The small-town feel of Larkspur stretches north to the unincorporated area of Greenbrae. Incorporated in 1908, Larkspur was named after the blue flowers that grew throughout the town. In actuality, the flowers weren’t larkspur—a plant native to England—but lupine. Regardless, the name stuck.
The city of Larkspur has nearly doubled in population every 10 years from 1920 to 1970, from just 612 residents to 10,487. Today, Larkspur counts about 12,800 as residents. Despite its growth over the decades, downtown Larkspur has remained largely unchanged. Larkspur’s Downtown Historic District, known also as Old Downtown Larkspur, has particularly retained its character, thanks to preservation-minded residents. The district was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982, with the restored art deco Lark Theater as its anchor. A medley of specialty shops, boutiques, Queen Anne Victorians, cafes and first-class restaurants can be enjoyed by taking a relaxing stroll down Magnolia Avenue. There’s also the Escalle Winery, built in the 1890s by a young Frenchman, Jean Escalle, who planted the northern hillsides of Larkspur with wine grapes.The Murphy mansion, constructed in 1888 and now home to the world-famous restaurant Lark Creek Inn, is another important monument that still stands today.