Mill Valley Historical Society announced today that a public dedication of a nearly 70 year old billboard-size historic Mt. Tamalpais Hikers Trail map will take place on October 20 at 4:00 p.m. This important historic map has been restored and will be installed and publicly displayed on the outside side wall of Urban Remedy (the old locksmith shop) and Equator Coffee's Commissary at 34 Miller Avenue facing the driveway opposite the former Balboa Café.
The public installation celebrates and recognizes the historic importance of hiking in Mill Valley - a legacy that continues today.
The map was originally commissioned and painted in 1949 on the wooden side wall of the Old Mill Market that stood across from Old Mill Park at the corner of Throckmorton Avenue and Old Mill Street.
Mill Valley has been a mecca for hiking since well before 1900. The local population would swell on weekends as visitors from all over the Bay area arrived by train at the Depot. Although some continued up Mt. Tamalpais on the train that ran until 1929, many of these visitors immediately set out by foot to experience the hiking trails.
It was said that Norman D. Clark, the proprietor of Clark's Grocery, got tired of answering questions and drawing crude maps to hikers who used Throckmorton Avenue to approach the mountain. So he hired Walter Finn, custodian of Muir Woods National Monument, and Melville Whittaker, chief ranger of Mt. Tamalpais State Park, to help design an oversize map of the hiking trails on Mt. Tamalpais.
The map was visible on the west side of the building. However, by 1960 the map had disappeared, having been covered by shingles. The market had changed hands many times, later becoming a fix-it shop.
In 2004, the demolition of the property began to make way for residential units. As the demolition began, the historic map became exposed. Members of the Mill Valley Historical Society secured permission to remove the map and it was stored in pieces for over 14 years. The map was painstakingly reassembled and restored by the Mill Valley Historical Society and the project tirelessly shepherded through the over 4 year process by board member, Jill BentonTardy. Jill contacted the master lease holder of 34 Miller Avenue, Helen Russell, co-founder & CEO of Equator Coffee. Helen jumped on the opportunity and gave approval for the installation of the historic map on the outside of the building. Guy Palmer, Mill Valley resident, is installing the Map and had originally stored the map pieces. Guy frequently visited the old Clark's Grocery as a child.
The Mill Valley Historical Society invites all members of the community to attend this dedication. Beverages and snacks will be provided by Equator Coffee and Urban Remedy