The History

San Anselmo, its Creek, and Park

San Anselmo is a vibrant suburban town of about
13,000 residents, located in Marin County’s Ross Valley,
just 20 minutes north of San Francisco. Established in
1907, San Anselmo has a rich history as home to the
Coastal Miwok Native American settlements and later
as a railroad transit corridor.

This pivotal location at the heart of
Marin was part of the North Pacific
Coast Railroad, with rail lines
connecting Sausalito (and ferries to
San Francisco) and San Rafael with a
line west to Tomales via Fairfax.
Regular train service ended
in 1941, replaced by Greyhound
buses until 1963 when the railroad
property was condemned. Sir
Francis Drake and Center Boulevard
were reconfigured in 1970 and the
intersection they form, adjacent to
Creek Park is known as
the ‘Hub.’ Up to 65,000 vehicles a day
pass through the Hub.

Creek Park was developed in the early
60’s alongside San Anselmo Creek,
a major drainage way through the
central Marin. The Park was designed
as a passive green space and included
perimeter parking, pathways, a
pedestrian bridge, lighting, redwood
and other tree species, shrubs, lawn
areas and ground cover. Other
improvements included tables and
seating, railings, deck areas and steps
that offered token connection to
the creek. Over time, a number of
downtown buildings were built along
the west side of the Creek, in some
cases extending over but turning their
backs to the waterway.

The Impetus

The routing of the Creek has made it a path of least
resistance for flooding. Downtown San Anselmo has
experienced a number of historic floods, most recently
in 1982 and 2005. Marin County has had a continuing
remediation program focusing on sections of the Creek
from its headwaters west of San Anselmo to its exit
into the San Francisco Bay.

The most current County stormwater
management plan includes an
ambitious project that sets the stage
for the reimagining of Creek Park
Commons. The San Anselmo Flood
Risk Reduction Project (SAFRR) calls
for removal of 3 buildings that intrude
on the creek and create a flood flow
barrier. Demolition of 150
feet of structures along San Anselmo
Avenue (address numbers 632, 634,
and 636 as indicated in the SAFRR
plans) will open views to the Creek,
redwood groves, and the Park on
the east side of the Creek. It will also
create open space along the Avenue
that will become a part of Creek Park

Demolition of the buildings and their
supporting decks, walls, and piers
will eliminate restrictions in the
creek’s maximum floodwater flow
and make possible this extraordinary
opportunity for renewal and reimagination
of Creek Park Commons.

Learn more:

San Anselmo Historical Society