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Larkspur, CA - Information & Property Search

The Left Bank - a Larkspur Icon
 
 
 

The City of Larkspur is a hidden treasure in Marin. All that most Marin residents know of Larkspur is the Ferry Terminal and the woods and rooftops seen on either side of Highway 101. With the stunning backdrop of impressive Mount Tamalpais, Larkspur provides beautiful bay views and picturesque small town living.

Various periods of architecture are reflected in the homes and buildings of Larkspur, including Victorians, Mission-style, New England, Spanish, Tudor, modern designs, and even log cabins. Downtown Larkspur has remained largely unchanged over the decades, and the whole downtown is listed with the National Register of Historic Places.

Larkspur is named after the blue lupines that grow there. Early settlers from the East mistakenly called the beautiful flowers larkspur, and the name stuck. The town began with the Baltimore and Frederick Lumber Company in the 1850's, attracted to the luxurious redwood groves. Then in 1882, Charles W. Wright ran dairy farms there and established a Northern Pacific Railroad station. The town was incorporated in 1908.

Frenchman Jean Escalle began a winery on the sunny ridges in the late nineteenth century. His Rieslings and Zinfandels were popular in Larkspur and surrounding communities for decades. Wine was delivered by horse and wagon.

Larkspur was most well known in the past for the outdoor dances held there on Saturday nights between 1913 and 1963. Dances at the Rosebowl raised money for the Volunteer Fire Department.

Until Highway 101 was built in the early 1930's, Magnolia Avenue was part of the main north-south route across Marin. Like many Marin cities, Larkspur was divided in half by the new highway.

Although Larkspur is home to several world-class restaurants and is full of beautiful natural scenery, it does not have the influx of tourists that many Marin cities do. Larkspur's serene treasures are enjoyed mostly by its residents.

The infamous Murphy Mansion, built in 1888, was believed by generations to be haunted, but it is now home to the delightful, popular Lark Creek Inn. Remillard's Brick Kiln, a huge brick structure with a prominent smokestack, is an eye-catching landmark built in 1889. It has been declared a state historical landmark. The tunnels where the bricks were fired sat empty for decades, but now you can enjoy a unique dining experience inside the brick kiln at the Melting Pot Restaurant.

For nature lovers, one of Marin's best hikes is in the Baltimore Canyon Open Space Preserve. Just up Madrone Avenue you'll find the Dawn Falls Trail, which follows Larkspur Creek through a shady redwood forest about a mile to 35-foot-high Dawn Falls. There are many more trails in this and neighboring wild land preserves.

Modern Larkspur Landing shopping center was built in the 1970's. The Landing is a rambling outdoor shopping, dining and entertainment center consisting of wooden buildings, fountains, and bay views. It houses the Ferry Terminal, connecting Marin commuters to San Francisco.

Larkspur celebrates its centennial this year with walking tours, a Rosebowl dance, parades, and historical re-creations. The seventeen-year-old tradition, the Larkspur Flower and Food Festival, will be especially festive this year.

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