In 1877, a sawmill run by Alexander Duncan was sending its lumber to the growing city of San Francisco, whose population was booming after gold was discovered in another sawmill in 1848.
The name “Duncan” stuck and became the namesake for this small town near the meandering Russian River. In the 1870s, a railroad linked Duncans Mills to Sausalito and its ferry boats.
About a century later, a restoration project revitalized the area that is situated on both sides of State Route 116. Only about 200 people live here today, so it’s an Old West town of unique shops, about five miles from the coast, and about 80 miles from San Francisco, where literally everybody knows your name.