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Title Oral History of Frank Canepa
Collection Oral History
Scope & Content Frank Canepa was born January 1, 1896, in Varazze, Italy, between Genoa and the French Riviera. He came to America in 1913 at 16 years old, speaking no English, and worked for two uncles in San Francisco and Oakland. He soon took odd jobs at various farms, specializing in produce, and eventually owned a produce store in San Francisco with a partner. A difference of opinion resulted in his partner buying him out for $1,000, and Frank decided he didn't like the weather in San Francisco and looked all around the Bay Area for a suitable place to start his own grocery store. When he finally came to Mill Valley, driving an old Whippet auto, he fell in love with the trees, the greenery and general ambience that reminded him of the weather in Genoa. He opened his first store in 1929 on the exact day of the great Mill Valley fire and spent the time fighting the fire on Mt. Tam. Frank steadfastly insisted on selling only the finest quality produce and built a reliable and loyal customer base. He finally opened what is now the Mill Valley Market in 1951, eventually handing management to his sons Jim and Bob Canepa.

Editor's note, August 5th, 2016: The transcript for this oral history interview differs in several ways from the audio recording. We believe it was modified at the time of transcription in 1977 to provide clarifications and improve readability.

Audio and Transcript Click here to hear recording.
Click here to read the transcript.
Dates of Creation 1977-11-26
Narrator's name Canepa, Frank
Interviewer Mosher, Jean
Creator Mill Valley Historical Society
Search Terms 2 AM Club
204 Reed Street
208 Reed Street
303 LaVerne Avenue
American Distillery
Azavedo, Jacintio (Jacinct)
Bettencourt, Fred
Bettencourt, Joseph
Bettencourt, Manual
Bettencourt, Manual (Jr.)
Bettencourt, Mary
Bettencourt, Tony
Blackie's Pasture
Brabo Construction
Brabo, Beatrice
Brabo, George
Brabo, Loretta
Brabo, Mary
Brabo, Tony
Brazil, Mary
Brown Jug
Brown's Hall
Brown, Bill
Brown, Hilda
Cooper, John
Cunha ranch
Dias, Jim
Diaz ranch
Dowd's Moving and Storage
Evergreen Avenue
Ezekial, Doc
Ezekial, Patricia
Ferrera, Louis
Fostine, John
Fostine, Manuel
Frank's Valley
George, Albert
Gomez, Manny
Hartwell, Ben
Herb's Chevrolet
Homestead boardwalks
Homestead Grocery
Homestead Hall
Homestead School
Homestead Valley
Hornsby, Joe
Japanese camps
Johnson, Sonia
King, Joe
Landmarks Society History Collection
Linden Lane
Locust Station
Madrone Park
Mason's distillery
McCurdy, Mary
McCurdy, William
Montford Avenue
Mt. Tam
Muir Beach
Muir Woods
Okubara, Mirika
Old Mill School
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Catholic Church
Park School
Pimental ranch
Prohibition Police (prohibes)
Red Cart market
Reed's dairy
Rynders, Fred
Santos, Joe
Santos, Manuel
Santos, William
Selective Service
Shapiro, Herb
Silva, Joaquin
Silva, Mary
Silva, Simiana
Slide Ranch
Stinson Beach
Stinson Beach hot springs
Summit School
Sutliffe, Frank
Tam Canyon slide
Tamalpais High School
Tennessee Valley
Von der Werth, Albert
World War I
Object ID 1977.001.001
Object Name Recording
Copyrights Transcript and recording copyright Mill Valley Public Library, 1977. Materials are made available for research purposes only; all rights are reserved to the Mill Valley Public Library. Requests for permission to quote for publication or for any other usage must be obtained from the Library.