Where’s Waldo

Now that the California State Legislature passed the resolution to rename the iconic rainbow-adorned Waldo Tunnel in honor of beloved actor Robin Williams, we bid farewell to Waldo. We can thank former head of the San Francisco District of Highways (now Caltrans) Alan S. Hart for the spectrum of color drivers see as they enter the tunnel, but who was Waldo? According to Louise Teather’s Place Names of Marin, “During the 1849 Gold Rush, William Waldo heroically delivered food and supplies to snowbound immigrants in the Sierra Nevada.” A few years later, he ran unsuccessfully for governor of California, and, according to several accounts, spent time campaigning in a mining camp named Sailor’s Diggings, which, unfortunately for Waldo, was in Oregon. (In tribute, the village later changed its name to Waldo; it is now a ghost town.) Waldo did leave his mark on Marin, though — Marin City has a Waldo Court, Sausalito has Waldo Point Harbor and Highway 101 has Waldo Grade and (formerly) the tunnel.