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Time Flies

A half-century later, these trees now reach the sky.

courtesy of the marin history museum

Tim porter

LOOK FAMILIAR? IT’S downtown Mill Valley sometime in the late 1950s, but its historical significance dates back to almost a century ago. On Memorial Day 1918, beneath the flagpole in the center of the photo, a brass plaque was dedicated by the town’s Outdoor Art Club (still very much in existence) declaring that the strip of land between what is now Depot Bookstore and Peet’s Coffee be forever referred to as Lytton Square. The naming was in honor of 19-year-old Lytton Barber, the first Mill Valley resident to die in service to his country during World War I. In 1960, three redwoods were planted alongside the flagpole, and now, half a century later, they soar 70 feet in the air (inset) and all but obscure the flagpole and its flag — but the plaque is still there. This 1950s photo is from Marin Memories: A Pictorial History of Marin County from the 1800s to the 1960s, a 143-page limited-edition book published by the Marin Independent Journal, United Markets and the Marin History Museum.

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