Greenbrae, site of an old dairy ranch, has its modern roots in the family of Niels Schultz Sr., a pioneer Marin developer who liked the sound of “brae”, Scottish for hillside. The family bought the 700-acre Greenbrae Ranch near Larkspur in 1946. Early residential development focused on smaller homes under a postwar edict setting a $10,000 limit on building materials used for home construction. More recent additions to the community provide larger quarters. Suburban growth was augmented by construction of the popular Bon Air Center, home of a number of businesses including a Mollie Stones market, a popular shopping destination for neighbors as well residents who live elsewhere. Because of the way development and annexation proceeded, many Greenbrae homes are actually in Larkspur, but all are served by the Kentfield School District.
The Kent family name is emblazoned across Marin. It all began when family patriarch Albert Emmett Kent bought an 800-acre valley that would later become Kentfield. His son, William, was a Marin congressman, philanthropist and founder of Muir Woods. Among the area’s many attributes: gracious homes, stunning views, wooded neighborhoods and good schools, to name a few, is one Bay Area peculiarity. When it rains, it pours in Kentfield. Although some claim it rains more in nearby Ross, where no official measurement is taken, firehouse records indicate Kentfield is the wettest spot in the Bay Area (people in Kentfield know, however, that Ross actually gets more rain). Average rainfall is about 47 inches. Nonetheless, weekend baseball remains popular (see above).
Housing and Education
In addition to the upscale homes that mark both Greenbrae and Kentfield, the community offers waterfront living in arks and other structures off the Greenbrae Boardwalk, which borders Corte Madera Creek on the east side of Highway 101. Houses high on piers share space with herons, egrets and pelicans. It’s a mix of both the elegant and funky. There are condo neighborhoods, including Spyglass Hill, which offers sweeping views. There’s no end to the area’s magnificent vistas of the bay and Mount Tamalpais. Zoning matters are monitored by strong homeowners’ groups, the county Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors. Many families seek to locate in the region so children can attend the Kentfield School District, which offers the Anthony G. Bacich Elementary School and the Adaline E. Kent Middle School. The district features strong educational, parent, teacher, extracurricular and fund-raising groups.
Lots of residents prefer the family car, and traffic can get congested along Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, but there’s plenty of public transit. It’s just a short hop to the ferry terminal at Larkspur Landing.
The 1990 Census reported that average family income in the region tops $84,000 – double the 1980 figure. More than 56 percent of adults here have college degrees, with 26 percent holding post-graduate degrees.
Parks and Recreation
Greenbrae has one main park and several nearby hiking and biking trails. There is a Little League program for youth.
Average temperature is 59 degrees, with an average maximum temperature of 70 degrees and an average low of 48. From July to September, highs get into the 80s. Greenbrae doesn’t get too much fog, and since it is inland it tends to be hotter in the summer than other communities closer to the coast. It?s renowned for its great weather.