By Robert L. Harrison

Olympic Games: 1936, 1948, 1952, 1956, 1992, and 1998

Over the years, several athletes from Marin County have participated in the Olympics. This year there are four Marin residents, or former residents, in the Tokyo Games: Kate Courtney from Kentfield is riding in the mountain biking event; Dylan Woodhead is swimming for the water polo team; Joe Ryan is playing baseball; and Kendall Chase is rowing in the women’s four-person boat competition.

Past Marin County Gold medal winners include Archie Williams at Adolph Hitler’s 1936 Games, Ann Curtis at the 1948 London games and Jonny Moseley at the 1998 Winter Games in Nagamo Japan.


By Robert L. Harrison

“The heaven that Sir Oliver and Sir Arthur report is the heaven imagined by fat-headed old women who love the dark and two dollars” circa 1918. Artist: Wright, George Hand, 1872–1951. Cabinet of American illustration (Library of Congress).

Alternatives to traditional Western religions have been and continue to be popular in Marin County. A survey conducted in 2000 by San Francisco’s Institute of Jewish and Community Research (IJCR) found, in contrast to the rest of the country, a far higher percentage of people in Marin County embrace alternative religions or no religion at all.

In Marin, 23 percent reported “other” as their religious preference, a larger number than those identifying as Roman Catholics or Jewish, and just behind the 27 percent identifying themselves as Protestants. …


By Dewey Livingston

Marie Leonardi on the day of her wedding to John Lorenzen in 1939. Courtesy of the Lorenzen Family.

Marie Leonardi was a typical San Rafael girl raised in the ‘teens and 1920s. Her Italian family joined the many others from that country in Marin and she had a busy social life with family and friends from school. There were plenty of fun things for a teenager to do in Marin: dancing at the Rose Bowl, swimming at the San Rafael Baths, riding the train to the Sausalito ferry for farther adventures in San Francisco.

We are fortunate that, late in life, Marie Leonardi Lorenzen wrote down many of her memories for a granddaughter’s school project…


By Matt Thompson

Photo postcard with handwritten label of “Yolando,” showing view from Scenic Avenue looking northwest, circa 1908. The street on the right is San Anselmo Avenue, and on the left is Elm Avenue. Jim Staley Postcard Collection, Anne T. Kent California Room.

The Yolanda area of San Anselmo is generally centered on the site where Yolanda Station once served railroad passengers at the location where today’s Center Boulevard, Saunders Avenue, Redwood Road, and San Anselmo Avenue meet. The exact boundaries and the origin of the name of this neighborhood are not as clear.

The small business area where these roads meet is known to locals as Yolanda. On the north side of Center Boulevard, just off of Saunders Avenue is Yolanda Court, a housing development first planned in 1909 that is accessed by Yolanda Drive. Popular for many years…


By Robert L. Harrison

The first regularly scheduled airmail service began on May 15, 1918 between New York and Washington, D. C. Airmail did not officially reach the Bay Area until September 9, 1920 when a plane carrying mail from New York arrived at the Marina airfield in San Francisco. The formal inauguration of transcontinental airmail service was the following day as reported in the September 10, 1920 San Francisco Call:

“Air mail service from San Francisco to New York was officially begun today, when airplane №71, piloted by Raymond J. …


The San Francisco Examiner once described Sherbrook Hardman as a ‘female masquerading in male attire.’

Frank Miller’s former blacksmith shop in Olema. (Photo: Dewey Livingston, 1993.)

This article written by Librarian Carol Acquaviva originally appeared in the Anne T. Kent California Room’s Community Newsletter on June 25, 2021, and was repurposed by Matt Charnock for The Bold Italic. For more information about the California Room and the Marin County Free Library, please visit marinlibrary.org/california-room.

Reading the Marin and San Francisco newspapers during the summer of 1890, you’d have learned that a man in Olema had wed a woman who was born a boy.


By Carol Acquaviva

Reading the Marin and San Francisco newspapers during the summer of 1890, you’d have learned that a man in Olema had wed a woman who was born a boy.

San Francisco Examiner, August 9, 1890.

Sherbrook “Sherb” Hardman (1865–1902) — the step-son of Olema blacksmith Frank Miller — married Belle Reynolds of Fairfax, whose birth name was Delbert Reynolds. A San Francisco Justice of the Peace reportedly officiated, although I cannot locate a marriage certificate or written witness accounts. When Sherb met Belle she had been going by “Delbert,” and working in Olema as a laborer.


A bit of hyperlocal history at your fingertips

Photo: Courtesy of Marin County Free Library

This article originally appeared in the Anne T. Kent California Room’s Community Newsletter on May 28, 2021, and was repurposed by Matt Charnock for The Bold Italic. For more information about the California Room and the Marin County Free Library, please visit marinlibrary.org/california-room.

In a fortunate turn of events in the family, the east side of Mt. Tamalpais became my backyard when I was a teenager. Schoolwork suffered as I wandered all the trails and explored much of the terrain away from the trails. The mountain was practically vacant in the late 1960s and early 1970s, but occasionally I would…


By Robert L. Harrison

Image from: Constitution of the State of California and Summary of Amendments. California State Printing Office, 1915. Anne T. Kent California Room Collection.

As surprising as this might seem today, the State of California imposed an annual poll tax for nearly one hundred years. From 1850, the first year of statehood until 1946, excluding the period 1914 to 1924, a poll tax existed in one form or another. The poll tax is popularly associated with racial restrictions on suffrage in the former Confederate States of America. Yet poll taxes were also in place in several northern states including five in New England and four in the Midwest.

While most often thought of as a way to restrict voting, the…


by Carol Acquaviva

On April 27, 1937, one month before formally opening to pedestrians and traffic, a ceremony was held to drive the final rivet into the Golden Gate Bridge, symbolizing the completion of an extraordinary feat of engineering.

A crowd of invited guests celebrate the completion of the Golden Gate Bridge at the “Last Rivet” Ceremony, April 27, 1937. Anne T. Kent California Room Collection.

Under the direction of San Francisco Supervisor Arthur M. Brown, Jr., the last rivet ceremony was attended by dignitaries, community members, and a group of anticipant spectators. An Army band played, and the Sixth Coast Artillery stood near the south tower. They had initially begun marching but were frantically told by engineers to stay put, lest their vibrations “ruin” the bridge.

Anne T. Kent California Room

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