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Nicasio

Nicasio

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Nicasio

Lunghezza:
178 pagine
43 minuti
Pubblicato:
Sep 18, 2012
ISBN:
9781439636312
Formato:
Libro

Descrizione

Situated in the geographic center of Marin County, Nicasio was home to the Coast Miwok village of Echatamal and likely named for a Tamal Indian and alcalde, Guequistabal, who was baptized as Nicasio at Mission Dolores in 1802. As European settlers arrived, many established themselves as dairy ranchers and timbermen. Soon a town square began to take shape, complete with a merchandise store, a butcher shop, two saloons, a racetrack, a livery stable, a Catholic church, and a luxurious three-story hotel. These pioneers aspired to make Nicasio the county seat, a bid that was ultimately lost by a single vote in 1863. The land reserved for civic buildings was repurposed as a baseball diamond, which at one time hosted semipro games and continues to serve local little leaguers. The Rancho Nicasio now stands in place of the hotel, yet the town otherwise appears untarnished by time. Not surprisingly, a number of residents have roots tracing back to Nicasio's founders, with newcomers drawn to its pastoral charm and a lifestyle in deep contrast to that of nearby San Francisco.
Pubblicato:
Sep 18, 2012
ISBN:
9781439636312
Formato:
Libro

Informazioni sull'autore

Author Anne M. Papina is a Bay Area native, with family ties to Nicasio dating back to the early 20th century. Tapping the private collections of her own family as well as other community members, both past and present, she weaves a rich, pictorial tapestry depicting the history of this secluded Marin County gem.

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Anteprima del libro

Nicasio - Anne M. Papina

1979.

INTRODUCTION

Nicasio, poised at the geographic center of Marin County, appears as if it were lost in time. It is hard to imagine this rural oasis was once a veritable crossroads. In fact, in 1863, Nicasio vied for the county seat in a contest lost by a single vote, at least according to local lore. Some folks found their way here via covered wagon, traveling across the plains. Others arrived at San Francisco after traveling around Cape Horn. However, these were not the first inhabitants of the area.

Early diseños designate Rancho Nicasio as an area stretching from the outer edges of San Rafael and Novato to Tomales Bay. This sprawling rancho was once home to the Coast Miwok village of Echatamal and was likely named for the Tamal Indian and alcalde Guequistabal, who was baptized as Nicasio at Mission Dolores in 1802. During the Mission Period, the natives of this area were relocated to Mission San Rafael Archangel. When the mission closed, Gen. Mariano Vallejo set aside 80,000 acres (20 square leagues) for the tribe’s home. On March 13, 1835, Mexican governor Jose Figueroa granted Tinicasia, as the Anglos called it, to the Native Americans. Sadly, they never received title to the land in what was later described as a convoluted swindle. In 1844, the valley was divided into five parcels and title awarded to others as part of a new Mexico land grant representing a combined total of 56,621 acres. In 1872, the remaining members of what was now referred to as the Nicasio tribe secured a 30-acre parcel near Halleck Creek, thanks to the efforts of the tribe’s last chief, José Calistro.

With the land grants divvied up, modest homes began to dot the valley. James Black built the first substantial home within the Nicasio township and established himself as a cattleman. This pioneer’s family would be the first to settle in the Nicasio Valley. Also among the initial arrivals were Noah and Hiram Corey. Noah built his home where the Rancho Nicasio Restaurant now stands, and Hiram’s home was a stone’s throw north. The Corey brothers cut the frames for both houses with a horse-driven circular saw and thus established the town’s first sawmill. At this time, redwoods were abundant in the valley; therefore, many early settlers became timbermen, some with mills producing upward of 30,000 feet of lumber per day. While the timber industry was destined to dry up, dairy ranching emerged as the premier trade, with Nicasio dairies churning out what was considered the best butter in the state. William Dampier and William Butterfield, partners engaged in beef and dairy, arrived in 1853 and set up the first dairy in Nicasio.

As more families came, a town square began to take shape with all the amenities afforded much larger cities. William J. Miller, a major landowner, led the efforts in this regard, building a luxurious three-story hotel and donating land for a town square, reserving it for future civic buildings. He also donated the land for St. Mary’s Church. By this time, the town also boasted a general merchandise store, a butcher shop, saloons, a racetrack, and a livery stable. By 1866, there were enough families to establish a school district, and by 1871, Nicasio had already outgrown its first schoolhouse. Students who continued on to high school rode by horseback to San Geronimo, where they could catch a train into San Rafael.

It may not have been Nicasio’s fate to become Marin’s administrative center, but the town was alive nonetheless. The grand hotel drew a fashionable clientele from San Francisco who rode the train to San Geronimo. Greeted by Hiram Taft, they arrived in town via stage. Many of these people were drawn by Nicasio’s racetrack as well as its bountiful hunting and fishing opportunities. The Nicasio Hotel attracted out-of-towners and locals alike, routinely hosting Saturday night dances followed by midnight suppers. As interest in the racetrack waned, baseball generated its own energy, and the vacant town square proved the ideal spot for a ball diamond. Nicasio formed its own adult team, which competed against others from all over the San Francisco Bay Area. Some of these local boys went on to World Series fame, including Point Reyes Station’s Vernon Lefty Gomez, who was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972.

In 1940, a fire leveled the once-glorious hotel, and the present-day Rancho Nicasio was built in its place.

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