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OIompali State Historic Park

Olompali State Historic Park, on the east facing slopes of the Marin Peninsula, overlooks the Petaluma River and San Pablo Bay. The park is 2 and a half miles north of the City of Novato on US. 101. This 700-acre park features several historic buildings, including the adobe house of Camilo Ynitia. He was known as the last hoipu, headman of the miwok community living at Olompali, and the only Native American Indian, at the northern frontier to confirm his grant land in the beginning of the American period. Camilo Initia's Adobe is registered as a California Historical Landmark and is on the National Register of Historical places.

Camilo Initia Adobe
The name "Olompali" comes from the Coast Miwok language and likely means "Southern village" or "Southern people". The Miwok settlement at Olompali has been inhabited continuously since about 500 A.D. Archaeologist's have found many artifacts, but perhaps the most spectacular of these discoveries was an Elizabethan silver sixpence dated 1567, the time of Sir Francis Drake's landing in Marin County. The coin is presently in the collection of the Bancroft Library at the University of California at Berkeley and is thought to be one of the earliest known artifacts representing contact between European and North American Native American culture.

In 1828, expansion of Mission San Rafael Arcangel, just ten miles south of Olompali, was underway. It is reasonable to believe that the Olompalis learned adobe construction methods at this time. In a letter from Padre Amoros, dated 1828, a small house is noted at Olompali. This is the first of two adobes on the village site. It was the home of the hoipu of Olompali and the father of Camilo Ynitia. It is disputed whether the first adobe was dismantled to provide bricks for Camilo's adobe at about 1837. The second adobe measures 24 x 16 feet, 8 feet high with 3 foot thick walls. It had a thatch roof of salt marsh tulles. Its long axis is north-south. An adobe addition was made in 1840. The addition is at right angles and is attached on the west wall to form an "L" -shaped structure of three rooms. This is the only adobe in Marin county.

Camilo Ynitia was a cultural link between the California Indians and the Californios. He was respected as being "fine, intelligent, shrewd, clean-cut, capable, and punctual ". In October 1843, General Mariano Vallejo aided Camilo with his land grant application. Governor Micheltorena granted Camilo two square leagues (8,877 acres) of his ancestral lands. Olompali became officially Rancho Olompali. He traded wheat with the Russians at Fort Ross and livestock with Mexicans at Sonoma. His land grant was later confirmed by the U.S. Land Commission, making Ynitia the only Native American in northern California to have such a land title confirmed.

During the `Bear Flag Revolt" in June 1846, a brief, but violent skirmish took place between a troop of American Bear Flaggers and a Mexican force gathered at Camilo Ynitia's adobe. Several men were wounded and one man was killed. The fight was later popularized as " The Battle of Olompali."

In 1852, Ynitia sold most of his land to James Black, who gave the ranch to his daughter Mary, upon her wedding in 1863 to Dr. Galen Burdell a prominent San Francisco dentist. The state remained in the Burdell family until 1943, when it was sold to Count Harrington. A short time later, Harrington sold the property to the University of San Francisco. During the 1960s, the University "sold" Olompali several times. The various owner rented the ranch to various people. Their most famous tenant, the rock band Grateful Dead, lived here in 1966. The ranch became a gathering place for San Francisco's rock musicians. Icons such as Janis Joplin and Grace Slick visited Olompali. Don McCoy, a local business man -turned- "hippie", leased Olompali in 1967 and turned it into a utopian or hippie commune for a group known as "The Chosen Family". Finally, the State of California, together with Marin County, purchased the property in 1977 to preserve it as a State Historic Park.