Located just over Alto Hill from Mill Valley, Corte Madera clings to the shoulders of Mt. Tamalpais and spreads along the shore of San Francisco Bay at the mouth of Corte Madera Creek. The town’s name means ‘cut wood’ in Spanish, and this is where the first Spanish settlers came for the wood they used to build The Presidio in San Francisco.
Originally a summer spot for the middle classes from San Francisco, hillside lots could once be had for the price of a newspaper subscription. After the 1906 earthquake many City dwellers took refuge in their summer homes and, discovering the superiority of the weather to that of the City, never went back. In the 50’s and 60’s flat neighborhoods were constructed on bay fill. Corte Madera is bisected by Highway 101 and has two shopping malls in addition to a little downtown.
The housing mix reflects Corte Madera’s varied history. Early 20th century summer homes sit beside mid-century moderns on the densely packed hills, while the flatter neighborhoods offer big back yards, wide streets and easy access to all of central Marin by bike or on foot.
Corte Madera shares a school district with next-door neighbor Larkspur, and is part of the Tamalpais Union School District.