County of Marin - News Releases - Drake Boulevard History

For Immediate Release
August 05, 2020

Session on Drake Boulevard History Rescheduled for August 17

Online videoconference to address widespread interest in renaming Marin road

San Rafael, CA – A public online learning session about Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, one of Marin’s primary thoroughfares, has been rescheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, August 17. The planned August 5 session was postponed because of scheduling conflicts with several other videoconferences pertaining to similar civil rights topics.

Traffic along Sir Francis Drake Boulevard in Greenbrae.The learning session will be a chance to learn more about the namesake of Sir Francis Drake Boulevard.

The educational videoconference was prompted by a grassroots effort to have Sir Francis Drake Boulevard renamed because of its namesake’s documented history as a 16th century slave trader. The Marin County Free Library, which is hosting the session, has just created a history resource webpage on the subject.

The session will be moderated by Chantel Walker, the library’s assistant director. The session will start at 6 p.m. and will be closed captioned, offer Spanish interpretation and ASL/CDI interpretation (available via Zoom webinar ID: 924 8372 9278; Password: 798119). Viewers may watch the webcast live on the County’s main Facebook page and the Community Media Center of Marin’s Education Channel. Comcast TV subscribers may watch on Channel 30 or AT&T 99. Video of the session will later be placed on the library’s website.

Marin County Supervisors Katie Rice and Dennis Rodoni co-hosted an online listening session June 26 about one of the most important transportation arteries in Marin. More than 300 people participated in the videoconference. Rice, from District 2, and Rodoni, from District 4, represent the residents who live along the Drake Boulevard corridor that connects San Francisco Bay and the Pacific coast. Public feedback was both in favor of and opposed to renaming the road, and there was interest in learning more about its history, Sir Francis Drake, and Marin’s indigenous inhabitants through the centuries.

The August 17 learning session will feature current and historic perspectives from:

  • Tribal Vice Chair Lorelle Ross, Cultural Resources Specialist Matthew Johnson, and Tribal Heritage Preservation Officer Buffy McQuillen, all of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria (Coast Miwok and Southern Pomo);
  • Dr. Jordan Lieser, Dominican University of California, and;
  • Author and Historian Dewey Livingston, who has spent 35 years researching and telling stories of Marin’s past.

After the presentations, the panelists will answer questions. Email questions by 5 p.m. August 16 or use the Q&A feature during the Zoom session August 17.

Thousands of people have signed an online petition in recent weeks in support of renaming the road. The County of Marin’s Department of Public Works (DPW) maintains 35.3 miles of the boulevard’s 42.9 miles of pavement. Drake Boulevard runs through the municipalities of Larkspur, Ross, San Anselmo, and Fairfax, plus the unincorporated areas of Greenbrae, Kentfield, Woodacre, San Geronimo, Forest Knolls, Lagunitas, Olema, Inverness Park and Inverness.

Drake, an English explorer, is believed to have anchored his ship off Marin’s Pacific Coast and made landfall in 1579. According to, Drake participated in some of the earliest English slaving voyages to Africa starting in 1567, and he earned a reputation for his piracy against Spanish ships and possessions.

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If you are a person with a disability and require an accommodation, requests may be made by calling (415) 473-4381 (Voice), Dial 711 for CA Relay, or by email at least five business days in advance of the event. The County will do its best to fulfill requests received with less than five business days’ notice. Copies of documents are available in alternative formats upon request.


Brent Ainsworth
Public Information Specialist
County Administrator's Office

3501 Civic Center Drive
Suite #421
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-3084
Email: Brent Ainsworth
County Administrator website