Olompali State Historic Park
|Olompali State Historic Park|
|Location||Marin County, California, USA|
|Nearest city||Novato, California|
|Area||700 acres (2.8 km2)|
|Governing body||State of California|
|Official name: Rancho Olompali|
|Designated:||January 12, 1973|
|Official name: Oldest House North of San Francisco Bay|
Olompali State Historic Park is a 700-acre (2.8 km2) park on the Marin Peninsula, 3.5 miles (5.6 km) north of Novato, California, USA, which overlooks the Petaluma River and San Pablo Bay. In 1977, the State of California purchased Rancho Olompali and made it into a state historical park. The foundations of two prehistoric adobe brick houses are preserved in the park. The Burdell two-story frame house, built in the 1870s serves as the ranger station. Associated ranch buildings include barns, a blacksmith shop, a saltbox house and a ranch superintendent's house.
The park is the site of the oldest house built north of the San Francisco Bay (California Historical Landmark #210), built in 1776 of adobe bricks by the Chief of the Olompolli tribe. Camillo Ynitia was also the only Native American on the northern frontier to confirm and keep a large land grant for his tribe.
Prehistoric and Native American era
The name "Olompali" comes from the Coast Miwok language and likely means "southern village" or "southern people". The Coast Miwok village site of Olompali (historically spelled "Olompolli") dates back to about 500 AD. Olompali had been a main center in 1200 AD, and might have been the largest native village in Marin County For more, see Olompali.
An Elizabethan silver sixpence minted in 1567 was discovered in the park by archeologists, indicating that villagers may have had contact with Sir Francis Drake or with people who had traded with the early English explorer. Many Miwok cultural artifacts have been identified during archaeological studies within the area of the present-day park, indicating this may have once been an important trade and cultural crossroads.
The oldest house built north of the San Francisco Bay was built here in 1776 by the Coast Miwok, out of adobe bricks, and owned by the chief of the Olompoli tribe Aurelio, who was the father of Camillo Ynitia. Camillo was known as the last Hoipu (Headman) of the Miwok community living at Olompali.
"Olompali #48, Marin Co., Grant of 2 sq. leagues made in 1843 by Gov. Micheltorena to Camilo Unitia [sic]. Patent for 8,877.48 acres (35.92589 km2) issued in 1862 to Camilo Unitia [sic] in T 3-4N, R 6-7W, MDM."
— California Ranchos: Patented Private Land Grants Listed by County, Shumway 1988:39
The newly secured grant of Rancho Olompali included Ynitia's father's historical house, the first abobe house built north of the San Francisco Bay, as well as his own adobe house.
Ynitia held onto the Olompali land title for 9 years, but in 1852 he sold most of the land to James Black of Marin for $5,200. Black was to become one of the largest landowners of Marin county. Ynitia retained 1,480 acres (5.99 km2) of Olompali called Apalacocha.
The Blacks and Burdells
In 1863, the land and adobe house passed from James Black to his daughter Mary (Black) Burdell and her husband Galen Burdell, a wealthy dentist. Mary's son James transformed Olompali into a country estate, he built a 26-room mansion with a formal Victorian-style mansion that incorporated the foundations and rooms of Ynitio's adobe house.
Jesuit retreat, commune and state park
"During the 1960s, the University of San Francisco sold Olompali several times. Each time, the buyers defaulted and the property reverted back to the university. The most famous tenant was the rock band Grateful Dead. During the Dead's brief stay it became a gathering place for San Francisco's rock musicians, including Janis Joplin and Grace Slick."
In 1967, Don McCoy leased Olompali, and started a hippie commune there called The Chosen Family. A fire caused by faulty wiring eventually destroyed the mansion. Finally in 1977, the State of California purchased the land and turned it into the state park.
Olompali State Historic Park is located at 8901 Redwood Hwy., State Hwy 101 (P.M. 24.8), 3.5 miles (5.6 km) N of Novato. It is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places as Rancho Olompali. Ynitia's adobe house is registered as California Historical Landmark #210.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09.
- "Oldest House North of San Francisco Bay". Office of Historical Preservation, California State Parks. Retrieved 2012-10-09.
- University of California Irvine Camillo Ynitia, Coast Miwok (1803-1856) - Catholic, Rancho Grant Owner
- Reutinger 1997.
- Olompali State Historic Park, Website 2008.
- Mason, Jack. Early Marin. Petaluma, CA: House of Printing, 1971.
- State of California, Office of Historical Preservation - Marin County landmarks
- California State Parks: Olompali State Historic Park, Website by California Department of Parks and Recreation, 2008.
- Olompali State Historic Park (pamphlet and map), by California Department of Parks and Recreation.
- Reutinger, Joan. Olompali Park Filled With History, The Coastal Post, Sept. 1997.
- Shumway, Burgess M., California Ranchos: Patented Private Land Grants Listed by County. San Bernardino, CA: The Borgo Press, 1988. ISBN 0-89370-935-2