Fairfax was originally part of a Spanish land grant conferred to Domingo Sais in 1839. Sais gave the area now known as the Marin Town & Country Club to Marin County's first physician, Alfred Taliaferro of Virginia, who subsequently passed the property along to fellow Virginian Charles Snowden Fairfax. Lord Fairfax, tenth Baron of Cameron, Scotland, moved here with his wife Ada in 1855, lured west by gold fever.
After the death of Charles Fairfax, the property changed hands, eventually becoming the site of the renowned Pastori's Restaurant in the 1890's. Madame Pastori, once a singer at La Scala in Milan, Italy, was visited in Fairfax by many great figures in the opera world. The restaurant, which was rebuilt on a grander scale after a fire in 1911, still stands.
Convenient railroad service early in this century made Fairfax a favorite weekend and summer retreat for city dwellers. Fairfax Park hosted thousands on weekends. Fairfax was the setting for dozens of early Western movies from 1910 to the early 1920's. Construction of Alpine Dam in 1917 brought a large Italian population to the area, adding to Fairfax's colorful history.
Fairfax came of age in February of 1931 when the town was incorporated as a city with a five-member council government. Fairfax today, with a diverse population of 7,000, is a community of fine neighborhoods nestled in the hills and small valleys of the Upper Ross Valley. Located 16 miles north of San Francisco, within easy reach of numerous State and National Recreation Areas, Fairfax offers the best of both work and play while retaining its small-town atmosphere and charm.