History of Duncans Mills
Duncans Mills was named for two brothers, Samuel and
Alexander Duncan who established a lumber mill in the early 1870’s. During that
time and into the 1890’s the brothers logged the redwoods which were sent by
boat to San Francisco to build its wooden Victorians.
By the turn of the century there were several large hotels
and the town was thriving. The 1906 earthquake leveled most of the buildings in
Duncans Mills – including the Depot. After the turn of the century, the town was
a destination spot via the Northwestern Pacific originating in Sausalito.
Travelers rode the train to Duncans Mills to fish, picnic, and enjoy the Russian
Greeting travelers as they arrive is the historic railroad
depot. It was built in 1907 and won the outstanding restoration for the State of
California in 1971. The depot showcases a regional museum which is open by luck
or by chance. Standing on narrow-gauge tracks are the restored Northwestern
Pacific railway coach, two box cars and Caboose #2, which was part of the last
train to Duncans Mills in 1935. Sweet memories of bygone days. The Freight Shed
houses the State of California Department of Parks and Recreation. Next door is Gold Coast Coffee & Bakery, which offers organic coffee,
wood fired oven-baked pastries and pizzas. Stop by to smell the roasting coffee
and have a light repast. Sweets 'n Stuff is located right next to
the Post Office where you never have to wait in line.
The Blue Heron Restaurant and Tavern
is the spot for food, drink and good company. Continue past the Blue Heron down
Steelhead Blvd and you will find The Inn at Duncans Mills. Beautiful
gardens, a hearty breakfast and antique-filled rooms invite the traveler.
Just behind the historic railroad depot is one
of the two area campgrounds, The Duncans Mills Camping
Club, a membership only campground, is the perfect camping experience and
welcomes tours. If you are looking for a non-members only option, go
over the bridge on Moscow Road and
you will find Casini Ranch Family Campground. They offer camping sites in sun or
shade along the Russian River and feature the famous “Brown’s Pool” for the
Across Highway #116, on the north side of town, the
historic DeCarly’s General Store, built in 1888, is still in operation as The
Duncans Mills General Store and offers a wide variety of good foods, gifts
Country Stores was built in 1876 by
Christopher Queen and was a hotel and livery stable in the last part of the 19th
century. Christopher Queen was a pony express rider who came to Duncans Mills in
the 1870’s .Today this restored building is surrounded by gardens of roses and
wisteria and includes Pig Alley, one of the oldest establishments in
Duncans Mills. Pig Alley was established in 1977, and features fine
crafts, jewelry and more. Jim & Willy’s, in Country Stores Courtyard, is
a treasure trove of fine antiques and collectibles. Up the stairs you will find Quercia Gallery which
offers contemporary sculpture, paintings and hand-finished frames and
frame restoration. Next to Country Stores on B Street you will find
Antiquarian & Florabunda, an enchanting mix of fine antiques and fabulous
fresh flowers, specializing in locally grown protea.
Cape Fear Cafe
is one of the most popular restaurants on the Russian River. The food is
scrumptious and gets rave reviews and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Great smells linger in the air! Nestled behind Cape Fear you will find
Mr. Trombly's Tea which specializes in unique teas, tea pots and gifts. Meandering along the
boardwalk you will find Studio Nouveau. This tiny shop is an exotic
boutique filled with jewelry, fine chocolates, and home and personal adornments.
is located on Main Street right next door to Cape Fear Cafe. It is housed
in one of the oldest buildings in Duncans Mills, John Orr’s Saloon, built in
1877. Inside Worldly Goods you will find exotic and exciting treasures
from all over the world.
Along the boardwalk, past the
fabulous rhododendrons, discover John Orr’s Gardens and Thistledown Antiques. Thistledown Antiques is located facing the beautiful
fountain in John Orr’s Gardens; purveyors of the curiously collectible and fine
antiques. Christopher Queen Galleries, established in 1976, has an
extensive collection of Contemporary and Early California Paintings displayed
among tasteful antiques.
greets the traveler heading west and touts the oldest building in Duncans Mills,
which was once located on Pig Alley on the south side of town. Walk through the
colorful garden and miniature vineyard and enjoy a taste of Sonoma County wines.
As you round the curve into Duncans
Mills from the east, to your immediate right, you will see The
Superintendent’s House snug against the hill.
For a special one day adventure or a
weekend stay in West Sonoma Country, do the loop west of Highway #101,
destination point, Duncans Mills. Call (707) 865-1318 for more information.