From Native Americans and Spanish explorers, to rum runners and hippies, Sausalito’s story boasts a rich and fascinating history filled with interesting characters amidst stunning settings.
For thousands of years the verdant area was home to a Coast Miwok settlement known as Liwanelowa. The Coast Miwoks enjoyed plentiful fish and game, including deer, elk, bear, sea lions, seals and otters. The Spaniards who visited the territory in 1775 reported the native peoples to be peaceful, friendly and hospitable.
The first European to arrive that year was Don Jose de Canizares, head of an advance party from the ship San Carlos. He was charged with finding a place to anchor the ship near shore. He not only found excellent anchorage, he and his party noted the large amount of food and fresh water resources, as well as an abundance of mature timber in the hills, perfect for creating masts and planking for ships. The Spaniards dubbed the site “Saucelito”, named for the clusters of willows they spied growing along streams in the woods.