Novato Community Information

The City of Novato is located 29 miles north of San Francisco, just off Highway 101. Incorporated in 1960 and encompassing 43 square miles with 3,500 acres of open space and parks, Novato is an agreeable mixture of a variety of neighborhoods. Waterfront communities, horse farms, and beautiful mansions are all part of the eclectic collection that is Novato.

Novato began as Rancho de Novato, a Spanish land grant given in 1839 to Fernando Feliz, but its roots are far deeper.

Olompali State Historical Park, just north of the city, is named for a key Miwok settlement, Olemaloke, that dates to 1300. Scholars debate the significance of an Elizabethan coin found nearby. Did it belong to Sir Francis Drake's crew that hit the coast in 1579.

The only battle of the Bear Flag Rebellion, which led to California's statehood, was fought at Olompali in 1846, and the Burdell family later established the first formal garden in Marin there in the 1870's.

The Chosen Family hippie commune — serenaded by Janis Joplin and the Grateful Dead — lived in the old Burdell mansion until it burned in 1969.

Hamilton Field, on the southeast side of the city, served as an Army airfield from 1935 to 1947 and continued miliatry operations to 1975. After years of wrangling, Hamilton opened in 1999 as a community of new homes. CAL LAND's Novato office is located at 7250 Redwood Blvd, Suite 208.

Novato is largely a bedroom community — more than 7,600 students are enrolled in the Novato Unified School District — but the city also has made its mark in business and industry. Shopping in Novato ranges form the traditional stores and boutiques on Grant Avenue in "Old Town" to the Vintage Oaks Shopping Center.

The city is home to Fireman's Fund Insurance, the county's largest private employer with about 2,500 workers.

The nonprofit Buck Institute for Research in Aging, located in a striking complex on the slopes of Mount Burdell, is on the leading edge of biomedical research and the science of aging.


Community Contacts

City Hall 897-4311
Chamber of Commerce 897-1164
Fire Department Information 892-1513
Police Department (non-emergency) 897-4361
Library 897-1141
Post Office 897-3171
School District 897-4201
Parks & Recreation 897-4323
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