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Muir Beach is a community and beach located 16.5 miles (26.6 km) northwest of San Francisco on the Marin Peninsula, California. It is named for John Muir, an influential Scottish-American naturalist and an early advocate for the preservation of wilderness. The beach is about 1,000 feet (305 m) long and was formerly called Big Lagoon. The outlet of Redwood Creek flows through the beach and is being restored to enhance salmon habitat.
Before the arrival of Europeans the Marin Peninsula had over 600 village sites of the Coastal Miwok tribe between the Marin Headlands and Bodega Bay, and the group that occupied the area of Big Lagoon were called the Huimen. Following the Mexican-American War and the cessation of California to the United States in 1848, Samuel Throckmorton took control of Rancho Sausalito and leased the land to dairymen. Soon Marin County was California’s largest producer of fresh milk and butter. Much of this success was based on the knowledge of Portuguese immigrants from the Azore Islands. These men arrived in California on whaling ships, and those who did not seek their gold fortune were able to get jobs in the newly-established dairy ranches.
The town was originally called Bello Beach after Antonio Bello who established one of the first hotels on the beach in 1919. He also began subdivisions and built summer vacation cabins. This provided tourists a place to stay, and in the 1950s Bay Area urbanites began to move here for the rural lifestyle. This young urban culture contrasted sharply with the small farm community, and helped nurture the new generation of psychedelic bands of the early 1960s. The beach taverns and cottages were removed in the late 1960s after California State Parks acquired the beach property. Read more here and here. Explore more of Muir Beach here: