The following interview was published in Vol. 1 No. 1 of the Golden Hindesight in 1975, a magazine project designed by
San Anselmo teacher, Bernie Griff with his students in the 6th grade class at Wade Thomas Elementary School.
ETHEL BOUICK LANDON ~ SAN ANSELMO SCHOOL DISTRICT
"We came to San Anselmo in 1892 - I was 2 years old then. My father (Alex Bouick) was a professor at the San Francisco Theological Seminary."
This interview was by phone. The staff of the Golden Hindesight was nearing the tailend of interviewing when Valerie Ansel told me to call up Ethel (Mrs. Warren) Landon, who lived over on Austin Way by the Seminary in San Anselmo. She would be able to tell us some of the early days of the San Anselmo School District. She (Ansel) was right! Mrs. Landon (age 85) told us her father rented a room in his residence for the first classroom in the newly formed San Anselmo School District. In 1893, the notes from the first Board minutes read: "It was decided to lease a room from Mr. Bouick and open school July 31, 1893... School opened July 31, 1893 in Bouick's residence... Miss Mary E. Crittenden was appointed teacher for the term (to November 31) at a salary of sixty (60) dollars a month..." Thus began the San Anselmo School District.
Twelve men voted in this first school election; nine for and three against raising money for a school house and lots. The twelve men were: Dr. William Alexander who lived on Bolinas and was a professor at the Seminary; Mr. James Coffin who was a prominent businessman in San Francisco and lived in Ross; William P. Taylor who was the sheriff of Marin County and one of the five sons of Samuel Penfield Taylor who owned the paper mill which burned down in 1916; Mrs. Landon went on to tell me something of almost each of the first voters. The next was Frank Day Burrows and Thomas F. Day who were also professors at the Seminary; James Wells Foss - "He was a bachelor, sort of a recluse," Mrs. Landon said.
When I mentioned the next one on my list, Dominick Needham, Ethel Bouick Landon couldn't keep hidden a muffled laugh - in fact it was a hardy laugh! "Where did you find that name?" she asked. I said it was in the Board minutes of 1893. "Dominick's brother had a 'Blind Pig'" she said (saloon run without a license). Needham's Grocery was at the Junction (he had bought it from Hermen Zopf), and if you went there to ask for "tea," Mr. Needham's daughter would bring you "some" in a teapot!
Next of the twelve voters was Willis C. Morris, the Postmaster; Charles Royal Callendar, a Seminary student; James Tunstead, Sheriff for San Anselmo, who lived near the Hub; then came two on the list that Mrs. Landon didn't know: James Reynolds and George A. Horn.
Mrs. Landon went on to say that the teachers would live at their residence and she remembered the first teacher -- Miss Crittenden. "Everyone loved her. She used ot teach my sister Mabel (Mrs. Crisp) music on the piano." Her sister Mabel also taught at the san Anselmo School. "There were only two rooms then. Then they added a second story."
We called Mrs. Landon back several times and each time she addedsome of the missing links to our school district in the early days. Our thanks to you, Mrs. Landon, for helping us rediscover those times and hold them in our memories for awhile.