County of Marin - News Releases - Sir Francis Drake Boulevard

For Immediate Release
July 29, 2020

Presentation on Drake Boulevard History Aug. 5

Online learning session addresses widespread interest in renaming Marin road

AUGUST 3 UPDATE: This August 5 event has been postponed and will be rescheduled.

San Rafael, CA – A Marin County historian, a representative from local indigenous tribes, and a history professor are lined up to be the featured guests for online learning session August 5 about Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, one of Marin’s primary thoroughfares. The session was prompted by a grassroots effort to have the road renamed because of its namesake’s documented history as a 16th century slave trader.

Traffic along Sir Francis Drake Boulevard in Greenbrae.An online learning session about the history of Sir Francis Drake and his namesake boulevard is set for August 5.
The session will be moderated by Chantel Walker, assistant director of the Marin County Free Library. The session will start at 6 p.m. and will be closed captioned, offer Spanish translation 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 5 learning session will feature current and historic perspectives from:

  • Lorelle Ross, Vice Chair 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 4 or use the Q&A feature in Zoom.

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 #325
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-3084
Email: Brent Ainsworth
County Administrator website