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Asset Map: Fairfax Country Club

June 18, 2015

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Marin Town & Country Club aka “Fairfax Country Club ~ Photos from Patch & Fairfax Historical Society.

When I first moved to Fairfax, a friend told me to find out what was happening with the defunct “Fairfax Country Club”.   I had never even heard of it, but then – when grabbing a quick bite tonight to-go from the bar at Iron Springs Pub (the only place open past 9:30 pm I might add, wtf) – I sat next to James Reed who lives on the Country Club property.  Nice!  He runs Tree Monkey Fun business, teaching kids how to climb trees higher than you ever dreamed to fund more technical tree-climbing equipment and skills for an Ecuadorian tribe that depends on their towering trees for sustenance and medicine.  Super cool….But, what’s up with that property?

James explained: The early missionaries or tribe sold the very first parcel of Fairfax to a Max Friedman in the early 1900s. (Google tells me that actually a Domingo Sais was first given the land for his service to the Mexican government, the land passed through a few hands during the 1800s — including Lord and Lady Fairfax, a fancy restaurant, Emporium Capwell for employee retreats, two women — and then eventually Max bought it in 1943 for $125k.) The parcel was essentially all the acreage of the Country Club + the current Fair-Anselm Plaza and Good Earth Grocery property. Max added to the first pool Emporium built, including six more pools, summer cabins, and recreational facilities.  Soon, the club turned into a popular respite for everyone in the city fogged in during the summertime months.

But by the 1970s, Max was in his 90s and over it.  His kids held it stagnant for a few decades, and then sold the 28 acres of the country club to the current owner, Michael Makintosh, for $5.5 million in 2002.  The property is zoned for “recreational use” only, and the only people allowed to live there are those who are in the legacy buildings.  So, basically, James lives in a repurposed locker room building of the club.

What’s the status of the pools and recreational areas?  They’re overgrown and “back to nature”, James says. His Tree Monkey Fun camp and another resident’s Flying Dutchman camp are the only activities going on there because Mr. Makintosh allegedly only trusts residents of the property to operate businesses there.  Hmmm.  Seems there is some cool potential here to put it back to use in how it was intended (and zoned)!


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