San Anselmo Stroll Through History downtown tours a hit with kids
Judy Coy and Dick Miner stand next to the San Anselmo diarama. Photo by Megan Ann Hansen By Megan Ann Hansen, Marin Independent Journal POSTED: 08/10/18, 11:34 AM PDT | UPDATED: 1 DAY AGO0 COMMENTS Ten years ago, the San Anselmo historical commission was approached by a Brookside Elementary School teacher who wanted a history tour for her second-grade class.
Led by Judy Coy, the tour was so well-received that she decided to partner with Dick Miner to expand tours to all local second-grade classrooms. Last year, Miner decided to develop Stroll Through History, a tour of the downtown area for the general public. What started off as tours for local second-graders is now open to Marin history buffs of all ages.
“The railroad going through the Ross Valley 150 years ago makes for a great story of an area going from farm country, to summer destination, to a community of commuters,” Miner said. “A typical walking tour has about 25 to 30 attendees. Last year we had about 300 walkers, both kids and adults. We expect at least that amount this year.”
Some of the history shared on the tour includes a story about a bandit, tidbits about San Anselmo as a popular tourist destination in the late 19th century and some insight into the town happenings during Prohibition. It is also about the hard working people that came to San Anselmo to create a life here after emigrating from Italy, Azores, Switzerland and other places to improve their lot.
“I believe that their stories provide life lessons and are worthy of saving and passing on,” Miner said. “The 1800s through the 1950s are also quite interesting. There was considerable building in the (1920s) and ’30s and much of the character of the town was formed in the early part of the 20th century.”
This year, Coy also added a historical walk of the San Francisco Theological Seminary in San Anselmo, which has played a big part in the history of the town.
“I have lived in the Seminary neighborhood for 38 years and have researched much of its early development,” Coy said. “Many people see the beautiful stone buildings on Seminary Hill but have never ventured onto the campus. … (They) know nothing of its history and its impact on our town. I want to share my knowledge of the area.”
Each tour ends at the San Anselmo history museum, located beneath the town library. Cookies and tea are served, and Coy and Miner show attendees the town diorama, discuss the current exhibition on display and show other historical records on the walls and bookcases.
“I would say we have probably had about 1,000 kids through the years go on our history walks,” Miner said. “What is always a treat for me is to have a child come in to the museum on a Saturday with their mom or dad and hear my stories come back. It lets me know they are listening and learning.”
Only a few dates remain this year for the walks. Downtown tours are scheduled for Aug. 25 and Oct. 27 and a seminary tour is scheduled for Sept. 22. All tours begin at 9 a.m. To register for the free tour, and for meet-up information, visit strollsananselmo.eventbrite.com. Questions may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Space is limited.
Since 1919, Cedars non-profit agency in San Anselmo has supported more than 2,500 individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in leading creative, productive and joyous lives. Today, one of those programs is Hands and Earth, a garden co-op where participants manage the garden and sell the produce, including vegetables, fruit and flowers, along with handcrafted items and honey from their hives.
All produce is grown without commercial fertilizer or pesticides and the money taken in by the Farmstand goes to supporting Cedars participants and the co-op. The Hands and Earth farmstand is located on the corner of Tunstead and San Anselmo avenues. It runs on Wednesdays from 11 a.m.-1 p.m., June through September. For more information about the Cedars program at cedarslife.org.
PICNICS ON PLAZA
For nine years, the town of San Anselmo has hosted Picnics on the Plaza in an effort to bring the community together downtown. All locals are invited to bring a picnic, blanket and chairs and enjoy free music on the town lawn. There is a bouncy-house for kids, popcorn for sale and an ice cream truck. Every Friday now through Sept. 7 from 5-8 p.m. For more information and the lineup, visit townofsananselmo.org.
Every Saturday from 9 to 10 a.m. the Marin Open Garden Project hosts a program for local gardeners to gather and exchange excess produce from their gardens. This Marin-wide program has been hosted in San Anselmo for 10 years. The food exchange allows locals to turn their surplus into fresh foods for their family and meet a lively group of locals who love gardening and have tips to share. For more information visit opengardenproject.org.
David Nolen Swaim Owner #1070789 Tam Realty || San Anselmo Planning Commissioner tamrealty.com || 415.710.5504