The Tomales Regional History Center began in 1978, inspired by two Bicentennial events: a local PTA Founder’s Day, and the research conducted by two eighth grade students on early local schools.

Reflecting our early inspiration from and connection with the area schools, the region of our interest parallels that of the original Tomales High School district, extending from the Point Reyes Peninsula north to Bodega Bay, covering parts of western Marin and southwestern Sonoma Counties. Tomales High School, the district’s only secondary school, has traditionally united the large geographical region, and so it is fitting that we have found our permanent home in the old school’s auditorium.

The building we occupy was constructed in 1921 when the two-room 1912 Tomales High School was enlarged and remodeled (see c. 1930 photo, above). Nearly 50 years of graduations and proms, basketball games and school assemblies were held here before the school was moved to the new site just east of the town.

In 1977 the abandoned high school’s main building was destroyed by fire and the 1947 gymnasium was torn down in 2003. Thus the auditorium, restored in 1998 by the History Center as its headquarters and museum, is the only remaining representative of the original Tomales High School, whose existance is an important and admirable accomplishment of the town’s early citizens.

The interior of the building’s main floor is little changed from its days as a high school auditorium. The rows of large double-hung windows are all in working order. The original fir floor and tongue-in-grove wall paneling have been retained, and the stage is intact. The roof is supported by exposed trusses from which hang the original light fixtures. The basement level is now a comfortable meeting room, available for small community events.

Our archive includes:

The mission of the Tomales Regional History Center is to preserve and inspire interest in the region’s history through collection, exhibition, and interpretation, and to develop an awareness of the roll we all play in the greater continuum of that history.