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Frequently Asked Questions
Where does the name “Marin”
Marin County was named for a Coast Miwok Indian warrior
known as Chief Marin. He fought against the Spanish military occupation
and its effects on the local native people. During one incident,
the Spanish chased Marin to what are now known as the Marin Islands,
in the bay off San Rafael. Marin was finally captured and taken
to San Francisco in 1824. When he was set free he returned to what
is now Marin County and worked as a boatman for the Mission San
Rafael. He died in 1834.
What did Sir Francis Drake do in Marin County?
Sir Francis Drake was an English pirate in the employ of Queen Elizabeth
I of England. He attacked Spanish vessels carrying gold and silver
from South America. He sailed through the Strait of Magellan, up
the west coast of South America and eventually well into the north
Pacific looking for the fabled Northwest Passage. On his way back
south in 1579, he sailed into a small harbor to repair his ship,
the Golden Hinde. Most historians believe the harbor was
Drake’s Bay on the Point Reyes peninsula, although there is
considerable debate as to the exact location. The only account of
the landing is in Francis Fletcher’s book The World Encompassed.
Drake and his crew stayed on the coast for 36 days. During that
time, he had many occasions to meet with the native Coast Miwok
people, and claimed to have been crowned as their king. He claimed
the land for England, calling it Nova Albion (New England
in Latin), and sailed westward to complete his circumnavigation
of the world.
What are the origins of Marin City?
In 1942, as part of the war effort, Bechtel Co. established the
Marinship shipyard just north of Sausalito to build cargo ships
and tankers. Workers came from all over the country to build the
ships, and Marin City was built to house many of the workers. After
the war, the Marin County Housing Authority took over the site for
low cost housing. In 1956, the temporary, wartime buildings were
torn down and new housing built. In 1996, a new shopping center
was constructed along with new houses and condominiums.
What is the story of the plane crash on White’s
Hill near Fairfax?
On May 16, 1946, a B-17 bomber piloted by Army Air Force pilot Ward
Skaggs was on its way to Hamilton Field in Novato when it crashed
into White’s Hill. The crash was probably caused by an air
traffic control error. Three crewmen died and six survived. There
were rumors at the time that the plane was carrying nuclear cargo
of some sort, but no confirmation of that has ever been found.
In what year did the Northwestern Pacific
Railroad end its passenger service in Marin County?
The passenger service ended in 1941. After the Golden Gate Bridge
was finished in 1937, more people started driving cars and train ridership
fell off. Ferry service was also stopped for several decades.
When was the Mission San Rafael founded,
and by whom?
The Mission was founded on December 14, 1817 by Father Prefect Francisco
Sarria, Father Luis Gil y Taboada, and friars Ramon Abella and Narciso
Duran. Lieutenant Luis Arguello, the Commandant of the San Francisco
Presidio, was also present with several soldiers. In the beginning,
the Mission was known as an asistencia, or hospital, for
sick Indians who were living at the Mission Dolores in San Francisco,
and who were transferred to San Rafael for the supposed health effects
offered by the warmer, drier climate.
What was Marvelous Marin?
Marvelous Marin was a booster club founded to promote Marin County.
It was formed in 1925 to promote real estate and business investment
in the county. At that time, plans for the Golden
Gate Bridge were being considered, and Marvelous Marin provided
important political and civic support for the bridge.
Park is adjacent to
the marin history
from the James M. Donahue
1875) sits out in front of the