Mill Valley was home to the Coastal Miwok Indians as early as 6,000 years ago. With the coming of the Spanish Missionaries and the construction of the Missions in San Francisco and San Rafael, the Miwoks were slowly converted and introduced to European diseases and changes of culture. Starting around 1776 and the advent of Mexican control, the Miwoks were slowly eradicated. By 1834, their lands were taken under the control of the Mexican government and turned into the large Rancho Land Tracts of the time. In 1834, John Reed was granted the first large tract in Marin and it included the area of Mill Valley. He built a mill on Cascade Creek, at the current site of Old Mill Park. Another European of the time, William Richardson received a large parcel west of Reed’s. When he got into serious financial trouble he deeded what he could of his land to heirs and gave what was left to his administrator, Samuel Throckmorton.
The Mt. Tamalpais Scenic Railway was completed in 1896. It carried visitors the mountaintop and the Summit Tavern. In 1907, the railroad added a branch line into “Redwood Canyon”, and in
1908, the canyon became Muir Woods, a national monument. The Mt. Tamalpais & Muir Woods Scenic Railway was called “The Crookedest Railroad in the World” and its unique Gravity Cars brought
thousands of tourists through Mill Valley to the Tavern of Tamalpais on the mountain summit. It closed in 1930.
A big population boom came after the 1906 Great Earthquake. Many fled to Mill Valley and many never left. Creeks were bridged over or dammed, more roads built, and cement sidewalks poured. Tamalpais High School opened in 1908, the
first city hall was erected in 1908, and a Carnegie library in 1910. Another in 1933 when the Golden Gate Bridge was built. By the 1970s things started to change. Mill Valley went from being a mostly rural area to a chic destination with great wealth. New schools and neighborhoods cropped up. But thankfully the city maintained its defense of redwoods and protected open space. This careful protection of open lands and park space in Mill Valley, and throughout Marin, controls building and adds value to the existing homes.
Today Mill Valley is a beautiful town, with sophisticated boutiques, fine dining, and lovely homes gracing its hillsides and valley floor. The Tyler Florence Shop and his restaurant El Paseo anchor part of the downtown as does the Sequoia Theater, and the Depot Bookstore. The Mill Valley Film Festival, now part of the California Film Institute, began in 1978 at the downtown Sequoia Theatre. 142 Throckmorton is a thriving venue for theatre arts, music, comedy and more. In 2001, a new Community Center was built with a gym, pool and meeting rooms. This wonderful facility is located near the Pickleweed Inlet and the Mill Valley/Sausalito walking/bike trail, just one of many places to hiike and bike. Blessed with good schools, stunning landscape and distinctly charming neighborhoods, Mill Valley is an excellent destination for home buyers who also want to be close to San Francisco.
- Population: 13,903
- Households: Approximately 6,000
- Median resident age: 46
- Average listing price in 2015: $1,700,000
- Average Sales price in 2015: $1,770,000 ($790/per square foot)