Mill Valley

Mill Valley is reminiscent of a charming European village.

Welcome to Mill Valley

Population 14, 355 approximate

Nestled below the majestic Mt. Tamalpais, Mill Valley is reminiscent of a charming European village. Surrounded by national parks, including Muir Woods, an ancient coast redwood forest, Mill Valley’s lush landscape of hills and canyons are a favorite place for visitors who enjoy hiking, mountain biking, walking and running. 

Mill Valley started out as a large mill, hence the name Mill valley. The town grew rather fast as word spread of the beautiful Mt. Tamalpais and the wonderful ocean on the other side. People started buying up lots from $100.00 an acre to $5,000.000 for 3 acres. People built summer homes to get away from the big cities nearby, San Francisco and Oakland.

Two financial magazines, MONEY and CNN/Money, recently named Mill Valley as one of the 10 top cities in America in which to live. It is noted that millionaires and well known names in the film and music industries, like Bonnie Raitt, Bob Weir and Sammy Hagar, make their homes in this quaint community.

Downtown activities center around Lytton Square, where people gather for coffee at the Book Depot Café or for a game of chess while conducting some serious people watching. Fashionable boutiques and restaurants fill the downtown.

Mill Valley is host to a range of cultural activities. The Mill Valley Film Festival, held in October, is an internationally recognized festival that has attracted leading filmmakers and movie aficionados for the past 29 years. The Mountain Play, produced in June in an outdoor amphitheatre, on Mt. Tamalpais, attracts thousands of theater-goers to watch Broadway musicals performed by talented local actors.

The Mill Valley Outdoor Art Club, a state historical landmark, was designed in 1904 by internationally known architect, Bernard Maybeck. Particularly notable for its unusual roof truss system, the Arts and Crafts style building exemplifies Maybeck’s creative use of natural materials. Mill Valley, home of the Marin Mountain Bike, hosts the annual Dipsea Race, the second oldest footrace in the United States.

The race takes runners over a 7.1 mile course, beginning with 676 stairs up and then over Mt. Tamalpais to one of the most beautiful California beaches on the Pacific Ocean. 

The Fall Arts Festival is one of the cultural events that occur in Mill Valley each year in September. It is the longest running festival in the County, celebrating its 51st year in 2007. 

The History of Mill Valley 

The history of Mill Valley began with John Reed. Subsequent to the acquisition of a large land grant in 1834, Reed built a sawmill in 1836 on Cascade Creek to provide wood for the construction of his house. The mill, which gave Mill Valley its name, is now restored and stands among the towering redwoods in Old Mill Park, a few blocks from downtown. 

Nestled at the foot of Mt. Tamalpais, only ten miles from San Francisco, Mill Valley became a favorite vacation spot for wealthy city dwellers. In1896 a mountain railway, nicknamed The Crookedest Railroad in the World, carried passengers from town to the mountain's summit and to Muir Woods. Although the tracks were removed in 1930, the Old Railroad Grade is currently very popular with hikers and bikers. 

Shortly after the town was incorporated in 1900 two town traditions began. The Outdoor Art Club was founded in 1902, a group whose purpose was, and still is, to preserve the beauties of Mill Valley. The Dipsea Race was first run in 1905 and has been held almost every year since. It is the second oldest race in the country, behind the Boston Marathon.
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