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October  2018


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  Museum News 






   Feature Article



Ghosts? We’ve got a few… 

With all the people living—and dying—in our little corner of California, it stands to reason that a few of the dearly departed might hang around to see how the next century or two turns out. In the spirit of Halloween, we offer you some of Marin’s special specters. 


When the winds roar down the eastern slope of White’s Hill, you might hear the shriek of a wood-fired locomotive. In 1875, a sweet-talking roustabout dishonored railroad engineer Mahoney’s beloved daughter who, with her baby, died in childbirth. Along decaying tracks, abandoned since 1904, the bereaved father still guns his engine, determined to crush his daughter’s lover under ghostly iron wheels.

(Northwestern Pacific Headlight, 1928) 


 Source: Wikipedia 

* * * * *  

A mere slip of a sailor, thirteen-year-old Alfred Easkoot was disfigured for life when a fire charred his face and destroyed his hand. Years later, after Captain Easkoot’s schooner went aground on Duxbury Reef off Stinson Beach, he built a house with lumber salvaged from the wreck. Constantly patrolling his property, Easkoot frightened trespassers away with his glistening gold hook. When his coffin was carried across the sand from his house, it fell, cracked open, and his                          Source: MHM

golden hook was carried away by the tide.  Every night, at the strike of two—the hour of his deathEaskoot returns to search Stinson Beach for his lost hook.   

* * * * *  

In September 1888, heiress Ella Nichols Park moved into her new Queen and Eastlake-style mansion, now San Rafael’s Falkirk Cultural Center, once described by the Marin Journal as "one of the most ornamental and best built mansions in this place of beautiful homes.” Some evenings, Mrs. Park still descends the stair from the second to the first floor, perhaps seeking a book from the library. Witnesses to her ethereal journey describe her friendly, “woman’s energy” and the sense that she still watches over                      Source: Falkirk Cultural Center

her cherished home.       


* * * * *  

Near midnight, an Olompali State Park manager saw a girl wearing multiple petticoats, her long, dark hair curled into side buns. He next encountered her outside his office, reaching longingly toward a candy bowl she couldn't touch. The last time they met, she gazed down at him curiously from the stair top. 

Perhaps easily bored, the little girl only appears to new park employees. Some speculate the dark-haired child is Mary Black, an early resident and eventual owner of Olompali or her daughter or one of two children who drowned on the premises in the 1960s.     

Maybe, if we offer just the right sweets, the little dark-haired girl will tell us her name. (The Silver Sixpence, Fall/Winter 2008) 


* * * * * 

If these brief tales of phantoms whetted your appetite for more, click to read about the bicycle-riding ghost in the San Rafael jail or perhaps Elmer Pimm—Tiburon’s last remaining railroad man—who is still on the job  


Send us your tale of things that go bump in the night at We’ll post it on our Facebook page and save it in our archives. 

                                                                             By Jo Haraf

Faces of Marin


            A wise man once said, “I don’t believe in ghosts, but I do

           believe in ghost stories.” Sometimes, the true tales of the

          people behind the hauntings are more interesting than the

                                            spooky stories.                                                                    

Captain Alfred Easkoot


If you're not afraid of sea captains who search the sand for their missing hook, click here to read the story of the real man behind the ghost of Captain Alfred Derby Easkoot.

Ella Nichols Park 

1857-February 10, 1905 


Ella Park was born in Vermont. On May 31, 1882, she married her best friend’s father, Trenor Park, a man thirty-four-years her senior, and found herself firmly established in Marin County society. 

Within a year of her marriage, her husband died, leaving her wealthy and eager to leave the now gloomy house they had shared. With limitless resources, Ella hired renowned architect Linton Day to build her dream mansion on an eleven-acre parcel of land on Mission Avenue. Ella Park died on February 10, 1905 in the home she built and loved so dearly. She is buried in Mount Tamalpais Cemetery. In 1906, the mansion was purchased by shipping magnate and philanthropist, Captain Robert Dollar, and renamed after his birthplace in Scotland: Falkirk.  


Many believe Ella’s ghost still inhabits her beloved mansion. Ghost hunters have reported strange noises and spotted her spirit walking about the second floor landing, passing through the front door then descending the stairs to the driveway. Her ghost has been seen in the home’s windows. During weddings she’s been heard to wail and moan just as the officiant says, “till death do you part.” Those who have seen her specter say she seems to be watching over the mansion.  


By Alice Tanner


Community Events of Interest

Friday, October 5   11:00 am                                                The Doughboy Experience-Americans in the Great War     Moya Library/Ross Historical Society 

This presentation by Military Historian Colonel Fred Rutledge will cover the lead-up to America’s declaration of war against Germany in April 1917, the mobilization of military forces, the battles in France, life in the trenches, and the troops coming home in 1919. Uniforms and artifacts will be displayed.
We request $10 at the door for the presentation.

Thursday, October 11   7:30 pm
Northwestern Pacific Railroad History Symposium 
Elks Lodge, San Rafael 

Creator of the photo archeology-based website and Bay Area Electric Railway Association member Stuart Swiedler will present an exciting program entitled "How We Got to School by Electrics in the Bay Area". The talk will provide rare images and personal accounts of the use of electric railways and street cars to get teenagers to high school during the Golden Age of electric railways in the SF Bay Area.

In addition, a brief extra-special electric railways presentation entitled "Wye San Anselmo?" will be offered, based on the impact made on the presenter after two decades of weekend trips traveling between Oakland to Woodacre in Marin County.

Monday, October 15    6:30-8:00 pm
Visions of Marin
Civic Center Library California Room
Artist & historian Mary Gilardi presents Visions of Marin, describing the life and work of American Impressionist painter George Demont Otis, who lived at his studio-home in
Kentfield from 1934 until his death in 1961. Otis’ paintings of Marin capture the beauty of our landscape and along the  way document our evolving history and geography,
Afterwards, using the California Room’s collection of Otis paintings as a point of departure, historian Dewey Livingston will take us on a trip through time, showing us how the Marin
scenes Otis painted have changed over time.


Suite 182 (via Lobby B), San Rafael

Thursday, October 25   7:00pm

Annual Members Meeting

In the Heart of Marin: Then and Now 2.0

Kentfield Greenbrae Historical Society

Many members requested that we revisit a photo presentation  

hosted by our very own historians, Dewey Livingston and Richard Torney, "In the Heart of Marin: Then and Now 2.0."

Saturday, October 27     9:00 am

Stroll Through History

San Anselmo History Commission


Travel back in time with Dick Miner 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.

Meet at Creek Park.



Museum News, Events, Feature Article, Faces of Marin, 100 Years Ago, Community Events, and From the Collection




 The Marin History Museum’s Winter 2018 Bulletin will feature Marin’s state, county, and city parks. You told us how much you enjoyed the "Movie Memories" in our Summer issue, so we’re asking you to share memories of your first hike, swim, picnic, or kiss in one of Marin’s many parks. We look forward to sharing your stories with our  readers.



Light yellow crew neck t-shirt with blue graphics promoting a special two-night Halloween party featuring Redlegs with Mr. Crunch and Diamond Slide at River City nightclub, October 31-November 1, 1975.  $2.50 cover and free drinks promised to anyone in “full costume.”

This t-shirt was donated to the Marin History Museum in 2010 by Ron Barbarita, former owner of the popular and short-lived River City, a favorite mid-1970s pool hall and nightclub once located at 52 Bolinas Road in downtown Fairfax.  River City attracted many now famous musicians both as patrons and players, including Huey Lewis, Michael McDonald, Bill Evans, and Phil Lesh.  In a music review dated May 20, 1975 published in the Marin Independent Journal, writer Paul Liberatore describes River City as “fast becoming the best local hall (pool or otherwise), for listening to good live music in relaxed surroundings.”


Headliner Redlegs got their start in 1970 on the Sausalito waterfront and were part of the larger Waldo Point houseboat scene, a raucous crew of artists and musicians. According to the band’s vocalist and guitar player Jeff Costello, Redlegs’ rock and roll music embodied the magic of the late 1960s counter-culture and the fun and freedom of life on the waterfront.


Other artifacts from River City now part of the Marin History Museum’s permanent collection include photographs of Maria Muldaur, Bill Evans, and Phil Lesh performing on stage, a concert flyer promoting the Bill Evans Trio and official River City stationery.


Sources: Marin History Museum,,



Marin Journal  

October 1918


In one of the big base hospitals of the army not long ago a new librarian was sent to work by the American Library Association.  She was a very charming young woman and very anxious of please all of her "customers," though some of them didn't even wish to look at a book.  In her rounds she approached one of the patients and he declined to be interest in her wares.  At the next cot she stopped and offered its occupant a book.

"What's it about?" the patient asked. 

"Oh, this is Bambi," said the librarian.  " It's about a girl who married a man without his having anything to say about It."

"Hold on there," shouted the man who had declined all books.  He raised himself up on his elbow and reached out his hand.  "Give me that book.  It's my autobiography."

Take a book or two to the San Rafael Public Library.  They all go to the boys in Service.



We can use your help! Have a little time on our hands and looking to help a local non-profit? Below is a list of some of the volunteer positions we need to fill.

Please let us know if any of these look interesting to you by emailing or calling 415-382-1182. We would love to hear form you!


We are starting to create a lot of content for our eNewsletters, social media sites, and future traveling exhibitions and publications. If you like to do historical research and write short articles, we could use your help.


Along with writers, we need editors to give the final article its blessing before it goes to print. This volunteer job can be done from home or on site. Let us know if you have that required eagle eye and grammatical tenacity to tackle this job.

Heavy Lifter

We need a few strong individuals to help move heavy shelving units within the Collections Facility. If you have few hours to spare during the week and could help us move our shelves, we would love to hear from you.

Special Event Assistant

If you enjoy hosting or attending a well-planned party, you’ll be a natural at during the Museum’s special events. We would love to see you help create the party, greet guests who attend, and  keep that friendly and festive feeling going for the whole evening.


Capture the moment for us! Your photos of the Museum’s special events and exhibitions will be invaluable for public outreach, future fundraising campaigns and our institution’s historical record. We could use your help documenting our history!

Are you a student looking for community service hours? Know a student who needs hours before graduating?  The Marin History Museum is a 501(c)3 and can grant students their community service hours.

Let us know and we’ll take care of it!

Marin History Museum - Craemer Family Research and Collection Facility

45 Leveroni Ct Novato CA 94949

Please call for an appointment  


Mailing Address: PO Box 150727, San Rafael, CA 94915

For more information:


P. O. Box 150727, San Rafael, CA 94915        415-382-1182    

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