Famous for the iconic views of the Golden Gate Bridge, waterfront restaurants, and the Bay Area Museum, Sausalito is one of the cities worth visiting in California. It is located in Marin County at the northern end of the popular Golden Gate bridge. Due to its geographic location, the city includes both steep, forested hillsides, and tidal flats along the coast. The name ‘Sausalito’, in Spanish means “Small Willow Grove”. The naming for the city has a very rich historical background that begins in the 1800s.

Based on the Sausalito Historical Society information, an English seaman named William Richardson married the daughter of a Mexican military garrison (known as ‘Comandante of El Presidio’) in San Francisco in 1838. After Mexico won its independence from Spain in 1822, Richardson was the second mate aboard the British whaling ship Orion in the bay. His travels enabled him to be fluent in Spanish that led him to meet Maria Antonia Martinez in an all-night fiesta (a Spanish term for the festival).


Richardson grew to be such an influential figure in Mexican territory that in 1825, he had assumed citizenship in the country. Maria Antonia is actually the eldest daughter of Ygnacio Martinez, commandant of the US army military fort ‘Presidio of San Francisco’. Having the interest to expand his own landholdings, he submitted a request to the Mexican governor José María de Echeandía. The request refers to a rancho on the headlands across the Golden Gate from the Presidio, which was later on called ‘Rancho Saucelito’. Richardson prospered with his number of successful ventures and partnerships.

More than 19,000 acres were granted in 1838 to Richardson. It is believed that the land was called ‘Saucelito’ which is one of its early variants. Other different names at the time, to give a few examples, are San Salita, San Saulito, San Salito, Sancolito, Sancilito, Sousalita, Sousilita, Sausilito, and Sauz Saulita. The modern-day name ‘Sausalito’ was derived from ‘Sauzalito’ that directly translates to ‘small willow grove’. In the present time, the body of water fronting Marin County was named after him which is called Richardson’s Bay.

Richardson eventually lost his extensive holdings, and the Sausalito Land and Ferry Company bought the majority of Rancho del Sausalito in 1868. They built up streets and split the central waterfront and hills into outstanding view lots, then bought the Princess, a small streamer, to bring in potential buyers from San Francisco.

It became once the site of a Coast Miwok settlement – indigenous people that originally inhabited the general area of Nothern California that is now known as Marin County and the Southern Sonoma County. The ferries docking then led to the development of railroads that made it a transportation hub. However, the completion of the Golden Gate Bridge led to the discontinuance of the train and ferry services in 1937, though the last southbound passenger train arrived in town in 1941.

The city is truly one of the most tourist-friendly areas in California today, with its interesting past, promotion of diversity and robustness.


 Photo Credits: Marinfirehistory.org and Neighborhoods.com