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Then & Now: Tam Junction (Part 1)

A stretch of old country road now serves as the commercial hub of Tam Valley.

At times over its history, Tamalpais Valley has been referred to as “the other side of the tracks” of Mill Valley. It’s been a little rougher, a little tougher and without some of the niceties and resources that early Mill Valley and its residents had. Like Homestead Valley, Tam Valley is unincorporated and outside the city limits.

Tam Valley is a proud community, and because of its connection to the school that carries its name, the , it's quite a close-knit community as well.

Before 1900, Tam Valley was referred to on maps as Coyote Valley, or Coyote Hollow. Developers renamed it Tamalpais Valley around 1910. A commercial area was planned further west but it never took hold. Commerce in the area now called Tam Junction developed along the county road that passed through it.

This week's Then photo shows what drivers in the early 1950s saw coming into Tam Junction from where the current stands. Most of this area was marshland and had to be filled. Long before the auto took hold, wagons traveling north from Sausalito to San Rafael came through this area, but went inland as far as Laurel Way, where the current 7-Eleven is, always hugging the edge of the hill, next to the marsh. 

The NOW photo shows a similar view of a much different commercial landscape.

For more than 40 years, Tam Valley residents have held to two iconic landmarks when giving directions: The Rug Shop (previously the well known Meyers Cleaners) at Tam Junction, and the 7-Eleven a half a mile west on Shoreline highway.

Thanks to Tam Valley resident Nancy McDonald and Tam Valley historian Lissa McKee, who provided the Then photo, for much of the research in this week's column. Next week we will look at a different angle and historical business of Tam Junction.

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