San Anselmo

San Anselmo
Ferry Schedule

Population: 12,605 (approx) 

Local Weather Sunny San Anselmo’s climate, rich history, inviting downtown, excellent schools, and strong sense of community make it a wonderful place to visit and live. Since the days when the Coast Miwoks roamed the oak-studded hills and fished the fresh waters of San Anselmo Creek, the climate, the beauty and serenity of San Anselmo have appealed to all who have passed through this special town. 

Sunset Magazine readers voted San Anselmo “Best in the West” for antiquing, and the town is distinguished as the “Northern California Antique Capital”. Award winning restaurants, street cafes, galleries, antique shops, boutiques and a small winery contribute to downtown San Anselmo’s charming atmosphere. Self-guided walking tours of the downtown area are available at Town Hall. 

Some of San Anselmo’s many other attractions include the Robson-Harrington House and Park, the Carnegie Library and the American Legion Log Cabin. Annual events such as the Art and Design Festival, Antiques Fair and town-wide antique sale, draw visitors from the surrounding communities and the entire San Francisco Bay Area. 


Most of what we now know as the Seminary area and downtown San Anselmo, from the Hub, westward toward Fairfax and Sleepy Hollow was part of a Mexican government land grant to the Sais family, Canada de Herrera. 

San Anselmo was mostly pastoral until 1874 when the North Pacific Coast Railroad added to its line a spur track from San Anselmo to San Rafael. In 1875, the railroad completed a line from Sausalito to Tamales via San Anselmo. For a few years, the town was referred to on railroad maps as Junction, but in 1883, the name San Anselmo came back into use. Railroad officials eager to see towns and passengers along its line encouraged some feverish real estate activity, but it was not until the San Francisco Theological Seminary relocated its school from San Francisco in 1892 that the town began to grow. Castle-like grand stone-masonry buildings stand like sentinels on the knoll above Ross Valley. The hilltop and surrounding grounds are favorites for town residents out for their morning or evening stroll. 

In 1906, after the San Francisco earthquake, things started to change. Visitors to this charming town started to build homes and become permanent residents. Businesses began to open and trees were planted. Ross Avenue was San Anselmo's "Little Italy," populated by quake refugees from North Beach who planted grapevines on the hills.  

April 9, 1907, the Town of San Anselmo incorporated. The Town's name came from the Punta de Quintin land grant, which marked this valley as the Canada del Anselmo (Valley of Anselm - an Indian who was buried in the area). The Town government began with a board of trustees. W.E. Jones headed up this group as the Town's first mayor. The other members of the board were J. R. Raubinger, Douglas Lindsay, F.J. Crisp, and J.I. Taylor. Their first meetings were held in Pioneer Hall.  

The first hired employees of the new Town were A. A. Moore, the first Town Clerk, who earned $300 a year; J.B. Queen, the first Town Treasurer, who earned $100 a year; George Martin, Town Marshall, who earned $300 a year. To complete the first town government a volunteer fire department was established. In November 1908, San Anselmo's first Chamber of Commerce formed. James Tunstead donated land for a town hall, which was completed in 1911. In 1915, Carnegie Library was built.  

San Anselmo was a silent film capital in the early 1900s. Among the films made here: "The Two-Gun Man" and "Cowpuncher's Law." The old Tamalpais Theater near the ‘hub’ on Sir Francis Drake opened in 1923 with Gloria Swanson's "The Hummingbird."  

The next influx of growth came in 1937, with the opening of the Golden Gate Bridge; San Anselmo was now becoming a growing family-oriented town. People had roots and families grew up here. Schools were established, churches were built and small town life evolved.  

On March 12, 1974, boasting a population of approximately 12,500, San Anselmo officially became a Town. 

Town Hall

Town Hall



San Anselmo Historical Museum
(415) 258-4659
110 Tunstead Avenue
San Anselmo, CA 94960 

The Museum is open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10:00 a.m. to noon, on the first Saturday of each month from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and on other Saturdays from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. For further information, contact the Museum docents at these times or leave a message at 415-258-4659.  

San Anselmo's Carnegie Library
110 Tunstead Avenue
San Anselmo, CA 94960 

The Town Library was built in 1915 with money from the Carnegie fund and renovated in 1997. As the newest member of the MARINet Library Consortium, San Anselmo Library provides on-line access to the catalog, which is shared by all libraries in the county, as well as to the Internet. Patrons are able to look at their own record on the system to see how many books they have checked out and when they are due, either in the library or from home using a modem.  

San Francisco Theological Seminary
(415) 451-2800
(415) 451-2851 fax
(800) 447-8820 toll free
105 Seminary Road
San Anselmo, CA 94960 

San Anselmo's "Castle in the Hills". Alexander Montgomery laid the cornerstone April 30, 1891. Architects Wright & Sanders designed the Richardsonian Romanesque Scott and Montgomery Hall, with a tower rising 100 feet. With its three new and grand stone-masonry buildings complete in 1892, Scott Library Hall opened for classes, offices and library; Montgomery Hall for men's dormitory; and Montgomery Chapel for worship. Neo-gothic styled Geneva Hall, modeled after the Franciscan Monastery at Assisi, Italy and designed by architects Winsor Soule and John Murphy of Santa Barbara, was built in 1952. The Seminary has educated church leaders since 1871.  

"Let us organize a theological seminary such as the present wants and the future needs of this coast demand." The Rev. Dr. William Anderson Scott, 1871. It was in this spirit and with those goals that San Francisco Theological Seminary was founded. Originally located in San Francisco, the seminary moved to San Anselmo with the opening of Scott and Montgomery Halls in 1892. The seminary, one of the ten oldest institutions of higher learning in California, trained pastors and educators for the booming post-Gold Rush era. Five campus buildings, designed by architects Wright and Sanders, are over 100 years old. Two more recent structures were designed by Julia Morgan.  

SFTS now boasts a student body and faculty from all across the United States, around the Pacific Rim, and from Africa and Europe. Though the seminary is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA), 200 students from over a dozen denominations study in the degree programs: Master of Divinity, Master of Arts in Biblical Languages, MA in Theological Studies, Doctor of Ministry, and advanced degrees offered in cooperation with the Graduate Theological Union.  

Recent renovations to Scott and Montgomery Halls, the hilltop "castles" featured on the San Anselmo Town Seal, have returned to service after closure due to the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.  

American Legion Log Cabin
(415) 456-0834
120 Veterans Place
San Anselmo, CA 94960 

Troop Number Five of the Boy Scouts needed a Post, which was the birth of the American Legion Log Cabin, Post #179. On Lincoln's Birthday, February 12, 1933 used lumber and a few redwood logs were hauled to the current site, where the building began. A self-appointed volunteer building committee accomplished a great deal of the building. A master mason, which, back in 1914 to 1918 was a soldier in the German Army, built the massive fireplace, chimney, and much of the other stonework at the cabin. The historic log cabin has two 75mm artillery World War II guns nestled at the front of the cabin. The cabin, with its spacious meeting hall and dance floor, raised band stand, commercial type kitchen, separate, enclosable ante room with bar, outdoor brick barbecue in a grassy picnic area, full service bar downstairs, game room with pool table, darts and TV's is available to rent for any special occasion! 



Courtyard by Marriott
2500 Larkspur Landing Circle
Larkspur, CA 94939
800-321-2211 or 415-925-1800
San Anselmo Inn
339 San Anselmo Avenue
San Anselmo, CA 94960
800-598-9771 or 415-455-5366


Featured Properties in San Anselmo

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    Stunning San Anselmo Home!
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