In a life span that’s lasted over a century, Mill Valley’s Scout Hall has seen more than a few face-lifts. Prior to renovations made by the American Legion and Mill Valley Lions Club in 1928, the building just off East Blithedale Avenue was used variously as a French laundry, a barn and a brothel. Following a devastating fire in 1929 on Mount Tamalpais, it served as a shelter for refugees from the blaze.
Soon a newly installed board of directors began letting Scouts BSA and Girl Scout troops use the space, until the City of Mill Valley condemned the building in 1954. Another massive renovation, in the early 1970s, was the last one until Greg Everage joined Scout Hall’s board in 2005. While the venue isn’t officially affiliated with Scouts BSA or Girl Scouts of the USA, Everage arrived in Mill Valley from Los Angeles eager to see his son follow in his footsteps and obtain the distinction of Eagle Scout. Hearing about Scout Hall, he decided to work to preserve one of the city’s most storied landmarks. Seven years of fundraising led to a $1.2 million renovation that was completed in 2017, with seismic retrofitting, modern plumbing and aesthetic improvements. To preserve as much of the original building as possible, workers reincorporated the old-growth redwood beams that once provided structural support into the Mountain View Avenue awning (there’s also an East Blithedale entrance).
Today the space is available for myriad events and has recently hosted bar mitzvahs, yoga classes and inspirational speaker talks. Two offices in front and an industrial kitchen are rented out, with proceeds going toward renovation loan payoff and upkeep. Perhaps most important to Everage, Scout Hall is once again a place for scouting troops to participate in activities, hold meetings and keep supplies, retaining its legacy as an institution Marin residents can enjoy for generations to come.