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A city in California.
(PF-4: dp. 1,430; 1. 303'11", b. 37'6", dr. 13'8", s. 20 k.- cpl. 176; n. 3 3", 4 40mm., 2 dct., 8 dcp., 1 dcp. (hh.); cl. Tacoma; T. S2-S2-AQ1)
Sausalito (PF-4) was laid down on 7 April 1943 as PG-112 under a Maritime Commission contract by Kaiser Cargo, Inc., Richmond, Calif., reclassified PF—4 on 1.5 April 1943; Launched on 20 JuIy 1943; sponsored by Mrs Richard Shaler and commissioned 4 March 1944, Comdr. Edward A. Eve, USCG, in command.
After shakedown, Sausalito arrived at Adak, Alaska, on 5 October 1944 for convoy escort duty in the Alaskan Sea Frontier. She performed these duties until departing on 5 June 1945 for overhaul at Seattle. On 16 August 1945, she was decommissioned at Cold Harbor, Alaska, and transferred to the Soviet Union under Lend Lease as EK-13.
The ship was returned to United States custody by the Soviet Union on 1 November 1949 and was placed in reserve in Japan. With the outbreak of the Korean War, additional escort vessels were needed; and, on 15 September 1950, Sausalito was recommissioned at Yokosuka, Japan, Lt. Comdr. Francis W. Deily in command. On 26 November, she departed Yokosuka for Hung, North Korea. There, until 24 December 1950, she performed harbor control duties which included escorting ships through the mineswept channel, passing instructions to ships entering the harbor, patrolling the entrance against hostile craft and drifting mines, and conducting shore bombardment when required. Between February and May 1951, her assignments included escorting battleship, Missouri (BB-63), on her shore bombardment station, blockade patrols and shore bombardment on the east coast of North Korea from Wonsan to Chongjin, and harbor control duty at Wonsan, broken by periods of upkeep at Sasebo and Yokosuka. During the period from June to August, she escorted underway replenishment groups off the Korean coast.
After drydocking and upkeep at Yokosuka, Sausalito sailed for the Philippines in October. In late November and early December, she conducted a patrol against unauthorized fishing vessels in the Sonsorol Islands in the Western Carolines, apprehending one vessel. After Christmas in Subic Bay, she made a good-will tour to Saigon, Bangkok, Singapore, and Penang. February found her back in Korean waters, where she resumed escort and patrol duties before returning to Yokosuka for the last time under the United States flag on 31 May. On 9 June 1952, Sausalito was decommissioned and on 4 September was transferred, on loan, to the Republic of Korea as Imchin (PF-66). She replaced the Korean ship Apnok, ex-USS Rockford (PF-48)
which had been irreparably damaged in a collision on 21 May 1951.
Sausalito earned six battle stars for her Korean War service.
Sausalito Restaurants That Closed or Changed Names (A-L)
This is the only comprehensive online list of old Sausalito restaurants from the City’s past… with some not-so-old ones as well! If you see any errors or omissions, please let us know.
This list reminds us that running a restaurant is a hard job and that we all should respect the people who do it. See also Our List of Sausalito Retailers That Have Closed . If a restaurant was operating as of 2008 it means we covered them here at OurSausalito.com, and we have left the old articles in place and linked to them below.
Click here for Sausalito Restaurants that have Closed (Names M-Z)
More Sausalito stories for history buffs, courtesy of the legendary Phil Frank, whose statue stands in downtown Sausalito next to the Ice House Visitor Center.
Alley Art Bar — Opened in 2011 as a small gallery and wine tasting room in an alley (660 Bridgeway, #5) near the intersection of Princess St. and Bridgeway, Alley Art Bar suffered from the familiar syndrome known as “close to Bridgeway is a tough location when you compete against places that are right on Bridgeway”. The space was later part of the now-closed Il Piccolo Caffe . They could not generate the same foot traffic as Bridgeway denizens Real Napa Wine Tasting one block south or tasting room cum art gallery Bacchus and Venus a long block to the north, and did not have the food offerings of the now-closed Wellington’s Wine Bar .
The Alta Mira Hotel and Restaurant — Once the “Only the best for you, baby!” place for Birthdays, Big Meetings and Bar Mitzvahs in Sausalito, the one-time “most elegant hotel in Marin” at 125 Bulkley Ave. is now a rehab center for The Rich and Famous. The fabulous-view restaurant (pictured in a 1950’s publicity postcard at left) is closed to the public. The link above in this paragraph has more information. The restaurant was for a number of years referred to separately as The Continental.
Amy’s Cafe — Closed in 2011 after two separate brief runs offering Japanese and Korean food in the old Peter Pan Donuts building at 1403 Bridgeway. As our Dining Editor Henry Stephens put it, this is the root of the “tragedy of Sausalito having no place to buy bubble tea.” The space is now the California Caviar Tasting Room, and the sociology and econ majors among us will probably have some interesting comments on the transition from selling donuts to selling caviar.
Antidote — Had a short life in the space at 201 Bridgeway that had been Chart House, then was succeeded by Gaylord India , now closed. Famous for its anti-gourmand chef-owner who would use chalk to scrawl his contempt for traditional cuisine on the cast iron fixtures in the kitchen.
Arawan Thai — Like some other restaurants on this list, Arawan Thai closed for over a year for repairs and remodeling after a fire and then stayed closed for almost two years. Unlike those other restaurants, since we launched this list of closed restaurants in 2008 they are the only business ever to be placed here and then reopen under the same ownership .
Arbordale — One of restaurateur Peter Alioto’s restaurants back in the 1960’s, opening with a hof brau format in 1962, in the spot that now houses Petri’s Fine Art at the corner of El Portal and Bridgeway. The Arbordale area of Sausalito — a now-forgotten term for the area near the ferry pier a century ago was centered on Viña del Mar Park . They also went through a period when they served French cuisine. The restaurant was named after a prior eatery on the same spot that was operating n 1908, which was such an authentic German place that they featured a tile floor imported from Germany. Alioto restored the tile floor when he opened his version of Arbordale in 1962, and added ceiling beams salvaged from a mansion in Pacific Heights in San Francisco.
Barrow — George Barrow ran a restaurant in Sausalito in the late 1800’s.
Benkei Sukiyaki — In the 1970’s Benkei took over from The Stuffed Croissant at the Caledonia St. spot later occupied by Fukusuke, then by Rossetti Pizzeria and now Sandrino.
Bettancourt — Joseph Bettancourt ran a restaurant in Sausalito in the late 1800’s.
Bio — This San Francisco counter-service gluten-free French cuisine success was unable to make a brief run in table-service dining successful in 2014 in the old El Patio space.
Blue Fin Inn — 1950’s occupant of the building that houses Saylor’s.
Boathouse — Bar and club in the 70’s near what is now Bar Bocce .
Bridgeway Cafe — Located in the building built in the 1880s at the corner of Bridgeway (then Water St.) and Princess Street as Ryan’s Hotel, Bridgeway Cafe had a multi-decade run serving an audience that during the summer was largely made up of visitors. In the 60s and 70s the building was previously the site of The Kettle, a deli owned by prominent local beat artist Leo Krikorian . Bridgeway Cafe was a victim of the Covid-19 pandemic and closed in 2020.
Bridgeway Inn — In the 1940’s and 1950’s this restaurant and bar occupied the building that now houses Angelino. It was succeeded in the 1960’s by Rico’s.
Burger King — The Burger King outlet in Marin City closed at the end of 2016 after a run of over ten years. When your community doesn’t support a local Burger King it says something about Sausalito, but I’ll leave it to you to speculate on the significance of this shortfall. The building is now the Marin City Starbucks .
Cacciucco — Took the space that once housed Vicino. Closed in 2011 after the dissolution of a partnership, the space is now the location of Cacciucco’s love-child Aurora.
Cafe Rio — Coffee Shop in the office building at 3030 Bridgeway, now closed.
Caffe Trieste — Now Taste of Rome.
Caffe Tutti — In the late 1800s this part of the building held the office of the Northwest Pacific Railroad, whose tracks ended at what is now the closest Sausalito ferry pier parking lot. Those tracks connected Sausalito ferry boats with San Rafael and the farmland in what is now The Wine Country and points north. In the 1930s and 40s it was the cocktail lounge for Marco’s Hotel Sausalito. When the 2020 pandemic shut down the Hotel Sausalito, Caffe Tutti lost both its hotel referral customers and ferry passengers and closed.
Caruso’s — Now Fish.
Cat N Fiddle — Took the old Flynn’s Landing space, replaced after a long interlude by Harbor View Grill and now by Seafood Peddler.
Charbonet — Joseph Charbonet ran a bar in Sausalito in the late 1800’s.
Chart House — Operated for many years on the site of the old Valhalla, and after Chart House gave up the lease it became Antidote, then another short stint as Valhalla, then Gaylord India, now closed. After sitting empty for years, the building is now being gutted (there was a lot of rot after so many years by the water) and they’re converting the historic building into two luxury homes.
Christophers — Not to be confused with Christophe’s above, this 1960’s place was later followed by Flynn’s Landing, then Cat N Fiddle then Harbor View Grill and now by Seafood Peddler.
Cibo — After a ten-year run, Cibo was sold to the small local chain Equator Coffee in the summer of 2019 and they became Equator Sausalito . They still sell Cibo co-founder Tera Ancona’s fabulous pastries not only here in Sausalito, but throughout all of the San Francisco and Marin Equators. The same extended family also owns Angelino Restaurant, and you won’t be surprised to hear that they also sell Tera Ancona’s pastries!
Conglomeration Bar — After 1993 this building housed Gatsby’s for many years, then Sausalito Chop House, then Rustico, then Plate Shop, and nowFast Food Francais. We hope that F3 continues to break the “post-Gatsby’s curse” in this location.
The Continental — The 1950’s and 1960’s name of the restaurant at the The Alta Mira Hotel.
Cork Enoteca — Wine Bar next door to the Fire Station — then the site of Philz Coffee and now the home of Firehouse Coffee and Tea.
Crepes Voila — A crepes place (logical, huh) in the late 60’s and early 70’s in the spot now held by Fish and Chips.
Deck House — After the closure of Purity Market, Deck House took over the space as a restaurant. Succeeded by Houlihan’s, which lasted from 1980-1998, then became Water Street Grille. Upstairs now extensively remodeled and reopened as Barrel House downstairs became Il Piccolo Caffe, which closed after restricting pedestrian access to the public shore behind the building and was converted to retail space.
Dexter — Charles Dexter ran a bar in Sausalito in the late 1800’s.
El Patio — Pleasant Mexican place that ran from 2010-2013 in the old Samurai Sushi building next door to Taste of the Himalayas .
Fireside Hotel, Bar and Dining Room — The building with the big sign still exists on Shoreline Highway just north of the Buckeye Roadhouse, but it has been closed for years and most recently was upgraded for accessible housing. The Fireside is actually in Mill Valley, but on all its marketing materials it referred to its location as Sausalito.
Flynn’s Landing — Became Cat N Fiddle, then the now-closed Harbor View Grill, now Seafood Peddler.
Francois Coffee House — Located in the Village Fair shopping complex in the 1970’s and 80’s, now a portion of the Casa Madrona Hotel.
Frank & Clara’s Cafe — In the 1960’s the storefronts were divided differently and this home-style lunch place at 216 Caledonia St. was sandwiched between present day Smitty’s Bar (which appears to have expanded into this space) and Sausalito Bright Cleaners.
Fukusuke — Moved to Larkspur, where they ironically are located next door to an outpost of Sausalito-based Avatar’s. Their old spot became the home of Rossetti Pizzeria, which relocated from San Anselmo in return for Sausalito’s 2nd round pick in the following year’s restaurant draft and a diner to be named later. Now the home of Sandrino.
Gate 5 Road — Became Saylor’s Landing, now Sausalito Seahorse.
Gatsby’s — The only modern restaurant to have more than a short run in this building on Caledonia St. prior to Fast Food Francais, with great deep dish pizza,a wood stove and a gracious Persian owner who looked (and walked) like Capt. Jean Luc Picard. If you were regulars like us (we lived just up the hill at the time) this was part of the fun of coming in and being welcomed by name and escorted to your favorite table near the wood stove. Became Treviso, then Sausalito Chop House, then Rustico, then Plate Shop, now Fast Food Francais. If anyone in Sausalito ever figures out how to re-create Gatsby’s deep dish pizza recipe we will be regular customers within 15 minutes.
Gaylord India — Part of a national chain of Indian restaurants that ran into economic trouble (not to mention trouble with the County Health Dept.), Gaylord’s was located in the old Valhalla and Chart House space. It closed in December, 2008, earning the dubious honor of being the first restaurant we covered on OurSausalito.com to go out of business. The link above still takes you to our 2008 assessment of their cuisine!
Giovanni’s Pizza — Renamed Venice Pizzeria in 2012 to reflect their long-term shared ownership with next door neighbor Venice Gourmet Deli.
Glad Hand — This hip 1950’s and 60’s inhabitant of a landmark waterfront building replaced a less-than-reputable (or more-than-rowdy) club called Tin Angel in 1951 in the building now occupied by Scoma’s. Glad Hand had a famous large hand logo and hand-lettered sign on the side of the building, shown in the photo at left. This was a landmark of the Beat Generation in Sausalito, next door to The Trident (see below photo courtesy of Scoma’s). Thanks to John Leydecker for reminding us about the outlines of famous people’s hands that were plastered all over the interior walls!
Gold Dust Bar — Long-time name for the building that later housed Gatsby’s, then Rustico, then Plate Shop and now Fast Food Francais.
Guernica — For years a successful Basque restaurant that was consistently included in “Best of Marin” lists, now Saylor’s. The “Bay Area Best Restaurants” listings in newspapers during the 1970’s and 80’s would grudgingly include a few places outside San Francisco, and Guernica was often given one of those “token non-SF” spots. One of our editors used to work for a local company that gave a Guernica gift certificate to all the employees as its Holiday present every year.
H. Salt Fish and Chips — After being acquired by Ice Cream Tycoon Michael Lappert the franchise name was dropped and the shop became Fish and Chips of Sausalito, with a Lappert’s Ice Cream counter added. There’s also a separate Lappert’s Ice Cream shop down the street on Bridgeway, hence the occasional confusion about “the two Lappert’s shops.”
Haultheisen — John Haultheisen ran a restaurant in Sausalito in the late 1800’s.
Harbor Grill — Became Saylor’s Landing, now Sausalito Seahorse. Not to be confused with the completely different building that housed the now-closed Harbor View Grill.
Harbor View Grill — Closed in 2012 after a short run in the old Flynn’s Landing – Cat ‘N’ Fiddle space, now the home where Seafood Peddler relocated from San Rafael.
Horizons — After renovations that ran months longer than the original 30 day plan, this restaurant reopened in Summer, 2012 under its old name (1966-1976) of The Trident.
Houlihan’s — A centerpiece of downtown Sausalito from 1980-1998, became Water Street Grille. Upstairs is now Barrel House downstairs was the now-closed Il Piccolo Caffe. This was one end of the famed “Houlihan’s to Houlihan’s 12K” race that ran between the two restaurants (in San Francisco and Sausalito) from 1984 through 2002. The race continues today as the “Across the Bay 12K” that runs from Fort Baker in Sausalito across the Golden Gate to San Francisco. Less well known were events like the 1980 beer drinking contest judged by the members of Jefferson Starship, a contest whose entrants included at St. Bernard dog. The building is the former home of the Purity Market (see bottom section below).
Il Piccolo Cafe — This Italian cafe adjacent to Yee Tock Chee Park was involved in a series of squabbles over who could sit at the tables in the free public-shore access areas that they colonized for outdoor seating to take advantage of the fantastic views. Regulators finally posted signs above the patio saying, “Anyone can sit here without buying something and it’s a public space,” with a phone number to report problems. They closed in 2016 after a ten-year run.
Il Piccolo Teatro — A beautiful remodel of the dark, old Paterson’s Bar that opened at the start of the Recession, Il Piccolo Teatro featured wine and small plates of Italian food. Along with newly opened Barrel House this was one of the two most dramatic architectural redesigns of the last decade in Sausalito. We feel that if they’d opened in 2005 or in 2011 they would have caught the wave, but instead it was 2008 and they got stuck with the runoff. The opening of another restaurant in town with the words “Il Piccolo” in the name didn’t help. Il Piccolo Teatro closed in 2011, replaced in Spring, 2012 by Copita after another major remodel to change the ambiance from Italian to Mexican.
In the Kitchen — ITK was not by itself a restaurant but this cooking school provided the food for Wellington’s Wine Bar . Both businesses lost their lease when the building they shared was remodeled and became the home of Joinery . ITK moved to Emeryville, and we think that Sausalito should be offered Emeryville’s First Round Draft Pick in next year’s draft and cash compensation in return. Or they could just give us Pixar and we’d call it a day.
Jan’s — A lunch counter located inside the Rexall Drug Store at the corner of Bridgeway and El Portal in the late 1940’s and the 1950’s. The lunch counter faced through the front window of the store, so you could sit there and watch the world go by and enjoy what we now call Vina Del Mar Park, It was a popular meeting spot, and the standard meal was fresh salad, casserole of the day and a dessert. Jan’s was dressed up to appear in a scene in the 1949 noir movie Impact , starring Brian Donlevy.
Kench’s Restaurant — It may surprise you to know that 125 years ago Sausalito was already known for having fine European style restaurants. Located on Caledonia St., in the late 1880’s and early 1890’s Kench’s was the successor to the highly respected Madame Rety’s French Restaurant, starting in 1887. Kench’s Restaurant closed in about 1895, and the structure was demolished in 1921.
The Kettle — A deli that dates back to the late 1940’s, later owned by famed beat artist Leo Krikorian in the 1960’s and 1970’s, in the area now occupied by Bridgeway Cafe.
La Hacienda Mexican Grill — Changed its name in 2013 to El Patio after an ownership change, then closed at the end of that year.
Latitude 38 — In the early 1970’s this was an eating and drinking place in the old Village Fair shopping complex. I barely remember the place — anyone have any more than that to share with us?
Le Vivoir — A French restaurant at 801 Bridgeway in the northern half of the Casa Madrona Hotel (not to be confused with the current Poggio site in the southern wing that was the Village Fair shopping area), it was operated by the Deschamps family from the late 50’s to the late 70’s. Famous guests included Dick Van Dyke, Carol Burnett, Warren Beatty, and the members of Pink Floyd.
Lion’s Share — In 1968 this was a small folk and rock club at 100 Caledonia St., at the corner of Caledonia and Pine. The Grateful Dead played there at least once, as did other seminal local bands. The building burned down in 1969, and the club relocated to San Anselmo, where it lasted until 1974. A small office building now occupies the Sausalito location.
Louano — Joseph Louano ran a bar in Sausalito in the late 1800’s.
Louie’s Deli — Popular deli in the Marinship area next door to Avatar’s, closed during the Covid pandemic shutdown of 2020 after the unexpected death of co-owner Maurice Franjieh, who ran the deli with his wife. Our prayers go out to his family. Even before the pandemic he told me about how the drawn-out remodeling of the building had reduced his business because everyone thought they were closed, and with him we’ve lost a fixture in the Marinship neighborhood community
"Sausalito from the N.P.C.R.R. Wharf, Looking South"
"Sausalito from the N.P.C.R.R. Wharf, Looking South," taken in 1868 by Eadweard Muybridge (Found in the Met Museum's collection).
In her 2003 book River of Shadows, Rebecca Solnit writes that at this point in his career, Muybridge "took his photographs under the nom de plume Helios."
In Greek mythology, Helios was a Titan, the god of the sun who drove his chariot from east to west across the sky. Solnit writes,
"Early on, photography had been called 'the pencil of nature' and 'sun drawings,' with the implication that nature itself was the artist with his new name, Muybridge was laying claim to being that nature, that sun. Whether or not photography was an art was debated then, and those who took the photographs were often merely 'camera operators,' but Muybridge always insisted he was an artist and put his name on his work. He bought a light carriage that served as a portable darkroom and carrier for the bulky equipment of a roaming wet-plate photographer and had 'Helios's flying Studio' painted on the side, the same phrase he put in his new advertisements." Nora Sawyer
U.S. Navy, World War II, 1944 [ edit | edit source ]
After shakedown, Sausalito arrived at Adak, Territory of Alaska, on 5 October 1944 for convoy escort duty in the Alaskan Sea Frontier. She performed these duties until – having been selected for transfer to the Soviet Navy in Project Hula, a secret program for the transfer of U.S. Navy ships to the Soviet Navy at Cold Bay, Alaska, in anticipation of the Soviet Union joining the war against Japan – she departed on 5 June 1945 for overhaul at Seattle, Washington, to prepare her for transfer. She then proceeded to Cold Bay and began training her new Soviet crew. Α]
Soviet Navy, 1945–1949 [ edit | edit source ]
Following the completion of training for her Soviet crew, Sausalito was decommissioned on 16 August 1945 at Cold Bay and transferred to the Soviet Union under Lend-Lease immediately along with her sister ships USS Tacoma (PF-3), USS Hoquiam (PF-5), USS Pasco (PF-6), USS Albuquerque (PF-7), and USS Everett (PF-8). Commissioned into the Soviet Navy immediately, ΐ] Sausalito was designated as a storozhevoi korabl ("escort ship") and renamed EK-16 Ώ] in Soviet service. She soon departed Cold Bay bound for Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky in the Soviet Union and served as a patrol vessel in the Soviet Far East. Β]
In February 1946, the United States began negotiations for the return of ships loaned to the Soviet Union for use during World War II. On 8 May 1947, United States Secretary of the Navy James V. Forrestal informed the United States Department of State that the United States Department of the Navy wanted 480 of the 585 combatant ships it had transferred to the Soviet Union for World War II use returned, EK-16 among them. Negotiations for the return of the ships were protracted, but on 1 November 1949 the Soviet Union finally returned EK-16 to the U.S. Navy at Yokosuka, Japan. Γ]
U.S. Navy, Korean War, 1950 [ edit | edit source ]
Reverting to her original name, Sausalito was placed in reserve at Yokosuka. With the outbreak of the Korean War on 25 June 1950, the U.S. Navy needed additional escort vessels, and on 15 September 1950 Sausalito was recommissioned at Yokosuka with Lieutenant Commander Francis W. Deily in command. On 26 November 1950, she departed Yokosuka for Hŭngnam, North Korea. There, until 24 December 1950, she performed harbor control duties, which included escorting ships through the mineswept channel, passing instructions to ships entering the harbor, patrolling the entrance against hostile craft and drifting naval mines, and conducting shore bombardment when required. Between February and May 1951, Sausalito ' s assignments included escorting the battleship USS Missouri (BB-63) on her shore bombardment station, blockade patrols, shore bombardment on the east coast of North Korea from Wonsan to Chongjin, and harbor control duty at Wonsan, broken by periods of upkeep at Sasebo and Yokosuka, Japan. Between June and August 1951, she escorted underway replenishment groups off the Korean coast.
After drydocking and upkeep at Yokosuka, Sausalito departed for the Philippine Islands in October 1951. In late November and early December 1951, she conducted a patrol against unauthorized fishing vessels in the Sonsorol Islands in the western Caroline Islands, apprehending one vessel. After spending Christmas 1951 in Subic Bay on Luzon, she made a good-will tour to Saigon, South Vietnam Bangkok, Thailand Singapore and Penang, Federation of Malaya. February 1952 found her back in Korean waters, where she resumed escort and patrol duties before returning to Yokosuka for the last time under the United States flag on 31 May 1952. The U.S. Navy decommissioned Sausalito on 9 June 1952.
Republic of Korea Navy, 1952 [ edit | edit source ]
On 4 September 1952, the United States transferred the ship, on loan, to the Republic of Korea for service in the Republic of Korea Navy as ROKS Imchin (PF-66). She replaced another Tacoma-class patrol frigate, the South Korean ship ROKS Apnok, ex-USS Rockford (PF-48), which had been irreparably damaged in a collision on 21 May 1951.
Imchin was scrapped in 1973.
Sausalito history: The waterfront in the 50s
“Sausalito in 1950 was a peaceful small town once again,” says Historical Society founder Jack Tracy in his book Moments in Time. Here’s the rest of Jack’s account, lightly edited for brevity and clarity.
After the turmoil and the wartime crowds, a quiet settled over the town that had not been experienced in decades. The ferryboats were gone. Steam whistles, for over eighty years a familiar sound to Sausalitans, could no longer be heard. Long lines of automobiles, their occupants impatient to embark for San Francisco, were a thing of the past. In 1950 weeds grew in the vacant lot where once the Northwestern Pacific depot stood. The ferry slips were slowly rotting away.
The Golden Gate Ferry landing at Princess Street was also abandoned and quiet. The tiny building that once housed Lange’s Launch Service had become the Tin Angel, a restaurant and bar. The San Francisco Yacht Club was gone. The imposing clubhouse with its graceful arches was now a bait and tackle shop for local fishermen.
The railroad yards and shops were gone from Sausalito. Many trainmen still lived in town, but there was little activity on the remaining tracks. The locomotives built in the Sausalito shops were only memories.
Richardson’s Bay, referred to as the “Boneyard” during the 1880s because of numerous sailing ships laid up there, still had remnants of a windjammer fleet in 1950. Most of them would sail no more. The showboat Pacific Queen, ex-Balclutha, had been towed to Southern California after a brief attempt in 1946 to convert her to a floating poker palace. The Echo and Commerce were burned before World War II, but the once lovely brig Galilee was still there, on the mud near the foot of Napa Street. The steam schooner Lassen was beached off the foot of Johnson Street near the rotting bones of smaller vessels.
On the night of Nov. 12 1944, the old schooners Wellesley and Santa Barbara and the freighter Mazama were burned near the Madden and Lewis Yacht Harbor, to clear the sand spit of hulks. Hundreds watched as the mayor, with fire chief and city attorney present, ignited an oil-soaked rope leading to the ships. To everyone’s surprise, one of the vessels contained thousands of gallons of fuel oil, which burned fiercely through the night. Cities around the bay watched in horror as they assumed Marinship or all of Sausalito was being consumed by flames. The next day as the fire continued, Sausalito was criticized in the San Francisco press for neglecting to inform others of the bonfire.
The waterfront north of Marinship became the final resting place for veteran ferryboats, once worked prodigiously, now abandoned. Here the City of San Rafael, Vallejo, Charles Van Damme, Issaquah, and City of Seattle eventually were left to their fates. Ironically, these ferryboats had never been part of Sausalito’s past, but served other Bay Area cities.
Nevertheless, Sausalito is where they would live out their final chapter, in Sausalito’s future.
The huge vessels became living quarters and work spaces for artists and craftsmen and in the 1960s became the nucleus around which the houseboat community grew.
The business community of Sausalito in 1950 was still centered around Princess Street and Bridgeway. The shoe repair shop, the Purity Store, Central Pharmacy, the Gate Theatre and Eureka Market, and other small shops were patronized by locals in the days before tourism became an industry. The bars like the Four Winds and the Plaza were small neighborly places where the bartenders knew everyone who came in. On Caledonia Street, with its own movie theatre since 1943, the pattern was much the same. The Marinship hiring hall had become an auto repair shop once again. Sausalitans still had hopes that Marinship might yet be converted to an industrial plant of one sort or another. Several companies expressed interest in the large marine ways, but the piecemeal dismantling of the shipyard was well under way by 1950.
Sausalito in 1950 was on the threshold of its “art colony” years. Always a haven for writers, artists, poets, and creative souls of many bents, Sausalito experienced. an influx of artists in the decade after World War II. At first some returning servicemen and women may have come to place themselves as far as possible from the insanity and horror of war. They sought the quiet backwaters, as Sausalito was in those days, where natural beauty and serenity abounded. Local artists raised in Sausalito or who came in the 1920s or 1930s welcomed the creative energies released in Sausalito during the 1950s. Art shows held in various places around town over the years evolved into an annual art festival, with established older artists intermingled with newcomers. Many well-known Bay Area artists emerged from the Sausalito art colony of the 1950s. The art festival has become a continuing tradition providing a showcase for local talent.
The film On the Waterfront, released in 1954, was set on the East Coast — on a very different waterfront. Elia Kazan’s masterpiece received eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor for Marlon Brando, Best Supporting Actress for Eva Marie Saint, and Best Director for Kazan.
Sausalito PF-4 - History
From: Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships , Vol. VI, p 364
(PF-4: dp. 1,430 1. 303'11'' b. 37'6'' dr. 13'8'' s. 20 k. cpl 176 a. 3 3'', 4 40mm., 2 dct., 8 dcp., 1 dcp. (hh.) cl. Tacoma T. S2-S2-AQ1)
Sausalito (PF-4) was laid down on 7 April 1943 as PG-112 under a Maritime Commission contract by Kaiser Cargo, Inc., Richmond, Calif. reclassified PF-4 on 15 April 1943 launched on 20 July 1943 sponsored by Mrs. Richard Shaler and commissioned on 4 March 1944, Comdr. Edward A. Eve, USCG, in command.
After shakedown, Sausalito arrived at Adak, Alaska, on 5 October 1944 for convoy escort duty in the Alaskan Sea Frontier. She performed these duties until departing on 5 June 1945 for overhaul at Seattle. On 16 August 1945, she was decommissioned at Cold Harbor, Alaska, and transferred to the Soviet Union under Lend Lease as EK-13.
The ship was returned to United States custody by the Soviet Union on 1 November 1949 and was placed in reserve in Japan. With the outbreak of the Korean War, additional escort vessels were needed and, on 15 September 1950, Sausalito was recommissioned at Yokosuka, Japan, Lt. Comdr. Francis W. Deily in command. On 26 November, she departed Yokosuka for Hungnam, North Korea. There, until 24 December 1950, she performed harbor control duties which included escorting ships through the mineswept channel, passing instructions to ships entering the harbor, patrolling the entrance against hostile craft and drifting mines, and conducting shore bombardment when required. Between February and May 1951, her assignments included escorting battleship, Missouri (BB-63), on her shore bombardment station, blockade patrols and shore bombardment on the east coast of North Korea from Wonsan to Chongi in, and harbor control duty at Wonsan, broken by periods of upkeep at Sasebo and Yokosuka, During the period from June to August, she escorted underway replenishment groups off the Korean coast.
After drydocking and upkeep at Yokosuka, Sausalito sailed for the Philippines in October. In late November and early December, she conducted a patrol against unauthorized fishing vessels in the Sonsorol Islands in the Western Carolines, apprehending one vessel. After Christmas in Subic Bay, she made a good-will tour to Saigon, Bangkok, Singapore, and Penang. February found her back in Korean waters, where she resumed escort and patrol duties before returning to Yokosuka for the last time under the United States flag on 31 May. On 9 June 1952, Sausalito was decommissioned and on 4 September was transferred, on loan, to the Republic of Korea as Imchin (PF-66). She replaced the Korean ship Apnok, ex-USS Rockford (PF-48), which had been irreparably damaged in a collision on 21 May 1951.
On the Waterfront: The History of Sausalito
Photo courtesy of Marin County Free Library/Anne T. Kent California Room.
If the throngs of international bike-riding tourists who flood its streets en masse and the storefronts displaying all kinds of merchandise bearing its name serve as any indication, Sausalito is the most famous city in Marin. It’s inspired songs, has nurtured artistic talent and boasts a rich and important boatbuilding history. Plus, there’s a popular cookie named after it.
For a city with a population of less than 10,000 that covers an area of 2.2 square miles — .4 of which are submerged — Sausalito has an identity that’s hard to pin down. It started off like most other places in the Bay Area, as a Coast Miwok settlement. The Huimen, a branch of the Miwoks, were a peaceful group living in the region they called Liwanelowa when the Spanish exploration ship San Carlos landed on the shores in 1775. Unfortunately, the Huimens’ docile nature led to their ousting, which happened in just a few generations.
By the 1830s ambitious English seafarer William Richardson began drafting street plans and set up a watering station for visiting boats in what he called Rancho Saucelito. The city’s unusual name is derived from the small willow trees that grew along banks in the region — saucito in Spanish — and after many iterations, including San Salito and Sousalita, the name Sausalito finally emerged.
But Richardson’s time with the land was fraught — he started developing the area before his claim for it was even filed, went to live near the Presidio in San Francisco for a period of time, and after years of legal battles was finally officially granted the title in 1838. He then built a hacienda in the vicinity of what is now Caledonia Street and grew wealthy from various businesses he had there. However, the money didn’t last — Richardson ended up dying bankrupt in 1856, and the majority of Rancho Sausalito was sold to the Sausalito Land and Ferry Company in 1868. A mining agent named Samuel Reading Throckmorton handled the sale and took a part of Rancho Sausalito as payment.
Railroads were built and extended in the coming years, and a ferry route was established to bring passengers and their cars from Sausalito to San Francisco’s Hyde Street Pier. The makeup of the population was diverse — well-heeled San Franciscans built summer homes in the hills, while Chinese shopkeepers, Italian merchants and Portuguese boatbuilders set up around Water Street (present-day Bridgeway). During Prohibition, Sausalito earned notoriety as a center for bootlegging and was popular with rumrunners and outlaws like Baby Face Nelson.
Later, not long after after the Golden Gate Bridge was erected in 1937, the city reinvented itself again. Train operations ceased in 1941 just as war efforts mounted, and the scope of the World War II conflict called for a large fleet of cargo ships and oil tankers. A shipbuilding company owned by W.A. Bechtel Company, which eventually became known as Marinship, was founded here in 1942. (One of its structures, the Industrial Center Building, or ICB, is now a home to a thriving group of artists.)
Some 2,000 employees worked continuously to build the massive shipyard, and Marin City arose to house the workforce. A large share of the workers were African Americans, who came from Southern states seeking the wages shipbuilding offered. But the group also included Chinese laborers and women, who, with so many men away at war, held an estimated quarter of the shipyard jobs, like “Rosie the Riveters” nationwide. By the time its operations ended in 1945, the shipyard had produced 93 Liberty Ships and oil tankers.
Marinship in 1943. Photo courtesy of the Sausalito Historical Society.
A vibrant community sprang up along the shore after the war, including many houseboat hubs, some of which still exist today. Though floating homes are now seen as hallmarks of the city, their first inhabitants drew the ire of developers wishing to expel them, sparking a battle known as the “Houseboat Wars.”
Environmental roots here also run deep. Around the same time a burgeoning art scene was developing, Sausalito was embroiled in a struggle to protect land that’s now part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area from becoming a development named Marincello. Meanwhile, Heath Ceramics and the legendary Record Plant recording studio came into being, and Sausalito attracted well-known figures like Shel Silverstein, Otis Redding and Sally Stanford, the former San Francisco madam who opened a Sausalito restaurant and later served as mayor.
The city remains enigmatic. Old haunts like the No Name Bar and the Trident are still around (or in the latter case, back), albeit more polished, and tensions continue to roil between disparate communities, most recently the area’s hill dwellers and anchor-outs. Innovation and creativity are still a part of this place, and so are efforts to keep it grounded, or “salty,” as local bumper stickers say.
Downtown Sausalito passenger train depot in 1914. Courtesy of the Codini Collection.
Kasia Pawlowska loves words. A native of Poland, Kasia moved to the States when she was seven. The San Francisco State University creative writing graduate went on to write for publications like the San Francisco Bay Guardian and KQED Arts among others prior to joining the Marin Magazine staff. Topics Kasia has covered include travel, trends, mushroom hunting, an award-winning series on social media addiction, and loads of other random things. When she’s not busy blogging or researching and writing articles, she’s either at home writing postcards and reading or going to shows. Recently, Kasia has been trying to branch out and diversify, ie: use different emojis. Her quest for the perfect chip is a never-ending endeavor.
In the early 1960's Cass Gidley operated a commercial fish dock on the Napa Street pier. He leased the dock from the Associated Dredging Company and in a couple of years it included a salmon packing plant, a fish market, and a fish and chips restaurant. Having been a commercial fisherman himself, Cass wanted to make sure that the fishermen got an honest weight, and a cold beer, when they unloaded. I met Cass in Eureka about the same time he started the business and came down to Sausalito to work with him. At the height of the salmon season more than 100 boats would be tied alongside the dock. Cass claimed we bought and sold more fish and crab than all of San Francisco.
At first, the sailboat rental was just a sideline. We sharted with one sailboat for rent in 1961. It was a 27-footer tied up on the south side of the pier. All his life Cass had been a wooden boat man but for rental purposes fiberlass seemed the way to go.
Earlier days at Cass Gidley Marina
Although the fish business was thriving, Cass did not get along so well with the new person we leased the pier from. Eventually we decided to sell it and concentrate on the marina. Cass was able to lease the property next to the Napa Street Pier from the City and managed to bring in floats and docks and to dredge the channel next to the Cruising Club (in the middle of the night, no less).
We built an office (where I cooked our family meals) and some smaller structures for the business. In those days, we slept in a trailer that was under the bushes. Our daughters played in the mud when it was low tide, and camped on Do-Do Island (which was created by the dredging operation). By that time there were several boats for rent. It seemed like every time I came to work there would be one of a different color. As I was designated the bookkeeper and bill payer, it was a bit unnerving.
Cass' Marina was the first sailboat rental on the Bay. The sailboat fleet soon grew to more than 20 boats, most of them 19 or 20 footers. We had a sailing school that was also a big success. People who were not members of a yacht club and didn't own a boat of their own were grateful to be able to learn to sail and to rent a boat and be out on the bay.
Then in 1968 the Yo-Ho-Ho, a beautiful 54-foot Alden Cutter was up for sale. Cass had loved the boat for a long time. About this time Bob and Louis Counts showed up and were interested in buying the Marina. The timing was right. We bought the Yo-Ho-Ho and sold Cass''s Marina to the Counts. We moved aboard the Yo-Ho-Ho and began chartering the boat on the Bay and in Mexico, where our son Memo was born.
For forty years Cass' Marina was run by the Counts. In the last several decades Lois Counts ran the business and carried on its traditions. She was the person responsible for "Good friends always welcome". Lois departed in 2009, and the marina was abandoned to the City of Sausalito.
Former Cass Gidley Marina in operation.
A NEW VISION FOR THE MARINA - A COMMUNITY BOATING CENTER
In 2010, a group of waterfront community members began working together to bring to life their vision for a community boating center in Sausalito. a place that provides affordable access to boats and the water, preserves our maritime history through education and skill-building, and promotes stewardship of our local bay and ecosystem. This was the beginning of SCBC (Sausalito Community Boating Center) at Cass Gidley Marina.
The team established a 501(c)(3) non-profit, arranged an exclusive negotiating agreement with the City for the Cass Marina site, and developed a strong network of community partnerships and support. As of early 2017, further progress includes securing a lease with the City, completing most engineering and architectural plans, and passing City Design Review for Phase I of site renovation (abutment, ramp, docks). We are currently raising funds to complete construction of our critical Phase I "Access" - which will give us safe access to the water and the ability to begin programming on the water.
Signing of our lease with City of Sausalito &ndash December 2014
SCBC AT CASS GIDLEY MARINA - KEY DATES
&bull 2020 &ndash Phase I execution (abutment, ramp, docks) and Dumphy park reopening
&bull 2017 &ndash Passed City Design Review and applied for Building Permit for Phase I
&bull 2014 - SCBC secures lease with City of Sausalito, with unanimous City Council support
&bull 2013 &ndash Organization achieves status as a 501 (c)(3) non-profit
&bull 2010 - Waterfront community members initiate project
&bull 2009 &ndash Lois Counts leaves the marina site to the City of Sausalito
The Sausalito houseboat community consists of more than 400 houseboats of various shapes, sizes, and values, along the north end of town, approximately two miles from downtown. [ 26 ]
The roots of the Houseboat Community lie in the re-use of abandoned boats and material after the de-commissioning of the Marinship shipyards at the end of World War II. Many anchor-outs came to the area, which created problems with sanitation and other issues. After a series of tense confrontations in the 1970s and 1980s additional regulations were applied to the area and the great majority of boats were relocated to approved docks. Several are architect-designed pieces that have been featured in major magazines.
Sausalito Marin City School District gears for desegregation
Retired teacher and administrator Virginia Edwards holds a photo of herself with her class circa 1967 at her home in San Rafael on Wednesday, June, 2021. She was with the Sausalito Marin City School district from 1969 to 1999. (Sherry LaVars/Marin Independent Journal)
Virginia Edwards, a retired school teacher and administrator in Sausalito, at her home in San Rafael on Wednesday, June 2, 2021. (Sherry LaVars/Marin Independent Journal)
Back in 1969, North Carolina transplant Virginia Edwards was managing a tumultuous job teaching second grade at Central Elementary School in Sausalito.
According to her principal’s performance review, she was successful in navigating a wildly diverse racial, socioeconomic and militant political hotbed with grace and moderation — even though her students were “unusually immature.” Edwards has saved the review for 52 years.
“One of my students’ parents, a Black Panther member, came in to see us about his son,” Edwards recalled last week. Her principal at the time was a White man, and Edwards was one of a small group of Black teachers working in the district.
“He pointed at me, and he said to the principal, ‘If she wants to spank my son, it’s OK with me,'” said Edwards, who stayed at Sausalito schools for 30 years, retiring from both teaching and administrative roles in 1999. “‘But if you or anyone else lays a hand on him, we’ll come after you.'”
A half-century later, Edwards, 84, a San Rafael resident and community volunteer, is not sure times have really changed that much since then. The veteran educator and administrator, who earned a master’s degree from Dominican University of California and a doctorate from the University of San Francisco, said adults still are missing the point: It’s about the kids.
“They were talking about changing the names of the schools,” she said, referring to a controversy last month that prompted online petition protesting any name changes. “The names aren’t that important. What’s important is what goes on inside the classrooms.”
The names of the schools were at issue because on July 1, the Sausalito Marin City School District will cease its former two-school model and become one unified school on two campuses. Theoretically, that will move the troubled district onto a path toward compliance with a historic August 2019 order from the state attorney general to desegregate within five years.
“Our district plans to join forces with all stakeholders in creating an innovative, progressive, collaborative, eco-friendly, artistic school community that will help shape young scholars into ideal citizens for generations to come,” Ida Green, the district’s board president, said in an email.
Green, a Marin City resident, was a child in the Sausalito school district in 1965, when the first Bay Area effort at desegregation took place. For the last 20 years, she has seen and been involved in the chaotic “two-school model in the 94965 community” that led to the attorney general’s order.
“It is abundantly clear we are not the only school district in the county with these kinds of issues to address,” Green said. “However, in light of these facts, we are taking steps to correct our course of action and be more accountable to the greater community, especially the ones who matter most — the children.”
According to Mary Jane Burke, Marin superintendent of schools, the county had to intervene six times between 1997 and 2011 to restore order in the district after sudden resignations by board members or superintendents. Marin County Office of Education staffers were assigned to backfill the district staff, according to a Feb. 9, 2016, letter Burke sent to the district board.
The letter said the district forced Burke to intervene more than “all of the other Marin County school districts combined.”
By October 2016, Burke had contacted the attorney general’s office, then overseen by Kamala Harris. After Harris left for the U.S. Senate and Xavier Becerra took over, the office began a two-year probe of the school district and its finances, culminating in the 2019 desegregation order and settlement with the district.
At the time he announced the order, Becerra said the probe had found that the district’s board of trustees had engaged in an intentional effort to create a segregated school at Bayside Martin Luther King Jr. Academy in Marin City in order to divert resources to Willow Creek Academy, the public charter school in Sausalito that was under the district’s auspices.
In the new unified school, Willow Creek is dissolving its charter and its staff are becoming district union employees. The former Willow Creek campus will become an as-yet-unnamed K-5 elementary school, and the Bayside Martin Luther King Jr. Academy in Marin City will become a middle school, with grades sixth through eighth, plus a preschool.
“While the investigation and its result was objected to by some, it is clear that the courageous decision by the then-Attorney General was the catalyst for the change and progress we are now so happy to see in the district,” Burke said in an email last week.
Many in the community hope the long history of differences will at least begin to heal in the new unified school.
Felecia Gaston, who founded the Marin City children’s enrichment nonprofit Performing Stars of Marin in 1990, said she sees some signs of a shift in attitude since the George Floyd murder last year and the racial reckonings and social justice uprisings that followed.
But after years of things seeming to change but then staying the same, she is wary of declaring victory just yet.
Meanwhile, Gaston is writing a book on the history of Marin City and helping to catalog and digitize decades of newspaper and magazine clippings about the many-storied, multi-faceted, unique but often troubled Marin community.
“My main priority is transportation,” said Gaston, noting that many of the Marin City elementary students will need to be bused to the Sausalito campus, about a mile away. “We’ll just have to hope for the best.”
Itoco Garcia, who in 2019 became the district’s sixth superintendent in eight years, says he is optimistic.
“I am ecstatic that in two short years, through the process of unification, that we will meet the requirements in the settlement agreement required of us in a five- and 10-year timeframe,” Garcia said. “And that we are creating one unified school that retains the majority of families currently enrolled in the district.”
Kurt Weinsheimer, the Willow Creek charter school board president, said he is also hopeful.
“The public school history in the Sausalito Marin City School District has been marked by countless attempts to provide a strong education for students in the community, often pitting people with similar goals but different approaches against each other,” Weinsheimer said.
“The goal for the unification of Bayside/MLK and Willow Creek Academy is to learn from that history, stop the conflict, and create a world-class public school for decades to come,” he said.
Weinsheimer said Becerra’s order “rightfully highlighted the clear need for the district board to provide a diverse integrated learning environment for the students attending Bayside/MLK,” he said. “At the same time, Bayside/MLK and Willow Creek have both made progress and missteps in striving to close the achievement gap for students of color.”
“Unification,” Weinsheimer added, “aims to solve both those issues: bringing 100% of pre-K-8 students together and combining the best practices from both schools with added resources to create an integrated, inclusive, best-in-class public school for all.”