Bob Caine, a longtime Kentfield School District superintendent, always held a deep interest in the history of the Kentfield School District. He recognized how its schools had served as a hub for the unincorporated towns of Kentfield and Greenbrae since the schools’ inception. Bob felt it was time to create a published history that focused on the schools and the communities they served—before people and stories were forgotten.
In 2010, Bob’s enthusiasm coalesced into the formation of a volunteer research committee consisting of past and present school parents, teachers, administrators and community members. As the committee continued to grow in size, local historian Richard Torney urged the group to hold a centennial celebration to recognize the 1914 opening of Kent School and to showcase their final work. District administration and greater community participation joined their efforts and, during 2011, the committee was reformed into into a 501c3 nonprofit corporation with a 15-member board and renamed the Kentfield Greenbrae Historical Society.
Planning and research efforts continued. Bob Caine contracted with local historian and author, Dewey Livingston, to create a published history with the ongoing support of the KGHS. As the newly-minted KGHS focused on planning the Centennial, it also completed its collection of 40-plus articles highlighting key school and community events and personalities from the past 100 years. Dewey conducted his own extensive and time-consuming research which resulted in the almost 400-page masterpiece entitled “In the Heart of Marin: The History of Kentfield and Greenbrae, California“. Dewey’s captivating history begins with the Coast Miwok and the land and concludes with the Kentfield Schools of 2013, bringing people and events to life through its engaging prose, historic photographs and maps of Kentfield/Greenbrae and surrounding areas.
As part of Dewey’s research, he worked with volunteers to collect oral histories from past and current residents of Kentfield and Greenbrae. Recorded by KGHS members and Kent Middle School eighth graders, the resulting 100-plus oral history interviews were published into two books and sold alongside “In the Heart of Marin” at the Centennial celebration.
As everyone hoped, the Centennial Celebration was a huge community-wide success! Ultimately, the event grew in scope and size to include participation by many local businesses and organizations. It drew large crowds and featured lectures, games, music, special performances, reunions, food, books and other items for purchase.
Following the Centennial Celebration, the KGHS created a formal membership and expanded its relationships with community organizations, educational institutions and local public entities. Today it continues to offer regular lectures, events and presentations for its membership and network with other historical organizations. And, with great thanks to its partnership with the Marin County Free Library, it is creating a permanent home in the Anne T. Kent California Room to permanently house its collections for the public.
Please help us preserve our collections! Donate now to ensure the KGHS’s collections are available for generations to come!