Historic sites under consideration

12/08/2011

The National Park Service is drafting proposals for the designation of two local artist havens as nationally historic places. The first is Druid Heights, a former enclave of Zen philosopher Alan Watts, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Gary Snyder and sex-positive feminist Margot St. James. The five-acre property is located in a patch of forest near the northern border of Muir Woods; officials have long kept its exact geographical coordinates secret to protect the privacy of two residents who retain lifetime leases on certain buildings. A new study by Golden Gate National Recreation Area historians concludes that the property meets all the criteria for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places and “would make an ideal artists’ retreat.” The second is Lairds Landing, a former residence of artist Clayton Lewis located on the western banks of Tomales Bay. Lewis lived at the landing for 31 years until he died in 1995. The Seashore attained ownership of the property following his death. Designation in the register does not guarantee protection of the sites, but does encourage it by providing tax incentives on future preservation projects undertaken there.