New San Geronimo Valley guide expands scope


Need a one-stop vade mecum for everything valley? A handy guidebook that details programs offered at the community center, serves as an introduction to all the vital organizations and services and gives a little history on the folks who made the San Geronimo Valley what it is? Published by the San Geronimo Valley Community Center and edited by Barbara Brauer, the valley’s community guide is replete with information useful for longtime residents and new. It’s a historical primer (including a reveal about the namesake of the famous Stone Soup newsletter) and features several profiles on valley V.I.P., including former county supervisor Steve Kinsey, author Phil Arnot and San Geronimo Valley Planning Group founder Jean Berensmeier. For the first time since the guides began in 1983, Nicasio is also heavily featured. The guides are produced roughly every five years (the last was in 2011) but Dave Cort, the community center’s executive director, said previous editions were “more of a resource guide with telephone numbers and how-to stuff.” This time, as the community center celebrates its 50th year, they focused on history. As they scoured the valley for stories and photographs, the guide’s creators were stunned to receive so much content—enough that they decided to form a committee to investigate establishing a historical society for the valley. “[West Marin’s historian] Dewey Livingston said people are always giving him stuff about the valley, but because the valley doesn’t have a historical society, he’s just been hanging onto it. He said he’d like to hand it over to a special group,” Mr. Cort said. “We have a woman in Woodacre who helped start the San Anselmo historical society who is sitting on the committee. We don’t want to do it just as the community center; the historical society should be more of a collaborative effort versus just one organization.” It was the third community guide with Ms. Brauer at the helm, and the San Geronimo editor said they questioned whether to create a physical book or keep it only online. “We decided we’d do both,” she said. “The print edition is more the coffee table-style, with photos and stories to read for hours. And we’re going to be meeting to discuss the online community guide later this month. I know there are a lot more stories out there and I hope when people see it, they’ll contact us and we can put more up online.”