Home arrow Nicasio Historical Society
Contact Us
Photo Gallery
Nicasio Land Owners Assoc. and subsidiary committees and corporations
Fire Department
Disaster Council
Nicasio Historical Society
The Area
Fact Sheet
Valley In Transition


Remember me
Forgotten your password?
Nicasio Historical Society Print E-mail
  Welcome to the Nicasio Historical Society web page

Announcing the Nicasio Historical Society Headquarters & little museum--

10 years after its founding, NHS is excited to open its headquarters (and little museum) on the Square. NHS will be open Saturdays and Sundays from 1-3pm this summer, and a Grand Opening is planned for Saturday, October 18, beginning at 1pm.  Stop by and share in the history of a unique town...

Enjoy a Museum Exhibit on the Coast Miwok Village of Nicasio
Talks by Betty Goerke and Dewey Livingston
A Display of Art Depicting Nicasio
A Model of the Town Square Circa 1900
Carriage Rides ($10), Games, Music and More
Refreshments including Local Wine and Cheese Tasting
Admission is Free

*   *   *

regarding our books...

Nicasio Children Through the Years
125 Years of Photographs from unknown to Art Rogers
compiled and edited by Elaine Doss

A photographic history of Nicasio school children from 1887 to 2012
160 pages with 113 full-page photos
$20.00 (plus $5 for postage and handling)
Copyright 2012 Nicasio Historical Society

Orders, inquiries, and correspondence should be addressed to 
Nicasio Historical Society
P.O. Box 111
Nicasio, CA 94946

*   *   *
We are printing a new revised Sesquicentennial edition of our book:
Nicasio: The Historical Valley at the Center of Marin
by Dewey Livingston
with a history of Nicasio School chapter by Elaine Doss
and research support by members of the Nicasio Historical Society
246 pages
$30.00 (plus $6 for postage and handling)
Copyright 2012 Nicasio Historical Society

Orders, inquiries, and correspondence should be addressed to:
Nicasio Historical Society
P. O. Box 111, Nicasio, CA 94946

Of all Marin towns, one could say that Nicasio has changed the least. For sure, the chang-
es are less visible, and its preservation is a miracle that can’t be taken for granted. For many,
Nicasio is a place to happily pass through on the way to or from the coastal areas of Point
Reyes and Tomales Bay; “happily” because it is always beautiful, in any weather, and it hasn’t
been transformed into the congested suburbia found only five miles east. It gives travelers an
extended ride through nice scenery at a genteel pace.

But there is much more to Nicasio than its scenery and quaintness: there are people liv-
ing in those houses; men and women working in the barns; families worshiping at the church
on Sunday. There is a history that is rich, complex and surprising, from Native Americans to
dairy farmers to the highest of high tech. Its preservation was no accident: almost a quarter
of the valley was drowned by a reservoir and plans surfaced for intensive development fed by
a freeway. It took action by locals, concerned county residents and the board of supervisors
to create a plan that would keep the hills and valley free from the irrevocable suburban intru-
sions that changed so many similar valleys in the San Francisco Bay Area.
This book celebrates the past of this unique little corner of America,
in hopes of preserving not only its history, but also its sense of commu-
nity. It is intended first for Nicasio residents past, present and future, as
a means recall good times and old friends or to further appreciate their
fine home. For those unfortunate not to live in Nicasio, we hope to enlight-
en and entertain them with the multi-faceted and interesting history of this
place they pass through, whether often or rarely. This book is the work of
many people, who love Nicasio to the extent they wouldn’t live anywhere
else in the world.

Some historical tidbits from local historian Dewey Livingston--

Marin County Journal, September 1868—NICASIO HOTEL. The undersigned takes pleasure in informing the public generally that the above HOTEL, situated near the center of Marin County, and in one of its most beautiful valleys, will be opened under his supervision on Saturday, September 26th, 1868. / Special attention paid to families who may wish to rusticate for a time in the country. / Attached to the hotel is a Bar and Billiard Room, in which are to be found the choicest Wines, Liquors and Cigars. / Nicasio is connected with San Rafael and Petaluma by Stages on alternate days. There is a good Livery Stable connected with the hotel. Motto: “Live and let live.” / A. D. Wright.

Marin County Journal, September 1868—Nicasio School District has 53 census children, $39.75 supplemental apportionment from county excess funds, $120.09 apportionment of state funds.
Marin County Journal, December 26, 1868—advertisement on front page for land sale: “A Rare Chance for Woodchoppers.” Nicasio Township, tract known as “The Lower Redwood Tract” on which sits Shaver & Mitchner’s saw mill, 380 acres including 610 cords of wood cut and piled to be sold separately. “The land will be sold subject to the contract between W. J. Miller and Shaver & Mitchner giving them the mill privilege for three years hence, and to cut redwood and pine timber during that time.” Apply to James Miller, Las Gallinas.

Marin County Journal, October 15, 1870—Census statistics, Nicasio Township: 106 dwelling houses, 108 families, 395 white males, 157 white females, no colored males or females, 4 Chinese, 237 foreign-born males, 46 foreign born females, 19 born during the year, 13 married during the year, 74 persons over 10 who cannot read, 89 persons over 10 who cannot write, 119 male citizens, value of real estate owned by inhabitants $325,675, Value of personal property owned by inhabitants 358,612. Total county population 6,720, Indians 226. Population 1850 321, 1860 3,334.

Marin County Journal, October 22, 1870—Census statistics, Nicasio Township: # of farms 49, # of acres 46,016, value of farms 780,984, # of horses 345, # of mules 4, # of milch cows 3467, # of other cattle 1273, # of sheep 0, wheat 525, oats300, barley 1489, potatoes 1,908, pounds of butter 392,464 (second in county). Also, Black will case to court.

*   *   *

Due to the persistent urging of centenarian Boyd Stewart in 2003, a small group of Nicasio residents founded the Nicasio Historical Society in July of that year.  We are a non-profit, public benefit California Corporation that already has significant archives consisting of photographs, documents and written and recorded material relating to life in Nicasio during the past century and a half.  Our Board of Directors is a dedicated group of unpaid volunteers who are devoted to researching, documenting, preserving, sharing, and celebrating the rich history of the Nicasio Valley.

Our initial endeavor is assembling information for a book on the history of the Nicasio Valley, which was Boyd Stewart’s ultimate dream.  Local historian Dewey Livingston, who has helped guide our efforts both regarding this book project and as a nascent historical society, trained a core group of our members in interviewing and official records researching techniques.  Dewey devoted his efforts to “Boyd’s Dream,” meeting regularly with our researchers to collect and direct their research and beginning to write an initial draft.  Thanks to the generosity of our members, we have allocated additional funds toward this project.  Now, as of May 2008, our goal is complete and the book, Nicasio: The Historic Valley at the Center of Marin, is available for all to read and enjoy. 

In addition to our more studious activities we have presented several lively and entertaining social events for the community’s enjoyment.  Elaine Doss has conducted three in an on-going series of live interviews called Recollections before an audience of 50 – 75 Society members and guests.  Joe McNeil spearheaded a series of Ranch Tours, which began at the Moore (previously Gallagher) Ranch during Fall 2004.  Our most dramatic and well-attended event to date was the Historic Town Square Buildings Tour, conceived by Joe McNeil and held in August 2005 (and again in October 2006).  During this event Society directors and volunteers dressed in period costumes and conducted tours in and around the buildings that historically graced our town square.  A booklet called “Around the Square,” a self-guided tour written by Joe McNeil and edited by Elaine Doss, was published for this event.  It is available for purchase at the Rancho Nicasio Store and the "Butcher Shop" Country Antique Store for $5.00.  If you would like to purchase a copy by mail please send us your request with a check for $7.00 to cover shipping costs.

As an historical society we also hope to contact people who share our interest in Nicasio’s history in order to expand our archives and knowledge.  We will scan historical photos and documents that people are willing to briefly share with us for that purpose.  We also plan to use our collection to create displays in the Nicasio Historical Society corner of the Nicasio School Library.  If you have photos or documents you would be willing to briefly share with us, please contact Elaine Doss at our snail mail address (PO Box 111, Nicasio, CA 94946), or Tom Hoffman at

If you share our interests in the history of Nicasio, please become a member of the Nicasio Historical Society.  Print the membership form at the "Online Membership" tab to the left, fill it out and mail it to us with your contribution.  As a member you will enjoy receiving our newsletter, two, three or four issues published yearly, in which you will find updates regarding our Society’s progress, advance notice of upcoming historical events and an interesting and informative interview transcript in each issue. 

Join the Nicasio Historical Society today!
Nicasio Historical Society
P.O. Box 111, Nicasio, CA 94946

For an interactive satelite photo of the Nicasio valley,
click here

All Nicasio Historical Society research, materials & photos may be used only with written permission. 
All rights reserved.

Send any email inquiries to Tom Hoffman at

To see some great historical Nicasio photos, click through the next pages.  The last page lists individuals from whom we have oral histories to date.

Last Updated ( Sunday, 28 September 2014 )