Drake Boulevard History Resources

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.


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.


Feedback & Questions

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


Video Recording of Drake Blvd Renaming Discussion 1/25/21

Informational meeting for residents and businesses along SFD corridor in the unincorporated area of both the Ross Valley (District 2) and West Marin (District 4).  Summary of outreach to date, presentation cost, impact to businesses and residents, and historical information on naming of the road.

Highlights from Online Learning Session 8/17/20

Video Recording of Online Learning Session 8/17/20

Video Recording of Listening Session 6/26/20

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
https://www.marinij.com/2020/07/29/sir-francis-drake-sculpture-removed-amid-safety-concerns/, opens a new window

Must we allow symbols of racism on public land?, published in Harvard Gazette, June 19, 2020
https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2020/06/historian-puts-the-push-to-remove-confederate-statues-in-context/, opens a new window

Renaming bases and removing statues that honor racist leaders will help America begin anew, published in USA Today, June 12, 2020
https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2020/06/12/america-must-face-its-history-and-rename-buildings-new-beginning-column/5344010002/, opens a new window

How to Rename a Street, published in New York Times, June 23, 2020
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/23/magazine/how-to-rename-a-street.html, opens a new window

This Monument to White Supremacy Hides in Plain Sight, published in New York Times, June 23, 2020
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/23/opinion/drakes-cross-white-supremacy.html, opens a new window

Print Resources

In the Shadow of Statues
by Mitch Landrieu

California Exposures
by Richard White

Coast Miwok History

Online Resources

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

Historical Background & Timeline, courtesy of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria
https://gratonrancheria.com/culture/history/, opens a new window

Miwok Archeological Preserve of Marin
https://www.mapom.org/, opens a new window

Marin Museum of the American Indian
https://www.marinindian.com/, opens a new window

The Archeology of Sixteenth-Century Cross-Cultural Encounters in Point Reyes National Seashore , National Park Service
https://www.nps.gov/archeology/sites/npSites/pointReyes.htm, opens a new window

Short History of Californian Indian History, via the State of California, Native American Heritage Commission
http://nahc.ca.gov/resources/california-indian-history/, opens a new window

California Cultures: Native Americans, a collection of online exhibitions provided through Calisphere, a project of the University of California
https://calisphere.org/exhibitions/t1/native-americans/, opens a new window

National Museum of the American Indian—Did You Know?
https://americanindian.si.edu/nk360/didyouknow, opens a new window

American Indian Records in the National Archives
https://www.archives.gov/research/native-americans, opens a new window

Overview of the First Americans, provided by Digital History
https://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/era.cfm, opens a new window

Print Resources

Staff List: Coast Miwok & California Native American History

Coast Miwok & California Native American History

These resources offer a chance to learn more about the Coast Miwok people, their culture, and their history.

See staff list >

Sir Francis Drake: History & Biography

Print Resources

Sir Francis Drake by Peter Whitfield

Sir Francis Drake by John Sugden

Sir Francis Drake by Julian Corbett
Also available as a free audio recording, opens a new window

A Wicked History, Sir Francis Drake by Charles Nick

The Life, Voyages, and Exploits of Admiral Sir Francis Drake by John Barrow

Sir Francis Drake: The Queen’s Pirate by Harry Kelsey

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, opens a new window. 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

Sir Francis Drake Boulevard: Road of Many Names

This essay by Marin historian Dewey Livingston offers a history of the Sir Francis Drake Boulevard and its naming.

Chronological Timeline: Sir Francis Drake Boulevard

Timeline of the History of Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, compiled by Marin historian Dewey Livingston.

Map of Sir Francis Drake Boulevard in 1941

Detail of map showing Sir Francis Drake Highway, annotated in 2020 by Marin historian Dewey Livingston.

Postcard of Olema Road, Lagunitas, circa 1930

The new Sir Francis Drake Boulevard passes through Lagunitas, circa 1930.

Postcard of Ross Landing Road in Kentfield, circa 1910

The Ross Landing Road (renamed Sir Francis Drake Boulevard in the 1930s) in Kentfield circa 1910.

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