Exploring Baltimore Canyon’s Rich History

Exploring Baltimore Canyon's Rich History, Marin Magazine


How can there be a Baltimore Canyon in Larkspur, California? Here’s how: sometime in late 1848 or early 1849, the Baltimore and Frederick Mining and Trading Company, based in Baltimore, Maryland, started a lumber mill in a Marin County canyon. This was around the time Marin County was being founded, nearly 40 years before Charles W. Wright laid out Larkspur’s streets, and 50 years before the area had a post office (you’ve heard the one about Wright’s wife naming Larkspur after the “pretty blue flowers that seemed to be growing everywhere” that turned out to be lupine, right?). But after the saws and equipment were shipped around Cape Horn, the canyon mill lasted a mere five months, and once the men heard about gold in the Sierra foothills, off they went. Today, Marin’s Baltimore Canyon is a bucolic 193-acre open space preserve known for dense vegetation and trails connecting to Mount Tamalpais’ northern slope.