Coastal Californios - Spanish Life in West Marin 1776-1876

Main Gallery

Coastal Californios

Spanish Life in West Marin 1776-1876

October 1 - November 13, 2011

Curated by Dewey Livingston

Spain’s colony Alta California was well established when the Spanish arrived in the Bay Area in 1776. The Spanish presence between that year and 1876 provided the template for modern Marin County.  Independence from Spain in 1821 made Alta California part of Mexico and during that time the land that would become Marin County was divided into vast Mexican Land Grants.

The first non-native settler of West Marin, Rafael Garcia arrived about 1834 to settle his grant: Rancho Baulines.  He later established a flourishing rancho in Olema Valley and gave Rancho Baulines to his sister and brother-in-law Ramona and Grigorio Briones.  The Garcia and Briones families were friends with all the pioneer settlers of Marin County and many of San Francisco. Their descendets helped develop the communities we know today. Of the two Briones granddaughters in this portrait, Rose Briones (left) was born in 1883 and died at 100 years old in 1983, having lived her whole life in West Marin.

The people and their hybridized culture—a mix of old world and new—of today, provide a fascinating study of days past. This exhibit looks at West Marin during the period before and after the 1846 American take over which, although eliciting controversy to this day, is unarguably of primary significance in the history of Marin County.

This exhibition is made possible by grants from the James Irvine Foundation, the Fullerton Family Foundation and the Stinson Bolinas Community Fund

Dewey Livingston, is a historian  and author who has been researching and writing about  West Marin’s Point Reyes  area and sites in the West, for over 25 years.

He worked for many years for the Point Reyes National Seashore and  the park service published several of his books. His work enriches our contemporary knowledge and appreciation of our area and the fascinating stories that make up the history of land, and communities.

Dewey Livingston lives in West Marin, in Inverness, California, with his family. His wife, Kerry Livingston, is a Community Library Specialist at the Stinson Beach Library and the Bolinas Library.