Drake Boulevard History Resources

Coast Miowk elder Maria Copa; Sir Francis Drake; dedication of SFD Highway

Images: (from left to right) 1) Coast Miwok elder Maria Copa at Nicasio, 1932; 2) Portrait of Sir Francis Drake, 1628; 3) Dedication of Sir Francis Drake Highway in Olema, November 1929. Full image captions and credits


Welcome to the Marin County Free Library’s resource and learning page focused on Marin County and the Sir Francis Drake roadway. Sharing information to help the Marin County community connect, learn and explore is a part of our Mission. This page includes information and perspectives gathered from local, national and international sources about the indigenous community of Marin, the Coastal Miwok, present when Sir Francis Drake ventured into what is now Marin County; Sir Francis Drake the person; and, the early 20th Century unified naming of the 43-mile roadway that is now called Sir Francis Drake Boulevard. The information on this page and the associated links are not comprehensive, though we do expect the resources accessible through this page to grow.

As we launch this page in July 2020, its purpose is to support information needs expressed by members of the Marin County community. Over time, MCFL anticipates interest from school groups and a cross-section of community members. If you have information (published materials) that might be of use to community members interested in this topic, as with any published material ideas, please use our online contact form to send your suggestion for review.

Video recording of the June 26 Listening Session about Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, co-hosted by Marin County Supervisors Katie Rice and Dennis Rodoni, can be found here: https://youtu.be/kZ0kIbEL2gY.

Feedback & Questions

Please send any feedback or questions about Sir Francis Drake Boulevard to the Marin County Board of Supervisors at: SFDquestions@marincounty.org.

Video Recording of Online Learning Session 8/17/20
English  |  Spanish

Online Learning Session

Date:         August 17, 2020

Time:         6 pm

This online presentation will be moderated by Chantel Walker, Assistant Director of Marin County Free Library, and will feature current and historic perspectives from:

  • Tribal Vice Chair Lorelle Ross, Cultural Resources Specialist Matthew Johnson, and Tribal Heritage Preservation Officer Buffy McQuillen, all the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria (Coast Miwok and Southern Pomo);
  • Dr. Jordan Lieser, assistant professor of history at Dominican University of California;
  • Dewey Livingston, author and historian who has spent 35 years researching and telling stories of Marin’s past.

After the presentations, the panelists will answer questions. Email questions to SFDquestions@marincounty.org by 5 pm August 16 or use the Q&A feature during the Zoom session August 17.

How to join:

The session will start at 6 pm and will be closed captioned, offer Spanish translation and ASL/CDI interpretation (available via Zoom webinar ID: 924 8372 9278; Password: 798119). Viewers may watch the webcast live on the County’s main Facebook page and the Community Media Center of Marin’s Education Channel. Comcast TV subscribers may watch on Channel 30 or AT&T 99. Video of the session will later be placed here on the library’s website.

On this page:   Recent Publications    |     Coast Miwok History     |     Sir Francis Drake: History & Biography     |     History of Sir Francis Drake Boulevard

Recent Publications –  Historic Naming and Statues

Online Resources

Drake sculpture, school signs removed ahead of protest, published in Marin IJ, July 29, 2020

Must we allow symbols of racism on public land?, published in Harvard Gazette, June 19, 2020

Renaming bases and removing statues that honor racist leaders will help America begin anew, published in USA Today, June 12, 2020

How to Rename a Street, published in New York Times, June 23, 2020

This Monument to White Supremacy Hides in Plain Sight, published in New York Times, June 23, 2020

Print Resources

In the Shadow of Statues

In the Shadow of Statues
by Mitch Landrieu

California Exposures

California Exposures
by Richard White

Coast Miwok History

Print Resources

Online Resources

Federated Indians of Graton Rancheriaa federation of Coast Miwok and Southern Pomo groups recognized as a tribe by the U.S. Congress

Historical Background & Timeline, courtesy of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria

Miwok Archeological Preserve of Marin

Marin Museum of the American Indian

The Archeology of Sixteenth-Century Cross-Cultural Encounters in Point Reyes National Seashore , National Park Service

Short History of Californian Indian History, via the State of California, Native American Heritage Commission

California Cultures: Native Americans, a collection of online exhibitions provided through Calisphere, a project of the University of California

National Museum of the American Indian—Did You Know?

American Indian Records in the National Archives

Overview of the First Americans, provided by Digital History

Sir Francis Drake: History & Biography

Online Resources

Sir Francis Drake’s Forgotten Role in the English Slave Trade by Claire Jowitt

Drake Navigators Guild

A Catalog of Work on Drake

Up from Slavery by John Sugden. Sonoma Historian, 2020.
Up from Slavery by John Sugden [pdf]

Print Resources

Sir Francis Drake

The World Encompassed by Sir Francis Drake

This work of 1628 is the first edition of the earliest detailed account of the voyage around the world by Sir Francis Drake in 1577-80. In addition to the library editions, it is available to download and read, via the World Digital Library. Drake’s encampment on the West Coast of North America (thought by many to be at Drake’s Estero in Marin County) is detailed on Pages 64-81 of this book through the diary entries of the ship’s chaplain, Francis Fletcher. The account also describes the crew’s inter-actions with the Native American inhabitants of the area.

History of Sir Francis Drake Boulevard

dedication of Sir Francis Drake HighwaySir Francis Drake Boulevard: Road of Many Names

By Dewey Livingston

For the past 91 years, the major east-west corridor in Marin County has been called Sir Francis Drake Boulevard. Originally called the Olema Road or a variant thereof, this old overland route has facilitated the travel of Indigenous peoples, missionaries and rancheros, pioneers and dairy ranchers, tourists, and even commuters.  Read more

Coast Miowk elder Maria Copa; Sir Francis Drake; dedication of SFD Highway

Images: (from left to right) 1) Coast Miwok elder Maria Copa at Nicasio in 1932. Photograph by Isabel Kelly, courtesy of Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley; 2) Portrait of Sir Francis Drake, published in “The World Encompassed by Sir Francis Drake”, 1628. Library of Congress; 3) Dedication of Sir Francis Drake Highway in Olema, November 1929. Courtesy of Jack Mason Museum of West Marin History.