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Sleepy Hollow

A bit of history behind a Marin mansion with a familiar name.



It’s Halloween month, and we’re casting a shadow on the most spookily styled neighborhood in Marin and resurrecting a favorite Currents section in the process. Even though it’s a community these days, at one time the name Sleepy Hollow locally referred only to a mansion (pictured right), whose charred remnants are still visible today. Its story starts in 1838, when a man named Domingo Sais received a 6,659-acre land grant from General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo; the grant covered present-day Sleepy Hollow, Fairfax and parts of San Anselmo. Sais leased most of the land that is now Sleepy Hollow in the 1850s to Harvey Butterfield, who fittingly started a dairy farm on the property — Butterfield Road is named after him. The next owner went into foreclosure and the land came into the hands of the Hotalings, a wealthy San Francisco family. The Hotalings built a mansion at the end of Butterfield Road and named it Sleepy Hollow in honor of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” the famous short story written by their friend Washington Irving. They left the mansion soon after, however, returning to San Francisco. The mansion was permanently vacated in the 1950s and eventually burned down.

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