What is now the Tiburon peninsula was, in the beginning, home to at least fifty Indian villages. Shell mounds and petroglyphs on the rock face of Ring Mountain Open Space Preserve are a window to that portion of Tiburon’s history. John Reed, from Dublin, received a provisional land grant for almost all of Southern Marin, including the Tiburon Peninsula, from the Mexican authorities in 1831. The Reed name is preserved on streets, subdivisions, and the excellent local school district.
The city’s name derives from the Spanish word tiburón, which means shark. It was first the name of the peninsula where the city is situated, and probably inspired by the prevalence of locally native leopard sharks in the surrounding waters. Tiburon was formerly the southern end of the Northwestern Pacific Railroad. The railroad carried freight, mostly lumber, to the town for transfer to barges for shipping to cities around San Francisco Bay. The last trains ran until the 1960s. The former railroad grade now forms part of the San Francisco Bay Trail, used by hikers and cyclists. he railroad right-of-way was purchased by the City of Tiburon and is now the waterfront Multi-Use Path.
The first elegant homes were built, mostly by wealthy San Franciscans, as summer retreats. But serious real estate development did not start until after the end of the World War II. Reed Family descendants still controlled most of the land that was used for cattle ranching. Small areas of filled land were sold off to create the Bel Aire and Belveron Gardens subdivisions. The Little Reed Ranch was sold and Hawthorne Terrace, Del Mar, and Reed Heights subdivisions were well under way by the time the County finally began preparing a Master Plan for the Tiburon Peninsula. Development is a continuing public policy issue. At the its simplest, new construction or exterior renovation must be approved by the Design Review Board. And, there remain several large tracts of undeveloped land, most of which have owners who want to develop them into multi residence tracts.
Tiburon is now a commuter and tourist town, with ferries to San Francisco. It is an exceedingly charming enclave with a great collection of restaurants and boutiques. It is quite close to Angel Island State Park and a regular ferry service connects to the island. The residential architecture is a mix of small cottages, contemporary showplaces in the hills with spectacular views, and sensational waterfront homes.
Following successful Millennium Party, the Town revitalized the downtown area. Main Street was reconstructed to make it and the shops and restaurants handicapped accessible without ruining its quaint charm. In the summer of 2004 a series of “Friday Nights on Main Street” community parties was launched and continues to this day. The San Francisco and Corinthian Yacht Clubs provide berths for boats and the local yachting crowd. Public and private tennis and swimming facilities are also available to residents. The Ring Mountain trail is great for hiking and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area is close by. There are several parks, a scenic bike path spanning the entire town, and a water front lawn. Tiburon is a world class destination for people who come here to enjoy the natural beauty and activities that this harbor community provides.
- Population: 8962
- Households: Approximately 3729
- Median resident age: 45
- Average listing price in 2015: $2,900,00
- Average Sales price in 2015: $2,900,000 $910/per square foot)