San Anselmo is an incorporated town in Marin County, California, in the western United States. San Anselmo is located 1.5 miles (2.4 km) west of San Rafael, at an elevation of 46 feet (14 m). It is located about 20 miles (32 km) north of San Francisco. Neighboring towns include San Rafael to the east, Fairfax to the west, and Ross to the south. Mount Tamalpais dominates the view to the south. The population was 12,378 at the 2000 census. Among its notable inhabitants are Michael Jantze and George Lucas.
San Anselmo was mostly pastoral until 1874 when the North Pacific Coast Railroad (NPC) added to its line a spur track from San Anselmo to San Rafael. In 1875, the railroad completed a line from Sausalito to Tomales and north to Cazadero via San Anselmo. For a few years, the town was referred to on railroad maps as Junction, but in 1883, the name San Anselmo came back into use. The San Anselmo post office opened in 1892. Two postal substations were operated: Lansdale from 1924 to 1962, and Yolanda from 1924 to 1954.
From 1902 until the early 1940s, San Anselmo was part of Marin's Northwestern Pacific (in 1907, investors formed the NWP) Electric Train system. The oddly-shaped Miracle Mile and Center Boulevard's "raised roadbed" were the railroad's right of way. Becoming unprofitable as a result of competition from the automobile and the opening of the Golden Gate Bridge, the railway was officially closed on March 1, 1941. The last of the major San Anselmo railroad station buildings was razed in 1963, according to the town's timeline. Interestingly, the 1913 electric train schedule shows a commute time from San Anselmo to the Sausalito Ferry to the Ferry Building in San Francisco of a mere 58 minutes, including the 32 minute ferry transit.
San Anselmo incorporated in April 9, 1907. Its name came from the Punta de Quintin land grant, which marked this valley as the Canada del Anselmo (Valley of Anselm - an Indian who was buried in the area). San Anselmo was a silent film capital in the early 1900s. On March 12, 1974 San Anselmo officially became a town.
Most of the downtown antique and boutique stores and restaurants, for which San Anselmo is well known, are along the banks of San Anselmo Creek. Heavy rains caused the creek to flood in 1982, as well as recently on December 31, 2005.
The average high temperature is 85 °F (29 °C), in July, and the average low temperature is 41 °F (5 °C), in January and December. The record high was 111 °F (44 °C) in July, 1972, and record low was 18 °F (−8 °C) in December, 1990. Average rainfall is 47.47 inches (1,206 mm), with the rainiest month being January.
All but a sliver of San Anselmo lies within the 28-square-mile (73 km2) Ross Valley Watershed that flows into San Francisco Bay. The principle waterway of the town's portion of the watershed is San Anselmo Creek, a branch of Corte Madera Creek. Two of San Anselmo Creek's tributaries, Sleepy Hollow Creek and Sorich Creek, also flow through the town, as do East Fork Creek and West Fork Creek, Sorich Creek's two tributaries.
There are three main roads running through San Anselmo. Their junction is known as the Hub, which lies in the central business district. Sir Francis Drake Boulevard runs north from Ross, turns north-west at the Hub, and then proceeds west to Fairfax. Red Hill Avenue runs east from San Rafael, where it is called 4th Avenue, and into the Hub where it becomes Center Street. Center runs north-west from the Hub to Fairfax.
The town’s natural skyline is dominated by the hills of Ross Valley. To the north are Red Hill and Grove Hill. To the south-west is Bald Hill. To the east is Moore Hill. In the distance to the south is Mount Tamalpais.
As of the census of 2000, there were 12,378 people, 5,267 households, and 3,191 families residing in the town. The population density was 4,506.5 people per square mile (1,737.9/km²). There were 5,408 housing units at an average density of 1,968.9/sq mi (759.3/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 91.62% White, 1.05% African American, 0.40% Native American, 2.92% Asian, 0.12% Pacific Islander, 0.95% from other races, and 2.93% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.14% of the population.
There were 5,267 households out of which 30.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.5% were married couples living together, 8.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.4% were non-families. 28.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 2.84.
In the town the population was spread out with 21.8% under the age of 18, 4.4% from 18 to 24, 31.4% from 25 to 44, 31.1% from 45 to 64, and 11.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 89.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.4 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $71,488, and the median income for a family was $86,528. Males had a median income of $61,172 versus $47,170 for females. The per capita income for the town was $41,977. About 2.5% of families and 5.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.7% of those under age 18 and 3.1% of those age 65 or over.
San Anselmo operates on a council-manager form of government, where the elected Town Council creates policy but hires an apolitical town manager to implement the policy. The five-member town council is elected by the town at large. The largely ceremonial posts of mayor and vice-mayor rotate among the council. As of April 2008, San Anselmo's mayor was Ted Freeman, and the Town Manager was Debra Stutsman. Noted attorney Ford Greene was elected to the Council in 2007.
San Anselmo is home to a variety of schools: