Enrollment in the Golden Gate Baptist Seminary on Strawberry Point had been declining since the 1970’s.
In 2014, the trustees decided to relocate to Southern California. North Coast Lands Holdings paid $84 million for the property. Their plan was to add 93 residential units and lease the campus buildings to Branson School in Ross.
Neighbors successfully killed the project.
The seminary campus had been established in 1959. The idea for a seminary in Marin originated in 1859 when Harvey Gilbert founded the San Rafael Baptist Institute – it lasted only a few years.
Many years later, Baptists resurrected Gilbert’s idea.
In 1934, a student at a Baptist seminary in Texas became pastor of a Baptist church in Oakland and helped organize the Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in a Berkeley location.
In 1953, the Seminary purchased acreage on Strawberry Point. In the 1940s it had been considered as a permanent location for the United Nations. Dedication of the 126-acre Seminary campus in 1959 attracted hundreds of visitors.
It was the largest theological school on the west coast with 26 buildings designed by John Carl Warnecke, an award-winning architect. The seminary was one of six owned by the Southern Baptist Convention.
(This feature is compiled by the Mill Valley Historical Society.)