Wednesday, Jul. 17, 2019

Richard Nielsen

Recent Articles

The Jennie Griffin, in transit from San Francisco, is preparing to cross the bar.This view illustrates the likely condition of Bolinas Beach, when the schooner Almy met her fate.  Note the skiff being towed behind.

In Bolinas’ early years, San Francisco’s growth in the wake of the discovery of gold, was a harbinger of demand for natural resources.  A lack of adequate overland transportation meant that any nearby natural resources...

George Burge as he appeared in his 80s.

Fatherless at age 7, by his early twenties George Burge knew his options for success in the rigid economic structure of early 1800s England were severely limited. Consequently, he decided to abandon the monotony of farm work that had carried him...

The Marconi powerhouse, 1915. In March of 1918, the spark transmitters and other equipment were removed by the Marines & taken to Mare Island.

In 1913, Guglielmo Marconi placed West Marin on the radio map of the world.  His company constructed a transmitting station at Bolinas and a receiving station near Marshalls on the eastern shore of Tomales Bay.   When...

At the Lime Kilns, c.1900,  photograph by Gertrude Southworth, Courtesy of Bolinas Museum, Southworth Archives.

The Olema lime kilns, located just west of Highway 1 between Olema and Bolinas, have long aroused curiosity and spawned numerous theories.  For over a hundred years visitors to the kilns have been scratching their...

Surveyors laying out line of antenna towers for Marconi transmitting station, Bolinas, Spring, 1913

While Guglielmo Marconi can't be credited with inventing the transmission of radio waves, he can definitely be credited with making radio a viable technology that would link humans together and lead to the advent of today's cell phones. Tireless...

Mabel MacIntosh

Brown eyed, black haired Mabel MacIntosh, born in Belfast, Northern Ireland in 1874, made a lasting contribution to Marin County art and artists as well as numerous charitable causes. Her father, John S MacIntosh, was a Presbyterian minister...

Attempt by Matsen & Longley to lasso Mining Superintendent Pearson

By late May of 1898, the Bolinas residents opposed to the local mining operation, had removed everything easily portable from the Golden Crown mine operation  This included food, horses, wagons, hoisting engine, blacksmith tools, etc. ...

Golden Crown Mine buildings, 1896, at Union Gulch. Hoist is visible at upper roof. Destroyed by fire in 1904.

Sometime in the 1850s, shiny copper pyrite was first noted near Dogtown in the stream bed of Gregorio Creek (now known as Pine Gulch Creek) by early pioneers including Charles Lauff. The pyrite was traced back to what became known as Union...

The SS Hanalei as it appeared the day of the wreck.

The Marconi Wireless Station at Bolinas initiated operations amidst a lot of fanfare on  September 24, 1914.  Partial responsibility of the station was communicating with ships at sea, particularly those in distress.  Almost exactly...

Looking north at the oil drilling operation at the RCA in early 1949.  The barn of the former Mary Ann Strain Ranch is in the middle distance.  The white building is the original Marconi Powerhouse, now Building 1.

In 1865, the first two oil wells were drilled at Bolinas.  One well was sunk on the beach near the landing at The Point, where downtown Bolinas would be established.  The other was located on the property of Thomas Joyce on the...


A Vagrant at Double Point

By Richard Nielsen · December 01, 2016

Double Point in the distance on the left. The hermit's encampment was on the beach in the center, below Double Point's southern peak.

In the late 1930s, Double Point -just north of Bolinas- became the summer residence for a hermit who spent winters at Big Sur.  A vagrant at the seashore, the hermit had established his erstwhile residence above the high tide zone in the lee...

Celebratory Banquet at the Marconi Hotel; Ruth Sayers stands towards the center on the lower step, with a broad white collar and black hat; her new husband, Adolph Rau, stands next to her

Starting on September 24, 1914, the Bolinas and Marshall Marconi radio stations were officially on the air.  Among the group of dignitaries and upper echelon Marconi personnel who attended the celebratory banquet to mark this milestone was a...

Sciallo Family. Joe Sciallo is seated on his father's lap.

Joe Sciallo was raised in a Miwok fishing village on the eastern shore of Tomales Bay. In the early 1900s his village was a stop on the Northwestern Pacific Railroad called “Fishermans.” When the Marconi radio station was...


At the close of the nineteenth century, John Foster entered into a partnership with his brother-in-law, Manuel de Borba.  Both were Portuguese immigrants from the Azores.  To avoid being slapped by the hand of prejudice, John had...


In 1924, Walter (Walt) Wagner was assistant chief rigger at the Marion RCA transmitting station in Marion, Massachusetts.  Walt was surprised when RCA approached him about being the chief rigger on the opposite side of the country at the RCA...


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