Welcome friend, We live in a small condominium at the south end of Sausalito (now called Old Town) and in that area affectionally known as Hurricane Gulch. Our front yard is an elevated deck with pots of cactus and other succulents and with our grand view of Shelter Cove (aka Whalers' Cove, Old Town Cove) Richardson's Bay, and Angel Island, but if we want to really be outside, it's Sausalito, Fort Baker, the Golden Gate, and the Headlands.
About our Sausalito Photographic Slideshows,
There are thirty slides in each slideshow and many different slideshows of Sausalito. Below each slideshow are thirty thumbnail images, one for each slide. You may need to scroll down to see all the thumbnails.
The slideshows are not surveys of all restaurants, galleries and other businesses in town. We have taken almost all of photographs. There is one photograph taken by John Wilmer, his photograph is of the late Phil Frank. Phil Frank is best known for his cartoons of Farley and Farley's menagerie of feathered and furry friends. Phil Frank's image, complete with his E Clampus Vitus attire, appears in Slideshow 2.
The slideshow content is not organized by subject or date, almost all slideshows are in random order. The exceptions are Slideshow 6 which presents sample views of the Sausalito Art Festival, Labor Day Weekend, 2008, Slideshow 8 which shows ten 2008 Chili Cook Off images, and Slideshow 10 which shows a number of Maltese Falcon and Angel Island Fire 2008 images.
Please note that the photographs only cover subjects within Sausalito's City Limits and a small portion of an unincorporated area of Marin County just past the northern tip of Sausalito itself, the Waldo Point Harbor area and its floating homes.
Copyright, Privacy, Access, and Such
Some proprietors of galleries, jewelry stores, etc. do not allow photography inside their stores. That is because most if not all of the artwork and jeweler is copyrighted by the artists and designers. Unless we have specific permission from those proprietors to photograph inside, we take our photographs from the outside.
A few docks are closed to public access but most are open. Our floating homes are not only private property but are year round homes for some folk. Please respect the privacy of our floating residents.
There is one beautiful area of Sausalito that is west of U.S. 101. It is one best locations in Marin County with spectacular views of the San Francisco Bay and the Marin Headlands. It is Wolfback Ridge. Reachable by vehicle only from Wolfback Ridge Road (formerly named Spencer and West Spencer). ALL public access is denied, not even hiking or bicycling is allowed.
About Sausalito (Saucelito)
Saucelito Rancho started as an 1838 Mexican land grant to William (Guillermo Antonio) Richardson. Even before California's Gold Rush in 1848, the ships of the Yankee traders and New Bedford whalers would take on fresh water from the willow springs at Shelter Cove (aka, Whalers' Cove), now known as Old Town.
From a distance, Sausalito watched San Francisco grow and flourish as gold poured in from California's Mother Lode and silver poured in from Nevada's Comstock Lode. While San Francisco became a city of great wealth, Sausalito could only look on from the narrow mudflats along Richardson's Bay and from the lower piedmont of Marin County's Wolfback Ridge. Sausalito became a tiny blue collar town providing service to sailing ships, in time, some small boat building devolved, it became a ferryboat terminal and in the 1870s, the southern terminus of the narrow gauge North Pacific Coast Railroad. That railroad brought redwood lumber, local dairy and agricultural products from southwest Sonoma County and northwest Marin to Sausalito's ferry landing. There the small narrow gauge freight cars were loaded onto the boats and taken to San Francisco where they were offloaded. Portuguese boat builders mostly from Portuguese Azores, Italian fishermen, Chinese shopkeepers (the little Yee Tock Chee Park is named for one very popular and kindly Chinese shopkeeper), railroad workers, ferryboat crewmen, and nearby Portuguese dairy ranchers all are part of Sausalito's working class heritage.
Asides from the blue collar workers, there was also the money class commuters like the San Francisco and English businessmen who would ferry to Sausalito then go to their upscale homes, summer houses, and hillside estates, located on The Hill (a local British colony of sorts above the current downtown historic business district).
In 1904, the narrow gauge North Pacific Coast Railroad became the North Shore Railroad and in 1907 became the Northwestern Pacific Railroad. Through all the changes, Sausalito remained a transportation hub.
On the seamy side, during federal Prohibition, Sausalito had more than its fair share of rumrunners, speakeasies, and backyard stills.
The Golden Gate Bridge was completed in 1937. The bridge guaranteed the end of the railroad and ferryboat hub. The north end of the bridge, a new highway was completed on the uphill side of populated Sausalito. Sausalito was bypassed. Ferryboat service from San Francisco to Marin County was on a considerable decline and ended February 28, 1941. Ferryboats were retired and some were abandoned along Sausalito's northern mudflats and became homes for starving artists. (In 1970, a new ferryboat service was inaugurated by the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District. The Blue and Gold Fleet also provides ferryboat service.)
Sausalito didn't get much time to sleep though, WW II brought a new round of nautical excitement to town. The mudflats of Sausalito's northern shore along Richardson's Bay were quickly converted to Marinship and construction liberty ships was soon started. In 3½ years Marinship produced 93 ships for the war effort. When WW II was over, Marinship was closed and the Sausalito waterfront went back to sleep.
Marinship during WW II had brought in many workers who taxed the limited available housing supply. For some, life on the water was the answer. Makeshift floating homes built on old boats and barges became common. After the war, some stayed and returning veterans settled the waterfront and they too adopted the laid-back life. This idyllic location with its undemanding lifestyle also attracted more of the artistic inclined, the bohemian style beatniks of the 1950s and the hippies of the 1960s fit right in. By the 1970s, the artists' refuge turned into an artist community and was in full flourish along the waterfront.
The Sausalito Art Festival was first held at Shell Beach (now the site of the Spinnaker Restaurant). Since then, it has moved, changed management, and grown into a world class event. It is currently held at Marinship Park every Labor Day Weekend. Its upper class homes are increasing. Today, Sausalito is a favorite with tourists, ferry-boaters from San Francisco, and weekend bicyclists. The "tourist season" runs from March through October.
Automobiles and bicycles compete over road space, especially at the south end of town where the two lane road is extremely narrow. The bicyclists come down the hill through Fort Baker and enter south Sausalito only to find themselves in a very precarious situation. Some of the bicyclists are young children who are inexperienced bike riders. If you enter Sausalito by automobile, be alert and please use caution.
Sausalito, Metes and Bounds
Sausalito's dwellings, great and small, cling to a narrow band of real estate "clamping themselves thereto like limpets to a rock." Sausalito is bounded on most sides by neighbors who have their own property rights. Expansion of Sausalito is not practical. The U.S. 101 freeway and Golden Gate National Recreation Area keeps Sausalito from expanding westward; Fort Baker, also in the G.G.N.R.A., prohibits southward expansion. To the north, only that small area called Waldo Point Harbor (Gate 6 and Gate 6½ Roads) could realistically be annexed, however that property is already developed. The commercial real estate developers therefore cast an eager eye to Sausalito's eastern shore and the tidal waters of Richardson's Bay.
Home builders need to look to a few remaining unbuilt lots (usually on steep hillsides) and are often required to perform extraordinary foundation work before a new home can be built. The remove of older homes and replacing them with new homes is another option.
Sausalito can be pricey, you can pay more but get less square footage. It is full of tourists much of the year. The question then is, Why would anyone want to live here? The answer is simple, high quality of life and location, location, location.
About the Weather,
During the summertime, the hot temperatures of California's Central Valley cause the air to rise and the fog to be pulled in through the Golden Gate. San Francisco's two Pacific facing Districts, the Richmond and Sunset can be blanketed with fog and Fort Point at the south end of the Golden Gate Bridge can be downright uncomfortably windy. The Marin side of the bridge can also receive its fair share of fog and wind, and Sausalito, especially the Old Town area, can be subjected to the same winds. Folk expecting summer weather in August are sometimes surprised at very cool days. Layered clothing is a good choice. Northern Sausalito can be warmer than the southern area, the northern area is referred to as a "Banana Belt."
1. Sausalito, originally spelled Saucelito is said to be Spanish for "Little Willow"
2. Please visit our Sausalito History, 1880 page.
Fred Smoot & Patty Sokolecki-Smoot