Human history at Point Reyes extends back about 5000 years. The Coast Miwok Indians were the inhabitants of what we now call Marin and southern Sonoma Counties when European explorers first arrived at Point Reyes in the late 1500's, the first of whom was Francis Drake. By 1850, dairy ranchers had arrived on the scene, lured by the near-ideal conditions for raising cattle. As maritime commerce increased in the San Francisco Bay area in the late 1800's, a lighthouse and lifesaving station were constructed at Point Reyes to, respectively, alert ships' crews of the trecherous point and to save the passengers of those ships that didn't safely navigate past the point. In the early 1900's, Guglielmo Marconi sited and commissioned the building of wireless telegraphy transmitting stations in the area which formed the foundation for the most successful and powerful ship to shore and land station on the Pacific Rim. Point Reyes National Seashore preserves historic sites so that modern-day visitors may hear the stories of and form connections to the people who have previously lived at or visited Point Reyes.
Last updated: May 5, 2020