How do people get by without their local newspapers? I’m so grateful to have our local Marin Independent Journal and the San Francisco Chronicle, despite the newspapers’ shortcomings. The blogosphere has much to offer, but to me, online resources are great additions to the local dailies—not substitutes. Take yesterday’s Marin IJ—a delightful 150 Year Special […]
How do people get by without their local newspapers? I’m so grateful to have our local Marin Independent Journal and the San Francisco Chronicle, despite the newspapers’ shortcomings. The blogosphere has much to offer, but to me, online resources are great additions to the local dailies—not substitutes.
Take yesterday’s Marin IJ—a delightful 150 Year Special Anniversary Edition, covering Marin’s past century and a half. It’s fascinating reading! Stories from 1852, when inmates left a crowded prison ship to build the infamous San Quentin, to the 1906 ‘quake tearing West Marin farmland asunder. It trails through bear invasions, floods, fires, early bohemian times in Sausalito, the post-summer of love and its creative communities, dramatic environmental showdowns, hostage takings, houseboat wars, a Frank Lloyd Wright drama, and much more along the way.
My favorite tidbits from this Anniversary Edition:
- After 150 years, Marin remains true to its roots: Southern Marin is home to one of the Bay Area’s largest concentrations of young families. There are over 20,000 children under the age of 10 in Southern Marin alone.
- A look at some of Marin’s oldest businesses: Many descendants of Marin’s original farm and dairy families still work the family land in West Marin. Places still operating since the mid-1850s are: Smiley’s Schooner Tavern in Bolinas, Diekmann’s General Store in Tomales, and various makers of cheese, bricks in San Rafael, and lumber in Mill Valley.
- The Big House—San Quentin: Our strangest neighbor is also Marin’s oldest institution, dating back to 1852, when inmates from an overcrowded prison ship were ordered ashore to build a prison on 20 acres. Read about the infamous escapes, current contested plans to expand death row, and how it holds on some of the Bay Area’s most valuable real estate.Visit the IJ online, and you’ll find interesting articles about the Marinites who provide volunteer educational programs, baseball programs, Vipassana meditation, and more to the prison population. I’ve also written a little about the village of San Quentin in my blog post, “Living the Good Life…in San Quentin.”
- Art and artists have been a creative presence in Marin since early days: Locals like George Lucas, Isabelle Allende, Phil Lesh, Anne Lamott, and Melba Beals have a lot to say about the extraordinary beauty of Marin, and how it helps the creative juices flow.
- Marin luminaries explain what makes this place so special: Alas, they skipped my two faves who always have something insightful to say, Writer/Actor Peter Coyote and Artist/Historian Tom Killion (see my blog post on Killon’s book Walking Mt. Tamalpais.) The best quotes in yesterday’s publication come from former Supervisor, Gary Giacomini: “It’s an outrageously special place and the people are damn sure going to keep it that way.” And Tom Peters of the Marin Community Foundation: “…there’s something about the area that attracts really engaged and thoughtful and layered people, and that makes it a fascinating place to live and work…”
- Environmental Milestones and Marin’s Transit Battles: From the old ferries to the high-speed ferry system currently in place; the old trains to the current voter-approved SMART rail project. I’ve also written about the multi-use paths along the old tracks and the reopening of an old train tunnel, linking Southern Marin to San Rafael. Don’t forget the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge or the blocking of BART’s Marin extension. There’s the timely salvation of Muir Woods, as well as the thousands of acres of Mt. Tam’s forests comprising Marin County’s beautiful protected watershed; the preservation of the Marin Headlands, the creation and continued success of the Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT) and the Marin Open Space District, and much more!
Overall, this historical issue is a great reminder for me to take none of this for granted, and to honor the people whose efforts helped create this special place. There is no denying that Marin has its problems and limitations—most complaints center on lack of diversity, entitled attitudes, expensive real estate, and the health drawbacks/parenting pitfalls of life in an increasingly busy/achievement-oriented culture—some of which are mentioned here. But overall, a celebration of how and why Marin is so unique can be enjoyed here at: www.marinij.com.
If you’d like to learn more about Marin County real estate please do not hesitate to call (415) 272-3799, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit my website southernmarinhomes.com.