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Bruce Macgowan is a longtime Sports Journalist who has worked in the Bay Area for 30 years, mostly in radio (17 years at KNBR.)  He was born in San Francisco and raised in Tiburon.  His childhood home was above Reed School in what he says used to be referred to as “Rolling Hills.”


Bruce says, “I grew up in Tiburon which, as you might imagine, was a much different place in those days. We still had the Northwestern Pacific Railroad running through town, we still had some cows and horses (my sister and her friends used to ride their horses in the hills up until the early 1980s when the staid, stuffy folks of Tiburon finally banned horses), and there was lots of open space for kids to roam.

goat-lady_tiburon_turning-the-tideI also vividly remember local characters, such as Blackie the sway backed horse, and Rosie Varral, the “goat lady” who lived in her little cottage for over half a century on the same site where the Audubon Society now sits.

My friends, Gunnar and Anders Carlsson, John Mayer, John Whitelaw and Chris Johnson and myself all used to camp out on the ridge of Mt Tiburon during summer nights. We would take a bunch of food with us and have a real feast, then lie in our sleeping bags under the stars and watch the beautiful lights of San Francisco reflect off the bay while the gentle fog wafted over the ridge in Sausalito.

The next morning we would head back to the Carlsson’s house on Round Hill Road (just across the street from my home) and Gunnar and Anders’ mom would make us a delightful breakfast of Swedish pancakes with lingonberry jam! Mr. Irving Moulin, who owned most of Mt Tiburon died a few years ago at age 103, and he was the man who unfortunately sold the land on the hill which was developed by real estate moguls. Enormous, obnoxious, over the top Hollywood Hills type mansions now desecrate the beauty of the ridge, and much of Tiburon has in my mind, been ruined by this kind of short-term, money driven thinking. My dad was an architect, and he designed and built the home we grew up in (in a sort of Frank Lloyd Wright style with exposed beams and floor to ceiling windows) and my parents still live in the same house now 50 years later.

The thing I enjoyed most about Tiburon was that it felt like a small town. People watched out for each other, and you went to school with the same kids for years. In those “Baby Boomer” days, it seemed as if every family had at least 3 or 4 kids, so you always had lots of friends to pal around with.


Please share your Tiburon memories in the Forum