One of Marin’s most congested intersections has an intriguing history.
IN THE 1860s, two county roads met in San Anselmo, and that junction, which by 1875 would include a rail line, became known as “the Hub.” In the 1920s, one of those county roads grew into a city street; later named Red Hill Avenue. Then, in the early 1930s, the other county road was dubbed Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, which eventually became Marin County’s major east-west artery, running 48 miles from San Quentin State Prison to the historic Point Reyes Lighthouse. “Crossing the Hub was always a bit of an adventure,” writes historian Barry Spitz in San Anselmo: A Pictorial History. “The end of the railroad in 1941 eliminated one danger, but that was more than offset by the rise of automobile traffic. Drivers got through by waiting their turn and the Hub came to be known as ‘the courtesy intersection.’ ” But as the above 1969 photo shows, driver courtesy eventually required police captain Chet Orr’s personal direction. In 1972, traffic lights were installed, and over time the area returned to being referred to as simply “the Hub.”