Kentfield is located on the Northwestern Pacific Railroad, about two miles southwest of downtown San Rafael. Its naturally beautiful setting—nestled at the base of Mount Tamalpais—has made it a preferred community for upper-middle-class and wealthy residents who crave a quieter life in a wooded, country atmosphere. Many of the residences in Kentfield offer low-profile roofs and are set on large lots, thoughtfully set back from streets that meander among majestic pine, redwood and manzanita trees.
The story of Kentfield’s origins began in 1857, when James Ross bought Rancho Punta de Quentin. Ross, a Scot who had arrived in San Francisco from Australia in 1848 and made his fortune in the wholesale liquor business, set up a trading post called “Ross Landing,”which attracted steamers from Corte Madera Creek. Albert Emmet Kent, a Chicago meat packer, and his wife, Adaline,bought the land from the Ross estate in 1871. They later donated 23 acres of land for a community recreation center, which became the site for the College of Marin as part of the California Community College system. Their son William, who became a U.S. congressman and an ardent conservationist, also donated Muir Woods as a national park. The Kent family built an estate called Tamalpais, which was changed to Kent in the 1890s and finally to Kentfield with the opening of the first post office in 1905.