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Heritage Herald
July Newsletter

This Place Matters Demonstration  
Meet at San Rafael's Carnegie Library
E Street at Fifth Avenue
Friday, July 22 at 5 PM - 1 Hour

See you there!


By Leslie Simons

Hello to Heritage members & friends,
It is my honor to serve as the third president of our organization dedicated to keeping the focus on our historic built environment.
The first historic preservation action to occur in San Rafael was 50 years ago: to preserve the Park/Dollar estate, now known as “Falkirk”.  In 1972 a group of citizens were alarmed to discover a developer’s plan to demolish the 1888 Queen Anne inspired mansion designed by a major architect of the time, Clinton Day. Thanks to many, including Mary and Fred Dekker, Ann Batman, et al, we still have the intact estate for well into the future.

I’d like to send a shout out to the Marin Art and Garden Center for their recent listing on the National Register of Historic Places. The listing focused on the period between 1945 and 1962 after a fire leveled the original home. The works by architects associated with Wurster, Bernardi & Emmons and landscape architects, Thomas Church & Robert Royston give the former Kittle estate its beautiful form. It is a very special place saved by folks with a focus very similar to ours.  A special event to honor the listing will be held on August 3rd.
The San Rafael Heritage June 11th tour of China Camp Village, led by Ed Lai, was a wonderful event.  There was a fabulous, personalized tour and delicious snacks.
Having lived in San Rafael most of my life, it was a surprise to learn of Buck’s Landing days before the Independent Journal article came out; I knew of the boat yard – just not the name but its very entertaining past. Please read the accompanying article by our dear Cynthia.
We want you to know that, despite the continuing effects of Covid, we at San Rafael Heritage are very active and continue to keep our eyes on preservation of the most historical and important buildings; the historic places and spaces in and around our city.

By Cynthia Landecker

We were struck by a July 12 IJ article, “Marin considers $1.9 million expansion of Buck’s Landing.”  We remember Buck’s Landing when it was a low-key boating and fishing dock near the mouth of Gallinas Creek on San Pablo Bay.  It wasn’t a posh Marin yacht harbor for well-dressed sailors. It was just a few buildings and a dock on the edge of the water, surrounded in large part by marshland, where ordinary folks fished and boated.  Those in the know could get drinks at the bar, of course.
The site was purchased by the County of Marin in 2020 for a county park.  The old bar was closed.  The old wooden dock was deemed unsafe, but there is a new boat ramp offering access to Gallinas Creek. Comments on Facebook’s Santa Venetia page were:  “Sad to see Buck's gone.” And, “I miss the bar--replaced by a port-a-pottie and picnic table at the cost of 1.3 million.”
According to one old-timer, the bar ran on the honor system when the host wasn’t present.  Patrons could come in, pour themselves a drink, mark it on a list and just hang out.
And fishing was good in “the old days”:  sturgeon, striped bass, flounder, even salmon, could be caught off the dock.

Undated Photo of Buck’s Landing Buildings.
The IJ said that before it was Buck’s, the property was the site of a Remillard brickyard in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, and that recreational use didn’t begin until 1957, when Joe Nerviani ran Joe’s Boat Launching there.  However, a 1934 cartoon map of San Rafael shows the property as “George’s Gallinas Beach”, so there must have been a George, as well as a Joe, before Buck.
Now the County wants to expand the park by buying 71 contiguous acres owned by the Smith family.  This will add 33 acres to public lands along San Pablo Bay.  One-fourth of the site consists of salt marsh, tidal flats, and salt pans.  There is a 5.2 mile easy hike along Gallinas Creek, great for bird-watching. 
So while San Rafaelites enjoy this beautiful spot now that it is a park, they can remember its heritage:  the brick makers, boaters, bar host and patrons, hunters and fishermen who made this simple place alive in past years.

 July 2022 Photo of Buck’s Landing Buildings.



Tuesdays at 7 PM
August 9
September 13
October 11
November 8th 

Calendar subject to change.  Please contact for Zoom link. 

About San Rafael Heritage

Our mission is to promote the preservation of San Rafael’s historic resources and architecturally significant buildings and to support other historical and preservationist organizations.
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San Rafael Heritage · 23 Scenic Ave. · San Rafael, CA 94901 · USA

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