The Coast Miwok Indians lived in the area of San
Anselmo for at least 3,600 years and artifacts are still occasionally
discovered near the Hub, the spur track of the North Pacific Coast Railroad.
The valley was part of the Mexican Land Grant and most of what we now know as
the Seminary area and downtown San Anselmo was part of Juan cooper's grant,
Punta de Quintin Corte Madera, la Laguna y Canada de San Anselmo. This land was
later purchased by James Ross whose descendants still live nearby and work on
some of his land, now the location of the Sunnyside Nursery. During the
mid-1800's, San Anselmo was a railroad stop for San Rafael,
Point Reyes Station and Tomales
Bay, and the town was
often referred to as the "Junction". In 1892 the San Francisco
Theological Seminary relocated to San Anselmo and began the town's population
growth. The Seminary facility was established to train Presbyterian clergy and
includes the ethereal, castle-like buildings Montgomery and Scott Halls, an ivy-covered
chapel and an hour-tolling bell tower. The town was incorporated in 1907. A
large influx of Italians from San Francisco's North Beach,
relocated here after the 1906 earthquake, planting grapes that thrived in the
temperate microclimate. San Anselmo
Avenue, the town's main shopping area, is a
curving boulevard of awning-shaded shops, cafes, galleries, restaurants, and
boutiques. Known as the "Antique Capital of Northern California,"
there are, within a half-mile radius of down, more than 150 antique dealers who
attract collectors from along the West Coast. Popular events include the annual
Art and Wine Festival, the Antique Dealers Fair, and the Country Fair Day. The
town possesses both natural and architectural beauty. The natural beauty can be
found in the nearby hills, creeks, meadows and redwood groves and by visiting
any of the lovely six parks. The architectural beauty and history of the town
can be experienced through the self-guided walking tour provided by the San
Anselmo Historical Commission.
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