Gertrude Southworth (1862 - 1946)
Waterhouse Studio and Coast Guard Station On Wharf Road, Bolinas
Wharf Road was the center of activity that stimulated the growth of the town of Bolinas. Right here, at the edge of Bolinas Lagoon, schooners, as many as 15 a day, loaded lumber and farm products or unloaded mail, supplies, equipment and passengers from San Francisco. This was the engine of commerce for Coastal Marin. In the 1860s large hotels were built at the water’s edge to accommodate the flow of visitor. These hotels were destroyed by the 1906 earthquake.
The two buildings in this photo played key roles in the history of Bolinas. Frank and Nellie Waterhouse who built the “studio” seen at the left are credited with turning Bolinas from a settlement into a community. The “studio” had it’s own wharf where goods were unloaded and stored in the downstairs of the building. Upstairs was Nellie’s art studio and a gathering place for famous artists, visitors and community friends. The building was thrown into the lagoon during the earthquake but later recovered. To this day the building is still in use.
The building on the right is the United States Coast Guard Station built in 1917 in response to the terrible Hanalei shipwreck of 1914, which made it clear that trained rescue teams needed to be stationed here. The Coast Guard was a vital presence in Bolinas until 1955. During World War II the Pepper family turned the Waterhouse Studio into a recreation center for the Coast Guard men and their families. On their days off, Coast Guard often men taught local children to swim.