Marin’s Cities & Towns: San Anselmo

The Stats

Population: 12,000+

Mayor: Alexis Fineman

Notable resident: George Lucas

Fun fact : Van Morrison’s 1973 song “Snow in San Anselmo” recounts the time an unexpected snowstorm hit the town — the first in 30 years — when the singer was living in neighboring Fairfax.

From its beginnings as a dusty “dry” settlement, where residents who wanted to a drink would have to seek out a clandestine “blind pig” in order to imbibe, to present times, San Anselmo has remained a small, tight-knit community. Prior to 1874, when the North Pacific Coast Railroad added a spur track from San Anselmo to San Rafael, and 1892, when the castle-like San Francisco Theological Seminary was completed, San Anselmo was a sleepy hamlet populated by more cattle than people.

Creek Park. Photo courtesy of

The San Francisco earthquake and fire in 1906 brought more people to San Anselmo, however, and the town grew steadily and was incorporated in 1907. Although the population leveled off around 1960, today, the town’s eponymous thoroughfare is a vibrant destination lined with boutiques, antique shops and creek-side restaurants. Landmarks in the family-friendly town include Robson-Harrington Park, the site of a commanding wood-frame mansion built by Edwin Kleber Wood in 1906; the San Anselmo Public Library, an original Carnegie Library; and the American Legion Log Cabin, home to late-night haunt the Dugout Bar.

Imagination Park. Courtesy of Visit Marin.

Visitors rarely leave town, however, without seeing Imagination Park, located next to Town Hall, where statues of Yoda and Indiana Jones commemorate the birthplace of local resident George Lucas’ two biggest movie franchises. Lucas donated Imagination Park and its statues to the town in 2013.

For More on San Anselmo:

Lotus Abrams

Lotus Abrams has covered everything from beauty to business to tech in her editorial career, but it might be writing about her native Bay Area that inspires her most. She lives with her husband and two daughters in the San Francisco Peninsula, where they enjoy spending time outdoors at the area’s many open spaces protected and preserved by her favorite local nonprofit, the Peninsula Open Space Trust.