Stinson Beach is
rich in history! We have provided a small amount
of background information as well as photos graciously
donated from our Historical Society. Anyone having
or needing additional information may contact them
at P.O. Box 413, Stinson Beach, CA 94970.
The history of Stinson Beach revolves around its
geography. Beginning in the 19th century, ranches
used the rolling hills to raise milk cows. White
Gate Ranch was part of the Throckmorton tenant
ranches; only a grove of eucalyptus on Panaoramic
Highway marks it's location.
Early in the 19th century the area was accessible
only by sailing schooner from San Francisco, by
horseback to San Rafael, or on foot over the Dipsea
Trail. In 1870, the first dirt road along the
coast from Sausalito was completed. Soon tent
camps sprang up among the willows, hence the early
name, Willow Camp.
The real birth of the community was in 1906 when the
earthquake brought refugees from San Francisco
who built the first hotel and stores and the first
Stinson subdivision was accepted by the County.
In 1916, with the opening of the first post office,
the name was changed to Stinson Beach, in honor
of the largest landowners.
In the 1920's the first motor stage brought visitors
to the new beach resorts, Dipsea Lodge and Sea
Downs. It was not until the Golden Gate Bridge
opened in 1937 that the sleepy resort community
began to see much day use of the County Park on
New residents arrived during World War II, and
after the war, the Seadrift Subdivision and the
Highlands above town were developed resulting
in the Stinson Beach of today. In the meantime,
the beach park had passed from county to state
hands, and in 1972, it became part of the Golden
Gate Recreation Area.