Originally Fairfax was part of a Spanish land grant conferred to Domingo Sais in 1839. Charles Snowden Fairfax, tenth Baron of Cameron, Scotland, was given the land as a wedding gift. He moved here with his wife Ada in 1855 and created a home known as “Bird’s Nest Glen” on the site of what is now the old Marin Town and Country Club.
Early in the 20th Century, Fairfax was a destination weekend and summer retreat for folks from San Francisco. It was also the setting for dozens of early Western movies from 1910 to the early 1920’s. Some of the many summer cottages that populate Fairfax were built at that time. Construction of Alpine Dam in 1917 brought a large Italian population to the area, giving it a rich cultural background.
Fairfax incorporated as a city in 1931 with a five-member council government. Today is has a population of about 7,500 nestled in the hills and valleys of the Upper Ross Valley. Located 16 miles north of San Francisco, it is a gateway to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA), the Point Reyes National Seashore, and West Marin with Samuel P. Taylor State Park. It is also the home of Alpine Lake, part of the Marin Municipal Watershed, a beautiful place to fish and picnic.
Fairfax is often referred to as “The Little Town that Time Forgot”, referring to its funky 1960’s style (you’ll see lots of tie-dye in the dress shops), casual living, (many folks keep their own chickens), and a great community feel. There’s live music almost every night, and also great family neighborhoods and schools. It’s home to at least one amazing natural food store, plus other good options for groceries and casual dining, including a farmer’s market in the spring and summer. The downtown landmark is the Fairfax Theatre, now a multiplex but with the feel of a small town theater.
Housing in Fairfax is eclectic, as in much of Marin. The combination of older summer cottages that have been modified, expanded and personalized over generations stand in the same block with large estates well in excess of $1,000,000. Much of the town is in the hills and many houses are on winding, rural roads. Fairfax is great town for the young at heart, the progressive of mind, the lover of nature, and it’s one of the more affordable towns in Marin County.
- Population: 7,400
- Households: Approximately 3,400
- Median resident age: 46
- Average listing price in 2015: $914,000
- Average Sales price in 2015: $940,000 ($529/per square foot)
|Town of Fairfax||Night Life|
|Fairfax Chamber of Commerce||Meadow Club|
|Ross Valley School District||Fairfax Theater|