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Vintage Corte Madera

An old photo opens up a cache of memories.

Photo Courtesy of Marin Municipal Water District Archives


IN THE AERIAL photo above, Jana Haehl, Corte Madera’s official historian notes, Redwood High School and Town Center shopping center are both visible. “And they both opened in 1958.” Haehl, who moved to Corte Madera 55 years ago, quickly adds, “But back then Town Center was called Corte Madera Center and that’s where Littleman’s Market was located in a World War II Quonset hut.”

So after Haehl carefully compared the above photo with another aerial shot specifically dated April 20, 1962, her well-qualified best guess of when the above image was taken is late 1960 or early 1961. Other early Marin landmarks Haehl, the editor of Weaving into the Flow of Time and Place: A History of Corte Madera, notes are the Koch Luggage Factory (dark rectangle, middle left), a pioneer in molded fiberglass luggage that is now headquarters for Restoration Hardware, and Muzzi Marsh (vast undeveloped land, middle right) that is now the 620-acre Corte Madera Ecological Reserve. As for the Village at Corte Madera shopping complex, according to Haehl, that wasn’t developed until the 1980s. “The building you see at the Village’s location in this aerial is the old California Highway Patrol headquarters,” she points out. “And that’s now around the corner on San Clemente Drive.” For more of Haehl’s recollections, including photographs, visit cortemaderamemories.org.



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