Downtown Novato


Grant Avenue  – Downtown Novato

Grant Avenue was developed in the 1880′s as a result of the establishment of the train depot.  It has been the thriving heart of Novato ever since.  The original businesses and their owners shaped the development of Novato, their legacy is evident all over the downtown area.  Many of the original buildings still exist today, making downtown Novato a charming and inviting place to visit.

The Downtown Novato Business Association (DNBA) has been supporting downtown Novato businesses since 1929.

The DNBA thanks the Novato History Guild and Mike Read for all the photographs and their descriptions on this page.

This is the first picture of Novato. View from Reservoir Hill looking west, circa 1890. Railroad Avenue in foreground with depot at lower left. Buildings on Grant Avenue are “Novato House” hotel; Scott’s store at far right and Novato School just above Scott’s.


1909 Picture of Grant Avenue looking east from Redwood Blvd. Building on the right is the Scott store and just to the left of it is the Hamilton store. The street between them is Sherman Ave.


1920′s picture of Grant Ave from the Depot looking west. The building on the right was erected prior to 1890 by the Home and Farm Company which found the location near the railroad station an ideal place for a collection point for the dairy products shipped aboard the train and for the grains and feed shipped into Novato. It was right across the street from the old Novato Town House which was the leading hotel and bar of the day in the busiest section of town. Just above it is the DRUIDS hall then known as the Loustaunau Hall, a hotel and saloon called “The Club” built in 1899.


This picture was taken in 1946 showing Highway 101 (Redwood Blvd), Grant, Vallejo and Olive Avenue and 1st to 7th street. Highway 101 is being widened to 4 lanes, that is why there are no buildings on the west side of 101. To the far left top you can see Pini store being built on Grant Ave which is the first to be built on the south side of Grant. The Village Inn (now the Big-O store) had just been moved from Grant Avenue and Hwy 101 to Vallejo Ave and Hwy 101.


This picture taken in 1955 shows Grant Ave. from Redwood Blvd west. In the bottom of the picture is the first fire station of Novato and Dervin Ford to the left is the Pini store and just above the fire station is Anderson Chevrolet.

DNBA and the City of Novato

The Downtown Novato Business Association is a volunteer based non-profit responsible for creating, organizing, supporting and marketing Downtown Novato public events. The organization is funded by the City of Novato through assessments of the member businesses. Next time you are in Downtown Novato, thank your favorite local business for their support.

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Or visit the City of Novato website

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