Christmas at the Orphanage

by Laurie Thompson

Children from the Orphanage with Christmas Tree, 1912 © Pacific Monthly, Jan. 1912

Marin Journal, Jan. 3, 1901:

San Francisco Presbyterian Orphanage Building in San Anselmo, c.1900 © San Anselmo History Museum
Aerial view of San Anselmo with the Presbyterian Orphanage Building in the middle of the image, c.1900 © San Anselmo History Museum


The San Francisco Presbyterian Orphanage — today’s Sunny Hills Services [Now Side By Side] — opened on February 22, 1895 in a rented house in San Rafael. By 1898, the Orphanage needed more space and a three-story building was erected on a 20-acre parcel in San Anselmo. The new building was dedicated on February 10, 1900. It burned to the ground on May 2, 1922. Today, that site is occupied by the Parkside Apartments.

Thanks to Judy Coy of the San Anselmo Historical Museum for contributing the images.

For additional information on the history of Sunny Hills we suggest the following:

1. Spitz, Barry. San Anselmo: A Pictorial History. 2003.

2. Coy, Judy. Images of America: San Anselmo. 2013.

Originally published at



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Anne T. Kent California Room

The official Medium account of the archive of Marin County history & culture at the Marin County Free Library