Mill Valley Historical Society Launches Panel Project


  • Eric Macris, President of the Mill Valley Historical Society, visits a trail next to the Mill Valley Market on Wednesday, September 29, 2021. The organization wants to place a sign there with information about the history of the area. (Sherry LaVars / Marin Independent Journal)

  • A plaque next to the Throckmorton Theater in Mill Valley offers a history lesson on the area on Wednesday, September 29, 2021. The Mill Valley Historical Society is proposing to install more signs at important sites in the city. (Sherry LaVars / Marin Independent Journal)

  • Eric Macris, president of the Mill Valley Historical Society, watches an area near the repository where the organization hopes to install a sign detailing elements of downtown history on Wednesday, September 29, 2021 (Sherry LaVars / Marin Independent Journal)

The Mill Valley Market on Corte Madera Avenue was once known as Tamalpais Market, Green Frog Market and other names – and it only occupied one building, not three, as it is. the case today.

It is proposed to print this vignette and other historical vignettes on plaques located at important sites in the city. The Mill Valley Historical Society wants to install seven of the panels to share information about the city’s past.

“We would love to see Mill Valley history come to the fore, and putting up these signs would be one way to do it,” said Eric Macris, chairman of the historical society and member of the commission. planning of the city.

The proposal is a continuation of a pilot project that began in 2019, when the historical society worked with city staff to install three similar panels. One located in Boyle Park details its past as a baseball field and the city’s premier recreation area. Two signs placed on Throckmorton Avenue at the Citibank parking lot recount the site’s past as the headquarters of Tamalpais Land and Water Co. and the nearby Hub Theater, now known as Throckmorton Theater.

The panels cost about $ 1,500 each for materials. The historic society would cover the costs, while the city would pay for the time and manpower of the staff for the planning and installation.

In addition to the Mill Valley Market site, other proposed signs would highlight the Mill Valley Chamber of Commerce building at Depot Plaza, detailing the history of the Mountain Railroad; mark the start of the trail on Cascade and Molino avenues that leads to the Dipsea steps; mark the business district at the corner of Miller and Montford avenues; showcase the bus shelter on Sunnyside Avenue and share the station’s history; explain downtown development from Throckmorton and Miller avenues; and discuss the former site of the village of Miwok near Hamilton Drive below Shelter Hill.

Each panel will include historical photos to illustrate the story. The plan is also to develop an interactive online map of panels so that residents and visitors can take self-guided tours.

City staff recommend that council approve the project, said Sean McGrew, the city’s director of arts and recreation.

“We think it’s a really wonderful idea,” said McGrew. “People will be able to walk through Mill Valley and learn about the history of the city.”

McGrew said it could also serve as an elementary school curriculum.

The Mill Valley Chamber of Commerce raised $ 4,500 through its Enjoy Mill Valley campaign in 2020 to donate to the project, said Paula Reynolds, executive director of the chamber. The money will pay for three of the signs.

“We just think they’re really important,” Reynolds said. “They tell the stories and places of importance in Mill Valley, and they are consistent with our mission and the mission of the Enjoy Mill Valley Fund… by fostering a vibrant small town community that benefits everyone in Mill Valley.”

City council is due to review the project on Monday. The meeting is at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall at 26 Corte Madera Ave.

The meeting agenda and staff reports are on bit.ly/3B10uMN.


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