LOTS OF BENEFITS PLUS YOU WILL SUPPORT YOUR MUSEUM
Announcing a New Newsletter Section!
Our newest addition will be titled From the Collection. Every month we will feature an item of interest. We hope you enjoy a look inside our Collection.
Kentfield School pennant was donated to MHM by Dan Waldbillig in 2005.
It dates from 1957 and represents a time when the Kentfield School
District was building new campuses in response to the ever expanding
baby boom. Just two years prior, voters had approved a bond issue to
fund the construction of the Wolfe Grade School.
Situated at the base of Wolfe Grade in Kentfield, the Daily Independent Journal
announced on March 10, 1973 that despite controversy, the school would
likely be known as Bacich School, named after district superintendent
Anthony G. Bacich. The controversy surfaced when the School District’s
Board voted to change the school’s name without consulting parents or
students. The article notes, “Parents say students at Wolfe Grade cannot
pronounce the name Anthony G. Bacich, don’t know who he was, and prefer
the name Wolfe Grade… Protestors said they meant no disrespect to the
late superintendent and his family, but rather that they would prefer to
keep the name Wolfe Grade and consider another form of memorial.” The
controversy passed and the name change stood.
you would like to the see the Kentfield Pennant in person, please stop
by the Kentfield Greenbrae Historical Society at Bon Air Center in
Greenbrae where it is on exhibit in celebration of local school history!
Sources: The Marin History Museum archives
Golden Gate Bridge
First envisioned in 1909, engineers laid the last quarter mile
of Route 1 from San Rafael
to the Sausalito ferry in establishing Sausalito as a crucial conn
ection in the
s opening that same
s prideful position as the link from Marin to San Francisco was cr
In 1881, after being rejected from a summer rental because he was Jewish, LewisGerstlepurchasedViolet Terrace in San Rafael for$15,000,nearly $400,000 in 2017dollars—a good deal in any century.
Gerstlemadenumerousimprovements toViolet Terrace to fashion the perfect site for summer entertainmentforfamily and friends. As the family grew,servant’squartersandstableswere added. DaughterClara andher husband, Adolph “Dick”Mack,builttheir summerhouse uphill of her parents.
Lewis andhis wife,Hannah,oftenjoked about the needto seekampleguests fortheirfictional“hotel”lest profits falland fortunes plummet.
In reality, Lewis and Hannah (pictured above) were generous hosts, offering an abundance of food, activities, and leisurefunfor their guests.
During the workweek, male guests endured the long commute totheir businesses in San Francisco. The women stayed at Violet Terrace, reading, eating, knitting, playing cards, and occasionally entertaining guests.
On Sundays,afterthe men worked up appetitesplaying tennis, everyoneindulgedin anelaborate lunch, oftenpicnickingoutside.To meetLewis’shigh standards, the thick cream and milkhe servedcame from his own cows. As a gentleman farmer, unique in Marin, Violet Terrace dairy did not come cheap. Lewis would offer his guestschampagne
or milk, jesting that they both cost the same. Chinese venders
delivered the freshest produce. Caterers whose quality met the test
sometimes delivered to the backdoor.
During the day, Violet Terrace’s childrenenjoyeda wonderland of endless amusementsincluding exploringtheredwood forests and tending the family’s farm animals. Hannah dutifully provided plants and
seeds for children who professed to want to garden but were entirely too impatient to let plantsmature. Dug up before ripening,undersizedvegetables littered the children’s gardens. Tolerant Hannah considered the disarray part of growing up.
Son-in-lawDickcommandedanoutgoingpersonality,which lent itself to entertainingthechildren. During the day hetookthem on bike rides, often as far as Fairfax, Kentfield, orLarkspur. Other times hetookthem to Tiburon tofish for“shiners.”A relatively isolated property, Violet Terrace could be spooky at night, giving Dick the opportunity to tell ghost stories.We can picturetheparlorpopulated with the candle-lit shadows of spellboundchildren. We hope Dick had an accomplice to rattle a chain or topple a bucket atjustthe right moment.
The mostanticipatedeventof the season wastheFourth of July whenchildrentossedfirecrackers underthe watchful eye of adults.Everyone gatheredat night to see fireworks fillthesky.
Source: Jo Haraf
Source: Jo Haraf
Deeded to the city of San Rafael in 1930, San Rafael’s GerstleParkremainsawelcomingplace for familiesand friendsto celebratepersonal and national holidays.
By DC Koenig
MHM thanksthe family memoir,Lewis and HannahGerstleby their grandsonGerstleMack (1953), for details and inspiration.
Faces of Marin
Source: Clifford Hall
(December 31, 1889 – July 27, 1964)
Born in Lombardy, Italy,Cesare Bettinicame to California in 1906.For decades, Bettinimanagedthe landscaping, orchard,and livestockat theGerstlefamily compound,Violet Terrace.
A family descendent,Katherine Lilienthal, recalled how “…all of the children used to spend their time with Bettini. He would let them help with the cowsand gather the eggs…"Ted Lilienthal, aGerstlegreat-grandchild,remembered howBettini "was a stand-in father for us kids. He called me Tito and he explained to me the facts of life."(www.Patch.com)
In 1930, theGerstlesdonated Violet Terrace to the city ofSan Rafael to be used as a park. Arequirementof the transferstatedthat Bettini be allowed to live on the property until his death.
One ofVictoria and Cesare’sfive children,C.Paul Bettini,served as San Rafael's Mayor from 1965 to 1979.
By Jo Haraf
(May 13, 1858-July 7, 1948)
Adolph Mack was bornasthe sixth of ten children into a poorNew York Cityfamily. Nicknamed “Dick”—a shortened version of the German worddickkopfor “stubborn fellow”—he began work at thirteen-years-old, studied pharmacy in the evenings, and eventually cameto Californiaalong witholder brothers Solomonand Julius.After working as a druggist in Visalia,hemovedto San Francisco to run Julius’s wholesale drug company.
By 1882, Dickhad become sufficiently prosperous to marry ClaraGerstleon April 26,eventually having five children.In 1898, they built a summerhouse in theGerstlefamily compound in San Rafael.To satisfy LewisGerstle’sdesire for an unobstructed view, the Mack home perchedforty-two steps aboveClara’sparent’shouse.(In the winter of 1905-1906, the Mack house moved down the hill to a new lot. And that is another story…)
After Clara’s death in 1909,Dickmoved in with his widowed sister-in-law Sophie (Gerstle) LilienthalsubsequentlymarryingCharlotte D. Smithin1913. In his later years,hetraveled to England and Hawaii. He was generous contributorto theSan Francisco Jewish Orphan Asylum.
By Jo Haraf
Community Events of Interest
Saturday June 23 9:00am San Anselmo Historical Commission Meet at Creek Park
Historical Commissioner Dick Miner’s popular Stroll Through
History returns this year.
back in time with Dick and other members of the Historical Commission
on a walking tour through downtown San Anselmo. The tour will highlight
San Anselmo’s historic Hub, the role of the railroad in the development
of town and the changing character of the businesses and architecture on
San Anselmo Avenue over the years. The tour will end at the Historical
Museum for refreshments.