The cover of a book depicting a rope swing over the bay

Marin Tales

A collection of articles and essays from the early history of Marin County, California. Some are essays researched and written by the author, Brian K. Crawford; others are articles from 19th-century newspapers about interesting events that happened in the county. Learn about the route of El Camino Real through Marin, the Black Hole of Marin, the proposed Prismoidal Railroad to Sonoma County, the Bolinas stagecoach holdup, the haunted jail cell, the ghost of Tamalpais, disastrous wildfires and storms, and numerous murders and disappearances. 191 pages, many illustrations. $15.

Buy from LuLu
The cover of the book with a picture of a rock in the bay

Lost Islands of San Francisco Bay

There used to be many more islands in San Francisco Bay - Arch Rock standing out in the center of the Golden Gate with its scenic tunnel; Shag Rock, which figured in a duel and two celebrated murder cases; Anita Rock, which sank a ferry loaded with orphans; Mission Rock with its docks and warehouses; Rincon Rock, now under the tower of the Bay Bridge; Blossom Rock between Alcatraz and North Beach that sank several ships; Agnes Island, a former ferry terminal, now buried under the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge; and South Marin Island, the third of the Marin Islands, which still exists under a popular hiking trail.

Most of these rocks and islands were blasted away in spectacular explosions as hazards to navigation. Others were built over. Learn the histories of these islands and the many vessels that came to grief on them. Hear about the various uses they were put to and the massive projects to remove them.

Local historian, researcher, and lecturer Brian K. Crawford has researched the histories of each of these islands and will tell you their stories, illustrated by numerous historical maps, photos, drawings, and newspaper articles. You won’t look at the Bay the same way after reading this fascinating book.

Buy from Amazon
The cover of the book with a period painting of a ship in a storm.

Shipwrecks of Marin

Marin County, just north of San Francisco, is a graveyard of ships. Its steep rock-bound shores, treacherous currents and frequent fogs have been the doom of hundreds of ships for over four hundred years. Local historian Brian K. Crawford has done extensive research fleshing out the details of famous wrecks from contemporary accounts, and identifying more than a hundred wrecks not documented elsewhere. Many of these are disasters within San Francisco Bay. Many of these tales are full of danger and heroism, of pathos and high adventure. Terrified passengers cling to overturned steamers or clutch at rocks in the pounding seas. Seamen clamber up cliffs to escape certain destruction. One captain runs two ferries aground and sinks a yacht all in one day. The vessels range from Spanish treasure galleons to garbage scows, clipper ships to floating dry docks. If you love ships and the sea or tales of danger and adventure, or if you just want to know more about the many wrecks that dot our coasts, you will find this book endlessly entertaining.

Buy from Amazon
Cover of the book showing a scene from a black and white recreation of a stagecoach on the Bolinas Fairfax road.

The Bolinas-Fairfax Road

“The History of One of Marin's Most Scenic Roads”

The spectacularly scenic and curvy Bolinas-Fairfax is a favorite of many Marin residents, but few know its history. Built in 1878 and originally going to San Rafael, not Fairfax, it was an important connection with the remote coast. Meet the men who planned it, the surveyor who designed it, and the contractors who built it. Learn of its many routes over the years. A racist militia attack against the Chinese laborers was narrowly averted. A stagecoach line operated on it for 37 years, run by a string of colorful characters. Mud, landslides, wild animals, earthquakes, runaways, fires, overturns, and a holdup reveal the fascinating history of this famous road. 191 pages, extensively annotated, with 70 pictures, 25 maps, and an index.

Buy from Amazon

Contact me at brian@briancrawford.info for queries, book signings, or events - I have created presentations about the Bolinas-Fairfax Road, Shipwrecks of Marin, Lost Islands, The Wreck of the Hanalei, and To Build a Trail. I would love to one bring to your next event!