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By John McNear with Catherine Newhall
San Pedro Road serves as the primary travel artery for those of us commuting into and out of our beloved Peacock Gap neighborhood each day. Still, many of us may not have stopped to think much about this vital roadway that connects us with the rest of our fair city, and beyond. Though some may not be aware, San Pedro road has a long history—in fact, longer than the City of San Rafael itself. It also owes its beginnings to a family still closely tied to, and living in, our neighborhood today.
A reminiscence from Lois Anderson
We moved to Peacock Gap in l988 and I remember thinking, this is Marin’s best-kept secret. Just the name Peacock Gap has an intrigue to it. I was told that at some point peacocks were brought out to the Gap but did not last long because of the noise they created. The area is so quiet and beautiful, and either way you enter, from China Camp or Pt. San Pedro, you are surrounded by the beauty of the bay.
Building was at full force in the late 1980’s. The condos on Biscayne - Peacock Court and Partridge Court - were in the starting stages. The Dairy farm and the Estates at the end of Biscayne were also in the construction process. The first estate home that was built was the large multi level home next to the park. Biscayne Court was a field where the kids used to play baseball. Marin Bay Park and the condos across from the Quarry were in the planning stages. Chapel Cove was a modern-style Catholic church with a large parking lot.
Andy’s Market was Bruno’s Market, owned by a robust, jolly man actually named Bruno. Rumor had it that he had one of the best wine selections in Marin. Bruno passed away several years ago and he is greatly missed by those who knew him. Next to Bruno’s was a pharmacy and also a hardware store. In the back of the building there still is a dry cleaner, but there used to be a nail salon next to the cleaners. The Foc’sle was a funky indoor-outdoor restaurant at the boat docks that had the best food for a great price. It was later called Bobby’s, and was doing a great business until a fire destroyed the inside of the building.
One of the best perks for us working stiffs was the Golden Gate Bus Service to the Ferry and the City. The 32 Peacock Gap line had several morning and night runs direct to San Francisco. There was also a 31 Peacock Gap line that took you to the ferry and brought you back. The drivers were very pleasant and if you knew them well enough they would drop you off in front of your house. One driver, Bob Cob, was so popular that the passengers gave him a retirement party on his last run.It will be very interesting to see what the next 20 years will be like at Peacock Gap.
The opening of the John Wayne movie, Blood Alley, was a shot from the north ridge of Peacock Gap over the shimmering basin (now Riviera Drive/Golf Course/Peacock Drive area) which was flooded at high tide and filmed to look like a large bay. Many scenes were shot on that ridge; in fact, a mock warlord castle was constructed up there as part of the plot. It came complete with carved telephone poles with a Chinese theme. They ended up deployed along the lower end of the Menary home on top of the ridge between Glenwood and Peacock. As a young boy growing up in Glenwood in the early sixties, my brother and I and ALL the kids from Glenwood and Peacock often pondered how those totem poles came to be there. The China Camp pier used to contain an autographed photo of The Duke dedicated to the family that lived there. The Pier, Rat Island and the China Camp/Peacock area all are prominently displayed in the film if you know
where to look.
Contributed by Scott Jones, San Marino Place
Back in the 60’s Chuck Madsen was one of the presidents of the Association and there was so much of activity at the club and in the Peacock Gap community that he had to have a social secretary. He asked his daughter, Lisa, who gave the best children’s parties, and she said Mrs. Shatz, and that is how Mrs. Shatz got to be his social secretary. For Easter, an Easter egg hunt was planned for the children and there was a human dressed up as the Easter Bunny to give candy to the children, and they were all given 25 cents from the bartenders. Easter Brunch at the club was the place to be on Easter.
Contributed by Lisa Madsen, Riviera Drive
Again, back in the day the Association purchased two swans for $500.00, hoping they would mate and beautiful swans would live on the Lagoon. Mr. Deschant would go down every day and feed them lettuce. When he was no longer able to feed them they had to be sent away to a ranch where they could be taken care of.
Contributed by Lisa Madsen, Riviera Drive
A Brief History of Peacock Gap Copyright 2003 by William Braznell, author of several books including An Airman's Odyssey - Walt Braznell and the Pilots He Led into the Jet Age. This informative narrative covers the early settlers and developers, then focuses on the history of the Peacock Gap Golf Club including golf tournaments and social events.
Archeology/History published in 1979 and authored by the University of California, Berkeley Department of Conservation and Resource Studies for the City of San Rafael. This study includes the pre-history of the area as well as the history of the McNear family and the development of Peacock Gap and Glenwood. View photos taken in 1979 in our Photo Gallery.
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