FINALE – Hutchinson Co. Quarry, Larkspur Landing, CA

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Having passed under the railway trestle the bus lurched east on Sir Francis Drake toward the Hutchinson Co. Quarry. The Hutchinson Co. mill lay ahead at the point where Sir Francis Drake Boulevard curves south east.

school bus sfd 1.gif

Before crashing into the quarry Harry and Scorpio aimed guns at each other from opposite sides of the windscreen.

harry v scorpio near remillard

As a pickup approaches you can see a distant small cottage to the right of screen.

remillard-and-harry-with-gun

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When I first visited this area in 2009 it seemed the Hutchinson Quarry site had been obliterated by Larkspur Landing mall and apartments. It appeared there was nothing left from 1971 that was identifiable, no relics, no commemorative plaques, nothing.

 

But reader Alex Rokas recently pointed out that the distant small cottage that can be seen through the windscreen is still there:

“There is still one building left from 1971 that was at the rock quarry. At 1:32:17 in the movie still you can see it on the right. It is now a day care center on the corner of Lincoln Valley [Village] Circle. It can be see on the google map. It is a one story grey building with a dark roof.”

Here’s a closeup of the cottage from the frame above:

SFD house

Alex is absolutely right. Here’s the same cottage now at Lincoln Village Circle via Google StreetView:

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So what’s the history of this wonderful fragment from Dirty Harry we can still see today next to the old quarry site? Remillard Cottage (also called the Greenbrae Brickyard Superintendent’s Cottage) is host to the Children’s Cottage Cooperative preschool located at 2900 Larkspur Landing Cir, Larkspur, CA 94939. The cottage was built in 1891 and the school began in 1949. That means that the school was operating at the time Dirty Harry was being filmed.

Here’s another view of the cottage today from approximately the same angle as it appeared in the film:

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Another reader, Russ, made contact to share how he had lived in the cottage as a child and had played in the quarry buildings and on the pier above the water:

Russ and Remillard

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In the 21st century, and only a few minutes walk up the street from the cottage, a Courtyard Marriott hotel sits over the top of where quarry buildings once were. You can grab a coffee from Starbucks, which sits close to where the lake was, and then walk onto Old Quarry Road.

The name says it all

The name says it all

But where was the lake located?

A photo at The Geologic Foundations of Ring Mountain  is useful for two reasons. Firstly, the author, discussing the scene from a geological perspective, says “…The light colored rocks in this photo are rhyolites used to fill the pond where Dirty Harry finished off the bad guy.” (Source)  Secondly, in the top right corner of the same image were newly built Larkspur Shores Apartments now known as “Serenity at Larkspur“). The photo is undated but shows condos located at the corner of Old Quarry Rd N and Lincoln Village Circle.

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Larkpsur Shores apartments on Lincoln Village Circle next to lake being filled

Larkpsur Shores apartments on Lincoln Village Circle next to lake being filled

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During my visit in 2009 the apartments looked much the same as they appeared in the photo above when the lake was filled in.

The same Larkspur Shores Apartments in 2009

The same Larkspur Shores Apartments (“Serenity at Larkspur“) in 2009

More recently they’ve been given a significant makeover:

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There’s also an excellent aerial view from historicaerials.com which will let you see the location as it appeared in 1946. 1946 is the only image at the site that let’s you see the area before it was developed. Look closely and you can see the shadow of the mill building and the twin conveyer buildings right behind. It appears that the lake bed was dry at that time. If you visit historicaerials.com be sure to toggle the ‘Overlays’ button, and select ‘All Roads’ to see how the roads today sit over the old quarry location.

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As credits start to roll the view looks west up Sir Francis Drake toward the trestle. You can see Wood Island, which years later became the car park for the Golden Gate Ferry service. To the lower right of the frame 01:37:46 (below) is where Old Quarry Rd is situated today.

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View west in 1971

View west in 1971

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Old Quarry Rd N, as it is now known, continued around the back of the old lake and is now a carpark. The location where the carpark now lies can be seen behind Scorpio at 01:34:46 (below):

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Old Quarry Rd N behind Scorpio - now a carpark and track

Old Quarry Rd N behind Scorpio – now a carpark and track

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An excellent home video clip of the lake being filled in 1988 can be watched here at youtube.

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Old Quarry Road N is a quiet lane of carparks for the apartments built over the lake. Next to the carpark, over a slight ridge, is a track where you can walk along the base of the cliffs that can be seen in frame 01:34:46 (above):

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2009 - carparking on Old Quarry Road N

Carpark on Old Quarry Road N

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cliff4

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cliff6

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The ghost of the lake lives on. The object in the photo below, located where the track ends close to Lincoln Village Circle, appears to be a wick drain. Wick drains are designed to accelerate the time it takes for compressed earth to settle by allowing water to escape. Peering down into it I could see water about 20 feet below.

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Wick drain at the end of the track at Lincoln Village Circle and Old Quarry Rd N

Wick drain at the end of the track at Lincoln Village Circle and Old Quarry Rd N

22 Responses to FINALE – Hutchinson Co. Quarry, Larkspur Landing, CA

  1. boomerd35 says:

    Man I wish that lake was still there. How many of us would love to go there now and toss our metaphorical badges into that lake?

  2. rick says:

    I’ve enjoyed your web site very much. This film has been one of my favorites, ever since I first saw it in the early 1970’s. Great job.

  3. Robert Shumake says:

    Hey very nice blog!!….I’m an instant fan, I have bookmarked you and I’ll be checking back on a regular….See ya

  4. Tom says:

    There is a pretty cool website called HistoricAerials.com that allows you to access old aerial views of populated areas. This particular area has a view from 1987 and then jumps back to 1946. It shows the mill and the exact spot of the pond in question. Cheers!

  5. Jim says:

    Thanks for such a great website! I live in L.A. and have often wanted to go to San Fran to see some of these filming locations. You did a great job.

  6. Bill says:

    Thanks for the info, I had lived in Santa Rosa in 2009, I knew Larkspur was where the scene was filmed because of the RR trestle, but never knew that the quarry had been filled.

  7. Doug G. Ware says:

    Take a metal detector to this area. See if you can locate Harry’s ‘Star’ he tossed into the old lake. Can you imagine how priceless a find that would be? Oh, man! That would be sheer gold!

  8. Michael says:

    Actually, I’d have asked a friend to shoot me with a paintball gun, blowing me into the lake, if it was still there LOL

    Of course, they would’ve had to quote Harry’s line before shooting me. I wouldn’t let them do it otherwise!

  9. bob says:

    Like Doug said, look for the star. I’ve always wondered if that lake was still there and if anyone ever tried to scuba dive for it or something to find the badge. Man that would be one valuable piece of memorabilia. I could only imagine hundreds of people have already looked for it although I’ve never found anything online of people even looking.

  10. jim1955 harry fan says:

    Somewhere I read that director Don Siegel put a tarp over part of the pond being as how they didn’t have a 2nd prop badge to throw. Sorry to squash that treasure-hunting dream. .

  11. Patrick says:

    When I was growing up in Marin, the quarry building was so dilapidated that when we drove by Mom always told us blow real hard and it will fall down. Despite our best efforts, it kept falling apart for years, but never fell down.

  12. Donn Gooch says:

    Around 1970 my father was an iron worker in the San Francisco Bay area, local 377, and his crew was assigned to tear down the Hutchison facility, but had to wait to two weeks because a film crew was using the site to shoot some scenes for a movie. I asked him if he know what movie was being shot, he didn’t know, but he did find out that it was some type of detective movie. My dad was also an artist, and found some rusty metal at the site he thought would be great for art projects. He did a couple of pieces of art, but then the metal sat for 30 years in his back yard. In 2000 he died, in 2003 my mother gave me the metal, and in 2010 I started a piece of art with it. One night I was flipping though the channels on the TV and caught the ending of Dirty Harry, and realized the metal was from the same place. The art piece is a contemporary American Flag cut out of this metal, and I called it Harry’s Flag.

  13. David Gillyon says:

    I have always liked the Dirty Harry films, and I became a little bit obsessed late last year when after watching the film again, I tried desperately on Google Earth to find the lake. I first thought the quarry was somewhere to the south of SF, because of the freeway in the distance of the closing credits. It took close scrutiny of the latter part of the film, and the journey the bus took, to realise where the quarry was actually located. I was very disappointed to see that the lake was gone and had been built upon, and not being able to see how it looked now. I would still love to know the exact location; is it where the Mariott Hotel is, or some of the apartments; or is it where the retail park is? Hope to one day find out if someone can plot it on an image of the apartments/retail park. The film has made me want to visit SF on vacation from the UK, mainly to seek out the filming locations, but it may be a long time before I am able to do this. However, finding your site only a few days ago has been magnificent in me being able to at least see them in photos. Fascinating stuff and well done for a great site.

  14. Kelley Von Zboray says:

    Thank you for this great blog. I have just purchased for resale a water color by Ronna Adler done in 1966 of the Hutchinson Co. Crushed Rock Quarry. This helps me tell the story of this great old quarry and further document a piece of Ca. History.

  15. Gordon says:

    Great Site, I just watched the film today. It is amazing to see the changes and in some cases the non changes to these areas. As an Australian I would love to visit some of these areas. Are there more sites for other films? As I would love to see them.

  16. Tony says:

    Watched this film the other day on TV.
    Me and the wife just love love Scorpio.
    He cracks us up.
    We often have said if that star is lying there somewhere.
    Excellent site and photos.
    This film stands the test of time and it’s nice to know
    it’s 2 main characters are still here.
    Not many greats left now.

  17. This was AWESOME, I just wanted to say THANK YOU, love Eastwood movies and seeing this was incredibly cool, CHEERS!

  18. he dieu hanh says:

    Do you have any video of that? I’d like to find out more details.

  19. Alex Rockas says:

    There is still one building left from 1971 that was at the rock quarry. At 1:32:17 in the movie still you can see it on the right. It is now a day care center on the corner of Lincoln Valley Circle. It can be see on the google map. It is a one story grey building with a dark roof.

  20. Alex Rockas says:

    Lincoln Village Circle. Not Lincoln Valley Circle. Oops. Alex

  21. Russ says:

    I lived in that cottage in Hutchinson Quarry with my parents back in the early 1950s. Went to kindergarten and first grade(?) at the school in San Quentin. There was a couple (last name Kelly? I called them grandma and grandpa Kelly) who had a house next to us. They had a big garden, raised chickens and they cooked meals for the quarry workers who lived in the bunk house that was behind our houses. She made THE best cinnamon rolls to which I have never found an equal. On the weekends I spent lots of time climbing around the quarry and through all the buildings, and jumping from the conveyor belt into sand piles. I had lots of fun standing on that pier throwing rocks into the water and at all the sparrows nests high in the rocks (Too high for me to do any damage).
    Thanks for having this blog. Brings back lots of memories.

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