranch past 
the newer Lupton home is original, leading through a bay laurel forest to the 
pastures of the Lupton Ranch and the old ranch complex. Recent grading by an 
apparently unskilled bulldozer operator has widened portions of the road by 
about five feet. 

e. Trees 

Three large eucalyptus trees surround the site of the old water tower at 
the ranch complex. Five very large eucalyptus trees, planted in a row, mark 
the site of the ridgetop home and dairy of Thomas Longley. They were 
reportedly planted about 1860. All of these trees were bitten by cold weather 
in late 1990, but have survived. 


f. Fences 

The boundary fencelines appear unchanged since the days of the 
Parsonses and Longleys, but the building material has been replaced over the 
years. The pasture divisions above the ranch complex may reflect the needs of 
the sheep operation that was here from around 1935 to 1960. 

4. Historic Significance of the Lupton Ranch 

The Lupton Ranch has local historic significance as a pioneer dairy ranch 
of the Olema Valley dairy district. Developed beginning in 1865, the ranch was 
a smaller operation than its northern neighbors due to the size and quality of 
its grazing area. Only two of the original buildings survived until recently, but 
both are of historic interest. The house was one of the older surviving houses 
in the area, and the main section had been moved from its original location on 
the ridgetop more than ninety years ago. The house had not been altered for 
at least seventy years; even the ulterior wall coverings, a plain yellowed paper, 
were old. The hay barn was a smaller version of the typical Olema Valley dairy 
barn. Both buildings were destroyed in 1994. A dairy and sheep shed were 
demolished by the reservors during the last five years. The destruction of the 
buildings has severely affected the integrity of the ranch. The road to the 
ranch has significance as an 1860s transportation route in the valley. The five 
eucalyptus trees, the "five sisters" on the ridgetop, are significant remains 
marking the site of the Longley dairy that operated there from about 1859 to 

Historic Features 

1. Ranch Road, ca. 1858 

2. Eucalyptus Trees, ca 1880s 

3. Eucalyptus Trees on ridge top, ca. 1858 

4. Site of demolished buildings 


eucalyptus trees 


Historic Base Map 




= building removed 


The Parsons ranch is visible in the far right of this 1906 photograph of the Olema Valley from above the lime 
kilns. Fencing is seen on the hillsides, and the county road in the center right. U.S.G.S. Library, Menlo Park. 


The "Five Sisters" planted at the original site of the old Lupton house. Photograph by Phil Frank. 

The Lupton Ranch house and barn before they were demolished: the two-story section of the house was built 
circa 1858 and moved to this site around 1890; the other section was probably the original Parsons farmhouse, 
circa 1 865. Note the water tower barely visible in the trees A/PS photo by Dewey Livingston. 



v" ,** r 


^>' j^ 

Detail of the 1867 'Plat of the Survey for the relocation of the Road from Bolinas to Olema" by Hiram Austin, 

showing the Five Brooks area. Note Charles Parsons' house (now Pinkerton's) and Marenas [sic] and Lansing 

(now Ralph Giacomini's) with the school house opposite. George Eurie worked for Mrs. Randall. 

California Historical Society Collection. 



Section III, Chapter I 


Olds Ranch 





Golden Gate National Recreation Area 


.2 .3 .4 

Traced from USGS Quads Contour Interval 200' 
historic boundaries approximate 





site of Garrison homestead 

additional lands of 

Stewart in Point Reyes 

National Seashore 


Former Olds Ranch 
(Golden Gate National Recreation Area) 

1. Description 

The Stewart Ranch, historically known as the Olds Ranch, is an 890-acre 
parcel in the geographic center of the Olema Valley. It consists of rolling, 
grassy hills with wooded gulches, facing the virgin forests of Inverness Ridge 
across Olema Creek to the west. It is bounded on the north by the Truttman 
Ranch, on the east at the crest of Bolinas Ridge at the Samuel P. Taylor State 
Park boundary, on the south by the Lupton Ranch and Five Brooks, and on the 
west by Olema Creek. The ranch complex, headquarters for the Stewart's beef 
cattle ranch and horse boarding and breeding facility, is the largest in the 
Olema Valley and consists of structures old and new. The Stewart family has 
owned the ranch since 1924. 

2. History of Stewart Ranch 

Rafael Garcia reportedly used the Stewart Ranch site as a remote stock 
corral serving the southern part of his rancho; according to the memories of 
Nelson Olds, Jr. and Boyd Stewart, Garcia called the small knoll that would 
become the Olds and Stewart Ranch "Cabristo Hill," and kept two tame steers 
here for meat. Garcia sold 4,366 acres of his rancho to Daniel and Nelson Olds 
on September 25, 1856. Victor Post, who had purchased much of Garcia's land 
early in 1856, quitclaimed 92 acres of it to the Olds family on the same day as 
the Garcia sale. 102 

According to recollections of Nelson Olds, Jr. and a letter by Jeremiah 
Olds, their father moved the family into an unfinished squatters cabin near the 
site of the current ranch house on Christmas Eve of 1856. Nelson Olds paid 
the squatter, possibly Peter Boucher, $100 for the cabin after convincing the 
man that he owned title. A storm lashed the cabin while the family pinned 

102 Deeds, Book C, pp. 66 and 68, MCRO; interview with Boyd Stewart. 


blankets over the empty window and door frames. Jeremiah Olds wrote of the 
work involved in setting up a ranch: 

There was only the squatters house on the tract not a 
fence anywhere, but there was redwood timber on one 
corner of the property, then the real work began 
cutting timber for fences and lumber for buildings. 
When they built the first barn they underestimated 
the force of the wind in that section; sometime later 
during a severe storm this barn was blown down 
killing several cows and horses, one fine black mare 
was blinded by the crash although apparently unhurt 
otherwise. 103 

The first documented resident of the site of today's Stewart Ranch was 
Andrew Powell; his name appears on a grant survey map dated 1858. Powell 
married a sister of Nelson and Daniel Olds, but apparently left the area or died 
by 1860. According to census figures that year, his wife Martha Olds Powell 
continued to live at the site. 10 ' 

Next at the site was the elder Daniel Olds. Olds and his wife Lois, both 
75 years old, lived in a house with his daughter, the abovementioned Martha 
Powell, as well as a laborer and housekeeper named Sylvester and Mary Davis 
and another laborer named Burton Shippy. Apparently Shippy and Davis 
operated Olds' dairy, as the 1860 census noted that Olds owned 37 milk cows 
but made no butter, and Shippy owned no cows but made 1600 pounds of butter 
and supported two farm laborers. Martha Powell owned 23 milk cows. In all, 
the ranch supported 60 milk cows, 50 other cattle, six horses and 25 pigs, most 
owned by Olds. Also, Daniel Olds, Sr. did not own the property he was living 
on; his sons Daniel Jr. and Nelson did. Lois Olds died at the ranch in June, 


13 Jeremiah Stanley Olds, "Recollections of Woodside," handwritten manuscript, February 18, 
1939, p. 6, Boyd Stewart Collection, photocopy at PORE. The black mare, probably one of the 
Morgans that the family had brought from the east, was given to neighbor James McMillan 
Shafter for breeding purposes. 

04 Plat of Rancho Tomales y Baulines, 1858, PRNS; Olds family notes; Population Schedules of 
the 8th U. S. Census, 1860. Andrew Powell may have been temporarily out of the area at the time 
the census taker visited. 


1861, and Daniel Olds, Sr. moved to San Rafael, where he died at age 89 in 
1874. 105 

The California Farmer correspondent visited the Daniel Olds, Sr., ranch 
in 1862, and spoke critically of the operation: 

Here was a farm of 2000 acres, with 250 head of 
stock, 100 cows. Kept 50 cows in 1861, and made 150 
pounds of butter a week. Was not making butter now; 
cows were poor, by means of short feed in winter and 
no root-crops raised. When root-crops are so easily 
raised, we are surprised that Ranchers and Dairymen 
have suffered fifty head of cattle to perish this winter 
on this Ranch. 

The writer compared the dismal situation at Olds' ranch with that of Baldwin 
and Karner's successful dairy to the north, and asked, "Is it right, aside from 
the pecuniary interest, for stock-owners to keep stock and allow them to perish 
in our winters from starvation?" 11 

Fifty acres in the center of the Olds ranch had been purchased earlier in 
1856 by Victor Post and then sold to John Garrison of Alameda. Garrison, 
apparently a friend of his neighbor to the north, Homer Strong, became the 
superintendent of Samuel P. Taylor's Pioneer Paper Mill on Lagunitas Creek 
over Bolinas Ridge from the Olds Ranch. Garrison lived in a two-story house at 
the south end of today's Stewart Ranch with his wife Mariah, his four children 
and the local schoolteacher, James Bailey. According to the 1860 census, 
Garrison operated a dairy of fourteen cows, making 5,000 pounds of butter the 
previous year, probably from cows owned by Daniel Olds. He also grew wheat, 
oats, barley, Irish potatoes and hay, presumably leasing extra land from a 
neighbor. Garrison moved to Mendocino County and sold his property to 
Nelson Olds on September 29, 1870. 107 

105 Population and Agriculture Schedules, 8th U. S. Census, 1860. 

106 The California Farmer. April 4, 1862, p. 1. The journal apparently confused Daniel Olds Sr. 
and Jr.; Daniel Olds, Jr. was a county supervisor (see Supervisors Minutes. 1861-1862, Marin 
County Civic Center) at the time and often called Judge Olds, while the former was evidently 
mistakenly called Daniel Olds, Jr. 

""Deeds Book C, p. 50 and I, p. 300; Mason, Historian, p. 602-603; Population and Agriculture 
Schedules of the 8th U. S. Census, 1860. By 1919, the Garrison house was occupied by Capt. E. 
W. Newth, who sold feed and grains and traded goods to and from Alaska. See the Marin Journal. 
July 3, 1919. Newth lived on the ranch until around 1925; the house stood abandoned for many 


The Olds brothers split their Olema Valley landholdings exactly in half 
on February 11, 1863, Nelson taking 1,955 acres of the northern half and Daniel 
the same amount to the south. Nelson Olds sold off much of his northern half, 
including 680 acres of the eastern portion to Omar Jewell and 100 acres on 
Papermill Creek to the Pacific Powder Mill Company in 1864, and acreage on 
the northern portion to Levi K. Baldwin and to William L. Johnson. Omar 
Jewell may have lived on the Stewart Ranch site before settling a short 
distance to the east; Jewell's biography noted his early residence at "the Home 
Ranch of Nelson H. Olds," with his family from September 1862 to 1864. Olds 
kept 850 acres of perhaps the choicest land for himself. 108 

Shortly after the Olds family land split of 1863, Nelson H. Olds built a 
house on the site of the old corral and developed a respectable dairy ranch on 
his 850 acres, which he called "Woodside." According to his son Nelson, Jr., Olds 
hired McMarion "Mac" Miller of Olema to haul lumber up from Bolinas, building 
the house about the time of Rafael Garcia's death, or 1864-1866. Dairy 
buildings may have remained from Daniel Sr.'s business. A lithograph of the 
ranch dated 1869 (see cover) and interpreted by Nelson Olds, Jr., showed the 
mam house, a dairy house built about 1863 ("designed to suit the old tin pan 
system, long before the separator came into use"), a barn he dated 1869, and 
the original squatter's cabin in which the family had spent that stormy 
Christmas Eve. A previous barn on the site had fallen in an earthquake in 
1868. 109 

Nelson Olds and his wife Lavina had five children, Kate, Nelson, Jennie, 
Edgar and Stanley, the youngest being born at Woodside. The 1870 census 
showed the Olds Ranch supporting three laborers, who milked 70 cows and 
produced 9,000 pounds of butter in 1869. The ranch also produced wheat, oats, 
hay and barley, and supported a herd of 25 pigs. Woodside was valued at 
$19,000, producing almost $5,000 worth of products the previous year. Living a 
short distance to the north was an Englishman, Edward Pittam, and his wife. 

years until it "fell down" (Stewart). 

'""Deeds Book E, pp. 238, 354, 439, 532, MCRO; Munro-Fraser, Marin County, p. 465, 
Rothwell, Pioneering, pp. 231-232. Rothwell, who was a young woman in the 1870s, referred to the 
Olds home ranch as the ridge top home, later Longley's residence, that is detailed in the Lupton 
Ranch chapter. 

' 09 Nelson Olds, Jr. to Boyd Stewart, December 18, 1935 and January 28, 1936; lithograph in 
Boyd Stewart Collection. 


A horse barn once stood here before being moved to the main ranch at an 
unknown date. To this day the Stewart family refers to this area as Pittam 
field. 110 

Olds, made a deputy United States marshal in 1862, served as Marin 
County Sheriff and Tax Collector from 1873 through 1875, probably letting his 
ranch hands run the dairy. Late in 1875 Olds opened a mine across the road 
from his house, digging a tunnel about 325 feet long that yielded "considerable" 
bituminous shale. The Marin County newspaper stated that Olds "has hopes 
for developing a coal vein that will prove of commercial importance." 
Presumably the mining venture failed, as the newspaper never mentioned it 
again. Olds had invested in the nearby Pacific Powder Mill (constructed on 
land his family had sold) and two mining outfits near Bolinas, the Bolinas 
Union Mine Company and the Pike County Mining Company, in 1864. 111 

In mid- 1879 Olds leased the ranch to a young Swiss dairyman, Pacifico 
Donati, but continued to live in the main house. Donati and his partner Enrico 
Dellamaria milked 100 cows that year, producing 56,250 gallons of milk which 
they made into butter on the ranch. Their four laborers included two younger 
brothers of Donati, Salvatore and Stefano. Donati received notice in the San 
Rafael newspaper for being "ahead of his neighbors" in haying, producing a crop 
that was "very heavy, and of good quality." 112 

Meanwhile, Nelson Olds decided to move to family property at Escondido, 
near San Diego. He had set up a honey farm there and reportedly preferred 
the weather of southern California. He set sail on his new yacht, Letti. on the 
last day of October, 1879. His family traveled by steamer. The newspaper 
commented, "Mr. Olds does not expect to leave Marin County permanently, and, 
in common with his numerous friends, we hope he will not." Unfortunately, 
Olds did not live to make his return; he died in San Diego on September 28, 
1882. 113 


Population and Agriculture Schedules, 9th U. S. Census, 1870; interview with Boyd Stewart. 

'"Munro-Fraser, Marin County, p. 234; Marin County Journal. April 2 and August 6, 1864, 
November 18, 1875. 

" 2 Marin County Journal. May 1 and August 17, 1879; Population and Agriculture Schedules, 
9th U. S. Census, 1870. 

" 3 Marin County Journal. September 11, October 23 and 30, 1879; interview with Boyd 


Upon his departure Olds rented his house to a Mr. Risdon. Ridson's wife 
Carrie and three children lived in the house in June of 1880. Eldest daughter 
Lizzie was the schoolteacher at nearby Olema School at Five Brooks. 114 

The Olds ranch continued to produce butter under Pacifico Donati, 
although Enrico Dellamaria left the partnership in 1883. At the end of 1884 
County Sheriff George Mason, married to Nelson Olds' daughter Kate, leased 
the ranch and anticipated a general remodeling of the "old homestead," building 
a new butter house "with all the late improvements, probably with Concord 
floor and walls." Mason retired from public service and moved to the ranch in 
November, and by the next spring the newspaper noted that "it would take a 
whale of an office to lure him from his ranch home." 1 

George Mason, born in Maine in 1841, spent seven years as a seaman 
before settling in Marin County in the 1860s. He operated a dairy in Novato for 
many years until becoming a conductor on the North Pacific Coast Railroad 
upon its opening in 1875. While running for Sheriff in 1879 the San Rafael 
newspaper described him in this way: "He has the muscle and courage which 
are requisite in the Sheriffs office, has good abilities, and his friends are 
legion." He was elected to the office in early September, 1879. 116 

Mason married Nelson Olds' daughter Kate in 1877 and the couple 
resided in San Rafael until their move to the Olema Valley. The Masons 
purchased the ranch from Lavina Olds on February 24, 1890, and proceeded to 
develop the ranch into a premium dairy. 117 

The Masons moved to Petaluma and sold the ranch on October 17, 1900, 
to John Calvin Dickson, one of the pioneering Dickson brothers who had settled 
San Geronimo Valley in central Marin County in the 1850s. Dickson retired 
soon after the purchase and his son Robert Edwin "Ed" Dickson took over the 
ranch, having gained experience after a number of years operating Charles 
Webb Howard's A Ranch near the Point Reyes Lighthouse. 

" 4 Ibid.. September 11, 1879; Population Schedules of the 10th U. S. Census, 1880. 

" 5 Marin County Journal. August 23, 1883 and April 10, 1884; Marin Journal. November 20 
1884 and April 4, 1885. 

116 Munro-Fraser, Marin County, p. 471; Marin County Journal. June 26 and September 4, 

117 Munro-Fraser, Marin County, p. 471; Marin County Journal. April 10, 1884; Deeds Book 11, 
p. 299 and Book 16, p. 615, MCRO. 


Dickson established what he called the Laurelwood Creamery, where he 
processed his and his neighbors' milk in preparation for marketing. San 
Rafael's newspaper The Tocsin published a glowing account of Dickson 's 
endeavor, giving deserved credit to the former owner: 

Laurelwood Creamery. 
Olema, Jan. 18, 1901 

Ed. Tocsin - At the magnificent home of R. E. Dickson 
we find one of the best regulated creameries in the 
county, known as the Laurelwood Creamery, 
operating near Olema; formerly Mason's ranch. 

Eighty-four cows are being milked at present with a 
yield of one hundred and twenty pounds per day of a 
very high grade of butter. The bunch grass that 
grows plentiful in this section, with the high grade 
Jersey blood, are the great stimulators that cause the 
fine yield, which has been brought to this high state 
of perfection under ex-supervisor Geo. Mason's 
management. It was last September that this 
gentleman concluded to part with the grand old home 
that in the past fifteen years has placed him in the 
position to take life easy and open up an opportunity 
for Mr. Dickson to do the same; and as the time and 
opportunities are becoming better each day, we may 
look to Laurelwood Creamery hold its position with 
the best in the State. The gentleman that has lately 
taken the position as buttermaker, John Shoemaker, 
just from British Columbia, is a competent man. Mr. 
Mason is still dairying a dozen choice cows near his 
old home and sends the milk to Mr. Dickson's 
creamery. Another rancher sends about a ton of milk; 
thirty more cows yet to come in and then business 
will be running at full blast. Twenty-five calves from 
the best cows are being raised, and as many more 
heifer calves also will be raised. This being 
considered an off year for heifers, one of the features 
of a fine dairy is the system for feeding the calves. 
Heavy metal dishes are used instead of wood which 
can be kept clean thereby avoiding one of our greatest 
troubles ~ tubercle [sic]. The choice stock of hogs 
show that the skim-milk is not to be wasted by 
feeding into railsplitters. 


A very large quantity of choice fruit is raised here. A 
prettier location of buildings could not be found - the 
only one to compare with it, in my observation, is the 
E. G. Maggetti ranch at Marshall, this county. 

Mrs. Robinson, a lady from San Francisco, is assisting 
Mrs. Dickson in the dressmaking line. 

Mr. Dickson's last improvement to his fine dairy was 
to have Dr. B. A. Frost dehorn his cows, and was 
greatly surprised as well as pleased to see how quite 
[sic] and humane the operation was conducted. 111 

According to a newspaper report six months later, the creamery was up to 
speed: Dickson milked 107 cows and made 4,200 pounds of butter per month. 
Less than a year later the Dairy and Produce Review wrote about the ranch: 

At Olema is the fine dairy of Ed Dickson, where 115 
high grade Jerseys are being milked, producing about 
11/4 pounds of butter each per day. Over $1,000 
worth of mill feed was used during the last winter, 
but the Jerseys more than paid for it. This fine dairy 
ranch has been developed to its present conditions by 
Mr. George Mason, an enterprising dairyman, who 
sold out to Mr. Dickson. 11 ' 

The 1906 San Francisco earthquake struck while Dickson resided at the 
ranch. The large milking barn, built after the 1868 quake, was destroyed. The 
shock also toppled the fireplace, destroying the marble mantle and side 
equipment. Dickson rebuilt the barn in a slightly different configuration. 120 

Robert E. Dickson received title for the ranch from his widowed mother 
in 1916, two years after the death of his father, John C. Dickson. Around this 
time he sold a small amount of acreage on the northwestern corner of the 
ranch to one Roger Johnson. Eventually he leased the ranch to others and 
moved his family to San Rafael. Eight years later, on October 3, 1924, he sold 

I18 San Rafael Tocsin. January 26, 1901. 

" 9 Marin Journal. June 20, 1901, March 20, 1902 (quoting the Dairy and Produce Review) and 
October 8, 1914; Deeds Book 64, p. 213, MCRO; Population Schedules of the 12th U. S. Census, 

l20 Nelson Olds, Jr. to Mrs. Boyd Stewart, August 24, 1938. 


the ranch for $54,000 to his friend Samuel J. Stewart of Nicasio. Stewart had 
been running dry cows on the Dickson ranch for a number of years. 121 

The Stewart family did not occupy the ranch until 1932; Dickson's lease 
to Willie J. Wilson ran until 1925. Between 1926 and 1929 the Stewarts did not 
milk cows on the ranch but ran cattle and grew hay. For a short time in 1929- 
30 they rented the ranch to Point Reyes dairymen John and David McClure, 
who had lost their ranch by condemnation to RCA. Meanwhile, Samuel Stewart 
leased the V. J. Bloom ranch to the north to supplement his family's dairy 
operation, but was killed when kicked by a horse he owned; his daughter and 
son-in-law Henrietta and Tom Greer continued operation of that ranch. 
Stewart's son Boyd moved to the former Dickson ranch in 1932 and began 
extensive development and improvements. 122 

Boyd Stewart, born in Nicasio in 1903, had a Stanford University 
education when he came to run the family ranch. He was married to Joseffa 
Conrad, an educated woman who helped the family finances during the 
depression teaching music and holding a job. Stewart employed the latest 
knowledge in ranch improvements and was in many ways ahead of his time. 
The Stewart Ranch upgraded its dairy to Grade A in 1935, when contractors R. 
E. Murphy and Son built a sanitary barn. The following year they built a 
concrete silo for corn storage, growing corn on flats until 1952. The Murphys 
also built a sizeable stable for the Stewart family's many horses, a large shop 
building near the site of the fallen barn of 1868, and various residences for farm 
hands and sheds. The house had been damaged in a fire around 1931. An 
addition was made to the Olds residence and parts were remodeled; Mrs. 
Stewart actively remodeled the house and landscaping. Stewart also bought 
wooded property on the west side of the ranch to obtain a sufficient water 

Stewart and his wife Joseffa raised a daughter, Jo Ann, at the ranch. Jo 
Ann took over the dairy business after graduating for University of California at 
Davis in 1950. The Jersey dairy expanded from 175 cows in 1950 to up to 280 
at the time the dairy business ceased in 1972. Jo Ann Stewart kept the ranch 
in excellent condition, winning numerous incentive awards from her milk 

""Deeds Book 176, p. 153 and Official Records Book 54, p. 458, MCRO. 

122 Information on the Stewart years at the ranch is from interviews with Boyd Stewart, Jo Ann 
Stewart and Henrietta (Stewart) Greer. 


contractor, Borden's. The Stewarts retained the Olds Ranch name, Woodside, 
for its dairy, beef cattle and horse operations. 

After selling the dairy contract in 1972 the Stewarts and Ray Sanders 
operated a horse boarding business on the ranch, as well as raising beef cattle. 
The Stewarts had been breeding registered Morgan horses since the 1950s, and 
eventually turned to raising Black Angus cattle exclusively. 

The National Park Service purchased the woodland property that Boyd 
Stewart had bought in 1945 west of Olema Creek in 1968, for inclusion in Point 
Reyes National Seashore. The original Olds/Stewart Ranch was purchased by 
the government for Golden Gate National Recreation Area in 1974. The 
Stewart family negotiated a reservation of use and occupancy and continue 
their beef and horse operations. Boyd Stewart has been a prominent figure in 
not only dairy ranching but also in an advisory capacity to the National Park 
Service; he served for many years on the Coastal Parks Association, now the 
Point Reyes National Seashore Association. 

3. Buildings and Historic Resources 

There are twelve potentially historic buildings on the Stewart Ranch, as 
well as various historic structures; most have been adapted to 20th century uses 
and reflect the continuum of use in a farm setting. 

a. Main Residence (OV-12.01) 

The main house at Stewart Ranch is the one built by Nelson H. Olds for 
his family after the Olds brothers split their landholdings in the Olema Valley. 
The house was reportedly built in 1864 by carpenters from Nova Scotia from 
locally cut redwood. Originally built upon redwood sills, the house was later 
raised and a concrete foundation added. It is a wood frame building with a 
steep-pitch gable roof and horizontal drop siding. Much of the fancy woodwork 
at the eaves was removed in the 1930s because of rotting. The house is L- 
shaped, and measures 65' by 42'. 

The kitchen addition, apparently built at the time of or soon after the 
house was built, has been remodeled and modernized. Four brick chimneys, 
including a large one replaced after the 1906 earthquake, exist on the house. A 


shed-roofed room was added to the back of the house about 1942, and a flat 
dormer added on the second story above the kitchen. Because of the numerous 
alterations over the years, the house has only fair historic integrity. 

b. Laundry Shed (OV-12.07) 

A small 10' by 12' wash house, supposedly built not long after the Olds 
residence, stands near the house. It has a corrugated metal gable roof, enclosed 
eaves, horizontal drop siding, mudsill foundation, and no windows. It has had 
only minor alterations, and has good historic integrity. 

c. "Squatter's Cabin" - House #3 (OV-12.05) 

Located some three hundred yards south of the main residence is what is 
called the squatter's cabin, it being the unfinished cabin in which the Olds 
family spent its first night in 1856. Probably built that year, the three-room 
redwood building was moved from its location near Olema Creek to its present 
location about 1936. At that time it was extensively remodeled with a concrete 
foundation, enclosed porches, and new roof, floors, interior walls, windows and 
hardware. The 28' by 30' house has a corrugated metal gable roof with shed 
porches, lap siding, aluminum sash windows and a metal chimney. While it is 
the oldest wooden structure known to survive in the Point Reyes area, the 
move and alterations were severe enough to render it with no historical 

d. 1906 Barn (OV-12.12) 

This was the third cow barn to be built on the ranch, after the original 
two fell in the earthquakes of 1868 and 1906. The two-story 69' by 147' barn 
was reportedly constructed from douglas fir. The concrete-floored barn was a 
milking barn accommodating about 80 cows. The barn has had a new 
corrugated metal roof added and some internal bracing. It has vertical board 
siding, rolling doors, and the wooden milking stanchions are extant. The east 
side of the barn has been opened for stock access. The minor alterations have 
not greatly impaired the historic integrity of this structure. 


e. Carriage House (OV-12.04) 

This pre-1869 building was used to store carriages and wagons, and is 
used today as a garage. It is seen in the 1869 lithograph of the ranch. The 15' 
by 21' one-story gable-roofed building has had few alterations: replacement of 
the north door, closing of the south door and a roof of corrugated metal are the 
only changes. Its historic integrity is good. 

f. Bunkhouse/Shed (OV-12.02) 

This former bunkhouse appears in early photographs of the ranch. It has 
a corrugated metal gable roof, horizontal drop siding, miscellaneous windows, 
and a large opening on the east side with no door. It measures 17' by 36' and 
has fair historic integrity. 

g. Stable (OV-12.14) 

Boyd Stewart built this 60' by 144' barn before World War II on the site 
of the Olds Ranch dairy house. The board-and-batten structure now has a 
gable corrugated metal roof with drop shed sides, rolling doors as well as 
numerous paddock doors, and is still used as a horse barn. It has had few 
alterations and its historic integrity is good. 

h. Equipment Shed-Shop Complex (OV-12. 1 1 ) 

This structure was built in the late 1930s on the site of the old horse 
barn; it served as a shop and had a concrete floor and concrete foundations. 
Three wood and corrugated metal open-front additions were built after 1950. 
The many alterations over the years leave the structure with poor historic 

i. Dairy Barn (OV-12. 17) 

Boyd Stewart had this Grade A dairy built in 1935. It is constructed of 
concrete, stucco and wood, with a corrugated metal roof. The main part of the 
bunding measures 20' by 60' with a 28' by 14' shed and a 6' by 10' milk room. 


The original gabled entry has been removed. A small addition is used for 
storage. The dairy is no longer in use, and has fair historic integrity. 

j. Bunkhouse - House #1 (OV-12.10) 

Formerly a bunkhouse, this structure was apparently constructed in the 
late 1860s or early 1870s by the Olds family. It was almost entirely rebuilt 
about 1940 and converted to a residence. It measures 26' by 28', has a 
corrugated metal gable roof, wood and aluminum sash, and a shed porch on the 
front. A small open garage, built around 1940, sits across the driveway from 
this house. The historic integrity of the house is poor. 

k. Silo (OV-12.13) 

This concrete and corrugated metal silo was built by Boyd Stewart and 
contractors R. E. Murphy and Son in 1936 to store corn grown on the ranch for 
his cattle. It is about 18' diameter at the base and is approximately 60' tall. 
Stewart removed the wood and metal superstructure around 1990. The silo has 
fair historic integrity. 

1. Calving Sheds/Stables (OV-12.03) 

Two small sheds stand north of the ranch house in the horse pasture. 
They were built by the Stewarts in the late 1930s. They have fair historic 

m. Trees 

A huge eucalyptus tree across the highway from the ranch house was 
reportedly planted by Nelson Olds in 1861. It has been healthy, although was 
bitten by extreme cold in December of 1990. A pear tree behind the wash 
house reportedly dates from about 1870. Remnants of the Olds orchard survive 
at various locations on the ranch. 


n. Fences (OV-12.08) 

The original fences erected by the Olds family have been replaced 
through the years with new fencing, mostly barbed wire. However, there are 
wooden fences within the ranch complex that appear to have structural 
elements derived from the older fences, and portions of the old split picket 
fences survive on the north boundary with the Truttman Ranch. There has 
been no apparent change in the lines of the fences since the residency of the 
Olds family. The older cut picket fence around the house yard has been 
replaced by hedges. 

o. Ranch Roads 

A number of primitive ranch roads connect the state highway with the 
ridges to the east of the ranch complex. All are dirt and/or grass covered. The 
circulatory roads within the ranch complex have not changed in the last 60 
years. An old road connects the highway with Stewart Horse Camp. 

p. Non-historic Structures 

The Stewart Ranch has number of non-historic structures, including 
residences #2, 4 and 5, a dog house, a horse exercise area and various 
structures related to the horse boarding operation. 


4. Historic Significance of Stewart Ranch 

The Stewart Ranch has local significance as an important dairy ranch and 
home place of the pioneering Olds family, who purchased this land from the 
original grantee, Rafael Garcia, in 1856 and developed the ranch beginning in 
1863. A number of the buildings, including those built in the 1860s, have fair to 
good structural integrity and are unique to the area. The most notable 
structure is the house, built circa 1864, which, despite remodeling hi the 
kitchen and other areas, retains a fair amount of its historic integrity and could 
be considered a "showplace" historic home in the Olema Valley. There are 
many newer and remodeled structures on the ranch which affect the integrity 
but illustrate the changing needs of the ranch operation over the years (as part 
of a cultural landscape). 

Historic Features 

1. Main Residence, 1864 

2. Laundry Shed, ca. 1865 

3. Squatter's Cabin (house #3), ca. 1856, remodeled 1936 

4. Barn, 1906 

5. Carriage House, ca. 1868 

6. Bunk house/Shed, date unknown 

7. Stables, ca. 1938 

8. Equipment shed/shop complex, 1938-1955 

9. Grade A dairy barn, 1935 

10. Bunkhouse (house #1), ca. 1870, remodeled 1940 

11. Silo, 1936 

12. Calving Sheds/stables, ca. 1938 

13. Concrete Water Tank 

14. Trees 

15. Fences, Gates, Corrals 

16. Ranch roads 




old ^ m*UQ,hquse 




A lithograph of the Nelson H. Olds Ranch, "Woodside," made in 1869. Although some artistic license was 
taken, the image is remarkably accurate as far as ranch buildings and layout. The house is seen in its original 
state, without a kitchen addition; the carriage house is seen to the left. The large barn was new, rebuilt after 
an earthquake destroyed the previous one the year before. On the right is the squatter's house and the 
creamery. Notice the landscaping, and compare with the bottom photograph, evidently taken soon after the 
lithograph was made. Joseffa Stewart found this lithograph in the bar at Nelson's Hotel in Olema and took it 
home for restoration many years ago. Courtesy of the Boyd Stewart family. 

The Olds Ranch in a circa 1870s photograph. California State Library. 


Nelson Horatio Olds. Courtesy of the Boyd Stewart family. 


Lavina Olds. Courtesy of the Boyd Stewart family. 


The Mason Ranch house and barn as they appeared circa 1895. The landscaping has been kept up, although 
four eucalyptus trees have been added to the scene. Courtesy of Barbara Race and Jack Mason Museum. 

The same scene as above, taken in 1937. Joseffa Stewart removed the eucalyptus trees; note that the old 
picket fence is gone. Courtesy of Henrietta (Stewart) Greer. 


This view of the house, taken before 1937, shows that the eaves decoration has been altered and the south 
side of the porch has been enclosed. The picket fence would soon be removed. Cou/tesy of Henrietta Greer. 


Two views of the Stewart Ranch house taken in the early 1930s. Courtesy of Henrietta Greer. 


Two views of the Stewart Ranch house taken in 1939. Courtesy of Henrietta Greer. 


John Bettencourt's hay truck arriving at the Stewart Ranch in 1942. Courtesy of Henrietta Greer. 

Aerial view of the Stewart Ranch taken in 1992. 


The Stewart Ranch house as it appeared around 1948. Brick stairs have replaced the original wooden ones. 
Seth Wood photograph courtesy of the Jack Mason Museum. 


The living room of the Stewart Ranch house as it appeared around 1 948. Dr. Agnes Conrad sits by the 
window. The fireplace has been rebuilt, but otherwise the room looks the same. Seth Wood photograph 
courtesy of the Jack Mason Museum. 


Detail of the 1867 "Plat of the Survey for the relocation of the Road from Bolinas to Olema" by Hiram Austin, 
showing the area between Five Brooks and Olema. The "Baldwin Ranch buildings" are the future Truttman 
Ranch; N. Olds is at the future Stewart Ranch. Note the location where William Johnson had a potato farm. 

California Historical Society Collection. 


Detail of the first U. S. Geological Survey map published of the Point Reyes quadrangle, 1916. 
Note the railroad tracks along Lagunitas Creek. 



Section III, Chapter J 


Bloom Ranch 






site of Boucher dairy < 

site of Johnson farm ' 

Schultz house' & barn * 

Vedanta Society 
(old Shatter Ranch) \ 


Golden Gate National Recreation Area 

.1 .2 .3 .4 .5 

Trad from USGS Quads - Contour Interval 200 1 
historic boundaries approximate 



Former Bloom Ranch 
(Golden Gate National Recreation Area) 

1. Description 

The 1170-acre Truttman Ranch, historically known as the Baldwin Ranch 
and Bloom Ranch, lies to the east of Olema Creek and south of the small town 
of Olema. Successful dairy businesses operated here from at least 1858 to 1974; 
beef cattle now graze the pastures. The ranch land is mostly grassy, with 
wooded gulches on the Bolinas Ridge slope and fir/oak forests covering the 
southwestern corner. 

The ranch's dairy complex consists of about five acres on a wide knoll on 
the west side of Highway One near the western center of the ranch. Until 
recently it consisted of a typical dairy layout with two dwellings and a 
bunkhouse, a hay barn, a Grade A dairy, a horse barn, various sheds, remains of 
an old orchard, and numerous corrals and fences; many of these historic 
structures were removed in February 1994 under the orders of Point Reyes 
National Seashore Superintendent John Sansing. 

2. History of the Truttman Ranch 

The Truttman Ranch grew out of at least three different landholdings 
that made up the north, central and south parts of the ranch. All three 
sections had working farms on them, of which only the central one remains. 
First, Rafael Garcia sold 357 acres south of his hacienda (near Olema) to Victor 
B. Post on Christmas day, 1855. Post, a partner of Samuel P. Taylor in the 
development of the Pioneer Paper Mill on nearby Lagunitas Creek, soon resold 
a number of parcels in the Olema Valley; those that made up the central and 
south portions of the Truttman Ranch were included in these transactions. 
Garcia then sold what would become the northern portion to Daniel and Nelson 
Olds in 1856; then, on September 23, 1857, the Olds brothers sold the 574 acres 
to Benjamin T. Winslow and Stephen Barnaby. 123 

123 Deeds Book C, p. 46, 66 and 144, MCRO. According to Jeremiah Olds, Garcia would not sell 
Winslow the small tract adjacent to Olema that he desired, so Nelson Olds bought his large tract 


Winslow had built a house prior to his purchase, as early as 1856; he 
planted crops and eventually developed a dairy after buying the property in 
partnership with Barnaby. The land was mostly rolling, grassy hills, with a rich 
section of bottomland next to Olema Creek. The partners located their 
homestead near the creek, at the approximate location of the more recent 
Truttman deer camp. 124 

Benjamin T. Winslow has been credited with founding and naming the 
town of Olema at the northern end of his new property. Before September of 
1857 Winslow built a combination hotel, store and saloon, called the Olema 
House, and became the first postmaster when a post office was established on 
February 28, 1859. Within a short time the town had a number of hotels, 
saloons, service businesses and dwellings and became the dominant town in the 
Point Reyes area for at least the next two decades. 125 

Both Winslow and Barnaby hailed from Massachusetts and came to 
California with the Gold Rush. Winslow arrived in Bolinas in late 1849 as part 
of a company contracted to supply wharf timbers to San Francisco, then found 
his way to Garcia's rancho. After purchasing their Olema Valley property 
Winslow and Barnaby may have divided their responsibilities, i.e., Winslow 
developed the hotel and post office and Barnaby the farm. However, both were 
listed as farmers in the 1860 census. The dairy farm produced 1500 pounds of 
butter the previous year, and the rich bottom lands produced sixty bushels of 
winter wheat, 1,000 bushels of oats, 600 bushels of barley, 2,000 bushels of Irish 
potatoes and 40 tons of hay. Winslow, married with one child, owned 15 horses, 
while Barnaby, a single man, owned only three. Seven men, including Point 
Reyes pioneer Frank Miller, were employed at or around the farm in mid- 
1860. 126 

The partners split their holdings in October of 1860, Winslow keeping 
170 acres of the northern part and Barnaby selling his 400 acres to Samuel Nay, 

and sold the smaller property to Winslow after the Olds purchase. 

124 Qp. Cit.; Agriculture Schedules, 8th U. S. Census, 1860; Plat of Rancho Tomales y Baulines, 
1858, PRNS. 

125 Deeds. Book C, p. 144, MCRO; Jack Mason, Earthquake Bay: A History of Tomales Bay. 
California (Inverness: North Shore Books, 1976, p. 78. 

' 26 Population and Agriculture Schedules, 8th U. S. Census, 1860; Munro-Fraser, Marin County. 
p. 267. Frank Miller lived to an old age in Olema operating a blacksmith shop. 


a San Antonio township dairyman a few days later. Barnaby left the area, but 
Winslow stayed on, operating his small dairy farm. In 1870 Winslow had 
sixteen milk cows and continued to produce farm crops. Benjamin Winslow died 
at Olema in 1875 and, many years later in 1882, his widow Margaret sold his 
farmland to Joseph and James Bloom. 127 

The central section of the ranch consisted of two old parcels, the first 
being the 400 acres Stephen Barnaby sold to Samuel Nay in 1860 and the 
second being 157 acres that Victor Post sold to Zadock Karner on February 1, 
1856. Karner came to California in 1851 on the first voyage of the steamer 
Golden Gate from the Isthmus of Panama to San Francisco. Karner had 
worked in his native Massachusetts as a farmer, grocer and jeweler, and while 
at the California mines operated a hotel at Mountain Springs for six years and 
also worked as a watchmaker. Two years after purchasing his Olema Valley 
ranch he came to settle there and start a dairy, bringing with him his nephew, 
L. K. Baldwin. 128 

Levi K. Baldwin's hometown in Massachusetts was the same as his uncle 
Zadock Karner 's: Egremont in Berkshire County. Baldwin married Emeline 
Parsons and operated a successful farm on the East Coast for many years. Due 
to an investment gone bad, Baldwin lost his fortune and came to Olema in 1858 
to work on his uncle's dairy. Baldwin and his wife and young daughter occupied 
a house on the site of the Truttman Ranch today, possibly the "bunk house" 
that still stands, and helped his uncle to develop a fine dairy ranch. 129 

By 1860 the thriving Karner and Baldwin dairy, known as L. K. Baldwin 
& Co., supported 70 milk cows which produced 5,000 pounds of butter. Four 
hired hands did the milking and farm work, raising 1,620 bushels of wheat, 
oats, barley and potatoes and sixteen tons of hay. One of the farm hands was 
Emeline Baldwin's brother Charles Parsons, who five years later would develop 
another early dairy ranch (now Lupton) to the south. 

In early 1862 a correspondent from The California Farmer visited the 
Olema Valley ranches and, in glowing terms, singled out Baldwin's dairy as the 
best and most successful in the area. In the opinion of the writer, "[Karner 

'"Deeds Book C, p. 344, Book D, pp. 243 and 245, Book X, p. 475, MCRO; Population and 
Agriculture Schedules of the 9th U. S. Census, 1870; Mason, Historian, p. 767. 

128 Deeds Book C, pp. 49 and 234, MCRO; Santa Cruz County, pp. 309-310. 
129 Santa Cruz County, pp. 332-333; Plat of Rancho Tomales y Baulines, 1858, PRNS. 


and Baldwin's] may be called a Real Dairy Ranch. It embraces 550 acres, and 
upon it are 250 head of stock, all told, usually 100 milkers; they now milk 60 
cows; and the success of this Dairy should stimulate every one in the Dairy 
business." 130 

The layout of the ranch and the quality of its buildings especially 
impressed the writer: 

The whole arrangement of barn-yards, corrals, pens 
for swine, domestic fowls, and all that appertains to a 
well arranged farm and dairy, gives evidence that 
what is worth doing at all is worth doing well. The 
large barn and hay-sheds were well filled with hay 
this past winter, with tubs of potatoes and roots for 
stock. . . . The Dairy-rooms are perfectly neat and 
sweet, average temperature 60 degrees. Here is an 
excellent churn, home-made, which churns 70 to 87 
pounds at a churning, requiring 30 minutes and does 
up the work well. Messrs. K. & B. market their own 
butter. We noticed with pleasure, as a credit to the 
ranch, good dry stalls where 50 to 75 cows can be 
placed within warm stalls during stormy weather, or 
sheltered in hot weather. The milking corral is on a 
dry round knoll, with four large oaks for shelter, 
selected with reference to comfort and dryness, as the 
water rolls off as it falls. Pasture for the cows is 
divided off so as to give fresh feed at all times. Noble 
large oaks shelter the dwelling and the dairy-house 
from the heat of summer. ... A young orchard of 200 
trees upon a good spot, with small fruits, will give 
luxuries to the table. A fine breed of swine take the 
waste milk, which is conveyed from the dairy-house in 
a wooden trunk under ground to a trough in the yard 
for the swine, thus saving great labor. 

Baldwin and Karner were no doubt doing well financially, as the 
correspondent provided a detailed look at the books of the ranch during the 
preceding three years: 

. . . And what was the result for the winter. We take 
the dairy record: The months of January and 

''"Population and Agriculture Schedules, 8th U. S. Census, 1860; The California Farmer. 
March 28, 1862, p. 1. 


February, 1500 pounds of butter were made, which 
realized 62 1/2 cents per pound for the former month, 
and 54 cents for the latter. In 1861, 10,000 pounds of 
butter were made, which averaged 40 cents per pound 
for the season. In 1860, amount made 8000 pounds, 
average price for the season 46 1/2 cents per pound. 
In 1859, made 6000 pounds, average price 52 cents per 
pound. The largest months last year were: May 1988 
pounds, June 1761 pounds, July 1028 pounds; besides 
these amounts, considerable is sold at the Ranch. . . . 
It is such oversight, such care of stock, that has given 
1500 pounds of extra butter, selling for $800 in cash, 
to this dairy, without the loss of any stock, at a time 
when many others have lost largely by starvation, and 
have not yet begun to milk. 

In closing, the writer gave praise to the management of Levi Baldwin and 
Zadock Karner, as if setting the stage for the dairymen's future successes: 

We do love to praise well doing. We admire to see 
animals well cared for, neatness and cleanliness in a 
dairy, and yet upon a little reflection, all men of good 
common sense, men that love their business, KNOW 
their own interest is best promoted by such means; 
therefore, having enjoyed the courtesy and hospitality 
of the proprietors of this ranch, we will say, that they 
have manifested a large share of wisdom and sound 
common sense, added to judgement and knowledge, in 
the management of their Dairy business, which is in 
most prosperous condition. 131 

L. K. Baldwin bought 400 acres adjacent to Karner 's original 157 acres in 
1861 from Samuel Nay, and 243 acres from Nelson Olds in 1864. Karner sold 
his Olema Valley property and his half of the business to Baldwin in 1867 and 
moved to Castroville, where he lived past age 80. 132 

The southern portion of Truttman Ranch was originally two parcels: the 
first was a 58-acre parcel sold by Victor Post to Homer Strong of Alameda in 
February of 1856. Strong apparently built a house and lived there for a while 

131 The California Farmer. March 28, 1862. 

132 Deeds Book B, p. 483, Book E, p. 439 and Book G, p. 16, MCRO. 


and then sold the property to ex-New Yorker William L. Johnson one year later. 
Johnson developed a small dairy of six cows and a potato farm. According to 
the 1860 census, Johnson lived with what was probably two young sisters and a 
hired hand, N. W. Garrison. His land was valued at $1,530 and he owned three 
horses, six milk cows and one other head of cattle, and twelve pigs, all valued at 
$300. Johnson lived in a house on a small lake near Olema Creek. The 
correspondent from The California Farmer visited Johnson and gave a detailed 
description of his improved farm: 

Continuing our ride onwards after leaving the 
pleasant home of Messrs. Karman [sic] & Baldwin, we 
called on Mr. W. L. Johnson, who cultivates sixty 
acres of farming land, and has a very neat and pretty 
cottage in a truly rural spot, well sheltered from the 
winds. The Home-garden is good land, rich, deep, and 
well-cultivated, with a fine small orchard and neat 
surroundings. A pretty lake for a fish-pond is nicely 
situated in front of the cottage, and can be made 
beautiful. The 60 acres is all planted in potatoes. We 
found Mr. Johnson planting his potatoes on the high 
rolling hill-tops, the soil dark rich deep loam. He has 
leased another 70-acre lot, all for potatoes. The flood 
involved him in a loss of 800 sacks of potatoes, which 
were at the landing and swept away. Mr. J. has a fine 
home and family to make his lot a pleasant one. 133 

Nelson Olds sold Johnson 146.36 acres in early 1866, but later that year 
Johnson sold his property, now totaling 204.36 acres, to L. K. Baldwin and 
moved away from the Olema Valley. His home was moved to Olema in 1883 
and remodeled into a tinsmith's shop. 134 

By 1867 Levi K. Baldwin owned the former properties of Stephen 
Barnaby, Zadock Karner and William Johnson, totalling 1,004 acres. Baldwin 
was seen as a successful and generous member of the Marin County 
community. Because his "sound judgement and business abilities were 
recognized by his neighbors," Baldwin served for three terms on the Marin 
County Board of Supervisors. Active in community affairs, Baldwin hosted 

133 The California Farmer. April 4, 1862, p. 1; Deeds Book C, pp. 48 and 87, MCRO; Population 
and Agriculture Schedules, 8th U. S. Census, 1860. 

134 Deeds Book E, p. 532, and Book F, p. 171, MCRO; Marin County Journal. May 17, 1883. 


events and picnics at "a beautiful grove" near his ranch house. This description 
of one such event in 1867 appeared in the San Rafael newspaper: 

PICNIC AT OLEMA. A May-day picnic and festival 
given for the pupils attending the Public and Sunday 
Schools came off at Olema in a beautiful grove near 
the residence of L. K. Baldwin on the 1st instant. It 
was largely attended and proved a complete success. 
The day was magnificent; the breeze, soft and balmy, 
laden with the perfume of a thousand wild flowers 
went sighing through the grand old oaks, stirring the 
foliage of the evergreens whence issued the melodious 
warble of the linnet and the joyous carol of the robin. 
Along the outskirts of the grove a stream of crystal 
water ran babbling and murmuring; troops of bright- 
eyed, gaily dressed, well behaved children frolicked 
about upon the green sward or swung in the swings 
suspended from the branches of the oaks. All was joy 
and gladness. In the afternoon a table bountifully 
supplied with everything in the way of edibles that 
could charm the eye or tempt the palate was set in 
the shade and everybody partook until satisfied. The 
repast being finished there was some excellent singing 
under the admirable leadership of Mr. Stickles, of the 
Powder Mill, after which Rev. Mr. Barlingame was 
called upon who responded in a neat little address 
replete with imagery and abounding in metaphor, 
exactly suited to the day and the occasion. The 
behavior of the children was unexceptionable, and 
reflects the highest credit on their teachers, their 
parents and themselves. Altogether it was a most 
pleasant affair, and we trust it will be repeated next 
May-day." 135 

While Baldwin's business and social life was one of acclaim and success, 
his family life had its share of tragedy. His oldest daughter Clara was listed in 
censuses as "dumb" and "idiotic," and a daughter Satella, born on the ranch in 
1863, died at age seven. The couple had one other daughter, Mary, born on the 
ranch in 1867. Also in residence at the ranch was Baldwin's wife's mother and 

135 Santa Cruz County, p. 332; Marin County Journal. January 9, 1864, May 4, June 22, and 
July 6, 1867. 


sister, members of the Parsons family who by that time had purchased a ranch 
only a few miles south in the valley. 136 

Baldwin took on a business partner in 1869: Swiss immigrant Giuseppe 
Fiori. He agreed to sell the ranch for $20,000 in early 1870 to Fiori, but 
continued to reside on the ranch until moving to Santa Cruz in 1872. In 
partnership with fellow Olema rancher Delos D. Wilder, Baldwin started a large 
dairy north of Santa Cruz, where he spent the remainder of his life. 137 

Giuseppe, or Joseph, Fiori hired a number of fellow Swiss to work on his 
dairy. In 1870 they milked 99 cows and made 14,000 pounds of butter, being 
the largest dairy at the time in the Olema Valley. In October of that year Fiori 
sold his option on the ranch and the livestock and appurtenances to a fellow 
Swiss immigrant (and probably relation) James Bloom. Included in the 
transaction were 101 milk cows and 57 other cattle, four horses with saddles 
and harness, 42 hogs, 50 fowl, three wagons, and dairy equipment. Bloom may 
have been a son or other relative of Fiori; James Bloom and his brother Joseph 
had changed their names from Fiori (Italian for flower) to an English 
equivalent, Bloom, upon their arrival in the United States some years earlier. 
James Bloom owned and occupied another dairy in Chileno Valley in northern 
Marin County, and soon sold his brother Joseph a half-interest in the Olema 
dairy ranch with the apparent intent that Joseph would operate it. 138 

Joseph Bloom left his birthplace of Canton Ticino, Switzerland in 1862 at 
age 14 and immigrated to America. He leased a ranch from Felix Garcia at 
Tocaloma (now the western part of Don Mclsaac's) in 1868 for $450 per year 
before moving to his new ranch near Olema. In taking over the Baldwin ranch, 
Bloom found himself in control of one of the largest and most respected dairies 

136 Population Schedules, 8th and 9th U. S. Censuses, 1860 and 1870; Marin County Journal. 
March 2, 1867, October 29, 1870, and March 3, 1881. 

'"Deeds. Book H, p. 466, MCRO; Santa Cruz County, p. 333. The Wilder Ranch, located a 
short distance north of Santa Cruz, is now a unit in the California State Parks system and is open 
to the public. Baldwin and Wilder had divided their Santa Cruz lands some time after the move. 

'"Population and Agriculture Schedules, 9th U. S. Census, 1870; Deeds Book H, pp. 542 and 
544, MCRO; interview with Louis Bloom and Fred Rodoni. Bloom family tradition has it that 
Joseph Fiori and Joseph Bloom were the same person, but census records prove this incorrect, as 
Fiori was 23 years older than Bloom in 1870; it is likely that they were father and son. 


in the county. One newspaper correspondent wrote in 1875 of visiting Bloom, 
"owner of the famous Baldwin dairy." 139 

Bloom had been married and had a son, Jeremiah, while at Tocaloma; 
apparently his first wife Mary died. After about four years on the dairy Bloom 
took a new wife, Teresa, and the couple had six children: Begnimina, Clorindo 
(originally named Galileo), Valenti Joseph, Celia, Romilda and Lino, who died as 
a child. The Bloom family became respected and influential in the Olema area, 
where many descendants still reside. 141 

In 1876 Bloom built a large, two-story house facing the county road to 
replace the small old ranch dwelling. The house resembled others built during 
the same decade in the area, especially the house of Joseph Codoni at 
Tocaloma. Bloom also built a large, 100-cow milking barn, probably replacing a 
smaller one nearby. Later, perhaps around the turn of the century, about forty 
feet were added to the barn's west end to increase the milking capacity. The 
Blooms bought the Winslow property to the north in 1882, bringing the total 
size of the ranch to 1170 acres. 141 

Joseph Bloom involved himself in community service, deeding a lot on his 
ranch for use as a cemetery in 1882, and donating an acre for the new Druid's 
Hall in Olema, of which Bloom was a charter member. The Druids order built 
a landmark building in 1885, a newsman commenting that "it is a handsome 
site, and a handsome act in Mr. Bloom." James Bloom and his wife Lucy sold 
their half interest in the ranch to Joseph on July 11, 1893. 142 

As Joseph Bloom's sons grew to adulthood, they each learned the dairy 
business by working on the ranch. In 1900 Clorindo and Valenti worked side- 
by-side with five other farm hands, all Swiss or Italian. In mid- 1901 the Bloom 
Ranch was producing 5,850 pounds of butter per month from 152 cows. 
Clorindo Bloom eventually purchased the Pedrotti ranch on the northern 

139 Population Schedules, 9th U. S. Census, 1870; Leases Book A, p. 351, MCRO; Marin County 
Journal. December 16, 1875. 

'""Population Schedules of the 9th, 10th and 12th U. S. Censuses, 1870, 1880, 1900; Marin 
Journal. February 20, 1890. 

141 Deeds Book X, p. 475, MCRO; interviews with Louis Bloom, Henrietta Greer and Boyd 

142 Deeds Book X, p. 58, Book 2, p. 270, Book 26, p. 355, MCRO; Marin Journal. June 19, 1884. 


outskirts of Olema, where he raised a large family. 143 

The ranch water supply originated about two miles away on the forest 
lands of Payne Shatter to the west. Joseph Bloom traded two lots in Olema for 
the water rights in 1894. The water traveled through a 2" pipe from its intake 
near the source of Boucher (or Davis) Creek, across Olema Creek and uphill to 
the ranch. The Blooms extended the line to the other side of the highway, up 
the ridge, and then ran lines north and south to all of the important pastures, 
crops and hayfields; the water system reportedly included about ten miles of 
pipeline. 14 

Valenti J. Bloom continued to work on his father's dairy, and took over 
the operation when Joseph Bloom retired about 1915. Bloom died in 1927 at 
age 79 and was buried in Olema Cemetery on his ranch. Before the father's 
death, the Bloom family sold the ranch to Valenti on July 1, 1919. Bloom and 
his wife Mary ran the ranch for only a few years after gaining title. The couple 
moved to San Rafael in 1924. V. J. Bloom kept a hunting camp on the ranch 
near the creek on Johnson's old farm, and often entertained friends at the 
rustic camp. 145 

The Bloom family leased the ranch to other parties for the remainder of 
their ownership. Joseph Vogensen bought the dairy business from V. J. Bloom 
and rented the ranch from 1924 to 1927. Nicasio dairyman Samuel Stewart, 
recent purchaser of the neighboring Olds Ranch, then rented the Bloom Ranch. 
Stewart improved the ranch, building a wooden floor in the barn and repairing 
many of the aging structures. Stewart died after being injured by a horse near 
the ranch residence in March 1927. Stewart's widow, daughter Henrietta, and 
son Boyd operated the dairy until Henrietta married Thomas Greer in 1932. 
The Greers took over the dairy, milking between 100 to 125 cows with gasoline- 
powered milking machines and shipping the fresh milk to the Point Reyes 
Cooperative Creamery. The ranch was equipped with two electric plants, a 

'^Population Schedules, 12th U. S. Census, 1900; Marin Journal. June 20, 1901; interview 
with Louis Bloom. 

'"Deeds Book 28, p. 388, and Book 51, p. 375, MCRO; interview with Henrietta Greer. 
Boucher Creek was named for Peter Boucher, a French-born harnessmaker who rented a small 
dairy across Olema Creek from the Blooms (and adjacent to the aforementioned creek which was 
Bloom's water supply) from the Shafter family. Davis was probably Sylvester Davis who lives at 
the Olds Ranch in 1860. 

145 Deeds Book 209, p. 102, and Chattel Mortgages Book O, p. 99, MCRO; San Rafael 
Independent Journal. October 8, 1969; interview with Henrietta Greer. 


Delco for the dairy and a Kohler plant for the house. The former ranch butter 
house was used to cool and store the milk. 146 

The Greers occupied the ranch until December of 1934, when Charles 
Dolcini and Fred LaFranchi took the lease; LaFranchi eventually left the 
partnership. Dolcini upgraded the ranch to produce and ship Grade A milk, 
building a large sanitary barn in 1935 next to the old milking barn. The old 
dairy house, in its heyday a four-room dairy equipped with a steam turbine 
separator, was torn down, as were the hog pens. The Dolcini family left the 
ranch in late 1941; V. J. Bloom then entered a lease with Sayles Turney, one of 
the owners of Roberts Dairy in San Rafael. On the first night of the hired 
ranch manager's occupation, and only days before the bombing of Pearl Harbor, 
the large old Bloom house burned to the ground, reportedly taking with it many 
treasures of Olema Valley history that had been left in the house. Although 
the fire was supposedly due to a faulty flue in the house, Bloom reportedly 
evicted the tenant and canceled the contract with Turney; the tenant, named 
Shotwell, then sued Bloom over loss of his possessions and won a settlement. 14 

Bloom found reliable tenants in Armin and Frank Truttman, brothers 
who moved to the ranch in 1943 in partnership with their father, Joseph 
Truttman, and San Joaquin Valley dairyman Manuel Silva. At the time Silva 
operated about nine dairies in the vicinity of Dos Palos, and chose one of his 
foremen, Armin Truttman, to manage a Bay Area dairy to satisfy the wartime 
demand. Silva and the Truttmans bought the business at the Bloom Ranch, 
although Silva and the elder Truttman sold their interests in the early 1950s to 
the Truttman sons. V. J. Bloom limited the number of cows on the pasture to 
120, but within a few years gained approval of the Truttman's management and 
allowed an increase to about 160 cows. 14 ' 

Frank Truttman soon married one of V. J. Bloom's nieces and moved off 
the ranch. Armin Truttman and his wife Helen raised a family at the ranch, 
occupying either of two houses built at the ranch to replace the old Bloom 
house. The larger of the houses was incomplete when the Truttmans came in 

146 Interviews with Boyd Stewart and Henrietta Greer. 

147 West Marin Star. December 8, 1934; interviews with Armin and Frank Truttman, Boyd 
Stewart and Don Mclsaac; dated photographic evidence on the construction of the Grade A barn 
was taken by Farrington Jones in the 1930s, courtesy of Roy Farrington Jones. 

U8 Information on the Truttman era, 1943-1990, from interviews with Armin and Frank 
Truttman, Louis Bloom and Don Mclsaac. 


1943, and they finished it. A second, smaller, house was built next door in 

1944, and was occupied variously by the Truttmans, dairy foremen, and the 
Stanley Truttman family until 1988. The bunk house, probably the original 
Baldwin dwelling built about 1858, was occupied by milkers. The Truttmans 
moved two buildings on the ranch, the calf barn and a shed (both since 
removed). They put a large sliding door on the east side of the hay barn to 
improve access, and removed a wooden floor installed by the Stewarts in 1927. 

The Truttman family built a new "deer camp" of their own on Olema 
Creek, near the original 1850s residence of Stephen Barnaby. Barbecues and 
campouts for families and local organizations echoed the festive gatherings that 
had occurred in "Baldwin's grove" a hundred years earlier. The Truttmans 
improved the deer camp to include a fully equipped kitchen and bar, as well as 
a fireplace and volleyball court. The remains of the deer camp were destroyed 
by the Park Service in early 1991. 

Armin Truttman was active in local, statewide and national dairy and 
livestock organizations, often traveling to Sacramento and Washington, D. C. to 
lobby for the dairyman's interests. He was a founder of the California 
Dairymen's Association and the American Dairy Association, as well as being 
actively involved in local organizations and charities. His activities kept him 
and his dairy operation in the limelight for much of the 1950s and 1960s. 

Armin and Frank Truttman invested about $70,000 on improvements on 
the Grade A dairy in the mid-1960s, replacing the original wooden stanchions 
with metal and improving the flow of stock through the barn during milking. 
The Truttmans installed milk transport lines and an automated grain delivery 
system for feeding while milking. The tall grain silo next to the hay barn was 
removed, and a grain shed built and pavement poured in the dairy yard. This 
could be called the heyday of the 20th century dairy operations at the ranch. 
The Truttman dairy ceased operation in 1974, shortly after the ranch was 
purchased by the National Park Service; until 1990 the Truttmans raised 
Hereford beef cattle. 

Valenti J. Bloom sold part of the ranch to Greenbrae developer Neils 
Schultz in 1959, and the remainder to Schultz in 1966. Bloom died in 1969. 
Under the corporate names Schultz Investment Company and Nicasio Ranch 
Company, Schultz planned a large housing development of one house to the 
acre. The dairy and grazing continued to be leased by the Truttmans during 
this time. A house and a horse barn was built by the Schultz family a mile 


south of the ranch complex, but the development plans were scrapped when the 
ranch was purchased by the National Park Service in 1974. 149 

Armin and Frank Truttman leased the ranch from the National Park 
Service under a special use permit until December 31, 1990, when they ceased 
operations and retired; Armin Truttman died in October 1993. Most of the 
ranch buildings, except for the bunkhouse, hay barn, Grade A barn, and main 
house, were removed by Point Reyes National Seashore without 106 compliance 
in February of 1994. With the exception of the house, the remaining buildings 
are vacant. 

The ranch grazing land has been leased to Jo Ann Stewart of the 
neighboring Stewart Ranch. Stewart, in cooperation with National Park Service 
range management staff, has been rearranging grazing patterns on the land in 
order to improve range conditions, and has improved the water system. 

3. Buildings and Historic Resources 

a. Bunkhouse (OV-15.16) 

The bunkhouse is a simple wood frame dwelling with a hipped roof and 
vertical redwood board and batten siding. It is probably the original dwelling 
house on the ranch, which would place its construction date at about 1858-60 
and would therefore make it the oldest unaltered house in the area. It has 
been referred to as the bunkhouse since the 1920s; it is likely that the two- 
story house built by Bloom in the 1870s (which burned in 1941) replaced this 
smaller dwelling as the prosperity of the owners grew. A shed addition, for use 
as a kitchen, was added in the early 1960s; it is the only alteration, and is 

The bunkhouse was used for general ranch storage from 1974 to 1991; since 
then it has been vacant. 

The bunkhouse, measuring 24 by 36 feet, is in fair condition; it needs 
foundation repairs, flooring and other interior repairs. Taking into account the 
removable addition, its historic integrity is excellent. 

149 Official Records Book 1333, p. 476. Book 2100, p. 378, Book 2781, p. 610, and Book 2784, p. 
165; tract files, PRNS. 


b. Hay Barn (OV-15.20) 

The hay barn was reportedly built by Joseph Bloom in the 1880s. After 
this time the cows were milked in this barn, which once had stanchions for 
approximately 75 cows; some of the old wood stanchions remain. The barn was 
enlarged some time before the 1920s with an addition on the west end. About 
1926 a wooden floor was installed in the center aisle of the barn, but this was 
removed by the Truttmans in the late 1940s. At that time the Truttmans 
installed the large sliding door on the east end and removed half of the original 
stanchions. Cables and rods were installed, and some framing removed, to 
stabilize the barn in the 1950s. 

The hay barn, measuring 56 by 146 feet, is in poor condition, with 
vertical supports leaning outward, a collapsing wall, leaking roof and extensive 
damage by powder post beetles. It is no longer in use, and has good historic 

c. Dairy Barn (OV-15.05) 

This Grade A sanitary barn was built in 1935 by Novato contractors, the 
Renati Brothers. In its original state 100 cows could be milked at one time; it 
was remodeled in the mid-1960s by the Truttmans, a move which decreased the 
numbers of cows being milked at one time but improved efficiency. During the 
remodeling the original wood stanchions were removed and the layout changed 
to include three holding pens and a smaller row of metal stanchions with 
automatic feeders and a stainless steel carrying pipe, which eliminated the need 
to hand-haul cans of milk to the tank in an adjacent room. Vertical ceiling 
supports were removed and replaced with laminated horizontal beams. 

The north end of the dairy building is a four-room complex which 
contains the tank room, cooler room, wash room and utility room. A breezeway 
with concrete stairs separates the complex from the dairy; this was where the 
milk was hauled by hand before the remodeling. The heavy door to the cooler 
room has been removed. 

The dairy, measuring 63 by 94 feet and constructed of reinforced 
concrete, wood and metal, is in fair condition, and has good historic integrity. 


d. Grain Shed (OV-15.12) and Dairy Yard 

The dairy yard, built in the mid-1960s, is a large concrete pad with fence 
rail directly west of the dairy. Cows were washed here before entering the 
barn for milking. On the pad is the grain shed, built about 1946 next to where 
a tall wooden grain silo stood. Feed for the cows while they were being milked 
was stored here. The building became obsolete with the addition of the metal 
14-ton grain bin nearby in the dairy yard. A large concrete water tank stands 
abandoned next to the grain shed. 

The grain shed and dairy yard are in good condition, but are not historic. 

e. Main House 

The main house was built in 1942-43 on the site of the burned Bloom 
residence. It was occupied by Armin Truttman and his family for most of its 
existence. Of simple architecture, the house has a kitchen, living room, 
bathroom, utility room and three bedrooms. A porch on the south side was 
enclosed at an unknown date. Concrete walks and plantings from the original 
1880s house, which sat in this location, remain in the garden. A portion of the 
old milled picked fence remained north of the house until it was removed in 
early 1994. 

The main house, currently occupied by park personnel, is in good 
condition and has good historic integrity. 

f. Orchard 

The orchard, originally of 200 trees planted circa 1860, has about half a 
dozen of what may be original trees. Another six or so trees were planted later. 
Most of the trees on the original orchard plot are gone. A septic system leach 
field from the remaining residence is located in the orchard. The remaining 
trees are various strains of apple, cherry and peach. 

The orchard covers about an acre, and most of the remaining trees are in 
fair condition but in need of pruning. The integrity of the orchard is fair. 


g. Corrals, Chutes, Feeders, Walkways 

Throughout the ranch complex are structures related to livestock control, 
although the major structures (within the ranch complex) were removed in 
early 1994. The removed structures included a horse corral, rebuilt in the 
1940s, which adjoined the horse barn, enclosures and ramps for cows at milking 
tune, peripheral fences and a loading chute built by the Truttmans about 1960 
near the dairy barn. Another, similar, loading chute remains in the hills on the 
eastern parcel of the ranch and is in fair condition, being still in use. The 
pastures throughout the ranch acreage are divided by various styles of fence 
into large and small pastures. A number of new barbed wire pasture fences 
have been added and a few old fencelines removed in the past three years. Most 
of the gates are "Portugee gates," simple barbed wire and post gates. 

Concrete feeding areas were found west of the ranch complex and on the 
east side of the highway about 1/4 mile up the hill road. These are long 
stretches of unreinforced concrete about six feet wide. Wooden feed troughs 
and stanchions line the concrete areas and a concrete water trough is located on 
each one. In early 1994, the west feeders were removed. Other metal and 
concrete troughs are scattered around the ranch. 

Concrete walkways, installed for sanitation purposes, led to the dairy 
from behind the horse barn and from the west pasture, but these were also 
removed. They had been built during the 1940s through 1960s. A concrete pad 
was laid on the south side of the hay barn at an unknown date and remains. 

h. Water System 

The Truttman ranch water system dates to at least 1894 when Joseph 
Bloom traded water rights with neighbor Payne J. Shafter for a town lot . The 
water originates in Davis, or Boucher, Creek, now on lands of Vedanta Society, 
about two miles southwest from the Truttman Ranch. It is caught at an intake 
on a pristine section of the upper creek and conveyed through various kinds of 
pipe (having been repaired over the years) overland through Vedanta Society 
property, across Olema Creek, then uphill to a concrete storage tank near the 
west corral. It is then pumped to the residence and uphill to pasture troughs in 
the hills to the east. The newer sections of the pipeline are PVC. The water 


system is in good condition, with access to the troublesome line being improved 
in 1992. 

i. Ranch Roads 

The Truttman Ranch is serviced by a main driveway which leaves 
Highway One on a dangerous curve (many accidents, some fatal, have occurred 
near the ranch entrance; news accounts often refer to it as "Truttman's Curve"). 
The driveway opens up into a wide dirt yard capable of handling heavy truck 
traffic. Short roads lead off this yard to the hay barn, water tank and orchard. 
An abandoned road leaves the ranch complex northwesterly to the flats and 
deer camp site; it has been overgrown with grass. Three roads split from this 
one to various areas on the west side of the ranch. All of these roads are 

A dirt road leads to the chutes and feeders on the east side of the 
highway and ends about halfway up the ridge. There are approximately six 
other undeveloped gate entrances to the pasturage on the approximately two 
miles of Highway One that pass through the Truttman Ranch. 

j. Trees 

An immense Douglas fir planted by the Truttmans about 1944 grows in 
the yard between the main house and the site of the small house; it was 
damaged by the controlled burning of the smaller house in 1993. A number of 
recent non-native acacia trees are growing on the east side of the dairy. The 
ranch is studded with large native oaks. 


4. Park-Removed Historic Structures 

In early 1994 most of the historic resources at Truttman Ranch were 
destroyed without Section 106 compliance in an effort by the Park 
superintendent to clean up the ranch site. For reasons of context the 
structures, none of which were properly documented before removal, are 
described herein: 

a. Horse Barn (OV-15.19) 

The horse barn, located at the entrance to the ranch, appeared to be one 
of the oldest structures on the ranch and among the oldest in the Olema Valley. 
It is estimated to have been built in the 1860s. Its framing was constructed of 
used material, including huge hand-hewn redwood beams showing notches and 
pegs from an earlier use. Roof rafters were peeled poles. Siding consisted of 
random-width vertical redwood planks, circular-sawn. The building was a 
classic 19th century horse barn, the last one of its size remaining in the Olema 
Valley and the only horse barn visible to the public on the State Highway. The 
roof had been strengthened with diagonal supports, and a small part of the 
front of the barn had been replanked due to vehicular damage. Armin 
Truttman built a small tack room in one corner of the barn. A shed on the 
west side, used for tractor storage until recently, was empty, with the roof 
mostly destroyed. 

The horse barn, measuring 50 by 50 feet, needed roof and siding repair 
and structural strengthening, was infested with powder post beetles and was in 
poor condition. 

b. Equipment Shed/Garage (OV-15.18) 

The Equipment Shed/Garage appeared to be more than 100 years old. It 
was comparable with a similar shed at Upper Pierce Ranch. It was wood frame 
with a corrugated metal shed roof, open on one side with two wide bays for 
automobiles or equipment. It had not been altered during the last 50 years. 

The garage, measuring 22 by 32 feet, was in fan- condition. 


c. Dairy Shop/Tool Shop (OV-15.10) 

This tool shop was one of the older buildings on the ranch. It was used 
at least since the turn of the century as a tool shop relating to operation of the 
dairy. At the east end was an open, raised and roofed platform once used for 
storage of 55 gallon fuel cans. A gas pump and underground tank was installed 
nearby about thirty years ago but the operable pump had been removed to the 
Stewart Ranch in 1990 and the underground tank has been removed. The 
building had not been altered in the last 50 years. 

The dairy shop, measuring 23 by 12 feet, was in poor condition; planks 
were rotting and young trees were impacting two sides of the structure. 

d. Shop Garage (old storage shed) (OV-15.04) 

The shop garage, connected to the dairy shop by a wooden wall or fence, 
was also one of the older buildings on the ranch. It was used in the early days 
for vegetable and fruit storage, probably because it was shaded by an ancient 
oak tree. It was used as a garage in the late 1920s. This shed had been used 
for general storage for the last 50 years. 

The shop garage, measuring 12 by 20 feet, was in fair condition. 

e. Pumphouse (OV-15.14) 

The pumphouse was an older structure of unknown origins. It was 
moved to its last location in 1944. It contained the electric water pump system 
which supplied water to the dwellings. 

The 9 by 12 foot building was covered with ivy and was in fair condition. 

f. The Ivy House (OV-15.09) 

This was a small shed with shelves inside, entirely engulfed in ivy plants 
during its last years. Its use is unknown; it may have been an outhouse at one 

The ivy house, measuring 6 by 9 feet, was in poor condition. 


g. Play House (OV-15.08) 

The play house was installed circa 1934-41 between two existing 
structures. It had been used by children since then, although at the time of 
removal was overgrown and dirty, hence unusable. 

The play house, measuring 3 by 9 feet, was in poor condition. 

h. Freezer (OV-15.07) 

The freezer shed had been located further south according to a 1920s 
photograph. It appeared to have been constructed out of materials from other 
old buildings. It was used as a meat cooler until about 1950 when it was 
replaced with the meat house. 

The freezer, measuring 14 by 15 feet, was in fair condition. 

i. Meat House (OV-15.15) 

The meat house was built by Armin Truttman about 1950. It had been 
used for meat storage until the Truttmans' departure in 1990. 

The meat house, measuring 13 by 16 feet, was in good condition. It was 
not a historic building but had a functional use for the residents. 

j. Small House (removed 1993) 

The small house was built by the Truttmans in 1944, and housed three 
generations of Truttmans, a ranch manager's family and park personnel until it 
was removed in 1993. It was of simple construction; a porch originally ran the 
length of the front (south) side, but was enclosed in two separate operations. 
More recently the kitchen was enlarged and a shed utility room was added to 
the west side. It was vacated and burned by the National Park Service in 1993. 


5. Historic Significance of Truttman Ranch 

Although many important historic structures were recently removed by 
the National Park Service, the Truttman Ranch contains a number of unique 
buildings that are among the earliest examples of surviving Olema Valley 
historic ranch structures. The bunkhouse and Grade A dairy are significant as 
unique early examples of pioneer and progressive dairy operations in the Olema 
Valley, once one of the premium dairy regions of California. Specifically, the 
bunkhouse appears to be the oldest intact building of its kind in the valley. 
The Grade A dairy, built in 1935, is the first and largest of the genre and the 
only one of its size surviving in the valley. In addition, the hay barn is one of 
the largest surviving 19th century barn in the valley. 

The removal of buildings and corrals has impacted the historic integrity 
of the ranch, although the remaining buildings have a high level of integrity on 
an individual basis. 

The Truttman Ranch is locally significant as the major dairy of the area 
throughout its history, in both production and quality of pasture; it may be 
regionally significant as the first significant dairy in the Olema Valley and the 
first dairy ranch of Levi K. Baldwin, who started here on his rise to being one 
of the prominent dairymen of the state. It is also significant for its contribution 
to immigration in the state of California, as a dairy ranch owned and operated 
by Swiss immigrants during the 19th century. In addition, this dairy ranch 
predates the development period of the regionally significant Shafter dairy 
empire at Point Reyes to the west. 

Historic Features 

1. Bunkhouse, ca. 1858 

2. Hay Barn, ca. 1870-1880 

3. Grade A Dairy Barn, 1935 

4. Main House, 1942 

5. Orchard, ca. 1858-1950 

6. Fences, chutes, corrals 

7. Water System 

8. Road systems 


old highway 



= building removed 


Levi K. Baldwin, co-founder of the dairy ranch that became the Bloom/Truttman Ranch. From The History of 
Santa Cruz County, California. 


Two 1906 views by G. K. Gilbert of the countryside and county road on the Bloom Ranch: above, looking 
north from near the southern end of the ranch, with a San Andreas fault sag pond in the foreground; below, 
looking south near the center of the ranch. Note the varying fence styles. U.S.G.S. Library, Menlo Park. 


Pasture above the ranch complex in 1924, while Joe Vogensen rented the ranch. M. B. Boissevain photo 
courtesy of Jack Mason Museum. 

A Guernsey bull owned by V. J. Bloom on the ranch, February 1923. M. B. Boissevain photo courtesy of Jack 
Mason Museum. 


The Bloom Ranch around 1928, when the Stewart family rented it. The large house later burned. Courtesy of 
Henrietta (Stewart) Greer. 


Similar view to the previous page, showing the orchard, center. Courtesy of Henrietta Greer. 


The old truck used by the Stewart family in the dairy operation, around 1928. The old Baldwin house, by this 
time a bunk house, is on the left. Courtesy of Henrietta Greer. 


Two views of ranch buildings taken in 1935, when Dolcini and LaFranchi ran the dairy at the Bloom Ranch. 
Top, the old Bloom house; bottom, the horse barn. Courfesy of Roy Farrington Jones. 


Two views of the former milking barn taken in 1935, when Dolcini and LaFranchi ran the dairy at the Bloom 
Ranch. Top, the east side of the barn; bottom, the south elevation. Courtesy of Roy Farrington Jones. 


Two views of the newly built Grade A barn taken in 1935. Top, the barn's north side; bottom, the west side of 
the Grade A barn, the silo and the north side of the former Grade B milking barn. Courtesy of Roy Farrington 


Frank (left) and Armin Truttman, operators of the dairy and later beef ranch from 1943 to 1990. The Grade A 
barn and feed bin is in the background. San Rafael Independent-Journal photograph courtesy of Marin County 
Historical Society. 


The Truttman Ranch as it appeared around 1948. Note the silo, calf barn and open porches on the two newer 
houses. Seth Wood photograph courtesy of Jack Mason Museum. 

Similar view taken in 1985. Trees have practically hidden the houses. Photograph by Dewey Livingston. 


The Truttman Ranch horse barn as it appeared in 1990; the carriage shed is at the right. These and many of 
the surrounding structures were torn down in 1 994. NFS photograph by Dewey Livingston. 


Interior of the Truttman Ranch horse barn in 1990. A/PS photograph by Dewey Livingston. 


The horse barn shortly before it was demolished, February 1994. WPS photograph by Dewey Livingston. 

The small 1 944 house as it appeared in 1 990. The house was later burned for fire training. Photo by Dewey 


'.. v) 

Detail of the 1867 "Plat of the Survey for the relocation of the Road from Bolinas to Olema" by Hiram Austin, 

showing the Olema area. Note the Loomis Curtis ranch at the top of Olema Hill, and the location of the 

old Olema road. Austin, the county surveyor calls Olema Creek "Garcia or Olema Creek." 

California Historical Society Collection. 



Section III, Chapter K 


Beebe Ranch 





Golden Gate National Recreation Area 

.1 .2 .3 .4 .5 

Traced from USGS Quads Contour Interval 200 1 
historic boundaries approximate 



Neil Mdsaac Ranch 

Rogers Ranch 




Beebe Ranch 
(Golden Gate National Recreation Area) 

1. Description 

This ranch, locally known as the Beebe Ranch for the last tenants who 
were there between 1950 and 1976, is an almost-pie-shaped parcel surrounding 
a gulch that carries Cheno Creek directly through the town of Olema. Reached 
by an access road at the foot of Sir Francis Drake Highway and Highway One, 
the ranch is composed of steep hills and very little flat land. It is mostly grassy, 
with some hardwoods growing on the south side of the gulch. It is bounded on 
the north by Drake Highway, on the east by the Ferro/Mclsaac Ranch, on the 
south by the Truttman Ranch and on the west by Highway One at Olema. 
There are no remaining ranch structures, and the land is not open for grazing. 

2. History of the DeSouza Ranch 

The original route from Point Reyes to San Rafael, the Old Olema Trail, 
ascended a flat ridge easterly from Olema to the summit of Bolinas Ridge, 
where it then led down to the Lagunitas Creek valley and on through the San 
Geronimo Valley to San Rafael. This route from the village to the ridge served 
as a boundary line when Rafael Garcia sold part of his property in the Olema 
Valley to Nelson and Daniel Olds in 1856. After Garcia's death and the family's 
subdivision of his lands this line became the south boundary of the 300.66 acre 
ranch of Garcia's daughter Maria Dolores Garcia Hurtado. With the northwest 
boundary being the newly built county road from Olema to San Rafael, the 
shape of the ranch was formed by transportation patterns in the area. 

No record has been found of Mrs. Hurtado 's use of the land. Hurtado 
mortgaged the property to James McMillan Shafter and defaulted; the mortgage 
was foreclosed on August 9, 1871 and ordered for sale by the county sheriff. 
Shafter purchased the ranch for $7576.13 at the sheriffs sale on September 11. 
Nevertheless, Hurtado and her husband sold the property in March of the 
following year to John Wright and George Sanders for $8500, and soon after the 
Hurtados borrowed $13,000 from Wright and Saunders and leased the land from 


them for $5.00 per month. Whatever Hurtado was trying to achieve in these 
transactions didn't work, as the previous sheriffs sale to Shafter was confirmed 
on March 12, 1872 and a deed was finalized in Shatter's favor. 150 

Shafter deeded the land to his son Payne, owner and resident of "The 
Oaks" across the county road to the west. Payne Shafter sold the eastern end 
of the ranch to Neil Mclsaac in 1893, reducing the size of the property to 187.16 
acres. Shafter also sold small parcels in Olema to tinsmith Samuel Olstead and 
storekeeper Santino Martinelli. 151 

The Shatters called it the Cheno Ranch or Cheno Field. A two-bedroom 
house, a 32-foot by 50-foot barn and outbuildings were constructed at an 
unknown time and the place operated as a small dairy for many years, no doubt 
under a lease with some local dairyman. In 1910 the ranch was leased to A. F. 
Morris. 152 

Payne Shafter sold the ranch on February 1, 1934, to Manuel J. and 
Maria F. DeSouza. The DeSouzas ran a dairy business and raised a family, but 
after World War II rented the ranch to Jack Dougan. Dougan built a 1140- 
square foot Grade A barn and shipped market milk. By 1950 the DeSouzas 
leased the ranch to Wilson Beebe, who continued to operate a dairy until the 
federal government bought the property in December of 1975 for inclusion in 
Golden Gate National Recreation Area. In 1964 Beebe had purchased a small 
plot of land on Drake Highway from the DeSouzas; this was also bought for the 
park. The Beebe family was relocated in May of 1976 and the buildings were 
torn down by the park service. 153 

150 Records in "Abstract . . . Nelson Hotel", pp. 145-148; Deeds Book V, p. 508, Book L, p. 22, 

'"Deeds Book 57, p. 214, Official Records Book 8, p. 107, MCRO. 

152 Shafter ledger, Jack Mason Museum; Appraisal Report: The DeSouza Ranch (Sebastopol: 
Harding Appraisal Co., 1973). 

'"Official Records Book 215, pp. 89 and 93; Appraisal: DeSouza: interview with Don Mclsaac, 
Boyd and Jo Ann Stewart. 


3. Historic Resources 

No building remain at the DeSouza Ranch. The ranch road remains in 
use by park personnel for access to a wood chopping area at the former house 

The only resource of any significance is the old Olema Trail ran along the 
southern fence line; traces of this portion can be found and it is in occasional 
use by utility crews maintaining the lines on the right-of-way which follows the 
old trail. 

4. Historic Significance of the DeSouza Ranch 

While the DeSouza Ranch is significant for its contribution to the Olema 
Valley dairy district, the absence of ranch resources leaves it with no integrity. 
Howver, the old Olema Trail which delineates the southern boundary of the 
ranch is significant as an important pioneer road corridor in the Olema and 
Point Reyes area. 

Historic Features 

1. Old Olema Trail 

2. Ranch driveway 


Aerial view of Olema, looking north, in 1959. The Beebe Ranch is at right, Rogers Ranch in the center. 
California Department of Highways. 


Two views of the former DeSouza Ranch in 1 976 before it was torn down. Top, house at left; bottom, the 
Grade A and hay barns. A/PS photographs, 1975. 



i/ierv / 


Detail of a subdivision map of Rafael Garcia's lands, showing the old Olema road, called the 

"Old San Rafael Road" on this map. From "Abstract of Title . . . Part of the Rancho Tomales y Baulines," 

donated by Don Mclsaac. Point Reyes National Seashore Collection. 



Section III, Chapter L 


C. Bloom Ranch 





Golden Gate National Recreation Area 

.2 .3 

Traced from USGS Quads - Contour Interval 200 1 
historic boundaries approximate 




(Garcia/Howard tract) 





Former Clorindo Bloom Ranch 
(Golden Gate National Recreation Area) 

1. Description 

The Rogers Ranch is located at the north end of the town of Olema, 
directly across Highway 1 from the Sacred Heart Catholic Church. As the 
former Clorindo Bloom Ranch for many decades, the current property is the 
result of two of the Garcia family properties having been combined. The park 
purchase of 219 acres excluded the residence and one outbuilding, located close 
to the road. The acreage within park boundaries includes the ranch buildings 
behind the house and about 200 acres of grazing land. It is bounded on the 
north by the McFadden Ranch, on the east by the Mclsaac Ranch, on the south 
by private property in the village of Olema and on the west by Highway 1. It is 
mostly grassy pasture, with a small amount of wooded gulches. 

2. History of the Rogers Ranch 

The Rogers ranch was first a part of the Garcia family subdivision of 
1868. Two rectangular parcels of 202.98 acres were given to Juan and Thomas 
Garcia. Juan, also inherited other parcels in Olema, and sold various portions 
of his larger tract, in essence contributing greatly to the growth of Olema as a 
village. He sold 180 acres of his ranch tract for $7200 to William Clear of 
Alameda in 1874. V. Donati then owned the parcel for a while and in 1886 sold 
it to longtime Olema Valley dairyman Angelo Pedrotti, who operated a dairy 
there until his death in 1895. 154 

Thomas Garcia, who was underage at the time of the inheritance, died 
five years after receiving the property. His brothers almost lost the land to 
James McMillan Shatter, before selling to William Evans in 1875. Evans, in 
turn, sold the tract to Charles Webb Howard in 1887. 155 

154 Deeds Book H, p. 77, Book M, p. 182, MCRO. 

155 Deeds Book K, p. 707, Book L, p. 518, Book M, pp. 131 and 468, MCRO; interview with 
Juanita Sweeney. 


Clorindo Bloom, son of Olema Valley pioneer Joseph Bloom, bought both 
Pedro tti and Howard properties at different times after 1896 and continued 
dairy ranching there. Bloom married Alma Mazza from a nearby ranch in 
Tocaloma and raised a family on the Olema ranch: Louis, Margaret, Regina, 
Richard, Rita and James, all of whom helped with the ranch duties. The 
Bloom's original house was reportedly replaced with the home that stands 
today. The family milked between 35 and 80 cows, separating the cream in the 
dairy house and taking it to the cooperative creamery in Point Reyes Station for 
processing. Hay was grown in the hills and on three parcels owned by Bloom 
across the highway in Olema. Like his neighbors, Bloom owned a team of 
horses and mules for ranch work until he bought a tractor. 156 

Clorindo Bloom died in 1938, after which his widow and sons Louis and 
Richard ran the dairy. Louis stayed on after his mother and siblings left and 
ran the ranch as a beef operation for about 20 years; Louis also worked as the 
county brand inspector, as well as being county fire chief for nine years. His 
mother, Alma Bloom, died in 1955 and the Bloom family sold the ranch in 1958 
for $75,000. Louis Bloom and his sister Rita Truttman bought parcels of the 
ranch above Olema, as did a number of outside parties. 

Neighboring dairyman Fred Genazzi bought the ranch from the Blooms 
around 1958 and built a Grade A barn with the intention of having a second 
family dairy, but a problem in getting a milk contract caused Genazzi to sell the 
ranch. He sold a portion of the southern half to an Olema resident, Marin 
County Judge David Baty, and sold the Bloom dairy to Clarence Rogers of a 
longtime Nicasio dairying family. Rogers operated the Grade A dairy until the 
mid-1970s when he bought a herd of beef cattle. 157 

The federal government acquired 219.3 acres of Rogers' property for 
GGNRA on February 5, 1981; Rogers retained his home and outbuilding. 
Rogers holds a 25-year reservation for livestock ranching on the parcel. 158 

Bloom family information from interviews with Louis and Richard Bloom, Regina 
(Bloom) Rodoni, and Frank Truttman. 



Official Records Book 1372, p. 274, MCRO; interview with Clarence Rogers. 
'Tract File (L-4125): Tract 05-114, Rogers, Clarence R., PRNS. 


3. Historic Resources 

At the time of park purchase, the Rogers Ranch consisted of the main 
house and garage, excluded from the sale, and two large hay barns, an old 
carriage shed, dairy house, one-car garage, workshop/garage, and a concrete 
Grade A milking barn. 

a. Hay Barn 

This mid-sized 42' by 54' barn was once the Grade B milking barn. It 
was apparently built by Clorindo Bloom around the turn of the century; the 
family stopped milking cows in the late 1930s and the barn has been used for 
feed storage since then. The barn is sheathed in corrugated metal but most of 
its structural fabric appears to be original. The wood central floor was removed 
and the large doorways were reoriented in the 1960s by Armin Truttman. 
Because of these alterations, the barn has only fair integrity, although its 
condition reflects the changing uses of farm buildings in the area. 

b. Carriage Shed 

This is a typical 19th century three-bay wagon shed that is now used for 
storage. The front was extended seven feet about 50 years ago but the original 
ports are evident. The 45' by 22' building has random-width vertical board 
siding and a corrugated metal roof. It is in fair condition and its integrity is 

c. Dairy House 

The old 15' by 18' dairy house, long out of use for its intended purpose, is 
a simple, gable roofed building with wood siding and a corrugated metal roof. It 
is in poor condition but its integrity is good. 

d. One-car Garage 

The 16' by 10' one-car garage, located near the Rogers home, was built 
around 1945 to house the fire truck owned by the Olema Volunteer Fire 


Department. It is a simple, gable-roofed building with horizontal siding and a 
corrugated metal roof. It is in fair condition and its integrity is good. 

e. Workshop/Garage 

Louis Bloom reportedly built the garage out of lumber salvaged from the 
original house on the property. It is a long, 16' by 36' building with plywood 
rolling doors facing south, with a gable corrugated metal roof and horizontal v- 
groove siding. It is in good condition and its integrity is fair. 

The Grade A dairy barn and the cube barn are recent additions and not 
considered to be potentially historic. 

4. Historic Significance of the Rogers Ranch 

The Rogers Ranch has historic significance as a dairy ranch that 
contributed to the important Olema Valley dairy industry. The Bloom family 
were pioneers of the area and a number pf family members live in the area 
today. The former Bloom Ranch has been cut up into numerous parcels but the 
ranch complex is relatively intact. Alterations to some buildings have affected 
the integrity of the ranch, but overall the integrity of the Rogers Ranch is good. 

Historic Features 

1. Hay Barn, ca. 1900 

2. Wagon Shed, ca. 1880 

3. Dairy House, ca. 1880 

4. One-car Garage, ca. 1945 

5. Workshop/Garage, ca. 1940 


Former Clorindo Bloom Ranch 
(Golden Gate National Recreation Area) 

1. Description 

The Rogers Ranch is located at the north end of the town of Olema, 
directly across Highway 1 from the Sacred Heart Catholic Church. As the 
former Clorindo Bloom Ranch for many decades, the current property is the 
result of two of the Garcia family properties having been combined. The park 
purchase of 219 acres excluded the residence and one outbuilding, located close 
to the road. The acreage within park boundaries includes the ranch buildings 
behind the house and about 200 acres of grazing land. It is bounded on the 
north by the McFadden Ranch, on the east by the Mclsaac Ranch, on the south 
by private property in the village of Olema and on the west by Highway 1. It is 
mostly grassy pasture, with a small amount of wooded gulches. 

2. History of the Rogers Ranch 

The Rogers ranch was first a part of the Garcia family subdivision of 
1868. Two rectangular parcels of 202.98 acres were given to Juan and Thomas 
Garcia. Juan, also inherited other parcels in Olema, and sold various portions 
of his larger tract, in essence contributing greatly to the growth of Olema as a 
village. He sold 180 acres of his ranch tract for $7200 to William Clear of 
Alameda in 1874. V. Donati then owned the parcel for a while and in 1886 sold 
it to longtime Olema Valley dairyman Angelo Pedrotti, who operated a dairy 
there until his death in 1895. 154 

Thomas Garcia, who was underage at the time of the inheritance, died 
five years after receiving the property. His brothers almost lost the land to 
James McMillan Shafter, before selling to William Evans in 1875. Evans, in 
turn, sold the tract to Charles Webb Howard in 1887. 155 

154 Deeds Book H, p. 77, Book M, p. 182, MCRO. 

155 Deeds Book K, p. 707, Book L, p. 518, Book M, pp. 131 and 468, MCRO; interview with 
Juanita Sweeney. 


Clorindo Bloom, son of Olema Valley pioneer Joseph Bloom, bought both 
Pedrotti and Howard properties at different times after 1896 and continued 
dairy ranching there. Bloom married Alma Mazza from a nearby ranch in 
Tocaloma and raised a family on the Olema ranch: Louis, Margaret, Regina, 
Richard, Rita and James, all of whom helped with the ranch duties. The 
Bloom's original house was reportedly replaced with the home that stands 
today. The family milked between 35 and 80 cows, separating the cream in the 
dairy house and taking it to the cooperative creamery in Point Reyes Station for 
processing. Hay was grown in the hills and on three parcels owned by Bloom 
across the highway in Olema. Like his neighbors, Bloom owned a team of 
horses and mules for ranch work until he bought a tractor. 156 

Clorindo Bloom died in 1938, after which his widow and sons Louis and 
Richard ran the dairy. Louis stayed on after his mother and siblings left and 
ran the ranch as a beef operation for about 20 years; Louis also worked as the 
county brand inspector, as well as being county fire chief for nine years. His 
mother, Alma Bloom, died in 1955 and the Bloom family sold the ranch in 1958 
for $75,000. Louis Bloom and his sister Rita Truttman bought parcels of the 
ranch above Olema, as did a number of outside parties. 

Neighboring dairyman Fred Genazzi bought the ranch from the Blooms 
around 1958 and built a Grade A barn with the intention of having a second 
family dairy, but a problem in getting a milk contract caused Genazzi to sell the 
ranch. He sold a portion of the southern half to an Olema resident, Marin 
County Judge David Baty, and sold the Bloom dairy to Clarence Rogers of a 
longtime Nicasio dairying family. Rogers operated the Grade A dairy until the 
mid-1970s when he bought a herd of beef cattle. 157 

The federal government acquired 219.3 acres of Rogers' property for 
GGNRA on February 5, 1981; Rogers retained his home and outbuilding. 
Rogers holds a 25-year reservation for livestock ranching on the parcel. 158 

Bloom family information from interviews with Louis and Richard Bloom, Regina 
(Bloom) Rodoni, and Frank Truttman. 



Official Records Book 1372, p. 274, MCRO; interview with Clarence Rogers. 
'Tract File (L-4125): Tract 05-114, Rogers, Clarence R., PRNS. 


3. Historic Resources 

At the time of park purchase, the Rogers Ranch consisted of the main 
house and garage, excluded from the sale, and two large hay barns, an old 
carriage shed, dairy house, one-car garage, workshop/garage, and a concrete 
Grade A milking barn. 

a. Hay Barn 

This mid-sized 42' by 54' barn was once the Grade B milking barn. It 
was apparently built by Clorindo Bloom around the turn of the century; the 
family stopped milking cows in the late 1930s and the barn has been used for 
feed storage since then. The barn is sheathed in corrugated metal but most of 
its structural fabric appears to be original. The wood central floor was removed 
and the large doorways were reoriented in the 1960s by Armin Truttman. 
Because of these alterations, the barn has only fair integrity, although its 
condition reflects the changing uses of farm buildings in the area. 

b. Carriage Shed 

This is a typical 19th century three-bay wagon shed that is now used for 
storage. The front was extended seven feet about 50 years ago but the original 
ports are evident. The 45' by 22' building has random-width vertical board 
siding and a corrugated metal roof. It is in fair condition and its integrity is 

c. Dairy House 

The old 15' by 18' dairy house, long out of use for its intended purpose, is 
a simple, gable roofed building with wood siding and a corrugated metal roof. It 
is in poor condition but its integrity is good. 

d. One-car Garage 

The 16' by 10' one-car garage, located near the Rogers home, was built 
around 1945 to house the fire truck owned by the Olema Volunteer Fire 


Department. It is a simple, gable-roofed building with horizontal siding and a 
corrugated metal roof. It is in fair condition and its integrity is good. 

e. Workshop/Garage 

Louis Bloom reportedly built the garage out of lumber salvaged from the 
original house on the property. It is a long, 16' by 36' building with plywood 
rolling doors facing south, with a gable corrugated metal roof and horizontal v- 
groove siding. It is in good condition and its integrity is fair. 

The Grade A dairy barn and the cube barn are recent additions and not 
considered to be potentially historic. 

4. Historic Significance of the Rogers Ranch 

The Rogers Ranch has historic significance as a dairy ranch that 
contributed to the important Olema Valley dairy industry. The Bloom family 
were pioneers of the area and a number pf family members live in the area 
today. The former Bloom Ranch has been cut up into numerous parcels but the 
ranch complex is relatively intact. Alterations to some buildings have affected 
the integrity of the ranch, but overall the integrity of the Rogers Ranch is good. 

Historic Features 

1. Hay Barn, ca. 1900 

2. Wagon Shed, ca. 1880 

3. Dairy House, ca. 1880 

4. One-car Garage, ca. 1945 

5. Workshop/Garage, ca. 1940 






former Gamboni 

Iv#^ workshop/garage 


Highway 1 


Two 1995 views of the Rogers Ranch. The hay barn (top) and the old dairy. NPS photos by Dewey Livingston. 



Section III, Chapter M 


W Ranch 







Point Reyes National Seashore Headquarters 
(Point Reyes National Seashore) 

1. Description 

One of the largest and most famed Point Reyes and Olema Valley 
ranches is the Bear Valley Ranch, which now acts as the administration 
headquarters, visitor center, and major trailhead for visitors to the Point Reyes 
National Seashore. Given the letter W in the Shatter dairy organization of the 
1860s, the proximity of the ranch to Olema (less than a mile) held it in the 
public eye for all of its history. The scenery at Bear Valley is among the finest 
in California, and its resources have long been exploited and enjoyed by man. 
Long a favorite destination for tourists coming by train, stagecoach and 
automobile, Bear Valley remains a prominent and popular area in Marin 

For the most of this century the Bear Valley Ranch consisted of four 
dairy ranches, U, W, Y, and Z. The W designation dropped from use around the 
turn of the century and eventually Bear Valley Ranch stood to mean the whole 
area of the aforementioned ranches. These ranches are separated for individual 
history study in this report. The 7739-acre ranch, including the smaller dairies, 
stretched from Olema and Tomales Bay on the east to the Pacific Ocean and 
Drakes Bay on the west. Bounded on the north and south by the lands of 
James McMillan Shafter, delineated by a series of ridges adjacent to the Laguna 
Ranch to the north and Bear Valley Creek and Coast Creek to the south. The 
land is practically mountainous, with the highest peak on the Point Reyes 
Peninsula, Mt. Wittenberg, as the central geographic feature of the ranch. 
Forested hills spotted with meadows characterize the eastern portion of the 
ranch, while brush- and grass-covered ridges and gulches pour down to a 
spectacular Pacific shoreline on the west. 

The ranch complex is located near the foot of Mt. Wittenberg a half-mile 
from Olema on Bear Valley Road. It consists of a large red hay barn, three 
residences for ranch workers (two of which have been converted to offices), a 
horse barn, and maintenance facilities. On a hill nearby, past the current 
visitor center, is a later complex of buildings constructed for the pleasure of the 
wealthy owners of this century: a house, garage/apartment, and horse barn. 


This area is now the site of the Morgan Horse Ranch. Access to these 
complexes is by a federal entrance road off county-owned Bear Valley Road, 
marked with a prominent carved wooden park entrance sign. 

2. History of the Bear Valley (W) Ranch 

W Ranch may sit on the site of Rafael Garcia's adobe rancho, described in 
Section I of this report. Archeological investigations have not been attempted 
in this area, and some previous research led historians to believe that the 
Garcia site was in the flat area across Bear Valley Road from park 
headquarters. Given the historical data gathered about that area for this 
report, it seems unlikely that a substantial ranch complex would have been 
built on what was essentially an unstable marsh or slough. This writer believes 
that Garcia's ranch was located at the present site of the Bear Valley Ranch. 
The site offered flat ground of stable character, and fits descriptions and early 
surveys of Garcia's ranch. For instance, a correspondent for San Francisco's 
Alta California, writing about a visit to Point Reyes, described leaving Olema 
and "passing the Garcia ranch house, which stands on a knoll, a short distance 
from Olima [sic] . . . ." Only archeological investigation will prove the exact 
location, and the amount of earthmoving done at the Bear Valley Ranch site 
since the 1920s could have obliterated any evidence remaining from Garcia's 
time. 159 

After receiving the patent for the Ranches Punta de los Reyes and Punta 
de los Reyes Sobrante, the Shafter brothers went after Rafael Garcia in court, 
claiming that their rights to the Berry Ranch should include additional acreage, 
namely Garcia's. The case was resolved in 1865, just before Garcia's death, 
with the Shatters receiving some land in the Olema Valley and Pine Gulch, and 
a large tract of unclaimed land on the northern slopes of Mt. Tamalpais, 
including much of Lagunitas Canyon. This settlement also confirmed Olema 
Creek as the boundary between Shafter and Garcia land, leaving Garcia's 
historic old adobe rancho in Shafter hands. Apparently, Garcia's adobe 
buildings were demolished (reportedly by the 1868 earthquake) and the W 

159 Plat of Rancho Tomales y Baulines, 1860; San Francisco Alta California. December 9, 1865; 
James Delgado, "Found--The Garcia Adobe Site!", in Mason, Historian, pp. 400-401. 


Ranch constructed at the site in the late 1860s. 160 

Along the lines of the Shatters' plans, W Ranch was designed as a 
premium dairy ranch. A dairy house, barns, and a substantial two-story house 
occupied an area between a westward bend in Olema Creek and a section of 
Bear Valley Creek. Probably later, in the 1870s or '80s, the proprietors built a 
huge milking barn. After the partition of 1869-1870, Charles Webb Howard 
owned W Ranch; he may have been the moving force in the establishment and 
construction of the ranch. Like the Shafter Home Ranch, W Ranch was no 
doubt designed to be one of the showplaces of the Shafter/Howard dairy 
empire, perhaps built by Howard with competitive spirit directed toward his in- 
laws. The earliest reference to the name Bear Valley Dairy appeared in an 
1883 account book of the Shafter family. 161 

Howard himself didn't operate or live at W Ranch, but for much of the 
time his superintendents did, making W the headquarters of Howard's dairy 
operations on Point Reyes. The first known tenant at W Ranch, as of 1871, was 
named Crandell, perhaps a relative of Thomas Crandell of F Ranch or the same 
man. Starting around 1877 Howard's ranch superintendent, William H. Abbott, 
oversaw Point Reyes operations from the Howard "home ranch" at Bear Valley. 
Around that time a great deal of land clearing was in progress. A newspaper 
reporter recounted wind damage after the clearing operation: 

During the high winds of last month, about one 
hundred and fifty oak and bay trees blew over on the 
lately cleared lands of C. W. Howard, at Olema. A few 
years ago these lands were covered with dense forests 
.... The stumps were cleared by grubbing, blasting, 
burning, etc. 162 

Howard liked his superintendent Abbott a great deal (Abbott "belongs to 
the family," wrote Howard) and gave him full responsibility for operation of the 
ranches. Howard was busy with his San Francisco enterprises, including the 
Spring Valley Water Company and the muckraking magazine The Wasp, and 

160 Mason, Point Reyes, pp. 40-48; "Plat of the Rancho Tomales y Baulines," 1865, PRNS. 
:61 Shafter Ranch Ledger, entry of November 16, 1883, Jack Mason Museum. 

162 Plat of the Subdivision of Punta de los Reyes, 1871; C. W. Howard to Theron Howard, July 
18, 1882, Howard Family Collection; Marin County Journal. February 7, 1878, p. 3. 


spent his time in the city. Abbott kept up-to-date with dairy innovations, being 
perhaps the first in the area to try and purchase a cream separator. Howard 
wrote in 1884, "Abbott has just got in operation at his place The Machine which 
separates the cream from the milk by centrifugal force & thinks it will benefit 
him nearly 20% in his business of Butter Making & Selling." The San Rafael 
newspaper reported the next month: 

The Fay cream separator has had a trial at Mr. 
Abbott's dairy. The milk was divided in equal parts, 
one-half going into the machine, and half set in the 
old way, say 1,000 pounds in each. The separator 
produced the greater weight of cream, but at the 
churning it made a half-pound less of butter, showing 
a greater amount of buttermilk. The test was made 
under some disadvantages to the new method, and it 
is probable another trial will be made, with steam 
power brought from the city. The innovation is so 
much esteemed that Mr. Claussen [E ranch] will 
probably take two, and so will Randall and Johnson 
[Pierce ranch]. A machine will separate seventy 
gallons an hour. 163 

Abbott also farmed hay on W Ranch, with 25 acres producing 4 tons in 1890. 
He retired in May 1899, after 22 years of faithful work for Howard. 164 

Howard's son, Frederick Paxon Howard, moved to the ranch after Abbott 
left and spent his days there as a "gentleman farmer." His siblings, Maud, 
Harold, and Oscar, lived in the east and Europe, showing no apparent interest 
in the ranch. Charles Webb Howard died in 1908, leaving the ranch to his 
estranged wife, Emma Shafter Howard. Mrs. Howard lived the life of a socialite 
in San Francisco while her son ran W Ranch in high style. After Mrs. Howard's 
death, however, the family began to squabble over the Point Reyes property. 
Historian Jack Mason wrote of the events to come: 

Fred Paxon Howard had been a gentleman farmer, 
like his second cousin Payne, on his mother's W 
Ranch . . . which was flourishing through these years. 


Marin County Journal. April 10, 1884. 

164 C. W. Howard to Theron Howard, March 18, 1884. Howard Family Collection; Marin 
Journal. July 17, 1890 and May 25, 1899. 


It vexed his sister Maud that he presumed to "live on, 
use and have income from that particularly choice 
ranch," especially when--as she claimed--he refused to 
account for the income it produced. Maud, who had 
been living in Europe on a family allowance, "wanted 
out" of the family combine, and offered her share of 
Point Reyes to her brothers for $100,000. Two of 
them lived in the east: Harold was in a mental 
institution, and Oscar Shafter Howard, a composer of 
sorts, lived at the Lamb's Club in New York City. 
Neither objected but Fred, who was president of the 
family corporation, did. Maud hired a young San 
Francisco lawyer, Jerome B. White, and sued her 
brothers to force a partition of the Point Reyes 
holdings. 165 

Maud Howard won the lawsuit, and the family members sold their interest in 
the land individually to millionaire San Francisco brewer John G. Rapp for a 
total of about $400,000. Rapp quickly sold off the ranches on the Point, but 
kept W Ranch and, after Fred Howard left, set to work making the Bear Valley 
Ranch into a 20th century dairy farm. 166 

John Rapp, son and namesake of one of San Francisco's most prominent 
beer producers, had the resources to improve the Bear Valley Ranch both for 
business and comfort. Prohibition had closed down the family business the 
same year that Rapp made the ranch purchases. For his family's enjoyment, 
Rapp built a "magnificent country home" in 1923 on a hill near Oscar Shafter's 
centennial sequoia, about half a mile up Bear Valley from the ranch complex. 
The house, reportedly costing about $12,000 to build, was of a rustic character, 
along the lines of a hunting retreat with an eye for entertaining. A wide porch 
looked out over the Olema Valley. On the creek below, Rapp had a dam 
constructed, which formed a pond large enough for boating and swimming; 
changing rooms were available at pondside for guests. The family, including 
three daughters and a son, enjoyed horseback trips to the ridges, swimming, 
hunting, and hiking all over the property. Guests were frequent, some of whom 
were allowed to set up tent camps on the property during the summer. One 
family, that of Robert Menzies of San Rafael, kept a tent camp on the hill near 

165 Mason, Point Reyes, p. 94. 
166 Ibid.. pp. 94-95. 


Rapp's house site where the children and friends had the run of the ranch. A 
longtime tradition of free public access to Bear Valley, started by Charles Webb 
Howard, changed as Rapp began to charge a fee for entry. Rapp also sold some 
prime property: he sold 466 acres in the northeast corner of the ranch to his 
realtor, August Lang, in November 1923, for $18,000. This property eventually 
became Noren Estates and the Silverhills subdivisions adjacent to Inverness 
Park. 167 

At the old W Ranch dairy, Rapp hired John Watson as manager, and 
embarked on a program that would make the Bear Valley Dairy one of the first 
certified dairies in Marin County. Certification was the precursor to Grade A 
labeling which was established in the 1930s, where sanitary standards were 
upheld in order to produce milk for popular consumption. To do this, Rapp 
improved the dairy herd and built a sanitary barn and two trademark silos in 
1922. Rapp's milk, taken from the cows by white-uniformed milkers, was sold 
on contract to hospitals and restaurants in San Francisco. A newspaper report 
mentioned the status of the dairy: 

Rapp is said to have one of the best certified milk 
dairies in Northern California. All of his product, 
which is shipped in bulk, is transported to leading 
hospitals in San Francisco. Those who have visited 
the ranch state it has been transformed into a 
veritable marvel of perfection in every detail. The 
herd, comprising purebred cattle, now numbers about 
200 head, and Rapp employs about 20 men to handle 
their product. 168 

The other dairies on the ranch, U, Y, and Z, continued producing cream under 
leases from Rapp that duplicated the old Shafter leases. Rapp and Watson also 
hired Greek laborers to clear about 10 acres of dense willows in the flats 
opposite the dairy ranch, and to channelize Olema Creek, rerouting it to a 
tangent from the village of Olema to near the head of Tomales Bay. Rapp 
planted feed crops on the flats, in cooperation with the county farm advisor, M. 
B. Boissevain. Irrigation was introduced to the ranch, with water from the dam 

Rapp family information from an interview with his daughter, Joan Rapp Mayhew; interview 
with Mary Menzies Page; Marin Journal. March 22, 1923, p. 1; Petaluma Argus, undated clipping 
circa 1922; Mason, Point Reyes, p. 95. 

168 Marin Journal. March 22, 1923, p. 1. 


upstream from the dairy. Rapp also had cottages built for his milkers. 169 

On September 1, 1925, Rapp traded the ranch for valuable shares in 
Dunham, Carrigan, and Hayden Company, a wholesale hardware business in 
San Francisco, to Colonel Jesse Langdon, manager of the business whose wife 
was a member of the Dunham family. Langdon continued Rapp's work in the 
certified dairy, and further improved the Holstein herd. Langdon's milkers 
were paid $90 per month, about three times the rate on other dairies. John 
Watson was laid off by Langdon and replaced by Dong Sing Tong, who "presided 
over [the dairy] with a firm hand," according to a local newspaper. Watson 
eventually became president of the State Board of Agriculture and a University 
of California regent. 170 

Jack Mason wrote about Langdon, long considered to be a part of the 
local color at Point Reyes: 

Like Rapp, the Colonel was a perfectionist .... A 
contemporary remembers him as a tall, ramrod 
straight man with a thin, craggy, humorless face, a 
spit-and-polish disciplinarian who wore khaki and a 
stiff-rimmed World War I-style Army hat even into 
the milking barn. Bill Christensen recalls "going over 
to ask for work and the colonel looking me up and 
down like a recruit standing inspection." 1 

Langdon closed the small dairies at U, Y, and Z Ranches and stocked the 
ocean range with beef cattle. By 1927, the Holstein herd had increased to 500 
and had been accredited as tuberculosis-free, making it one of the state's largest 
disease-free herds. In 1928, Langdon's Bear Valley Dairy shipped 700 gallons of 
milk daily to San Francisco on the ranch truck. 172 

When the depression struck in 1929, Langdon reportedly lost most if not 
all of his capital, and soon lost his dairy certification and hospital contracts as 

169 Mason, Historian, p. 95; Claribel Rapp Berckmeyer to Jack Mason, August 29, 1971, Jack 
Mason Museum Collection; interviews with Joan Rapp Mayhew and Lauren Cheda. Boissevain 
left photographs of Rapp's improvements at Bear Valley Ranch, now in the Jack Mason Museum 

170 Mason, Historian, pp. 8-9. 
m lbid.. p. 792. 

172 Marin Journal. November 10, 1927, p. 5; Marin Herald. "Marvelous Marin Edition," August, 
1928, p. 3; interview with Jim Colli. 


well. The dairy remained in operation for a while, probably producing Grade B 
cream. A mortgage on the ranch became delinquent, and Langdon invoked the 
Frazier-Lempke Act to protect himself from foreclosure by the Bank of San 
Rafael. The U. S. District Court took over financial control of the ranch, but 
Langdon 's problems were far from over. The Langdon's marriage was breaking 
up, according to Jack Mason, and Mrs. Langdon and her daughters labored at 
manufacturing muslin shirts in her living room. Langdon reportedly offered to 
sell the ranch to neighbor Lee Murphy for $90,000, but was turned down. 
Langdon published an illustrated brochure, touting the ranch as "one of the 
most magnificent country estates in all America." But finally, the bank 
foreclosed on its $212,000 mortgage, then bought the ranch and livestock at an 
auction on the steps of the county courthouse for $125,000, and put Bear Valley 
Ranch up for sale. The Langdons remained at the ranch, hanging on through 
red tape and perseverance, until they were evicted by the Marin County sheriff 
on April 23, 1943; the ranch had just been sold to Eugene Compton of Nevada, 
who had plans for the place. 173 

Well-known and wealthy cafeteria magnate Gene Compton bought Bear 
Valley Ranch from the Bank of San Rafael on April 21, 1943 and took possession 
soon after. Compton, like Rapp had done 20 years earlier, undertook an 
improvement and expansion program that included tearing down the large old 
W Ranch house that had been used as a horse barn and replacing it with a 
dairy foreman's residence and a bunkhouse. Compton hired Woodacre 
contractors Philpott & Bell to build a residence for the ranch manager, Charlie 
Schramm, across Bear Valley Creek from the ranch complex, as well as a horse 
barn, garage, equipment shop, and meat house. Up at the Rapp house, a horse 
barn and garage apartment were constructed. The huge old milking barn, in 
use as a hay barn since Rapp improved the dairy in the 1920s, was stripped to 
the frame, given a substantial concrete foundation, and re-sided with horizontal 
v-groove siding. Compton built a new hay barn between the old one and the 
milking barn. No doubt Compton knew people in the right places, as such large 
private construction projects so soon after the war were rare because of lack of 


Mason, Historian, pp. 792-795; San Rafael Independent. October 18, 1938; Marin Journal. 
October 20, 1938; booklet, "Bear Valley Rancho," ca. 1938, PRNS. 


materials. Compton also purchased the adjacent Glen Ranch on the Shatter 
ranch. 174 

As Jack Mason wrote, "Compton's Bear Valley Ranch was as different 
from Colonel Langdon's as day from night. The austerity and tension of the 
Langdon years gave way to creature comforts and good will. The public had 
never felt wanted at the ranch; now it did." Compton staged three rodeos 
(1946, 1947, 1948) at the ranch, in the area south of today's picnic area and 
parking lot, that drew competitors from all over the state. The last rodeo was 
endorsed by the International Rodeo Association and Rodeo Cowboys of 
America, which put the event in the league of world champions. Compton built 
an arena, complete with bleachers, refreshment stands, and restrooms, with the 
proceeds of the event to benefit the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Point 
Reyes Station and the Widows and Orphans Fund of the Olema Volunteer Fire 
Department. 175 

Unexpectedly, Compton sold the ranch on February 11, 1949 to Grace H. 
Kelham, heiress to the Spreckels sugar fortune, and her husband Bruce, a San 
Francisco investment broker, and left town. The Kelhams were not interested 
in rodeos or dairy farming, and within a year sold the dairy herd and 
demolished the dairy and hospital (hay) barn. Equipment was auctioned and, 
after more than 80 years as a premium dairy, Bear Valley Ranch became a large 
beef cattle operation. The Kelhams hired Ralph Beatty as ranch foreman; 
Compton's manager Schramm stayed on for a short time to help Beatty get 
familiar with ranch operations. 176 

The Kelhams kept up the ranch buildings, and apparently did not build 
any others. Their ranch hands, including Beatty and George DeMartini (who 
was employed at the ranch by the Kelhams from 1949 and then by the park 
until his retirement in 1984), built corrals, cleared brush off of acres of hillsides 
on the ocean side of the ranch, and raised hay on the Olema Creek flats and at 
Y and U Ranches. DeMartini recalled tearing down the old Country Club 
buildings for the Kelhams around 1950 and then the coastal barns for the 
National Park Service fifteen years later. DeMartini, the assistant foreman, 

174 Mason, Point Reyes, p. 95, Historian, p. 823; comments of Louis Bloom, Boyd and JoAnn 

175 Mason, Historian, pp. 823-824. 

176 Mason, Point Reves. p. 95; interview with George DeMartini. 


lived in the bunk house (today's administration building) until his eviction and 
subsequent hiring by the federal government. 177 

In the late 1950s, the ranch became a focal point in the establishment of 
Point Reyes National Seashore, being part of the smaller, original park plan. 
The National Park Service rented a building from the Kelhams to operate their 
land office, and a tiny parcel on the coastal part of the ranch became the first 
property to be deeded to the new park, as the gravesite of park legislation 
sponsor Clem Miller. The National Park Service purchased Bear Valley ranch 
on October 1, 1963, for $5,725,000. National Seashore staff immediately moved 
into the ranch buildings, with the bunkhouse and dairy foreman's house used as 
administration buildings. A wing was added to the bunkhouse in the late 1960s. 
The horse barn is used by the rangers as an office and fire cache. The garage 
and equipment shop are used by the park maintenance division. The foreman's 
house, the upper apartment and garage, and Rapp's 1923 house were put to use 
as park housing. The upper horse barn now houses a part of the National 
Seashore's well-known Morgan Horse Ranch. The park service built a picnic 
area and parking lot in a meadow at the foot of the road to the Rapp house. 178 

A number of water systems had been in use on the ranch for many years. 
A major system on a tributary of Bear Valley Creek supplied Olema with water, 
apparently since before the turn of the century. Another system, also feeding 
the Olema network, was located above the tributary of the creek that passes 
behind Rule Loklo, the park's Coast Miwok interpretive area. It was apparently 
built by Compton during the 1940s. The Olema system was superseded in the 
1960s by the North Marin Water District which provided water originating in 
Lagunitas Creek aquifers near Point Reyes Station through a pipeline from that 
town; the Bear Valley Creek water works were removed although the other 
system remains in an operative state near Rule Loklo, supplying water for the 
Park's landscaping and Morgan Horse Ranch. 

In 1983 the new Bear Valley Visitor Center was completed in a meadow 
opposite the picnic ground. Two years later, new access road was built, causing 
the abandonment of a portion of the century-old access road to Bear Valley. 
Today, the Bear Valley Ranch site is the primary destination of some two 
million visitors annually to Point Reyes National Seashore. 

'"interview with George DeMartini. 
178 Baywood Press. December 19, 1963, p. 1. 


3. Historic Buildings and Resources 

The hay barn, known for many years as "the red barn," was built circa 
1870 and remodeled in 1944. It retains its size (52' by 198') and shape, and 
much of what appears to be the original interior framing. The siding and roof 
was replaced and a concrete foundation built under the barn. The barn was 
apparently unpainted at the turn of the century, and from about 1920 to the 
1950s it was painted white. By the time the park purchased Bear Valley Ranch 
in 1964 the barn had been painted red. 

The Rapp house, built in 1923, was used as a summer residence by the 
Rapp family, then as a permanent residence by members of the Langdon family. 
The house was remodeled by Gene Compton in the 1940s, and has apparently 
not been significantly altered since then. Most of the structures at Bear Valley 
Ranch were built between 1944 and 1948 by Gene Compton. 

The bunkhouse, foreman's houses, horse barns, garage, equipment 
building, and meat house were built in 1947-48. All are in good condition and 
are maintained by the park maintenance staff. The west and north parts of the 
bunk house were altered in the late 1960s with an addition for administrative 
space, and an addition was constucted on the southeast corner in 1993. The 
additions matched the existing style but increased the size of the building by 
more than one third. During the 1993 construction, it was revealed that the 
current Superintendent's office was originally a separate small cabin, apparently 
predating the Compton improvements of the 1940s. The meat house was 
recently moved to make way for a realigned access road to the roads and trails 
shops and a new park housing area. 

A number of historic roads exist at the ranch. The Bear Valley Trail was 
the major access to the coast from Olema, and dates from before 1873. Two old 
ranch roads branch off of Bear Valley Trail, the Old Pine Trail (which appears 
on a 1859 map) and the Sky Trail. Both provided access to the dairies at Mt. 
Wittenberg and the coast. 

The site of the Bear Valley Country Club, 1890-ca. 1940, lies at Divide 
Meadow on the Bear Valley Trail to the coast. The Country Club was 
established by a group of wealthy and prominent members of the Pacific Union 
Club in San Francisco as a place for hunting and social meeting place in the 
country. The club thrived through the 1890s and early part of the century, 
having fine facilities including an elegant club house, cottages, kennels, horse 


barns and stocked fishing lakes. The club disbanded in the late 1930s and the 
last of the buildings were razed in the early 1950s. A deteriorating two-room 
outhouse, two fruit trees, and some evidence of grading are all that remain at 
the site. A number of exotic trees, including a flowering dogwood and a dawn 
redwood, survive at the site of the Robert Menzies cabin on Bear Valley Creek, 
a family retreat from about 1925 to 1970. 

4. Historic Significance of Bear Valley (W) Ranch 

W Ranch is a significant contributor to the history of Point Reyes, arising 
from its role in the Mexican period (as Rafael Garcia's headquarters), the 
Shatter and Howard dairy industry (as the headquarters of Charles Webb 
Howard's dairy enterprise), the use of the area by prominent Californians (the 
Howards, Rapps, Comptons, and Spreckels/Kelhams) for commerce, leisure and 
public recreation, and for its role in the administrative history of Point Reyes 
National Seashore. The ranch retains a number of buildings from these eras 
(excepting Garcia), including the "Red Barn" of W Ranch, the 1923 Rapp house 
and 1948 Compton improvements, and National Park Service structures, 
notably the acclaimed Bear Valley Visitor Center. In addition, a number of 
historic roads which retain integrity cross the acreage of the original ranch, and 
are significant to the transportation history of Point Reyes. 


Historic Features 

1. hay barn, ca. 1870s, restored 1940s 

2. Rapp house (ranger residence), 1923 

3. Manager's residence (ranger office) 1948 

4. Bunkhouse (administration) 1948 

5. Horse barn (fire cache) 1948 

6. Garage and shops (B&U shops) 1948 

7. Manager's duplex (ranger residences) 1948 

8. Meat shed ca. 1948 (moved and altered in 1992) 

9. Garage/apartment (horse ranch) ca. 1944-48 

10. Horse barn (horse ranch) ca. 1944-88 

11. Bear Valley road (Trail), ca. 1860s 

12. Z Ranch road (Sky Trail), ca. 1880s 

13. Old Pine Trail, 1850s 

14. dogwood and dawn redwood trees, 1920s 

15. fruit trees at Divide Meadow, ca. 1890s 

16. Country Club outhouse, ca. 1893 






of old house 


meat house 

(red barn) 

site of Rapp 
milking barn 


; site of Rapp family 

( dain/Hwimming hole 




site of rodeos 


Park Headquarters 

// road to 

// Country Club & beach 
// (Bear Valley Trail) 


Scenes of the Bear Valley Ranch in the 1920s. Top, John Rapp, Jr. in the barnyard; notice the barn and silo in 
the background. Courtesy of Joan (Rapp) Mayhew. Bottom, the ranch truck delivered fresh milk to hospitals 
in San Francisco. Point Reyes National Seashore Collection. 


Two views of the Bear Valley Ranch in the 1920s. Top, looking north. Point Reyes National Seashore 
Collection. Bottom, looking west. Courtesy of Joan (Rapp) Mayhew. 


John Rapp made many improvements on the Bear Valley Ranch during the time he owned it. Top, the house 
built in 1923 as a summer residence. Bottom, the dam and pond on the creek above the dairy complex. 
Courtesy of Joan (Rapp) Mayhew. 


Rapp built two silos next to his new sanitary barn (top). He had one of the first certified dairies in Marin 
County. M. B. Boissevain photograph courtesy of Jack Mason Museum. Bottom, the interior of the milking 
barn. Courtesy of Joan (Rapp) Mayhew. 

. \ 


1 \ 


The old C. W. Howard W Ranch house at Bear Valley Ranch in the 1920s. Courtsey of Joan (Rapp) Mayhew. 

The entrance to Gene Compton's Bear Valley Ranch in 1947. This is now the entrance to Point Reyes National 
Seashore headquarters. Seth Wood photograph courtesy of Jack Mason Museum. 


The Robert Menzies family camped at the Bear Valley Ranch in the 'teens. Courtesy of Mary (Menzies) Page. 

The Menzies cabin at Bear Valley. Menzies planted the popular dogwood 
and dawn redwood trees by Bear Valley Creek. The cabin was razed in the 
1970s. Marin County Library Collection. 



Section III, Chapter N 


Bordessa Ranch 





Golden Gate National Recreation Area 

J .3 

Traced from USGS Quads Contout Interval 200' 
historic boundaries appr oximate 


to / 


Edwin Gallagher 

f I 
llagher \/\ 

h y ""> 





(NPCRR [ .-/platform 
flag stop) 1 , [j Br j d g e 



Rogers Ranch 



Former Bordessa Ranch 

(Golden Gate National Recreation Area) 

1. Description 

The McFadden Ranch is one of the most recent additions to Golden Gate 
National Recreation Area at the time of this writing. The 340-acre beef cattle 
ranch is a narrow parcel that stretches from the Olema Valley over Bolinas 
Ridge to Lagunitas Creek, with the paved main access driveway off Highway 
One at a point halfway between Olema and Point Reyes Station. The ranch 
consists of grassland with pockets of brush and trees in the gulches and on the 
eastern slope. It is bounded on the north by the former Edwin Gallagher 
Ranch, on the east by Lagunitas Creek, on the south by the Mclsaac and Rogers 
Ranches, and on the west by Olema Creek. The ranch complex is located about 
half of a mile up the driveway from the highway. 

2. History of McFadden Ranch 

The McFadden Ranch was originally part of Rafael Garcia 's holdings as 
confirmed in his 1866 patent to Rancho Tomales y Baulines. In 1868, as part of 
the subdivision of Garcia's property after his death, a 340.93 acre parcel was 
given to one of his daughters, Maria Hilaria Garcia, in a deed dated May 29, 
1868. 179 

At an unknown date, apparently between 1868 and 1871, Maria H. Garcia 
married a fellow Mexican, Jose de la Cruz Noriel. Apparently the couple lived 
on their Olema lot. Mrs. Noriel died in 1872 shortly after giving birth to a 
child, who then died a few days later. In 1874 Jose Noriel sold the ranch to 
local dairyman Burton Shippy; no doubt Shippy operated a dairy and may have 
built the original buildings on the property. In 1883 Shippy sold the ranch to 
John Carter, an Irish-born dairyman who at the time was leasing a Shatter 
ranch at Point Reyes. Some time before 1888, the ranch was leased to 

179 Abstract of Title and Certificate of Search. Part of the Rancho Tomales v Baulines (Felix 
Garcia/Shafter Tract), original document in PRNS Collection; Deeds Book G, p. 98, MCRO. 


dairyman George Runckles, who occupied the ranch and owned 72 head of 
cattle. 180 

Apparently the transactions made by Jose de la Cruz Noriel were invalid, 
for Mrs. Noriel's estate sold the ranch on August 20, 1888, to John Carter, 
probably making Shippy's sale valid. Carter soon sold the ranch to David Myers 
for $20,000; curiously, Myers had been found by the Marin County Superior 
Court to be the grantee of Noriel's estate only a week after the decree of 
distribution to Carter. Myers, born in Ireland, came to Marin County in 1865 
and had a dairy in Novato for many years; he apparently operated the Noriel 
ranch, eventually with co-owner (and brother-in-law) Gilbert Crandell, until 
Myers' widow Mamie and Crandell and his wife Nellie sold the ranch to David 
Bordessa of Tomales in 1918. 181 

Bordessa was a cattle dealer who owned a public house in Tomales, and 
apparently had no personal interest in dairying on the new ranch. The ranch 
was leased to Joseph Memeo in 1918 and then to Abramo Boccaleoni from 1921 
until September 11, 1923, when Bordessa's son Rico and his cousin and partner 
Salvatore Bordessa moved to the ranch and took over the dairy business. 
Salvatore did not stay long, but Rico Bordessa took on the business alone, 
milking forty to fifty cows by hand with the help of one hired man. Bordessa 
separated the milk, selling the sweet cream to the Point Reyes Cooperative 
Creamery. 182 

Bordessa made many improvements at the dairy in the mid-1930s. He 
built a large Grade B milking barn on the site of the combination dairy and 
bunkhouse, which he had moved across the yard in preparation for the new 
construction. Only two years later Bordessa built a Grade A barn, leaving the 
Grade B barn for hay storage and calves. He installed milking machines, 
driving the vacuum pump with a gasoline engine in a separate machine shed. 
Milk was cooled and put in cans until a tank was installed in the 1950s. 

'""Deeds Book 8, p. 300, Book O, p. 9, MCRO; "Official Map of Marin County," 1873, PRNS; 
Guinn, Coast Counties, p. 1263. 

""Deeds Book 9, p. 55, and Book 196, p. 274, MCRO and collection of McFadden family; court 
order of August 27, 1888 in "Abstract . . . Nelson Hotel"; Munro-Fraser, Marin County, p. 442; 
interview with William J. Scilacci. 

182 Leases Book J, pp. 323, 333 and 492, MCRO. Information on the Bordessa and McFadden 
years at the ranch from interviews with Rico Bordessa and Jim and Virginia (Bordessa) 
McFadden, and the ranch ledger in the McFadden's possession. 


Bordessa raised a family in the old ranch house. Bordessa's widowed 
mother deeded the ranch to Rico in 1955, who then quit milking cows hi 1960 
and leased the dairy to Pete Poiani. Poiani milked there until 1971, when 
Bordessa's daughter and son-in-law Virginia and Jim McFadden bought the 
ranch. The McFaddens put beef cattle on the ranch and continue in the cattle 
business today. McFadden remodeled the old house in the 1970s, stripping it to 
the frame and at least doubling the size. The McFaddens have raised a family 
there, and took a 25-year reservation of use and occupancy when the National 
Park Service bought the ranch on January 9, 1989. Rico Bordessa died at age 
87 in early 1992. 183 

3. Buildings and Historic Resources 

The McFadden Ranch contains five historic buildings exhibiting varying 
degrees of historic integrity. The main house and machine room have been 
remodeled and have no remaining historic integrity. 

a. Barn 

The Grade B barn was built in 1934 by Rico Bordessa. It was used for 
only two years for milking and has been used for hay and other storage since 
1936. It is a 48' by 62' wood frame building with concrete floor and foundation. 
The framing style is more modern than typically found, with an engineered roof 
similar to a typical large Grade A barn. The barn has corrugated metal siding 
and roof. It is in good condition and possesses good historic integrity. 

b. Grade A Barn 

Attached to the large barn is the 54' by 24' sanitary barn built by 
Bordessa in 1936. This 1,200 square foot concrete and wood building is of the 
typical Grade A design, although smaller than most. Although out of use for 20 
years, it is in good condition and possesses good historic integrity. 

163 Official Records Book 982, p. 613, MCRO; Marin Independent Journal. January 22, 1992, p. 
B2; park administrative files, PENS. 


c. Old Dairy 

This building resembles a typical older horse barn was the original 18' by 
25' dairy house used for separating cream and making butter prior to 1936. 
The wood frame building has evidence of a residential loft, with ghosts of a 
floorline and steep stairway; old-fashioned wallpaper remains on much of the 
upper walls. The roof structure, including rafters, has been replaced. Sheds 
with random-width vertical board siding were added to the sides of the building 
in the 1930s, enlarging the structure to 25' by 46', but some of the original ship- 
lap siding remains. The old dairy is in fair condition. As the additions occurred 
more than 50 years ago, the dairy possesses good historic integrity. 

d. Garage 

This is an old, 18' by 50' three-bay open carriage shed now used for 
equipment storage and as a garage. One small section hi the center has been 
enclosed. Built of wood, with random-width vertical board siding on the back 
and sides, it appears to be at least 100 years old and is in fair condition. Its 
integrity is good. 

e. Shed 

This small, 12' by 15' shed appears to be more than 50 years old. It is 
wood frame, with random-width vertical board siding, a corrugated metal gable 
roof and a plywood door. It is in fair condition but has good historic integrity. 

The McFadden Ranch also contains the remodeled house, remodeled 12' 
by 15' machine shed now used as a bedroom, a large open pole barn for storing 
hay, a water tank, pump house and trailer residence. The road to the ranch 
follows the original route except for the first 1/8 of a mile, and is paved. 

4. Significance of the McFadden Ranch 

The McFadden Ranch has historic significance as one of the contributing 
dairy ranches in the district. Although the house has been remodeled, the 
ranch retains its overall historic integrity. 


Historic Features 

1. Barn, 1934 

2. Grade A Barn, 1936 

3. Old Dairy, ca. 1880 

4. Garage, ca 1880 

5. Shed, ca. 1930s 

6. Road, ca. 1870s 

7. Fences, gates, corrals 








Rico Bordessa at work on his dairy ranch in the 1 940s. Courtesy of Virginia (Bordessa) McFadden. 

View of the Bordessa Ranch house before it was remodeled. Courtesy of Virginia 
(Bordessa) McFadden. 



Section III, Chapter O 








Golden Gate National Recreation Area 

.1 .2 .3 .4 .5 

Traced from USGS Quads Contour Interval 200 1 
historic boundaries approximate 




Genazzi Ranch 


& R. Gallagher 




_ flag stop) V A. Zanardi Ranch 

V t/ j \ \ Platform 
NPCRR grade \ \ \Bridge 



McFadden Ranch 



(Golden Gate National Recreation Area) 

1. Description 

The 321 -acre former Edwin Gallagher Ranch is a narrow strip of land 
that reaches from Highway One on the west to Lagunitas Creek on the east. 
The ranch has not operated for about 30 years and the old buildings were 
removed about 10 years ago. The land is mostly grassy with hardwood trees in 
the gulches and brush and trees covering much of the east slope. The ranch is 
bounded on the north by the Genazzi Ranch, on the east by Lagunitas Creek 
and Platform Bridge Road, on the south by the McFadden Ranch and on the 
west by Highway One. It is currently used for grazing and feed crops. 

2. History of the Edwin Gallagher Ranch 

Felipe Garcia received this ranch as his part of the family land division of 
1868. Felipe and his wife Virginia lived in San Francisco and did not appear to 
have any interest in working the land; Felipe, in consideration of love and 
affection," deeded the ranch to his wife in October of 1872. 18 

Edward Gallagher, a native of Ireland, bought the ranch from the Garcias 
for $9636 on November 12, 1875. Gallagher operated a dairy ranch on the 
property, and left it to his sons Daniel and Edward around 1890. Daniel 
Gallagher married Ellen Ryan and the couple had two children; Mrs. Gallagher 
died and, coincidentally, Daniel married another Ellen Ryan and had two more 
children. A son from the first wife, Edwin Gallagher, continued to operate the 
Grade B dairy after his father's death in 1934. The ranch was never connected 
to commercial electricity, reportedly because Ellen Gallagher didn't want the 
modern conveniences. Her son Edwin milked cows and kept up the old 
buildings without electricity until his mother's estate sold the ranch in 1962 to 
San Francisco pharmacist Abe Jean Melmon. Three years later the Melmons 
sold the ranch for $240,000 to their friend Dr. Millard Ottinger. Ottinger, 

'""Deeds Book H, p. 83 and Book J, p. 595, MCRO. 


owner of a large Point Reyes ranch since the 1930s, did not live on the ranch, 
and died in 1972. 185 

During the late 1960s and through the 1970s the ranch was inhabited by 
hippies led by theater artist Peter Coyote, later to become a successful film 
actor. Living the counterculture life that blossomed in the area during the late 
1960s and through the 1970s, the occupants remodeled the interior of the house 
with old barn wood and outfitted even the smallest outbuildings as homes; still, 
the ranch had no electricity. The place became known as Coyote Ranch. The 
last residents left in 1985. 186 

After the death of Ottinger's widow Kyoko in 1985, the conservator of 
the estate began negotiations towards park purchase. Kyoko Ottinger also 
owned the Hanna Boys Center and Florence Crittenden Home for Unwed 
Mothers in San Francisco; these institutions as well as one Masayo Kitada 
became the heirs to the estate. After pleas of hardship due to Kitada's illness 
and the needs of the charitable institutions, the federal government bought the 
property on October 29, 1987 for $600,000. Previous to the sale the grazing 
leaseholder demolished the remaining buildings. Today the land is used for 
grazing and feed crops under a special use permit to Robert Giacomini of Point 
Reyes Station. 187 

3. Historic Resources 

No buildings remain on the Gallagher Ranch. The fence lines remain the 
same but of updated materials, although a number of sections of older split 
picket fences survive. The road to the ranch, about one mile of narrow dirt 
road, dates from the earliest days and is a contributing feature to the cultural 

185 Deeds Book P, p. 66, Official Records Book 1580, p. 36 & 38, Book 1976, p. 260, MCRO; 
Dewey Livingston, Ranching on the Point Reyes Peninsula (Point Reyes: National Park Service, 
1993), pp. 427-428; interviews with Marian (Gallagher) Morris and Virginia McFadden. Daniel 
Gallagher's first wife, the former Ellen Ryan, died, leaving two children; Gallagher married 
another Ellen Ryan and had two more children. 

186 Personal observations of the author. 
""Tract File (L-4125), Tract 05-137, PRNS. 


4. Historic Significance of the Edwin Gallagher Ranch 

The former Gallagher Ranch is a significant contributor to the Olema 
Valley dairy district, but the absence of historic resources leaves it with no 
integrity. The cultural landscape features remaining, such as the road and the 
fences, are significant. 

Historic Features 

1. Ranch road 

2. Fences 

The Edwin Gallagher Ranch house shortly before demolition, looking northeast, 1985. Photograph by 
Dewey Livingston. 


The Gallagher Ranch shortly before demolition, 1985. Photographs by Dewey Livingston. 



Section III, Chapter P 







Golden Gate National Recreation Area 

.1 .2 .3 



original \. 
alignment of . 
Olema Creek \ 

Traced from USGS Quads - Contoui Interval 200 
historic boundaries approximate 

NPCRR grade X- 


Edwin Gallagher 
/ i Ranch 

\ D. D. Wilder Ranch site 
. o .V^ (approximate) 




1 Road 


V ' ^ 

m >; 



(portion in Golden Gate National Recreation Area) 

1. Description 

While within the legislated boundaries of Golden Gate National 
Recreation Area, only part of the Genazzi Ranch was purchased by the National 
Park Service. The ranch, located south across Lagunitas Creek from the town 
of Point Reyes Station, was split at the time of federal purchase, with 435 acres 
of grazing land included in the park and about 60 acres retained by the Genazzi 
family. The ranch is bounded on the north by Lagunitas (Papermill) Creek, on 
the east by the Gallagher Ranch, on the south by the former Edwin Gallgher 
Ranch and on the east by Highway One and some small residential parcels. 

The pioneer dairy ranch of D. D. Wilder no longer remains, in fact its 
exact location is not known for certain. It is believed that Wilder's historic 
dairy was located on land adjacent to the Genazzi Ranch, on a parcel now 
occupied by CalTrans as a maintenance station. Wilder, who became a 
prominent California dairyman after leaving Olema, leased land from Rafael 
Garcia and his family in the vicinity of the Genazzi Ranch, with a house near 
the creek. His place in early dairying history of the area deserves mention in 
this report. 

2. History of the Genazzi Ranch 

The history of the Genazzi Ranch must begin with the occupation of 
Delos D. Wilder, an Olema pioneer who eventually left Marin County and 
became a prominent dairyman near Santa Cruz. Wilder was born in 
Connecticut on February 23, 1826. He followed the Gold Rush to California in 
1853 and arrived in Marin County in June of 1859. With $200 Wilder started a 
chicken ranch and small dairy where he met with some success. Wilder rented 
land near Samuel P. Taylor's paper mill warehouse on Lagunitas Creek from 
Rafael Garcia and became friends and apparently partners with nearby rancher 
L. K. Baldwin (see chapter on Truttman Ranch). He married neighbor John 
Nelson's sister Delia and started a family at the ranch. By 1870 he employed 
six laborers, five of whom were Swiss immigrants; previous employees had been 


Joseph Codoni and Canadian Neil Mclsaac, both of whom would become leading 
dairymen in the area. 181 

About 1870 Wilder, in partnership with Baldwin, moved to Santa Cruz 
County and bought a dairy ranch which prospered. Eventually the partners 
split their holdings, both living to an old age as prominent citizens of the coast. 
Wilder's ranch north of Santa Cruz has become a part of the state park system, 
with most of the ranch being preserved and interpreted for the public. 

Upon Rafael Garcia's death in 1866 the remaining lands of Rancho 
Tomales y Baulines were divided among the heirs. Garcia's widow Maria 
Loreta received 819 acres at the northern part of the rancho, forming the 
southern boundary of what became the Genazzi and Gallagher ranches. Mrs. 
Garcia reportedly lived on a flat area of the ranch above today's Genazzi 
buildings. In 1873 she was murdered by a jilted lover who then ran to a nearby 
house and killed himself (see page 31). The land was left to her children, who 
soon divided the lands into the parcels known today. First, a 100-foot right-of- 
way along the creek was sold to the North Pacific Coast Railroad Company. 
Then, two parcels were sold to Emma Shafter Howard, owner of many Point 
Reyes ranches. Mrs. Howard sold a 124-acre parcel in the northwestern corner 
of the ranch to her brother-in-law James McMillan Shafter who built a house 
and dairy, naming it Riverside Farm; Shafter also bought the eastern 330 acres 
of Mrs. Garcia's holdings. One of Emma Howard's Point Reyes tenants, 
dairyman William E. Evans, bought 372 acres directly south of the Riverside 
Farm. 189 

Shafter rented the Riverside Farm to various parties; it was there that 
his brother William Newton Shafter, who had supervised the vast Shafter dairy 
empire for many years, lived his last years. By 1892 the Evans parcel had been 
bought by Candido Righetti, a Swiss dairyman; in 1893 Righetti bought the 
Riverside Farm for $8,000, forming an almost 500-acre ranch and moving 
buildings from the Evans site down to the Riverside Farm site where they 
remain today. Righetti operated a dairy there until renting the ranch to Point 
Reyes tenant ranchers Peter and Isa Campigli. After the Campiglis retired to 

188 Harrison Santa Cruz County, p. 325; "Abstract . . . Nelson Hotel"; Marin Journal. April 4 
and September 5, 1868, November 13, 1869, July 9, 1870 and November 7, 1889; Population 
Schedules, 9th U.S. Census, 1870. 

189 Deeds Book G p. 98, Book H 77, Book K p. 647, Book M pp. 169, 357 & 462, Book Q pp. 
571 & 621, Book P p. 396, MCRO; Munro-Fraser, Marin County, pp. 245. 


Olema, Righetti sold the ranch to their son-in-law, Federico (Fred) Genazzi. 190 

Fred Genazzi was born in Maggia, Switzerland, and came to California in 
1896 at age 14. He worked on ranches in the Tomales area and eventually 
rented a dairy ranch in Penngrove, Sonoma County; for a short time he 
operated a grocery store and saloon in Petaluma. Genazzi married Erminia 
Campigli, who had been raised at the U Ranch on Point Reyes and was now a 
widow with two children. Shortly after their marriage Genazzi bought the 
dairy business at the Righetti Ranch from his father-in-law, and in 1919 bought 
the ranch property. The couple raised four children at the ranch, including the 
two from Mrs. Genazzi's previous marriage. Genazzi milked about 100 cows 
and separated cream as a member of the Point Reyes Cooperative Creamery 
until he built a Grade A barn in 1934. Genazzi's son Harold entered the 
business and, with brother-in-law George Gilardi, bought the business entirely 
in 1951. Fred Genazzi retired to a house he built on the edge of the ranch; the 
family sold some residential parcels along the state highway during this time. 
Erminia Genazzi died in 1960 and her husband passed away in 1963. Harold 
Genazzi and his family operated the Grade A dairy until he accepted a federal 
dairy buyout in 1987. The next year the National Park Service bought almost 
all of the grazing land on the ranch, leaving 60 acres under the ownership of 
Harold Genazzi and his sister, Evelyn Gilardi. The family holds a 25-year 
reservation on the grazing property, and raise beef cattle and replacement 
heifers. 191 

3. Historic Resources 

All of the potentially historic ranch structures are in the Genazzi's 
private parcel. On government land are the site of the old ranch, marked by a 
stand of old cypress trees, the former NPCRR railroad grade, and the fence 
lines which have not changed in location since 1868. 

190 Official Map of Marin County by George M. Dodge, County Surveyor, 1892; Livingston, 
Ranching, p. 327; Mason, Point Reyes, p. 81. 

191 Genazzi ranch information from interviews with Evelyn and George Gilardi and Harold 


Federico (Fred) Genazzi, Olema Valley dairyman. Seth Wood photograph courtesy of Jack Mason Museum. 



Section III, Chapter Q 


Mazza Ranch 





Golden Gate National Recreation Area 

.1 J .3 .4 

Traced from USGS Quads Contour Interval 200' 
hctofic boundaries approximate 



:. Nicasio Reservoir (MMWD) 

Gallagher Ranch 

. _ _ Platform 
V\\ Bridge 
vV\ oad 


McFadden Ranch 



Former Mazza Ranch 

(Golden Gate National Recreation Area) 

1. Description 

The Zanardi Ranch, now occupied by Anna Zanardi's son Pat Martin, is a 
well-preserved former dairy ranch on Platform Bridge Road, a back road that 
follows Lagunitas Creek north from Tocaloma. The 573-acre ranch rises from 
its extensive creek frontage to the top of the ridge that overlooks Nicasio Valley 
to the east and Lagunitas Creek and Point Reyes to the west. It is bounded on 
the west by the McFadden, Ottinger and Gallagher Ranches, on the north by 
Platform Bridge and Point Reyes-Petaluma Roads, on the northeast by private 
lands, and on the south by the Mclsaac Ranch. The property is mostly 
grassland with wooded gulches and very small amount of level land. The ranch 
complex sits on a rise next to the county road in the southern corner of the 

2. History of the Zanardi Ranch 

William J. Miller, a major landowner of the vast Rancho Nicasio, divided 
much of his property hi the 1860s. In 1866 he sold a 1,201.64-acre portion on 
the extreme western section of his holdings to brothers Joseph and John 
DeMartin for $6,000. The Swiss brothers apparently developed a dairy on the 
property. Three years later, on August 25, 1869, the DeMartins sold slightly 
less than half of the ranch, 582.5 acres, to two other brothers from Switzerland, 
Luigi (Louis) and Joseph Mazza for $10,400. The Mazzas set to work 
developing their own dairy ranch, although Joseph died soon after, in 1873. 19: 

Luigi Mazza came to California in 1868 the long way, by ship around 
Cape Horn. Mazza was already well-traveled: he had participated at the young 
age of 13 in the Swiss gold rush to Australia in the mid-1850s. Mazza worked 
on a dairy at Petaluma for a year before buying his Marin County property. 
Five years after settling at Tocaloma he married Lucia Giacomini, possibly a 


: Deeds Book F, p. 89, Book I, p. 548, and death records, MCRO. 


neighbor (Giovanni Giacomini owned the adjacent ranch during the late 1860s). 
The couple eventually had eight children: Romilda, Onellia (Nellie), Claudina, 
Olympia, Willie, Alma, Samuel and Katherine. The Mazzas first lived in a small 
house, then built a two-story building with a creamery below and living 
quarters above. After gaining some profit from the dairy, Mazza built a 
substantial house in 1886 overlooking Lagunitas Creek. The older houses 
remained, the original one being attached to the new house. Mazza had also 
built a large milking barn a few years earlier. He inscribed his name and the 
year on beams in the barn and house. 193 

Mazza's son Samuel worked on the ranch until he purchased the business 
for himself around 1906. He leased the ranch from his mother and siblings, as 
recorded in a lease dated 1920. Samuel Mazza's dairy was described in a 
contemporary biography in 1924: 

He gives special attention to dairy farming, keeping 
between eighty and ninety head of high-grade Jersey 
cows. He keeps pure-bred sires and is gradually 
improving the quality of the herd. He raises general 
crops and this year has the finest field of corn in 
Marin County, due to the fact that, though it is a dry 
year, he has irrigated his field. He also has a splendid 
crop of stock beets for the cattle. He employs modern 
methods in the operation of the farm, maintains it at 
the highest state of improvement, and is regarded as 
one of the most progressive farmers of the district. 194 

Mazza kept up the old family buildings, and in 1923 built a house near the old 
horse barn. Members of the Mazza family lived here during the subsequent 

In 1932 Mazza rented the ranch to Pete Poiani, his wife and stepson 
Louis Zanardi. After Poiani's death Zanardi and his mother bought the ranch 
from Mazza in the late 1930s; Mazza died in 1948. Mrs. Poiani and Louis 
Zanardi ran the dairy, building a Grade A sanitary barn in 1947 and shipping 
whole milk beginning in April of that year. At that time about 110 cows were 
milked, a number gradually increased to 160. Zanardi took over the business 

Munro-Fraser, Marin County, p.436; Cross, Financing an Empire, p. 527; interviews with 
Pat Martin and Louis Bloom. 

194 Leases Book J, p. 424, MCRO; Cross, Financing an Empire, pp. 527-528. 


about 1950 and stayed in business with stepson Pat Martin until 1972. The 
Zanardis leased the pasture but continued to reside at the ranch. In 1984 Pat 
Martin took over the ranch. Later that year the Zanardi Ranch was purchased 
by the National Park Service from Louis and Anna Zanardi. The grazing land is 
now leased to Barbara Hall. 195 

3. Buildings and Historic Resources 

The Zanardi Ranch contains most of its original structures dating from 
the 1870s and 1880s. There are 14 historic buildings on the property. 

a. Main Residence 

The home Luigi Mazza built in 1886 is a two story wood frame dwelling 
with gable roof and two gable dormers. It is attached to the pioneer dwelling of 
the ranch, possibly built before 1869. Overall the house measures 48' by 28', 
has a hip roof porch with chamfered posts, horizontal drop siding, and 
aluminum sash windows which have replaced the original wood sash. The 
house has a stone foundation and a wine cellar. The older portion has been 
remodeled extensively into a modern kitchen. The main house has seen some 
remodeling, although the exterior and upstairs interior have had few 
alterations. The house is in good condition. Although there have been some 
alterations, the historic integrity of the Zanardi house is good. 

b. Creamery/Dwelling 

This building may have been built around 1870. The Mazzas lived here 
before moving into the 1886 home. This small, two-story wood frame building, 
24' by 16', has dwelling rooms upstairs, and the old dairy house on the ground 
floor has been converted to a garage with a shed addition. It has horizontal 
drop siding, is painted gray, and is in fair condition. The creamery has seen 
alterations, and it possesses fair historic integrity. 


Zanardi family information from interview with Pat Martin. 


d. Barn 

This large rectangular wood frame milking/hay barn was reportedly built 
in 1884. Cows were milked here until 1947, and it has been used for hay 
storage since then. The 40' by 64' barn has a stone and mortar foundation, 
random-width vertical board siding with some board and batten, corrugated 
metal roofing, and an old shed addition on the west side. It is accessed through 
small wood doors and rolling doors, and has raised wooden floors in the milking 
galleries, where many of the old wooden stanchions are extant. The name 
inscribed on the beam could not be located at the time of this writing. The 
barn is in fair condition and possesses excellent historic integrity. 

c. Grade A Barn 

This sanitary barn was built in 1947 and is no longer in use. It is a 
typical modern milking barn built of concrete, wood and corrugated metal. It is 
in good condition and, although at this writing it is less than 50 years old, has 
good integrity. 

e. Seven Sheds 

The largest Zanardi Ranch shed measures 21' by 12' and stands east of 
the old dairy /dwelling. It appears to be over 100 years old. A small shed with 
a pyramidal roof, possibly used as a wash house, sits next to the 1886 house and 
appears to be contemporary with the house. It has horizontal drop siding, two 
doors, a 6-light wood sash window and a stone and mortar foundation; it is in 
good condition. Next to that stands a 14' by 24' open front shed and a small 7' 
by 10' gable roofed shed. Another unpainted 7' by 10' shed of uncertain origin 
stands behind the 1886 house. A 10' by 10' shingled shed with a pyramidal roof 
stands in the back yard of the 1923 house. A larger old shed/garage, 10' by 18', 
stands by the road at the entrance drive to the horse barn. The historic 
integrity of the sheds varies; most have good integrity with the exception of the 
1923 shed and the open front shed. 


f. Horse Barn 

This is a typical circa 1870s horse barn and carriage shed; five horse 
stalls remain in the structure. The 25' by 42' barn has random-width vertical 
board siding and a wood shingle roof except for the rear shed section which has 
corrugated metal roofing. It has a large doorway on the front and various 
openings, including a diamond-shaped window, with no glass, at the peak of the 
front wall. It is in fair to poor condition; the roof is sagging and there is much 
structural deterioration. The horse barn possesses excellent historic integrity. 

g. 1923 House 

The house was built by Samuel Mazza in 1923 for family members. It is 
a simple, L-shaped wood frame building, 30' by 40', with a hip roof, lap siding, 
and front porch alcove. It is in fair condition. A room was added to the north 
side in 1961, leaving the house with only fair historic integrity. 

h. Water Tank 

A 10' by 10' concrete water tank with an old wood frame tank house on 
top sits on the hillside east of the ranch complex. It has a hip roof, board and 
batten siding. Its construction date is unknown, but appears to be up to 100 
years old, and has excellent historic integrity. 

i. Gates, Fences, Corrals 

The fence lines on the Zanardi Ranch appear to follow the original lines. 
Much has been replaced over the years, although some major sections of old- 
style split-picket fencing remain near the ranch complex. 

j. Trees 

Two groves of monterey cypress stand in the ranch complex. They 
appear to have been planted well over 50 years ago. 


4. Historic Significance of the Zanardi Ranch 

The Zanardi Ranch is significant as an intact and well-preserved example 
of an early Marin County dairy ranch. Practically all of the original complex 
remains, with few alterations and additions, and in reasonably good condition. 
The owners, from only two families, contributed to the important Marin County 
dairy industry for more than a century. 

Historic Features 

1. Main Residence 

2. Creamery/Dwelling 

3. Barn 

4. Grade A barn 

5. 7 Sheds 

6. Horse Barn 

7. 1923 House 

8. Water Tank 

9. Gates, Fences, Corrals 

10. Cypress Trees 





Top, the Zanardi house as it appeared in 1994. Below, the dairy house. A/PS photographs by Dewey Livingston. 


Old split picket fences remain on the Zanardi Ranch, top. Below, the barn. A/PS photos by Dewey Livingston. 


Detail of the 1873 "Official Map of Marin County" by Hiram Austin, showing the northern 
Olema Valley and the Tocaloma area. Jack Mason Museum Collection. 



Section III, Chapter R 


Codoni Ranch 





Former Codoni Ranch 

(Golden Gate National Recreation Area) 

1. Description 

The Donald Mclsaac Ranch is located at a former railroad stop called 
Tocaloma, on Lagunitas (or Papermill) Creek a short distance east of Olema. 
The main ranch complex sits on a small plot northeast of the creek, the 
buildings clustered tightly together due to the shortage of level land. In 
addition, a historic ranch dwelling sits on a hillside west of the main ranch, and 
a converted dairy house, now a home, is located on the old railroad grade by 
Lagunitas Creek north of Tocaloma. The ranch itself is composed of two 
parcels totalling 1,073 acres; the smaller west parcel is a mixture of grassland 
and woodland running west over the ridgeline, and the east section is mostly 
grassland on steep rolling hills culminating at the top of a high ridge 
overlooking the Nicasio Valley. The ranch is bounded on the north by the 
McFadden and Zanardi Ranches, on the east by private property and the Cheda 
Ranch, on the south by the Cheda Ranch, the former Jewell Ranch, and the 
former Mclsaac/Ferro (Damazio) Ranch and on the west by the former Clorindo 
Bloom Ranch. Sir Francis Drake Highway marks most of the southern border 
of the ranch, and Lagunitas Creek and Platform Bridge Road divide the two 
ranch parcels. 

2. History of Mclsaac Ranch 

William J. Miller, a major landowner of the vast Rancho Nicasio, divided 
much of his property in the 1860s. In 1866 he sold a 1,201.64-acre portion on 
the extreme western section of his holdings to brothers Joseph and John 
DeMartin for $6,000. The Swiss brothers apparently developed a dairy or two 
on the property. Three years later, on August 25, 1869, the DeMartins divided 
the ranch, selling 582.5 acres on the northern portion to the Mazza brothers 
and the southern 619.5 acres to John or Giovanni deAndrea Giacomini for 
$5,000. Giacomini left the country, apparently leaving one of the DeMartin 
brothers running a dairy on the site. Less than a year after purchasing the 


Tocaloma ranch, Giacomini sold the property to fellow Swiss immigrants Codoni 
and Cotta. 196 

Giuseppe (Joseph) Codoni, born of an old family in Corippo, Valle 
Verzasca in 1847, emigrated to the United States from Switzerland with a 
group of young townsmen in 1867, arriving in San Francisco on January 2, 1868. 
The group came to Marin County to work on dairies as others in their area had 
earlier; Codoni found work on the dairy of Delos D. Wilder north of Olema. In 
little more than two-and-one-half years Codoni was able to purchase his own 
dairy ranch, in partnership with a fellow traveler and Corippian named 
Giacomo Cotta. Codoni and Cotta bought the 619-acre ranch at Tocaloma from 
Giovanni Giacomini on August 15, 1870, for $10,000. Giacomini, living in 
Switzerland at the time, enlisted his attorney John D. Giacomini, no doubt a 
relative and perhaps a son, to handle the sale. Codoni and Cotta took over the 
dairy and improved it through the years made it a well-respected dairy farm. 
Cotta sold his undivided half of the ranch in 1874 and bought a ranch of his 
own nearby. Codoni added the 454.8-acre Felix Garcia ranch about 1895. This 
ranch, located west of the original Codoni ranch, had been leased as a dairy to a 
number of men, including Joseph Bloom in 1869 who would take over the 
Baldwin dairy in the Olema Valley. Garcia sold the ranch to James McMillan 
Shafter in 1871, then Shafter sold it to his daughter Julia Shafter Hamilton in 
1885. By the close of the century Codoni's 1073-acre ranch was a landmark on 
the road to Point Reyes. 197 

Across the creek from the Codoni Ranch grew the "town" of Tocaloma, 
really nothing more than a hotel, post office and stables. Tocaloma became the 
unofficial depot on the North Pacific Coast Railroad for Olema, just over the hill 
to the west. The North Pacific Coast Railroad, formed in 1871 and built 1873- 
74, carried freight and passengers on narrow gauge rails from terminals at San 
Quentin and Sausalito to the redwood country of Sonoma County along the 
Russian River. At Tocaloma, passengers could take a regularly scheduled stage 
to Olema and Bolinas, or pay for excursions offered by Payne Shafter to the 
scenic areas of the Point Reyes Peninsula. John Lycurgus built a two-story 
hotel, the Tocaloma House, next to the tracks in 1879. The hotel featured a 

196 Deeds Book F, p. 89, MCRO, and original deeds in the collection of Don Mclsaac; 9th U. S. 
Census, 1870. 

197 Deeds Book I, p. 384 and K, p. 57, MCRO; Codoni, The Corippians. p. 40-42; Marin Journal. 
February 25, 1915. 


"Swiss bowling alley" and catered to sportsmen. A San Rafael newspaper 
described the progress there: 

TOCALOMA STATION, the nearest on the railroad to 
Olema, has made a grand advance within the last 
year. It is situated in the very midst of the finest 
sporting district to be found anywhere near the city, 
its streams abounding with fish and its hills with 
game. Mr. John Lycurgus has built a fine hotel, and 
furnished it with every comfort for guests, and Mr. 
[Payne] Shafter has a stable of good horses for public 
convenience. Tocaloma will be the destination of 
many Nimrods and Waltons next week. 198 

Tocaloma-area residents built a schoolhouse on the Cheda Ranch to the 
east in 1884, taxing themselves for the $600 needed for construction. Twenty- 
six children from the dairy ranches and the Pioneer Paper Mill upstream filled 
the school immediately upon its opening. The school was abandoned in 1927 
and subsequently torn down. 199 

The Tocaloma House burned down in 1885 and was replaced the next 
year by a larger one under the ownership of Joseph Bertrand, a French hotel- 
keeper. Bertrand's Hotel became a favorite of city-dwellers who traveled to the 
country for recreation and health. Bertrand was appointed Tocaloma's first 
postmaster on April 17, 1891. Bertrand sold the hotel and property to Caesar 
Ronchi in 1913. The huge edifice burned to the ground in December of 1916, 
but Ronchi rebuilt, in more modest form, the next year. Caesar's was a popular 
stop for motorists on the road to Point Reyes until the 1940s. 200 

Giuseppe Codoni returned briefly to Corippo in 1873 and married Rosa 
Scilacci, also of an old and respected family of the village. The couple returned 
to Tocaloma and had six children: Ida (1875), who died in Tocaloma at age six; 
Silvio (1876); James (1878); Helen (1882), known as Nellie, who would marry 
Neil Mclsaac; Romeo (1884); and Henry (1898). Codoni helped his fellow 


'Marin County Journal. April 17 and September 17, 1879, April 7, 1881, October 25, 1883. 

'"Marin Journal. June 19 and September 11, 1884; Gerald J. Foley and Perry McDonald, 
Pictorial History of Marin County Schools. The First 100 Years (San Rafael: Marin County Schools 
Office, 1976), p. 72. 

200 Marin Journal. June 11, 1885; San Rafael Independent. December 30, 1913, December 16, 
1916, January 2 and March 27, 1927. 


countrymen emigrate to the United States by paying for passage in exchange 
for a year's work on his or other dairies. Dozens of Swiss got their starts in 
Marin County at Codoni's ranch, including his younger brother Quinto Codoni, 
who later became a major landowner and head of the local bank. 201 

Codoni built a new house on the ranch in 1884, attaching it to the small 
original house rather than destroying the old one. The two-story house was 
fancier than most in the area, having decorative trim, and appeared as a 
mansion. The spacious home brought new comforts to the growing family; 
Codoni believed in giving his children education and culture, and the house was 
equipped with a library and piano. 202 

Codoni involved himself in local politics and community interests 
throughout his life. He regularly served as an election clerk at Tocaloma 
precinct, and became the postmaster at Tocaloma in 1899. Codoni ran for 
county supervisor in 1884, when a newspaper described him as "a Republican, 
the seeds of his sympathy with Republican principles are of Alpine origin . . . ." 
Codoni was also active in the local grove of the Druids and served several terms 
on the Tocaloma School Board. 203 

Codoni's dairy was considered by many to be a prominent one, no doubt 
because of Codoni's careful stewardship. The San Rafael newspaper made note 
of Codoni's operation in 1898: 

Mr. G. Codoni, the enterprising dairyman, is milking 
over 120 cows at present and is making a box of 
butter daily. His butter is well known and in great 
demand in San Francisco, where he has the name of 
being one of the best butter makers in the County. 204 

In mid-1901 Codoni reportedly milked 133 cows and made 4,500 pounds 
of butter per month. By this time he had consolidated two dairies, the Felix 
Garcia dairy ranch to the west and the home ranch; cows were herded across 
the narrow bridge on the county road at Tocaloma daily for milking at the main 

201 Munro-Fraser, Marin County, p. 420; interviews with Rae Codoni and Don Mclsaac. 
202 Interview with Don Mclsaac. 

203 Marin County Journal. October 17, 1881; Marin Journal. November 20, 1884, May 14, 1885, 
April 27, 1899; San Rafael Tocsin. October 29, 1898. 

204 Munro-Fraser, Marin County, p. 420; Marin Journal. March 31, 1898. 


ranch. The dairy buildings at the Garcia ranch were then used for hay storage. 
Codoni apparently ceased butter production temporarily at the ranch in 1902 
and began to ship cream on the North Shore Railroad. The newspaper 
published the following report: 

Mr. Jos. Codoni's herd of 120 cows at Tocaloma is 
making a pound to the cow. The cows are in good 
condition and are one of the finest bunch to be seen 
in the county. Mr. Codoni is one of the dairymen in 
this county who does not milk his cows in the corral, 
but has a substantial and comfortable barn. He is a 
liberal feeder, and living right by the railroad, can 
have the feed he buys delivered very conveniently. At 
present he is shipping cream to San Francisco. 205 

The most lengthy description of the Codoni Ranch appeared in early 1906 
in the Marin Journal: 


Improvement is the watchword on this progressive 
ranch. A big addition to the barn has been built. The 
writer knows of only one barn in the state as well 
lighted. There are fourteen windows on the north, 
twelve on the south, ten on the west, four glass to the 
sash 14x15 in size. The baby calf barn is also well 
lighted. Mr. Codoni does not do his work by halves, 
and will continue the good work until he has one of 
the best cow barns in the state. A carrier mounted on 
a track takes the barn cleanings to the tank house 
built to receive it, and a cement floor will soon be put 
in the barn, and a tank provided for the liquids. A 
concrete floor will soon be put in the dairy building. 

G. A Codoni, the owner, has wisely turned the ranch 
over to his two sons, James and Romain. Romain 
attends to the butter department in a manner 
creditable to himself, while James attends to the 
outside work. One hundred cows are milked now, and 
about sixty pounds of gilt-edged butter is the daily 
output. The Jersey is the favorite with the Codoni 
Bros. At night at the supper table, like the careful 

205 Marin Journal. June 20, 1901 and March 20, 1902; interview with Don Mclsaac. 


officer, the book comes out and the day's work is 

Papers, magazines and other literature on the table 
shows a broad American spirit. No one appreciates 
Americanism more than the Swiss people. And no 
one exceeds them in genuine hospitality. 

Miss Nellie is giving her young brother Henry lessons 
on the piano, as well as teaching others. She received 
calls Wednesday from the Misses Mazza, also from the 
Misses Bloom, and Miss Knittel from San Rafael came 
up for a visit. 

One important factor on the Codoni ranch is a well 
equipped blacksmith shop, with its drills, thread 
cutter, dies, etc. and men with mechanical ideas who 
manage it. A few dollars invested in tools will save 
the rancher many dollars. 206 

Joseph Codoni, one of "Marin county's noblemen," died after a long illness 
on February 20, 1915 at the age of 67. An obituary noted that Codoni "was well 
known throughout Marin County and was universally esteemed. He was a 
clean, upright, and honorable man, and was so regarded by all who knew him." 
Four years later his widow and son James leased the ranch, selling the stock 
and implements to a Mr. Maggiorini and his partners. Mrs. Codoni also leased 
the old creamery adjacent to the Garcia house across the creek to George 
Russell for a period of fifteen years beginning in 1916, for $5.00 per month rent; 
Russell remodeled the building into a small home. James Codoni resigned as 
postmaster, effectively ending the life of the Tocaloma post office. 207 

Rosa Codoni lived with her son James in the old house on the Felix 
Garcia tract until her death in 1944. James died in January of the same year. 
Innocento Rizzoli had operated a dairy on the smaller ranch from about 1910 to 
at least 1914, while various tenants, including a man named Sichetti and 
partners Jim Fraiser and David Rogers, leased the main Codoni ranch until 
1934. The Armanino brothers, Al and Syl, rented the Codoni Ranch from 1934 

206 Marin Journal. February 15, 1906. 

207 Leases. Book J, p. 342, MCRO; Cross, Financing an Empire, p. 540; Marin Journal. February 
25, 1915, August 21 and 28, 1919. 


to 1944. The brothers shipped Grade B cream to Point Reyes Station and 
Petaluma. When the Armaninos left in 1944, Joseph Codoni's grandson Don 
Mclsaac of Nicasio took over the family ranch for grazing young dairy cows. 208 

Don Mclsaac's paternal grandfather was another Marin County pioneer, 
Neil Mclsaac, who arrived in the area from his native Nova Scotia in 1865. By 
coincidence, Neil Mclsaac worked at the D. D. Wilder dairy ranch near Olerna at 
the same time Giuseppe Codoni was there. Mclsaac leased a ranch near Nicasio 
from the Black/Burdell and Cutter families and raised a family there. One of 
his sons, Donald Dinnie Mclsaac, married Nellie Codoni in 1912; their two sons, 
Don and Neil, eventually took over the Nicasio dairy and were operating it at 
the time of Rosa Codoni's death in 1944. 209 

Don Mclsaac and his wife Lorraine and family moved into Joseph 
Codoni's old home in 1944, while operating a Grade A dairy in partnership with 
his brother Neil on the family's Nicasio Valley Ranch. By this time the ranch 
was owned by Nellie Mclsaac and her brother Romeo. Don Mclsaac had a 
Grade A dairy barn built by the Renati Brothers of Novato in 1951 and started 
milking again on the Codoni ranch. The old dairy house was moved a short 
distance to the west and remodeled as a bunkhouse for the milkers. More 
recently the dairy house was moved to the west side of Lagunitas Creek, below 
and downstream from the old Garcia ranch, and further remodeled as a family 
dwelling. In 1962 the county built a new highway bridge over Lagunitas Creek, 
trading land with Mclsaac and building a cattle underpass on Platform Bridge 
Road as part of the deal. Mclsaac took possession of the 1927 highway bridge 
and has used it for access to the west side of the ranch. 

Mclsaac milked about 100 cows in the early 1950s, and when he stopped 
milking in August of 1973 had a milking herd of about 200. Since then the 
Mclsaac family has raised beef and dairy cattle on the ranch. Nellie Mclsaac 
deeded the ranch as a gift to the Mclsaac brothers and their wives in 1975. 
The federal government purchased the Mclsaac Ranch in May of 1983 for 
inclusion in Golden Gate National Recreation Area. 

Information on the later Codoni years and Mclsaac Ranch from interviews with Don and 
Lorraine Mclsaac. Codoni's tenant on the Garcia tract, Innocento Rizzoli, an immigrant from 
Canton Ticino, Switzerland, disappeared from his next place of employment, the Cheda Ranch, in 
November 1915; his hody was found almost 21 years later in nearby Devil's Gulch, and the death 
was ruled a suicide. 


Munro-Fraser, Marin County, p. 436; Cross, Financing an Empire, pp. 539-540. 


3. Buildings and Historic Resources 

The Mclsaac Ranch contains eight historic buildings, a historic highway 
bridge, and six newer structures. 

a. Main Residence 

The Mclsaac residence consists of two buildings joined together: the 
original home built as early as 1866, and the Codoni home built in 1884. The 
older house is a one-story simple farmhouse with a gable roof and open porches 
on both sides of the structure. It has an altered and modernized interior, in 
use for decades as the ranch kitchen. The 1884 addition is two stories, with a 
hipped roof with decorative cornice and brackets, horizontal drop siding and a 
stone and mortar foundation. Overall the house measures 28' by 54'. The 
house has had a number of exterior alterations, including replacement of 
windows with aluminum sash, loss of original chimneys and front porch, 
replacement of the original front door facing the highway with a sliding double 
glass door; the interior alterations are mainly in the bathrooms. Originally the 
house had a number of chimneys, but after the 1906 earthquake they were 
consolidated into one. This main chimney was replaced some years ago by Don 
Mclsaac. The house is in good condition. A modern carport is attached to the 
northwest corner of the house. Because of the extent and number of 
alterations, the house possesses only fair historic integrity. 

b. Hay Barn 

This barn is the only one of its kind in the area. It is a large, 50' x 55', 
steep pitch gable-roof barn with old shed additions around three sides. The 
siding is wood board and batten. The barn is built into the hillside, with the 
hayloft extending over the hillside a short distance. The major portion of the 
hayloft in the main barn has been removed and many of the rafters used to 
strengthen the barn. The barn has a concrete floor, installed about 1906, and 
the remains of a manure conveyor system. Milking stanchions have been 
removed. The roof is corrugated metal although one section at this writing is 
original wood shingle and badly deteriorated. The barn is in fair condition, but 
possesses good historic integrity. 


c. Shelter Shed 

This 16' x 46' open shed fit tightly between the Grade A barn and the 
calf barn, was originally used for feed storage and is now used as an equipment 
shed. It appears to be 19th century construction. It has a steep-pitched 
corrugated metal gable roof, mostly open sides, vertical board siding on the ends 
and an old shed addition facing the highway. It is in fair condition but has poor 
historic integrity. 

d. Calf Barn 

Once used to house calves, this 19th century barn is now used for pigs 
and storage. The gable-roofed barn with shed addition measures 24' x 28', has 
board and batten siding and a deteriorated shingle roof, and is in poor condition. 
It possesses good historic integrity. 

e. Dairy/Dwelling 

The old dairy/dwelling, now occupied by Don Mclsaac, was originally the 
19th century dairy house on the main ranch in which butter was made and 
cream separated. In making way for the new Grade A barn it was moved in 
1951 to a location near the main residence and used as a bunkhouse. About 
1965 the house was moved about half a mile to the present location and 
extensively remodeled. The two-story house has a gable roof with a new flat 
dormer facing south; much of the original horizontal siding remains. The 
building has many alterations, and is in good condition. Because of its change 
of location and remodeling, however, its historic integrity is poor. 

f. Shatter House 

The old Shafter house is more than 100 years old, possibly built as early 
as 1865. It was once the dwelling house for a separate dairy ranch, with barn 
and creamery nearby. It is a one-and-a-half story, wood frame dwelling, with a 
gable roof and a shed roofed garage/entry with a distinctive arched opening, 
apparently for a buggy. It measures 28' x 34' overall. The horizontal drop 
siding is apparently original. An old front door and evidence of a covered porch 


remain on the south face; a deck was recently added to this side, affording a 
sweeping view over the ranch and valley. The interior has seen basic 
alterations, although it retains its original layout of three bedrooms (two 
upstairs), living room, kitchen and dining room. The house is very old and in 
poor condition. Because of alterations it possesses only fair historic integrity. 

g. Water Tank 

This water tank, twelve feet square and eight feet deep, sits on the slope 
above the corrals. The underground portion is concrete and covered with an old 
board and batten tank house that may be up to 100 years old. The roof is 
pyramidal with a vent cupola and decorative spike at the top. It is in fair 
condition, and possesses good historic integrity. 

h. Tocaloma Bridge 

The Tocaloma Bridge, long a landmark on Sir Francis Drake Highway, 
was designed by Marin County surveyor John C. Oglesby and constructed in 
1927. The bridge crosses Lagunitas Creek at Tocaloma before the long grade 
towards Olema. The new highway was touted as both an important farm route 
and a pathway to scenic west Marin County for an increasing number of 
motorists. Financed by a 1925 bond issue in the county, the Tocaloma Bridge 
was the most spectacular of six large bridges built during the project, 1926- 
1930. The reinforced concrete arch bridge is unique to the west county, and 
only one similar bridge exists in the county. The bridge was bypassed in 1962 
and abandoned, the property reverting to the Mclsaac family. The bridge has 
cracks and damage to the concrete guard rails, and will require structural study 
by qualified engineers to determine its condition. Further study of the history 
of this bridge is recommended. It possesses good historic integrity. 

i. Railroad Grade 

The original railbed of the North Pacific Coast Railroad and its 
successors, the North Shore Railroad and the Northwestern Pacific Railroad, 
passes through the property along the west bank of Lagunitas Creek. Built by 
Chinese labor in 1874 and widened for standard gauge tracks in 1920, and 


dismantled after 1933, this section of the railbed has been graded and 
maintained as a gravel ranch road and a right-of-way for a major pipeline 
serving the Marin Municipal Water District. The district owns a 1/2 acre parcel 
along the grade near the dairy/dwelling, on which is located a non-historic 
pumping station. Overall, the integrity of the railroad grade is good. 

j. Fences 

The fencelines on the Mclsaac Ranch follow the historic lines, but most 
have been replaced over the years. Some of the original split picket fences 
remain near the ranch complex and are important features of the historic 
landscape of the ranch. 

k. Ranch Roads 

Two old ranch roads contribute to the historic landscape at the Mclsaac 
Ranch. One originates in the main ranch complex at the barn and leads 
northeasterly to the top of the ridge overlooking Nicasio Valley. It is evident in 
a circa 1890 photograph of the ranch. The other begins on the railroad grade 
near Caesar's Tavern and leads to the Shatter house and then beyond to 
Bolinas Ridge, where it ends with a gate at Drake Highway. The route to the 
old house was changed before 1940; the original (and steeper) route remains 
but has been long abandoned. 

1. Equipment Barn 

This barn was a large board and batten hay barn, prominent from the 
highway, and more recently used for storage. The gable roofed barn collapsed 
in 1991 and has since been removed. 

There are five non-historic buildings on the ranch: a Grade A barn built 
in 1951, a large open shed, a butcher shed, a pole hay barn and a World War II 
prefab residence located in a gulch on Sir Francis Drake Highway east of the 
ranch complex. Next to the Tocaloma Bridge is a small privately-owned lot 
containing the old Caesar's Tavern, on the site of Bertrand's Tocaloma Hotel. 


The lot is on the park acquisition list. The old railroad grade is an easement to 
the Mclsaac Ranch west parcel and the two dwellings there. 

4. Historic Significance of Mclsaac Ranch 

The Mclsaac Ranch is significant as an example of an early Swiss-owned 
dairy ranch in the Lagunitas Creek area. The farm house is unique to the area 
and includes a pioneer portion attached. The hay barn is unlike any other 
remaining in the area, and of fair structural integrity. The old house on the 
hill above Tocaloma is a pioneer structure in use for more than 120 years. The 
Mclsaac Ranch and neighboring Zanardi Ranch are the last of some six dairy 
ranches that once occupied this section of Lagunitas Creek which retain their 
historic integrity. 

The Tocaloma Bridge has regional significance in transportation and 
architecture, as the best example of a J. C. Oglesby bridge on the important 
"town-to-country" road, Sir Francis Drake Highway. The bridge has long been a 
landmark to Bay Area residents and was an important link in the county-wide 
transportation system. 

Historic Features 

1. Main Residence, ca. 1866-1884 

2. Hay Barn, ca. 1880 

3. Shelter Shed, ca. 1900 

4. Calf Barn, ca. 1900 

5. Shafter House, ca. 1865 

6. Water Tank, ca. 1890 

7. Tocaloma Bridge, 1927 

8. NPCRR/NWP Railroad Grade, 1874 

9. Fences, Gates, Corrals 

10. Ranch Roads 




Sir Francis Drake 

O water tank 


An early portrait of Giuseppe and Rosa (Scilacci) Codoni. Courtesy of Rae Codoni. 


Giuseppe and Rosa (Scilacci) Codoni. Courtesy of Rae Codoni. 

Bertrand's Hotel and the old platform bridge, circa 1890. Courtesy of Rae Codoni. 


Two views of the Codoni Ranch around the turn of the century. Above, the porch is visible on the house, the 
barn has lower shed sides, and the dairy house is obscured by trees, center. The barn at left was later 
replaced. Hog pens are near the creek at the bottom of the picture. In the photo below, Payne Shafter's livery 
stable is in the foreground, and the roof of the Tocaloma depot is barely seen. Courtesy of Don Mclsaac, 


The Codoni Ranch around the turn of the century. Courtesy of Don Mdsaac. 

A painting of Rosa Codoni's house, on the former Felix Garcia Ranch. Courtesy of 
Rae Codoni. 



Views of Tocaloma from a circa 1894 North Pacific Railroad brochure. Courtesy of Gordon Chappell. 


North Pacific Coast Railroad tracks near Tocaloma. Courtesy 
of Rae Codoni. 

The abandoned Tocaloma Bridge, 1 994. NFS photo by Dewey Livingston. 


Loading hay into the west barn; this barn collapsed in 1992. Courtesy of Don Mclsaac. 



Section III, Chapter S 



Damazio Ranch 





Golden Gate National Recreation Area 

.1 .2 .3 .4 .5 

Traced from USGS Quads Contour Interval 200 1 
historic boundaries approximate 











Former Damazio Ranch 
(Golden Gate National Recreation Area) 

1. Description 

This ranch property once supported a small dairy operation but has been 
used for only grazing for the past 30 years or so. The 570.3-acre parcel is 
formed from two older divisions: a 457.15-acre ranch once owned by a son of 
Rafael Garcia, and 113.15 acres that had been split from another Garcia ranch 
in 1893. The property is of an awkward shape, stretching from the upper 
western slopes of Bolinas Ridge above the town of Olema to Lagunitas Creek 
which delineates the northeast boundary. Sir Francis Drake Highway forms 
the northwestern border; the ranch is bounded on the west by the former 
DeSouza Ranch, on the south by the Truttman and Jewell Ranches, on the east 
and northeast by the Cheda and Mclsaac Ranches, and on the northwest by the 
Mclsaac (former Hamilton) tract. The land is wooded on most of the east 
slopes of Bolinas Ridge and grassy on the top of the ridge and on the western 

2. History of the Neil Mclsaac Ranch 

The pioneer Olema to San Rafael Road, sometimes called the Old Olema 
Trail, crossed this property in the mid-19th century. The Mexican owners of 
the Point Reyes Peninsula and other early pioneers used the trail to travel to 
San Rafael and San Francisco, and the first stage coaches from Olema to San 
Rafael followed its crude path. This old horse trail and wagon road left the 
Olema/Bolinas road near the homes of the Garcia family at the future site of 
the town of Olema, followed a ridgeline easterly to the summit, then descended 
to Daniels or Lagunitas Creek. The trail is the earliest known structure on 
what would become the Jose Garcia and later the Neil Mclsaac Ranch. County 
surveyor Hiram Austin laid out a new road about one-half mile to the north to 
replace the old trail in 1867. At the time, Loomis Curtis operated a dairy near 
the summit of the ridge. Curtis' house is marked on Austin's survey, and 
when the land was officially divided in 1868, the deed noted that the property 


line "crosses through the Curtiss [sic] coral [sic] to the west of the dairy house." 
Austin's survey names the drainage towards Tocaloma "Curtiss Gulch." Little is 
known of Curtis; he married Elizabeth McGovern of Olema in 1864, and the 
couple moved some time after 1868 to the Shafters & Howard property in the 
upper Lagunitas Canyon near Bon Tempe where he operated a dairy which 
later became the well-known Liberty Ranch; Curtis died in 1875. 210 

After the death of Rafael Garcia his widow divided the remaining land 
amongst the family. Jose Garcia received the southernmost ranch of 446.39 
acres as surveyed in 1868. The newly built road from Olema to San Rafael 
acted as the northern boundary of the parcel. Jose Garcia mortgaged the 
property to the Masonic Savings Bank in June of 1872, and within about five 
years defaulted. The bank sold Garcia's ranch to Nicasio dairyman Neil 
Mclsaac for $10,000 in gold coin. Mclsaac had a house on the property, 
evidenced by a news report of the house burning down in 1883. Subsequently, 
Payne Shafter of Olema sold 113 acres of the former Hurtado ranch to Neil 
Mclsaac on October 26, 1893 for $100, bringing the total acreage of Mclsaac's 
ranch to about roughly 573 acres. 211 

Nova Scotia-born Neil Mclsaac came to California as a young man after 
serving in the Army during the Civil War. He worked on D. D. Wilder's dairy 
near Olema in 1868 and had apparently rented the Jose Garcia ranch before 
purchasing it from the bank. Mclsaac also rented a larger dairy property near 
Nicasio where he raised a family. He died in 1909, leaving the Garcia ranch to 
his wife Katherine. His son, Donald Dinnie Mclsaac, married Nellie Codoni 
from the neighboring ranch; both ranches were eventually inherited by Neil 
Mclsaac's grandsons Donald J. and Neil. 212 

At the turn of the century Charles Skinner rented the dairy ranch. His 
children were born there and Skinner enlarged the house. Skinner's brother 
William managed the Shafter and Howard ranches on Point Reyes for many 

10 "Plat of the Survey, for the Relocation of the San Rafael and Olema Road," by Hiram Austin, 
1867, CHS; "Section of Map Showing Subdivision of the Rancho Baulinas Y Tomales," 1868, in 
"Abstract of Title ... " [Mclsaac], p. 4, PRNS Collection; Marin County Journal. December 24, 1864; 
Lincoln Fairley, Mt. Tamalpais. A History (San Francisco: Scottwall Associates, 1987), p. 25; notes 
on Loomis Curtis provided by Bob Lethbridge (now retired), Marin Municipal Water District, 
Corte Madera. 

21 'Deeds Book H, p. 77, Book T, p. 529, Book 27, p. 380, Mortgages Book F, p. 646, MCRO; 
Marin County Journal. June 7, 1883. 

212 Cross, Financing An Empire, p. 539; interview with Rae Codoni. 


years. For at least three decades the Mclsaac family rented the ranch to John 
Damazio, who lived in the house with his wife Ophelia and their many children. 
John Damazio and his son Joe operated a dairy from the early 1920s until some 
time in the early 1940s, when family members continued residing there but did 
not milk cows. The grazing land was rented to Armin and Frank Truttman of a 
nearby dairy ranch, and then to the Xavier brothers who rented the Cheda 
Ranch for their dairy business. The Mclsaac family, brothers Don and Neil, 
have used the land for grazing since about 1960. In the 1960s the Marin 
County Fire Department burned the abandoned ranch structures, leaving only 
sections of concrete floor and the cypress trees that sheltered the house from 
the strong coastal winds. 213 

In the 1960s the Mclsaacs made two transactions which affected the 
property. In 1961 the Marin Municipal Water District acquired a 20-foot right- 
of-way along the old Northwestern Pacific Railroad grade on the eastern side of 
the property for a major water pipeline. Two years later the County of Marin 
traded property in order to replace the old Tocaloma Bridge on Sir Francis 
Drake Highway with a modern highway bridge. In the transaction the 
Mclsaacs secured ownership of the old bridge and the land surrounding it. 214 

In January of 1972, Don and Neil Mclsaac sold the ranch to San 
Francisco investor and wholesale florist Angelo Ferro and his wife Irma for 
$285,000. The Ferros intended to develop the ranch and had the land surveyed 
and divided into 60 acre tracts. While the land had been zoned A-2, wherein 
one home per two acres was permissible, the planning department indicated 
that only larger tracts would be acceptable on this particular piece of land. 
Later in 1972, the Ferros were reportedly offered $425,000 for the ranch by a 
developer, but the offer was withdrawn because the proposed Golden Gate 
National Recreation Area would include the ranch within its boundaries. In 
fact, the property was acquired by the United States for inclusion in the park 
on December 4, 1973, paying the Ferros $420,000, almost exactly what the 

213 Marin Journal. August 24 and October 19, 1899; interview with Earl Skinner; 20th century 
ranch information from an interview with Don Mclsaac. 

214 Official Records Book 1457, p. 370, Book 1461, p. 121, Book 1733, p. 298, MCRO. 


developer had offered earlier. Don Mclsaac grazes cattle on the property now 
under a special use permit with the National Park Service. 215 

3. Historic Resources 

No buildings remain on the former Ferro property. The house site is 
marked by the cypress grove which acted as a windbreak to shelter the house. 
Remains of a barn are visible south of the house site. The Mclsaac family has 
built corrals on the site of the Grade B milking barn. Fence lines follow the 
original 1868 subdivision, but their fabric has been changed over the years; now 
most are wood post and barbed wire. 

The only significant structure remaining on the property is the eastern 
portion of the old Olema Trail, in use from the Mexican era until 1867. 
Leading uphill from Olema along the DeSouza Ranch fence line, the pioneer 
route then follows the fence line on the Ferro property as it crosses the ridge 
and descends to Lagunitas Creek. The section with the highest integrity is the 
lower half on the east slope, where the long-abandoned roadbed is visible as it 
descends the steep hillside, bends around a knoll and through some oak trees, 
then makes a sharp turn to the southeast for its final descent to the railroad 
grade and the creek. 

4. Historic Significance of the Neil Mclsaac Ranch 

The former Neil Mclsaac Ranch has significance as a contributor to the 
Olema Valley dairy district, but the absence of historic resources leaves it with 
little historic integrity. Those resources with integrity are the Olema Trail and 
the railroad grade, as well as landscape features such as the building remains, 
fence lines and windbreak trees. 

215 Appraisal Report: The Ferro Ranch. (Sebastopol, CA: The Harding Appraisal Co., 1973), pp. 
1-7; Official Records Book 2538, p. 153 and Book 2747, p. 450, MCRO; Tract File (L-1425) "Tract 
05-105, Ferro," PRNS. 


Historic Features 

1. Old Olema Trail 

2. NWP Railroad Grade 

3. Fences, gates, corrals 

4. Cypress windbreak at ranch site 

5. Building ruins 

Giuseppe Codoni, left and Neil Mclsaac, in 1905. Mclsaac was a neighbor and married 
Codoni's daughter Nellie. Courtesy of Rae Codoni. 


Professor A. W. Sampson stands in a pasture rented by the Damazio family and owned by Donald D. Mclsaac, 
son of Neil Mclsaac. In the left background of this 1 923 photograph are the Bear Valley Ranch and Mt. 
Wittenberg. M. B. Boissevain photograph courtesy of Jack Mason Museum. 

The site of the 1860s Loomis Curtis dairy ranch on the top of Olema Hill as it looked in 1995. 
NPS photo by Dewey Livingston. 



Section III, Chapter T 






Golden Gate National Recreation Area 

.1 .2 .3 

Traced (torn USGS Quads - Contour Interval 200" 
historic boundaries approximate 



Cheda Ranch 

Samue/ P. Taylor 
State Park 

Truttman Ranch 


Stewart Ranch 


(Golden Gate National Recreation Area) 

1. Description 

The Jewell Ranch is located across Lagunitas Creek from the small 
residential settlement of Jewell on Sir Francis Drake Highway between Samuel 
P. Taylor State Park and Tocaloma. The 536.77-acre ranch within park 
boundaries is what remains of the original 681 -acre Omar Jewell Ranch. The 
ranch is bounded on the north by the former Ferro/Mclsaac Ranch, on the east 
by Lagunitas Creek and Samuel P. Taylor State Park, on the south by the 
Stewart Ranch and on the west by the former Truttman Ranch. The land is 
mostly grassy with wooded gulches on the south part of the property. Two 
ranch sites can be found on the property, but no buildings remain. The Jewell 
Trail, part of Golden Gate National Recreation Area's trail system, crosses the 
ranch as a connector between the Bolinas Ridge Trail and the Cross Marin 
Trail. The latter trail passes along the entire east edge of the property as part 
of its route between Tocaloma and the state park. 

2. History of the Jewell Ranch 

Omar Jewell, born in New York in 1821, farmed in Wheaton, Illinois for 
many years before coming to California in 1861. Leaving his large family 
behind on the farm, Jewell established a farming implement business in 
Petaluma, being the exclusive agent for D. M. Osborne Reaper and Mower 
Company. In April of 1862 he sent for his family, who sold the farm and 
traveled overland by wagon train to Petaluma, arriving in September of that 

According to Bertha Stedman Rothwell, who had known the Jewell 
family, Jewell became interested in dairy farming after seeing his implement 
customers doing so well in their endeavors. Soon after arriving in Petaluma, 
Jewell leased a dairy on the crest of Bolinas Ridge from the Olds family and 
commenced dairying. His children attended school in the valley below. After 
the Olds brothers divided their large Olema Valley holdings, Jewell purchased a 
680.99-acre ranch property on the east side of the ridge, north of Samuel P. 


Taylor's papermill property. Jewell paid Olds $3,405 on December 2, 1864. 
Here he built a home and dairy ranch near the northern corner of the 
property. 216 

Mrs. Rothwell describes Jewell's house and dairy as located "on the west 
bank of the Paper Mill Creek at a spot designated now as Jewell's." She 
recalled the dairy ranch of Omar Jewell: 

On this new site he built himself a large two story 
family home. Surrounding it he built a very large 
barn for his stock and supply of hay for the Fall and 
Winter months. Also various sheds, a dairy house and 
pig sty where the swine could be raised for market. 
All early pioneer dairy ranches featured this means of 
disposal for the milk remaining after a top layer of 
thick cream had been removed with a wet, wooden 

Jewell and his wife Viana had seven children, only four of which, Alva, Viana, 
William and Annie, lived at the Jewell Ranch in 1870. A daughter Harriet died 
at the ranch in 1866 and her sister Olive followed in 1869. Omar Jewell's 
father-in-law Alva Marshall lived with the family for a time, helping on the 
dairy. 217 

By 1870 Jewell had developed his dairy ranch into one that provided him 
a comfortable livelihood. Jewell milked 40 cows and produced 8500 pounds of 
butter and 15 tons of hay that year, all valued at $4,500. In addition to the 
milk cows the ranch also supported 13 horses, 35 other cattle and 40 pigs, 
valued at $4,400. 218 

In 1872 Omar Jewell and 38 of his neighbors, including Cheda, Codoni, 
Bloom, Olds and Parsons, petitioned the Marin County Board of Supervisors for 
the construction of a bridge across Lagunitas Creek near Jewell's house, 
apparently to allow the residents continued use of the old Olema road that had 
been abandoned five years earlier but was for some a more convenient route. 

216 Rothwell, Pioneering, pp. 228-231; Munro-Fraser, Marin County, p. 465; Deeds Book E, p. 
238, MCRO. 

217 Rothwell, Pioneering, pp. 211, 228-234; Population Schedules, 9th U. S. Census, 1870. Viana 
Jewell's name is spelled Vienna in some accounts. 

218 Agricultural Schedules, 9th U. S. Census, 1870. 


The petition was denied. The next year Jewell sold a 75-foot right-of-way to 
the North Pacific Railroad Company, which constructed narrow gauge tracks 
along the east side of the property below Jewell's home. A flagstop was 
established soon after and named Jewell's. 219 

Omar Jewell died in 1875 after a long illness; his daughter Emma passed 
away shortly after. Both were buried at Olema Cemetery. Jewell's oldest son 
Alva returned from his Mendocino County sheep ranch to operate the dairy 
with his brother William. To supplement their business activities the brothers 
purchased a livery stable in San Rafael; William ran the livery business while 
Alva and his wife stayed and operated the dairy ranch. Alva Jewell died in 
June of 1888, and his mother Viana passed away in 1890. 220 

The Jewell family leased the ranch to Battista Ottolini for many years 
beginning in 1883. The leases were renewed every three years until at least 
1892; Ottolini paid between $1,200 and $1,350 per year rent for the dairy ranch. 
Ottolini and his wife Maria started a family while at the ranch; they relocated 
to Duncan's Mills before 1895. Ottolini family eventually settled in Nicasio and 
San Geronimo. By 1925 Samuel M. Augustine, who had been the notary public 
on the leases to Ottolini, owned the Jewell Ranch, but little has been found of 
his tenure there. The railroad, at the time part of the Northwestern Pacific, 
ceased operations on the Point Reyes line and abandoned its right-of-way in 
1933. Augustine sold the ranch on August 19, 1933 to the operators of Roberts 
Dairy, a processing plant in San Rafael owned by Ruth Roberts Lundgren, her 
son James Lundgren and Sayles Turney. Roberts Dairy eventually owned a 
number of West Marin ranches, including the New Albion and K Ranches on 
Point Reyes. The partners built a Grade A dairy at the hill location and also 
constructed a bridge across Lagunitas Creek, which washed out shortly after its 
construction and had to be rebuilt. 221 

Two sites of settlement can be found on the Jewell Ranch: the known 
dairy site on the hill, and what appears to be an older site next to the railroad 
right-of-way at the northeastern corner of the property. It is possible that the 

219 Marin County Journal. February 6, 1872. 

220 Rothwell, Pioneering, pp. 235-238; Marin Journal. June 14, 1888 and October 16, 1890. 

221 Rothwell, Pioneering, p. 238; Leases Book C, pp. 112 and 487, Official Records Book 266, p. 
165, MCRO; interview with Anita Ottolini Flanders; "Map of Marin County," 1925; interview with 
Don Mclsaac. 


Jewell family dairy had been located at the upper site from the beginning, with 
the home and orchard situated by the railroad tracks; the lower site does not 
appear to be large enough for a dairy operation of any size, and the construction 
of the railroad would have eliminated most of the level land. Omar Jewell may 
have moved uphill after selling the right-of-way. The trees at the uphill site do 
not appear to be as old as those at the lower site, but the grading on the 
hillside where a barn may have stood appears to be hand-graded and therefore 
is likely pre-1920s. By the time Roberts Dairy developed the Grade A dairy 
operation, the entire ranch was located at the upper site, with no structures 
known to remain below. At some point a one-story house was built at the 
upper site, near the Grade A barn and an adjacent shed. It replaced the older 
two-story house that had apparently burned down. 222 

According to a long-time neighbor, Sayles Turney ran the dairy ranch in 
the early 1940s, then the Shanks brothers took over for about four years. 
Frank and Rita Morris were reportedly the last family to milk cows there, 
during the 1950s. For many years neighboring ranchers Armin and Frank 
Truttman rented the land for grazing their dairy cows and had a group called 
the Jewell Hunting Club. In 1958 the owners sold about 144 acres of wooded 
land on the southern end of the ranch to the California State Park System as 
an addition to Samuel P. Taylor State Park, reducing the size of the ranch to 
536.77 acres. In 1961 the Marin Municipal Water District purchased right-of- 
way along the abandoned railroad grade and laid a major pipeline along the 
route. 223 

By the time the National Park Service bought the ranch in 1974 the 
buildings had been abandoned, the water system had ceased to function, and 
the land used only for grazing. The property was zoned A-2 (one unit allowed 
per 2 acres), but was considered appropriate for a residential development on 
15- to 25-acre sites. Lundgren sold the ranch to the federal government in 1974 
for $362,250 and ran his cattle on it until his death. The remaining buildings, a 
one-story house and the Grade A barn and shed, were torn down and the land 
is now used for grazing under a special use permit to Frank and Robert Merz. 224 

222 Field survey by the author; interview with Boyd Stewart. 

223 Interview with Don Mclsaac; Appraisal Report: The Lundgren Ranch. (Sebastopol: Harding 
Appraisal Co., 1973), p. 29; Rothwell, Pioneering, p. 238. 

224 Appraisal: Lundgren. pp. 1, 7, 9a, 10; tract file (L-1425), tract 05-104, Lundgren, PENS. 


3. Historic Resources 

No buildings remain at the Jewell Ranch. The sites of two homesteads 
are visible. Near the eastern corner of the ranch is what is believed to be the 
original Jewell home site with its remains of an old terraced orchard and typical 
windbreaks of cypress and eucalyptus trees. An especially large eucalyptus tree 
marks the exact eastern corner next to the creek; this tree appears to be about 
130 years old. A mature stand of eucalyptus trees mark the property boundary 
for about 100 yards from this corner. On the hill directly south of this older 
site is the more recent ranch site, reached by a dirt road from the railroad 
grade to the ridgetop, now known as the Jewell Trail. There is a connector 
road leading from the old site to the upper site. The ranch site has four stands 
of eucalyptus in short rows, remains of an orchard, a bench cut into the hillside, 
apparently for a barn, and what appears to be old sheep fencing on a small 
wooded knoll above the barn site. A trace of a road leaves this site to what 
appears to be the remains of a hunting camp in the nearby woods. Boundary 
fences are intact, with short sections of the older split picket fences remaining. 

4. Historic Significance of the Jewell Ranch 

The former Jewell Ranch has significance as a contributor to the Olema 
Valley dairy district, but the absence of historic resources leaves it with little 
historic integrity. Those resources with integrity are the Jewell Trail and the 
railroad grade, as well as landscape features such as the building sites, fence 
lines and windbreak trees. 

Historic Features 

1. Ranch roads (Jewell Trail) 

2. NWP Railroad Grade 

3. Old orchard 

4. Windbreak trees (both sites) 

5. Boundary fences 


Buildings on the Jewell Ranch as they appeared in 1973, from the Harding appraisal of the property. 



Section III, Chapter U 






Golden Gate National Recreation Area 

.1 .2 .3 

.4 .5 

Traced from USGS Quads - Contour Interval 200 1 
historic boundaries approximate 


' X 

Samuel P. Taylor 
State Park 

NPCRR grade 



(Golden Gate National Recreation Area) 

1. Description 

Cheda Ranch is a large parcel of land adjacent to Samuel P. Taylor Park 
on Lagunitas Creek, east of Tocaloma. The ranch complex is about 1/2 mile up 
a dirt road from Sir Francis Drake Highway, sitting in a valley that drains to 
Lagunitas Creek. The ranch is mostly grassland with forested areas in the 
gulches. The former owners negotiated a reservation of use and occupancy, and 
rent the buildings and pastures to various tenants. 

2. History of Cheda Ranch 

The first known non-Indian resident of the area that would become the 
Cheda Ranch was Marin pioneer Capt. Oliver Allen, a well-known engineer and 
inventor who had arrived in California with the Gold Rush. Allen came to 
Marin County in 1852 and rebuilt two sawmills at Dogtown near Bolinas. He 
then settled with his family in a house on the creek draining the Cheda Ranch, 
probably renting the property from Rancho Nicasio owner William J. Miller. 
While here he was employed by Samuel P. Taylor to aid with the engineering 
and machinery of Taylor's Pioneer Paper Mill, the first paper mill on the west 
coast. Allen also reportedly began his first experiments with dairy farming on 
this site; eventually his inventions for butter churns and other dairy equipment 
became used on dairies throughout California. Allen and his family moved to a 
Shatter dairy on Point Reyes in 1859. 225 

In one of the first transactions upon breaking up his holdings in Rancho 
Nicasio, William J. Miller sold Gaudenzio Cheda and Carlo Solari 932 acres of 
prime land draining into Lagunitas Creek on January 9, 1866, for a sum of 
$4,500. Cheda first located in Trinity County, where in 1859 he was 
naturalized as an American citizen in Weaverville. Cheda and Solari were 
among the first Swiss immigrants to arrive in Marin County, marking the 

225 Munro-Fraser, Marin County, pp. 431-433; Oliver Allen Papers, Bancroft Library, Berkeley; 
John S. Hittell, The Commerce and Industries of the Pacific Coast of North America (San 
Francisco: A. L. Bancroft & Co., 1882), p. 264. 


beginning of an influx that changed the face of the County for good. Solari 
apparently sold out his share to Cheda within a few years. 226 

By 1870 Cheda, at age 34, had a thriving dairy ranch where he milked 85 
cows and made 8,500 pounds of butter the previous year. He employed six 
laborers, including his brother Pete, paying $2,000 in wages during the year. 
With wife Antonia (or Antoinette) and three children, Philamenia, Emaragilda 
and Silvio, Cheda had made a good life for himself in just a short time. By the 
end of the year all his neighbors but one were fellow Swiss. Cheda returned to 
Switzerland with his family, and son Virgilio was born there in 1875. The 
family returned to Marin County by 1878 but settled in San Rafael where 
Cheda bought a hay, grain, wool and coal business. The ranch was leased out 
and the Cheda family never returned. 227 

Cheda leased the ranch in 1883 to one F. Magee. Residents of the area 
voted for a school tax in 1884 which established the Tocaloma School District. 
By September a schoolhouse had been erected at the entrance to the Cheda 
Ranch and 26 children, most from the paper mill upstream, appeared for school. 
Across the small creek from the school house stood an open-air dance pavilion, 
used by the local residents until the 1920s. 228 

Gaudenzio Cheda died at age 54 in 1889 and left the ranch to his heirs, 
the ranch staying in the family under the name Cheda Estate Company for 
much of this century. Early in the century the large original Cheda home 
burned and was replaced with a more modest bungalow. The family leased the 
ranch to various dairymen, including (during this century), a Mr. Bettencourt, 
the Xavier Brothers, who developed the Grade A dairy, Peters Oakland Central 
Creamery for a short time and finally, Ray Valconesi. Neighboring dairymen 
Armin Truttman and Don Mclsaac bought the milk contract from Valconesi in 
1965 and moved the operation off the ranch. 229 

In 1972 the property was sold to Laurence and Elizabeth Bono; the Bonos 
then sold to a group of land developers calling themselves Cheda Ranch 

226 Deeds Book F, p. 87, MCRO; Marin People. Volume II (San Rafael: Marin County Historical 
Society, 1972), pp. 171-172; Mason, Earthquake Bay, p. 41. 

^'Population and Agriculture Schedules, 9th U. S. Census, 1870. 

228 Marin County Journal. October 18, 1883; Marin Journal. June 19 and September 11, 1884; 
interview with Don Mclsaac and Rae Codoni. 

229 Death Records, MCRO; Marin Journal. October 31, 1889; interview with Don Mclsaac. 


Associates. The partners planned an equestrian-oriented development in the 
valley, but the ranch was purchased in 1982 by the National Park Service as a 
part of Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The ranch is currently occupied 
by tenants of Cheda Ranch Associates and the grazing land is leased by Barbara 

Hall. 230 

3. Buildings and Historic Resources 

The Cheda Ranch contains eleven buildings: two houses, two hay barns, 
a Grade A barn, a weaning barn, and five sheds. Many possess poor historic 
integrity because of alterations. 

a. Main Residence 

This one-story wood frame house appears to be built around 1920 as the 
later principal ranch residence. It has a partial hip roof with various gables and 
shed additions. Distinctive shutter decorations are on many windows, and a 
modern fireplace and chimney has been added to the southwest corner of the 
house. It is in fair condition, and its integrity is fair. 

b. Small House 

The smaller house on the ranch was originally a bunk house. It 
measures about 30' by 30' and has a gable roof and an open porch. The tenants 
have removed some interior walls to make it a family home. The small one 
story house is in fair condition. 

c. Grade A Dairy 

The 35' by 100' sanitary milking barn appears to have been built about 
1937-38; it is practically identical to the Truttman Ranch Grade A barn. Built 
out of concrete, wood and corrugated metal, it retains some of its original wood 

""Deeds Book 70, p. 81, Official Records Book 2628, p. 266, MCRO; Independent Journal. 
October 20, 1973; interview with Don Mclsaac. 


stanchions and a feeder cart on tracks. It is in fair condition and is used for 

d. Hay Barn 

The hay barn is actually two buildings: the original 48' by 108' Grade B 
barn, apparently built in the 1920s, with vertical wood siding and a corrugated 
metal raised gable roof, and a newer 28' by 108' section of wood frame with 
corrugated metal siding and roof. The old barn is in poor condition, and is used 
for hay storage. Its integrity is fair. 

e. Weaning Barn 

This small, 30' by 35' barn appears to be about 100 years old, but has 
been altered with the addition of windows and interior modification. It is now 
used as a music studio, is in fair condition and has poor integrity. 

f. New Hay Barn 

Used for storage, this barn was built about twenty years ago. It is a 
partially-open barn with corrugated metal siding and roof; it appears to be in 
good condition. 

g. Garage 

The 15' by 30' garage is apparently over 50 years old. It is a wood frame 
structure with corrugated metal siding and roof, rolling doors and a concrete 
foundation. It is in fair condition. 

h. Chicken Shed 

The chicken shed is a small 10' x 12' building over 50 years old. It has 
vertical board siding, double doors, and a sagging roof with wood shingles and 
sections of asphalt shingles. A lean-to has been added to the east side. It is in 
poor condition and its integrity is poor. 


i. Tack Room/Office 

This small building is about 30 years old had been used as a tack room 
until it was made into an office. It is wood frame with corrugated metal 
roofing, has been altered, and is in fair condition. 

j. Shed 

This appears to have been the ranch blacksmith shop. It has vertical 
board siding with board and batten on the east side and a corrugated metal 
gable roof. A brick chimney, with the fireplace portion damaged, sits on the 
north wall. Plants are affecting the stability of the structure. The wood frame 
building has been altered and is in poor condition. 

k. Ranch Road 

The narrow dirt road to Cheda Ranch appears to be the original road 
dating from the 1860s. Its integrity is good and it is in fair condition. 

Also on the ranch are an abandoned deer camp, a large artificial pond, 
and the ruins of a cabin on the creek near the highway. 

4. Historic Significance of the Cheda Ranch 


While the Cheda Ranch has local significance as one of the first Swiss- 
owned dairies in Marin County, the remaining buildings lack both physical and 
historic integrity and it does not appear to be eligible for the National Register. 



1. Main Residence, ca. 1920 

2. Small House, ca. 1900 

3. Grade A Dairy, ca. 1937 

4. Hay Barn, ca. 1920, 1970 

5. Weaning Barn, ca. 1900 

6. Garage, ca. 1920 

7. Chicken Shed, ca. 1920 

8. Shed (Blacksmith Shop), ca. 1880 

9. Ranch Road, ca. 1860s 

shed (blacksmith shop) 








Tocaloma School on the Cheda Ranch around the turn of the century. Courtesy of Don Mdsaac. 


The main house at the Cheda Ranch (top) and the hay barn (bottom), as they appeared in 1995. NPS photos 
by Dewey Livingston. 



Section III, Chapter V 


Two Non-NPS Ranches 





F?H-<$~?s5) --^X^ <1 -' r\(Vedanta Retreat) ( V, 


(not owned by the National Park Service) 

Two ranch properties are within the designated boundaries of Point 
Reyes National Seashore and Golden Gate National Recreation Area but have 
not been purchased for inclusion in those parks. The Vedanta Society property 
of over 2,000 acres adjacent to Olema was excluded from purchase in the 
Seashore legislation because the religious organization which owns it provides 
uses compatible to the park. The ranch owned by the Robert and George 
Gallagher families, located east of Point Reyes Station, is slated for purchase 
when funds become available. Both have historic significance, especially the 
Vedanta property which was the country home of James McMillan Shatter, a 
prominent Californian and one of the original owners and developers of the 
Point Reyes dairy ranches. A brief history of these properties follows. 

Vedanta Society Retreat 

The Vedanta Society Retreat is a large, mostly wooded parcel of over 
2,000 acres located directly to the south and west of Olema, stretching from the 
town to the Stewart Ranch on the south. James McMillan Shatter chose this 
parcel as his country estate where, in 1869, he built a fine New England-style 
manor, which he called The Oaks, and dairy ranch. Shafter's law firm had 
purchased the entire Point Reyes Peninsula in 1858 and within ten years 
developed the largest dairy ranch in the state; no doubt Shatter wanted a fine 
estate from which to watch over his enterprises. During the early years at The 
Oaks, Shatter bought at least four small ranches from the Garcia family, 
although most of these transactions were taking advantage of defaulted loans. 
Shatter was a major stockholder in the North Pacific Coast Railroad, which 
commenced service to Tomales Bay in early 1875; his investment in this narrow 
gauge line eventually led to his financial downfall. 231 

Shatter gave The Oaks to his son Payne as a 30th birthday present in 

231 Mason, Point Reyes, pp. 69-74. The late historian Jack Mason wrote a great deal about 
the Shatters in Olema. Also see Mason's quarterly Point Reyes Historian for numerous articles 
and anecdotes. 


1875. Payne Shafter took on the role of country squire, taking part in local 
events and charities, hunting with members of San Francisco society, writing 
poetry, and keeping a fine stable of race horses which exercised on the race 
track on the ranch. Shafter loved the ranch and operated a stage service from 
Tocaloma station offering scenic drives to Bear Valley, Bolinas and the ocean. 
The dairy was leased to local ranchers; the famous tale of the cow falling into 
the crack during the 1906 earthquake purportedly happened here. In 1925 
Shafter sold 2,000 acres, excepting the mansion, to a Los Angeles syndicate bent 
on developing a golf resort. The plans never materialized and the property was 
sold in 1946 to the Vedanta Society, a Hindu-based sect brought to America 100 
years ago by Swami Vivekenanda. Payne Shafter died in 1934, leaving the 
mansion and small amount of property to his daughters Helen and Mary. They 
held on to the fine old estate until 1965 when it was sold to Bill and Louise 
Watt. The Watts eventually sold the mansion to the Vedanta Society, who use 
the building as a meditation retreat center. The mansion parcel is not within 
the legislated boundaries of Point Reyes National Seashore, but the Rift Zone 
Trail is maintained for the public nearby. 232 

North Bend Ranch 

The 330-acre Gallagher Ranch is located on Lagunitas Creek east of 
Point Reyes Station. It is bounded on the north by the creek which surrounds 
the ranch on three sides, and on the south by the Genazzi and former Edwin 
Gallagher Ranches. The land originally belonged to Rafael Garcia, whose wife 
Loretta inherited it in the 1868 family land division. By 1873 James McMillan 
Shafter owned the ranch and developed a dairy there. He built a large house, 
reportedly as a country estate for his daughter Julia, but for the most part the 
ranch was leased to dairymen. The North Pacific Coast Railroad built tracks 
through the ranch in 1874 and named the flagstop there North Bend. 233 

After James McMillan Shafter 's death in 1892 his heirs rapidly sold their 

232 Ibid.. pp. 83, 100-103. 

233 Deeds Book H, p. 77, Book M, p. 462, Book Q, pp. 324 and 621, MCRO; 1873 Map of 
Marin County. 


ranches in the vicinity to pay off their father's debts. Edward Gallagher, an 
Irishman who had arrived in the area before 1873, bought the ranch from the 
Shatters about 1893. Gallagher had operated leased dairies across the creek 
from the ranch, owned the ranch directly to the south as well as another in 
Nicasio. He raised a family and eventually his son William took over the dairy 
operation at North Bend. William L. Gallagher had spent a few years in San 
Francisco operating a cigar store but returned to the family ranch where he and 
his wife raised seven children. Sons Robert and George worked on the ranch 
and took over in 1944 after their father's death. 234 

The family made a living making cream until 1947, when Robert and 
George Gallagher built a Grade A dairy and began to produce market milk. 
George eventually moved to Point Reyes Station where he was postmaster for 
many years. The family sold the dairy business in 1985 and now raise 
replacement heifers. The family has been negotiating with the National Park 
Service towards eventual purchase of the ranch. 

The ranch contains a circa 1880 two story house, built by Shatter along 
plans similar to his ranch houses on Point Reyes. There is also a Shatter-era 
hay barn, as well as a horse barn and outbuildings, a modern house and 200- 
stall loafing barn. 

C. Historic Significance 

The Vedanta property has a great deal of historic significance as the 
home of James McMillan Shatter; it has architectural significance as well. The 
Shatter mansion provides a vivid illustration of the dominance of the Shatter 
family during the 19th century of the Point Reyes Peninsula. The Gallagher 
Ranch has historic significance as a contributing dairy ranch to the Olema 
Valley dairy district, and has good historic integrity. Further study of these 
properties is recommended. 

234 Mason, Point Reyes, p. 81; Gallagher Ranch information from an interview with Robert 


The Shatter Ranch, called The Oaks. Courtesy of Jack Mason Museum. 



Section IV 


and Recommendations 





1994 map of Point Reyes National Seashore, part of the park brochure. 


A. Management Context 

The overall objectives for Cultural Resource Management in the 
Statement for Management (1992) for Golden Gate National Recreation Area 
are: "To identify and protect the significant historic and cultural resources of 
the Golden Gate National Recreation Area through proper planning, research 
and preservation treatments;" and: 

To identify, research, and nominate all cultural 
resources that appear to have historical significance to 
the National Register of Historic Places. 

To stabilize and apply preservation treatments to all 
cultural resources determined to have historic 
significance, and to secure and protect all other 
historic structures pending historical research and 

To require park partners to contribute to the 
preservation of historic features and structures with 
direction from historic structure reports, park staff 
involvement and the Secretary of the Interior's 
Standards for Rehabilitation and Guidelines for 
Rehabilitating Historic Buildings. 

To develop historic structure reports and preservation 
guides to direct rehabilitation and routine and cyclic 
preservation maintenance activities. 

To initiate historic resource studies for proper 
management of significant historical features and 

To identify, preserve and enhance cultural landscape 
values, considering the dynamics of natural systems 
and the need to maintain species diversity 

The subject of grazing is also addressed in the 1992 Statement for Management: 
Livestock grazing has continuously occurred within 


what is now parkland since the Spaniards arrived in 
1776. As a result of heavy grazing, trampling, and the 
introduction of Mediterranean grass species, the 
species composition of the original grasslands has 
changed significantly. Now, when grazing is 
discontinued the disruption of the system allows 
invasion by exotics and the encroachment of coastal 
scrub communities, into what has historically been 
grasslands. In addition to the aesthetic impacts, this 
change reduces the amount of "edge" available as 
important wildlife habitat, it diminishes the ability to 
restore native coastal prairie species, and it could lead 
to a sizeable decrease in biological diversity. 

The park's General Management Plan (GMP), approved in 1980, denotes 
a Pastoral Landscape Management Zone which includes portions of the Olema 
Valley north of Five Brooks but which does not follow historic ranch 
boundaries. The zone includes lands "with which it has been determined that 
dairying and cattle ranching are desirable aspects of the scene from both an 
educational and aesthetic point of view. At a minimum, agricultural buildings 
and open grasslands will be retained in these areas, and where feasible, 
livestock grazing will continue within the limits of carefully monitored range 
capacities." It should be noted that grazing has more than a 200 year history in 
the area. Prehistoric mammals are known to have grazed extensively and, 
more recently, large herds of elk roamed the region. 

The park's List of Classified Structures (LCS), which includes most 
structures in the Olema Valley, is also listed in the GMP. The LCS is being 
updated at the time of this writing to include the structures in the Tocaloma 
area as discussed in this report. 

The Olema Valley contains five ranches (Wilkins, Giacomini, Stewart, 
Rogers and McFadden) that are in use as working ranches and occupied by the 
original owners, and five ranch sites (Randall, Lupton, Truttman, Edwin 
Gallagher and Genazzi) where grazing is allowed under permit; there are three 
ranch complexes (Truttman, Hagmaier and Teixeira) that are used as park or 
private housing, and two old houses at Five Brooks under reservations; all of 
these potentially contribute to a proposed historic district on the National 
Register of Historic Places. The copper mining site in the valley appears to 
contribute, although it is not directly related to the ranching activity. In the 
Tocaloma area are three operating ranches (Zanardi, Mclsaac and Cheda) and 


two ranch sites (Jewell and Neil Mclsaac), as well as the North Pacific Coast 
Railroad grade and Tocaloma Bridge, all of which potentially contribute to the 
district. Also, three significant parcels, the Gallagher (North Bend) Ranch, the 
Genazzi Ranch remainder and the Vedanta Society property, are not owned by 
the National Park Service but are within the designated boundaries and would 
be important parts of the proposed historic district. More than eighty 
potentially contributing buildings, structures and features are found in both 

Most of these ranches and sites appear to have regional historical 
significance in agriculture, industry and architecture. Future management of 
the area as a historic district/cultural landscape will be the key challenge to 
park planners over the coming years. Striking a proper balance between 
historic resource management and natural resource management is an 
especially important challenge. 

Overall, the cultural landscape of the Olema Valley ranches may carry 
the greatest significance and integrity. While a number of ranch complexes 
have disappeared over the years, the texture of the ranching character of the 
valley and most of the landscape values remains intact. On an individual basis, 
the best of these complexes in terms of significance and integrity are the 
Wilkins, Teixeira, Giacomini, Mclsaac and Zanardi Ranches. 

The ranches not named above contain only portions of the original dairy 
complex, for instance, only the house and larger barns remain at the Truttman 
Ranch, and the house at the McFadden Ranch has been significantly remodeled; 
these ranches retain their historic significance more through the values of a 
cultural landscape, where the continuum of use and changing policies are 
evident, than through the character of the buildings and structures. Of course, 
many ranches no longer exist at all; some of these sites, however, still contain 
significant landscape remains such as trees or foundations, and have potential 
for historic archeology. 


B. Research and Recordation 

1. National Register Nominations 

Following the criteria of National Register Bulletin 30, Guidelines for 
Evaluating and Documenting Rural Historic Landscapes, it is proposed that the 
Olema Valley and Lagunitas Creek ranches be listed on the National Register of 
Historic Places as a rural historic district. The boundaries of the district, to be 
named the Olema Valley Ranches Historic District, would be all that land in the 
Olema Valley lying between Bolinas Lagoon and Tomales Bay, delineated as 
follows: on the south, the southern boundary of the Wilkins Ranch; on the 
west, Highway 1 to the Point Reyes National Seashore boundary at Dogtown, 
then Pine Gulch Creek north to the northern line of the former Biesler Ranch 
and then Olema Creek to the head of Tomales Bay, and including a portion of 
Bear Valley Ranch to the west of Olema Creek; on the north, the northern 
boundaries of the Genazzi and Gallagher ranches; on the east, the eastern 
boundaries of the Gallagher, Zanardi, Mclsaac and Cheda ranches, then the 
western boundary of Samuel P. Taylor State Park and the western boundary of 
the lands of the Marin Municipal Water District from the State Park to the 
southeast corner of the Wilkins Ranch. This district encompasses most of the 
lands in Golden Gate National Recreation Area now managed by the 
Superintendent, Point Reyes National Seashore (excepting those lands north of 
Lagunitas Creek and Point Reyes Station), and three former ranch parcels, the 
Teixeira and Hagmaier ranches and the eastern part of the Bear Valley Ranch, 
which are within the boundaries of Point Reyes National Seashore. 

Based upon the guidelines of the U. S. Department of the Interior, 
National Register of Historic Places, the proposed Olema Valley Ranches 
Historic District is considered to possess regional significance in the following 

Function and Use: 

DOMESTIC single dwellings: residences, homesteads 

secondary dwellings: bunk houses 
secondary structures: dairies, storage 

sheds, garages 
camps: hunting campsites 

EDUCATION school: schoolhouse 



processing: dairies 
storage: granary, silo, butter storage 
agricultural field: pasture, crop fields 
animal facility: stockyard, barn, chicken 

agricultural outbuilding: wagon shed, 

toolhouse, barn 


manufacturing facility: butter and cheese 


waterworks: reservoirs, dams 
mining: copper mines, lime kilns 

LANDSCAPE forest: windbreaks, boundary lines 


road-related: ranch roads, highway 

pedestrian-related: trails 

rail-related: narrow gauge railroad grade 

Areas of Significance: 

The land and properties within the boundaries of Golden Gate National 
Recreation Area, containing the historically significant dairy ranches discussed 
in this report, shall be nominated as a rural historic district to the National 
Register of Historic Places as significant in the above categories. A potential 
amendment as a cultural landscape may occur when funding permits further 
study of the landscape of the area. Cultural landscape elements which need 
immediate protection pending acceptance to the National Register include 
historic roads and routes, fences and fencelines, water systems and ranch tree 


groves. Individual or windbreak groves of trees, both at surviving ranches as 
well as vanished ones, even though considered exotics (such as eucalyptus), 
should be considered as historic resources and be preserved. 

2. Further Study: Cultural Landscape Report 

The Olema Valley section of Golden Gate National Recreation Area 
possesses one of the outstanding cultural landscapes within the National Park 
System. The Department of the Interior defines a rural historic landscape as: 

a geographic area that historically has been used by 
people, or shaped or modified by human activity, 
occupancy, or intervention, and that possesses a 
significant concentration, linkage, or continuity of 
areas of land use, vegetation, buildings and structures, 
roads and waterways, and natural features. 

These former dairy ranches exhibit integrity in all eleven landscape 
characteristics outlined by the National Register of Historic Places as essential 
features to a rural historic landscape: land use and activities; patterns of spatial 
organization; response to natural environment; cultural traditions; circulation 
networks; boundary demarcations; vegetation related to land use; buildings, 
structures, and objects; clusters; archeological sites; and small-scale elements. 235 

The park's Statement for Management (1992) recommends cultural 
landscape studies for many areas of the park, including the Olema Valley: 

Although relatively extensive attention has been paid 
to the historic structures of the park, its historic 
landscape values remain largely unsurveyed and 
unevaluated. This is primarily due to the fact that a 
full appreciation and understanding of cultural 
landscape values has only recently found its way into 
National Park Service management practices. 

. . . The entire park bears the evidence of more than 

235 See National Register Bulletin Number 30, "Guidelines for Evaluating and Documenting 
Rural Historic Landscapes," published by the U. S. Department of the Interior, National Park 
Service, Interagency Resources Division. 


200 years of intensive use and much of that evidence 
potentially represents important cultural values. The 
dynamic nature of many of these potential resources 
presents a compelling reason not to delay their study. 
Changes in agricultural practices in the Olema Valley 
can rapidly begin to turn grasslands into shrublands. 

It is recommended that a Cultural Landscape Study (CLS) be undertaken 
for the Olema Valley, using the information contained in this study as a 
foundation which already provides evaluations of the historical significance and 
historic integrity of the ranches. This is especially important as the significant 
landscape features in the area disappear or are altered, such as fence lines, 
abandoned historic roads, and structures undergoing change of use. Included in 
the task directive for a CLS should be the preparation or modification of 
National Register nominations to incorporate cultural landscape characteristics. 

It is also recommended that a series of Historic Structures Reports (HSR) 
be undertaken for the ranches, and subsequent Historic Structure Preservation 
Guides (HSPG) be prepared. These studies could be done efficiently by 
grouping structure types, because of the similarity between ranches and their 
structures; one HSPG for all the Point Reyes and Olema Valley ranches could 
cover recommended treatments of a typical dairy house, hay barn, etc., after a 
structure-by-structure evaluation of the individual ranches. This is especially 
important as a means of education for the ranch lessee towards understanding 
NFS preservation policy and guidelines. 

3. Interpretation 

Lying as it does along State Highway One and Sir Francis Drake 
Highway, the Olema Valley area is lacking in interpretation programs directed 
at the approximately two million visitors per year to the area. Currently there 
are no wayside exhibits outside of the Bear Valley Visitor Center area, and a 
small brochure available at Point Reyes National Seashore is inadequate. The 
Park broadcasts a 1610 AM radio announcement giving general park 
information with reference to the Olema Valley. 

The Interpretive Prospectus (1989) for Golden Gate National Recreation 
Area's north district details a number of plans for interpretation in the Olema 
Valley and Tocaloma area, including media at all trailheads (some of which have 


yet to be developed), improved entrance signage, and a picnic area at the 
McCurdy Trailhead. The IP also discusses the need for various publications and 
brochures about the area. These are needed to specifically interpret the 
ranching and mining history of the area. Some sites, such as the Randall House 
or the Olema lime kilns, could act as "discovery" sites where visitors could 
wander around a site and learn about the history of the area. Publications 
could detail the significance of the area and encourage appreciation and 
preservation of the historic landscape. 

4. Archeology 

Surveys of both prehistoric and historic archeological resources should be 
completed and included in the recommended CLS. As few surveys have been 
undertaken in the Olema Valley and Lagunitas Creek areas, little is known 
about the prehistoric settlement of the area. Unrecorded archeological sites are 
especially susceptible to vandalism and looting. 

C. Preservation Recommendations 

The historic ranches of the Olema Valley and Tocaloma area are 
currently in need of preservation activity, as the reservors and permitees are 
not familiar with NFS preservation standards. At least two ranches, Wilkins 
and Stewart, stand out as having outstanding upkeep, but the Secretary's 
Standards for Rehabilitation are not being followed in many specific cases. It is 
recommended that the ranches in current use for agriculture be preserved and 
the ranching activity continued, and that a program of cooperative education 
and financing for the stabilization of buildings and landscape be implemented. 
Also, the 1980 GMP may warrant revisions to management zones based on 
potential findings of a proposed Cultural Landscape Report. 

Park managers should refer to the updated (1995) List of Classified 
Structures which details construction, condition, impacts, management 
categories, proposed treatments with cost estimates and maintenance 
responsibilities. The LCS is a valuable tool for investigating and tracking 
individual historic structures in the park and its use is essential for efficient 
management of cultural resources in the parks. 



Newspapers and Periodicals 

Baywood Press (Point Reyes Station) 

The California Farmer 

Commercial Herald and Market Review (San Francisco) 

Independent Journal (San Rafael) 

Marin County Journal/Marin Journal (San Rafael) 

Point Reyes Light (Point Reyes Station) 

San Rafael Independent 

San Rafael Tocsin 

West Marin Star 


Camp, Charles L. ed., "James Clyman, His Diaries and Reminiscences." 

California Historical Society Quarterly 5 (September 1926): 256-67. 

Cook, Sherburne F. "The Conflict Between the California Indian and White 
Civilization" I-FV. Ibero-Americana 21-24. 

DeGroot, Henry. "Dairies and Dairying in California." Overland Monthly 4 
(April 1870): 355-60. 

Johnson, Kenneth M. "Eucalyptus." Out West Vol. VI (October 1971): 41-49. 

Ortiz, Beverly. "A Coast Mi wok History." We Are Still Here: A Coast Miwok 
Exhibit. Bolinas, California: Bolinas Museum, 1993. 

"Profit in Dairying - the Interest in Marin County." San Francisco. Cal.. 
February 24, 1884: 6. 

Raup, Hallock F. "The Italian-Swiss in California." California Historical 
Quarterly 30 (December 1951): 305-14. 

Sheldon, Francis E. "Dairying in California, I." Overland Monthly 6, second 
series (April 1891): 337-50. 

Sneath, R. G. "Dairying in California." Overland Monthly 11, January-June 
1888: 387-395. 


Steele, Catherine Baumgarten. "The Steele Brothers, Pioneers in California's 
Great Dairy Industry." California Historical Quarterly 20 (September 
1941): 250-273. 

Wagner, Henry R. "The Last Spanish Exploration of the Northwest Coast And 
the Attempt to Colonize Bodega Bay." California Historical Society 
Quarterly 10 (December 1931): 313-45. 

Ziebarth, Marilyn ed. "The Francis Drake Controversy: His California 
Anchorage, June 17 - July 23, 1579," California Historical Society 
Quarterly 53 (Fall 1974), special issue. 


Berkeley, Cal. University of California. The Bancroft Library. 
Oliver and Charles D. Allen Papers. 

Jacob N. Bowman. "Testimony of William Richardson and Jeremiah E. 
Whidzher in Private Land Grant Cases of California." Typescript 
No. C-R16, Vol. 5, 1939. 

'Testimony of William Antonio Richardson in Provate Land Grant Cases 
1850-1855." Typescript. 2 vols. 

William Edgar Randall. Diaries and Letters. 
Shafter Family Papers, 5 vols. 

Hendry, G. W. and Jacob N. Bowman. "The Spanish and Mexican Adobes and 
Other Buildings in the Nine Bay Area Counties, 1776 to About 1850." 
1940. Anne T. Kent California Room, Marin County Library. 

Lake, Delos. "The Title of O. L. Shafter, James McM. Shafter, and Charles 
Webb Howard to La Rancho Punta de los Reyes Sobrante . . . ." Circa 
1869. Point Reyes National Seashore Collection. 

Sacramento, Cal. California State Archives. U.S. Census. California. 
Agricultural Schedules, 1860 - 1880. 

San Francisco, California. National Park Service. Western Regional Office. 

Lawrence Kinnaird, "History of the Golden Gate and Its Headlands." 
Typescript written for the National Park Service, 1962, 1967. 


Nelson Olds family papers. Machine copy, from Virginia Olds French. 

Olds family letters to Boyd Stewarts, Olema, Ca. Xerox copies by 
permission from the Stewarts. 

San Rafael, Gal. Marin County Civic Center Administration Building. 
Recorder of Deeds Office. 

Deed Books and maps. 
Marin County Library, Anne T. Kent California Room. 

"Chronological History of Marin County." 3 vols. typescript. 

"Marin County, Mexican Land Grants." Typescript, Works Progress 
Administration. 1936 to 1937. 

Various short manuscripts in Point Reyes National Seashore and Jack Mason 
Museum Collections. 


Abbott, Sue. North Bay Dairvlands. Berkeley: Penstemon Press, 1989. 

Alvord, Henry G. "Dairy Development in the United States," in Yearbook of 
the US Dept of Agriculture 1899. Washington: Government Printing 
Office, 1900. 

. "The Modern Dairy." Current Literature 29 (July-December 1900): 597-8. 

Bancroft, Hubert Howe. History of California. 7 vols. San Francisco: The 
History Company, 1884-1890. 

Becker, Robert H. Design of the Land. Disenos of California Ranchos And 
Their Makers. San Francisco: The Book Club of California, 1969. 

Bingham, Helen. In Tamal Land. San Francisco: The Calkins Publishing 
House, 1906. 

California Immigrant Union. California as a Home for the Emigrant. San 
Francisco: [California Immigrant Union,] 1878. 


California Surveyor General. Annual Reports. 1856-73. Sacramento: State 
Printer, 1856-73. 

. Special Report of the Surveyor General of the State of California. 
[Sacramento]: Eugene Casserly, State Printer, [1852]. 

Caughey, John Walton. History of the Pacific Coast. Los Angeles: Privately 
published by the author, 1933. 

Checklist of United States Public Documents 1789-1909. 1911. 3rd revised ed. 
Ann Arbor: J. W. Edwards, Publishers, 1953. 

Codoni, Rae. The Corippians. A Retrospective View. Riverbank, CA: Baker 
Graphics, 1990. 

Cowan, Robert G. Ranchos of California, a list of Spanish Concessions 1775- 
1822 and Mexican Grants 1822-1846. Fresno: Academy Library Guild, 

Cross, Ira B. Financing an Empire: History of Banking in California. Chicago: 
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1927. 

Daniels, T. G., Ed. California: Its Products. Resources. Industries and 
Attractions. Sacramento: Superintendent of State Printing, 1904. 

De Laval Handbook of Milking. The. Poughkeepsie: De Laval Separator 
Company, n.d. [circa 1965]. 

Dickinson, A. Bray. Narrow Gauge to the Redwoods. Al Graves and Ted 
Wurm, Editors. Berkeley: Trans-Anglo Books, 1967. 

Dwinelle, John W. The Colonial History of San Francisco. San Francisco: 
Towne and Bacon, Book and Job Printers, 1863. 

Fairley, Lincoln. Mt. Tamalpais: A History. San Francisco: Scottwall Associates, 

Foley, Gerald J. and Perry McDonald. Pictorial History of Marin County 
Schools. No publisher noted, 1976. 

Guinn, Prof. J. M. History of the State of California and Biographical Record of 
the Coast Counties. Chicago: Chapman Publishing Company, 1904. 

Harrison, E. S. History of Santa Cruz County. California. San Francisco: 
Pacific Press Publishing Company, 1892. 


Hittell, John S. The Commerce and Industries of the Pacific Coast of North 
America. San Francisco: A. L. Bancroft & Co., 1882. 

Hurt, Elsey. California State Government. An Outline of Its Administrative 
Organization from 1850 to 1936. Sacramento: Superintendent of 
Documents, 1936. 

Jones, Robert E. Dairying in California. San Francisco: Californians, 1923. 

Kingsburv's 1905-06 Directory of San Rafael City and Marin County. [San 
Francisco:] A. Kingsbury & Co., 1905. 

Livingston, D. S. (Dewey). Ranching on the Point Reyes Peninsula: A History 
of the Dairy and Beef Ranches Within Point Reyes National Seashore. 
Point Reyes: National Park Service, 1993. 

Marin County Planning Commission. Master Recreation Plan. San Rafael: 
Marin County Planning Commission, 1943. 

Marin People Volume II. San Rafael: Marin County Historical Society, 1972. 

Mason, Jack, in collaboration with Helen VanCleave Park. Early Marin. 2nd 
revised ed. Inverness: North Shore Books, 1976. 

. Earthquake Bay. A History of Tomales Bay. California. Inverness: North 
Shore Books, 1976. 

, in collaboration with Thomas J. Barfield. Last Stage for Bolinas. Inverness: 
North Shore Books, 1973. 

. Point Reves Historian. Volumes I-VIII. Inverness: North Shore Books, 

. Point Reves. The Solemn Land. Inverness: North Shore Books, 1970. 

McDonald, Marshall, and Associates. Report and Recommendations on Angel 

Island 1769-1966. Prepared for the Division of Beaches and Parks, State 
of California, 1966. 

Munro-Fraser, J. P. History of Marin County. California. San Francisco: Alley, 
Bowen & Co., 1880. 

Munz, Philip A. A California Flora. Berkeley: University of California Press, 


Pepper, Marin W. Bolinas. a Narrative of the Days of the Dons. Vantage Press, 

Point Reyes National Seashore. Statement for Management. Point Reyes: 
National Park Service, 1990. 

Report of the Commissioner of Agriculture for the Year 1870. Washington: 
Government Printing Office, 1871. 

Revere, Joseph Warren. Keel and Saddle, A Retrospect of Forty Years of 
Military and Naval Service. Boston: James R. Osgood and Company, 

. Naval Duty in California. 1849. Reprint, Oakland: Biobooks, 1947. 

Robinson, Alfred. Life in California. A Historical Account of the Origins. 

Customs, and Traditions of the Indians of Alta-California. 1846. Reprint 
ed., Oakland: Biobooks, 1947. 

Roth well, Bertha Stedman. Pioneering in Marin County. Typescript, 1959. 

Shatter, Oscar L. Life. Diary and Letters of Oscar Lovell Shafter. Edited by 
Flora Haines Loughead. San Francisco: The Blair-Murdock Co., 1915. 

Simpson, Sir George. Narrative of a Journey Round the World. During the 
Years 1841 and 1842. 2 vols. London: Henry Colburn, 1847. 

Souvenir of Marin County. California. San Rafael: Marin County Journal, 1893. 
. Issued by Sausalito News. William J. Boyd, 1907. 

State of California. State Dairy Bureau. First Report of the State Dairy 

Bureau to the Governor of the State of California. Sacramento: A. J. 
Johnston, Superintendent of State Printing, 1896. 

. Surveyor General. Annual Report of the Surveyor General of the State of 
California for the Year 1862. Sacramento: State Printer, 1863. 

. General Report of the Surveyor-General. 1871-1873. Sacramento: Eugene 
Casserly, State Printer, 1873. 

Stindt, Fred A. The Northwestern Pacific Railroad: Redwood Empire Route. 
Redwood City: Fred A. Stindt, 1978. 


Teather, Louise. Place Names of Marin. San Francisco: Scottwall Associates, 

Thalman, Sylvia Barker. The Coast Miwok Indians of the Point Reves Area. 
Point Reyes: Point Reyes National Seashore Association, 1993. 

Toogood, Anna Coxe. Historic Resource Study: A Civil History of Golden Gate 
National Recreation Area and Point Reves National Seashore. California. 
2 Volumes. Denver: Historic Preservation Branch, Pacific 
Northwest/Western Team, Denver Service Center, National Park 
Service, U. S. Department of the Interior, 1980. 

Transactions of the California State Agricultural Society During the Year 1859. 
Sacramento: C. T. Botts, State Printer, 1860. 

United States Census Bureau. A Compendium of the Ninth Census (June 1. 
1870). Compiled by Francis A. Walker, Superintendent of Census. 
Washington: Government Printing Office, 1872. 

United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service. Land Use 
Survey. Proposed Point Reyes National Seashore. San Francisco: 
National Park Service, Region IV Office, 1961. 

Vaz, August Mark. The Portuguese in California. Oakland: I.D.E.S. Supreme 
Council, 1965. 

Warren, John Quincy Adams. California Ranchos and Farms. 1846-1862. Paul 
W. Gates, ed. Madison: The State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1967. 

Watson, Samuel E. "California Dairying" in California State Board of Trade. 
California. San Francisco: California State Board, 1897-98. 

Wickson, E. J. "Dairying in California." United States Department of 

Agriculture, Bureau of Animal Industry. Bulletin No. 14. Washington: 
Government Printing Office, 1896. 

Wise, Lieutenant, U.S.N. Los Gringos: or An Inside View of Mexico and 

California, with Wanderings in Peru. Chile, and Polynesia. New York: 
Baker and Scribner, 1849. 


Archives and Libraries 

Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley 

California Historical Society, San Francisco 

California State Archives, Sacramento 

California State Lands Commission, Sacramento 

California State Library, Sacramento 

Fairfax Historical Society 

Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Historian's Files 

Inverness Library 

Jack Mason Museum Collection, Point Reyes 

Marin County Board of Supervisors, San Rafael 

Marin County Historical Society, San Rafael 

Marin County Library, Anne T. Kent California Room, San Rafael 

Marin County Office of Education 

Marin County Recorders Office, San Rafael 

Mill Valley Public Library 

Mt. Tamalpais History Project, Larkspur 

National Archives, Washington, D. C. and Suitland, MD 

National Archives, Pacific Sierra Region, San Bruno 

National Park Service, Western Regional Office, San Francisco 

Point Reyes Light Collection 

Point Reyes National Seashore, Administrative Files, Archive, Library 

San Francisco Archives, San Francisco Public Library 

San Rafael Public Library 

Sonoma County Library, Petaluma 

Stanford University Library 

Stinson Beach Library 

United States Coast Guard, Real Property Division, Alameda 

United State Geological Survey Library, Menlo Park 

Personal Interviews 

Emma Benevenga 

Rico Bordessa 

Louis Bloom 

Richard Bloom 

Lauren Cheda 

Rae Codoni 

Jim and Mary Colli 

Marie (DeFraga) Davidson 

Daniel Deevy* 

Edward DeFraga 

George DeMartini* 

Margaret (Wosser) Dowd 


Anita (Ottolini) Flanders* 

Bob Gallagher 

Harold Genazzi 

Ralph and Margaret Giacomini 

George and Evelyn (Genazzi) Gilardi 

Fern Gilliam 

Joan (Gallagher) Gimpel* 

Henrietta (Stewart) Greer 

Daniel Hagmaier* 

Lt. Col. Earl L. Lupton 

Pat Martin 

Agnes McCall* 

Dorothy McClure 

Ron McClure 

Jim and Virginia (Bordessa) McFadden 

Don & Lorraine Mclsaac 

Joan (Rapp) Mayhew 

Dorothy Meloney 

Joseph H. Mendoza 

Marian (Gallagher) Morris 

Owen and Oliver Muscio 

Shirley (Wilkins) Park 

Tom & Ollie Pinkerton 

William Pinkerton 

Andrew and Annie Porter 

Barbara Race 

Rex and Ruth Rathbun 

Nancy (Campigli) Robinette 

Fred and Regina (Bloom) Rodoni 

Clarence Rogers 

Wilfred J. Scilacci 

Joseph and Christina Silveira 

Boyd Stewart 

Jo Ann Stewart 

Juanita Sweeney* 

Irene Teixeira 

Armin Truttman 

Frank Truttman 

Molly (Teixeira) Waters 

Helen Wilkins 

Kenneth Wilkins 

interviewed by phone or correspondence 


As the nation's principal conservation agency, the Department of the Interior has responsibility 
for most of our nationally owned public lands and natural resources. This includes fostering 
sound use of our land and water resources; protecting our fish, wildlife, and biological diversity; 
preserving the environmental and cultural values of our national parks and historical places; 
and providing for the enjoyment of life through outdoor recreation. The department assesses 
our energy and mineral resources and works to ensure that their development is in the best 
interests of all our people by encouraging stewardship and citizen participation in their care. 
The department also has a major responsibility for American Indian reservation communities 
and for people who live in island territories under U.S. administration. 

NFS D-57 May 1995