OVERVIEW: Because the town of Kentfield is unincorporated, it is governed by the Marin County Board of Supervisors, who are known to pay close attention to the wishes of the residents, especially concerning development. An upper middle class to wealthy community, Kentfield is nestled at the base of Mt. Tam, bordered by Larkspur and Ross.
The name "Kentfield" is taken from the family of Albert Kent, a Chicago meat packer who, along with his wife Adaline, settled in the area in 1872. Adaline donated twenty-three acres of land for a community recreation center; which later became the site for the College of Marin, which is part of the California Community College system. Albert and Adaline's son William, who became a U.S. congressman and an ardent conservationist, donated Muir Woods as a national park.
The homes in this area are generally set well back from the streets which meander among pine, redwood and manzanita. The low-profile roofs of these spacious homes, mostly set on large lots, are designed to blend in with the natural surroundings and offer a wooded, country feeling.
Greenbrae, site of an old dairy ranch, has its modern roots in the family of Niels Schultz Sr., a pioneer Marin developer who liked the sound of "brae", Scottish for hillside. The family bought the 700-acre Greenbrae Ranch near Larkspur in 1946. Early residential development focused on smaller homes under a postwar edict setting a $10,000 limit on building materials used for home construction. More recent additions to the community provide larger quarters. Suburban growth was augmented by construction of the popular Bon Air Center, home of a number of growing businesses including a Mollie Stones market, a popular shopping destination for neighbors and residents. Because of the way development and annexation proceeded, many Greenbrae homes are actually in Larkspur, but are all served by the Kentfield School District. The Kent family name is emblazoned across Marin. It all began when family patriarch Albert Emmett Kent bought an 800-acre valley that would later become Kentfield. His son William, was a Marin congressman, philanthropist and founder of Muir Woods. Among the area's many attributes: gracious homes, stunning views, wooded neighborhoods and good schools, to name a few. When it rains, it pours in Kentfield. Although some claim it rains more in nearby Ross, where no official measurement is taken, firehouse records indicate Kentfield is the wettest spot in the Bay Area. Average rainfall is about 47 inches.
HOUSING: In addition to the gracious upscale homes that mark both Greenbrae and Kentfield, the community offers waterfront living in arks and other structures off the Greenbrae Boardwalk, which borders Corte Madera Creek on the east side of Highway 101. Houses high on piers share space with herons, egrets and pelicans. It's a mix of both the elegant and funky. There are condo neighborhoods, including Spyglass Hill, which offers sweeping views. There's no end to the area's magnificent vistas of the bay and Mount Tamalpais. Zoning matters are monitored by strong homeowner's groups, the county Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors.
EDUCATION: Many families seek to locate in the region so children can attend the Kentfield School District, which offers the Anthony G. Bacich Elementary School and the Adaline E. Kent Middle School. The district features stong educational, parent, teacher, extracurricular and fund-raising groups.
TRANSPORTATION: Lots of residents prefer the family car, and traffic can get congested along Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, but there's plenty of public transit. It's just a short hop to the ferry terminal at Larkspur Landing.
DEMOGRAPHICS: The 1990 Census reported that average family income in the region tops $84,000 - double the 1980 figure. More than 56 percent of adults here have college degrees, with 26 percent holding post-graduate degrees.
PARKS AND RECREATION: Greenbrae has one main park and several nearby hiking and biking trails. There is a Little League program for youth.
AMENITIES: Aside from the shops and businesses at Bon Air Market, there's an amenity of sorts not available in many neighborhoods - medical services. Greenbrae is home of Marin General Hospital, the county's largest medical facility, and a wide range of clinics and medical specialty offices. There's also plenty of shopping and dining opportunities at nearby Larkspur Landing., where the historic Remillard Brickyard is now home to Bolero restaurant. Recreational opportunities include a number of tennis clubs. Kentfield is home of College of Marin.
WEATHER: Average temperature is 59 degrees, with an average maximum temperature of 70 degrees and an average low of 48. From July to September, highs get into the 80s. Greenbrae doesn't get too much fog, and since it is inland it tends to be hotter in the summer than other communities closer to the coast.