Point Reyes Station Historical Walking Tours

...stepping back in time...

1. The Natural Scene and Early Inhabitants

3rd St. and C St.


  • Facing San Andreas Fault

  • On two distinct geographical plates, east/west

  • 1906 quake epicenter not in Olema as previously thought, but off coast of southern Marin County, but most surface movement was here

  • Douglas fir, bishop pine and hardwoods like bay and live oak on Inverness side of fault; bishop pine (THIS IS ACTUALLY CONFUSING SINCE BOTH SIDES SHARE LIVE OAK, FIR, BUCKEYE, BAY, ETC.—BEST TO ONLY CALL OUT BISHOPS ON WEST, REDWOODS ON EAST AS UNIQUE) only on east side

  • Redwood trees only on this side of fault (but not in PRS)

  • Each side has different soils, geology, wind, grasslands, etc.


Land Formations

  • Inverness Ridge to west

  • Olema Valley to left

  • Tomales Bay to right

  • Bolinas Ridge behind (stretches from Stinson to Marshall) & Black Mountain/Elephant/Knuckle Mountain


Native Peoples

  • Coast Miwok lived here for thousands of years. Used marshes, wetlands, grasslands, forest, bay, etc. – all provided good food sources: clams, oysters, fowl, game, roots, seeds, etc.



  • Elk grazed here in abundance

  • Stories of birds being so abundant that at certain times of the year the skies were darkened.



Area controlled by Spanish Mission San Rafael de Archangel, established 1817, then Mexican government – their land grants started in 1836 –Rafael Garcia in Bolinas (he actually ranched in north end of Olema Valley and up as far as Lagunitas Creek, and Rancho Nicasio to JAMES Black (HE WAS A LATER [BUT STILL EARLY] OWNER—ORIGINAL GRANTEES WERE JUAN COOPER AND PABLO DE LA GUERRA) – land where PRS built was owned by Black/Burdell; Spanish & Mexican ranching were for hides and tallow, Americans started the dairy ranching