The town was dubbed Larkspur on March 1, 1908, after the blue flowers that grew throughout the town. The problem was, the flower wasn't larkspur, a plant native to England - it was lupine. The Baltimore and Frederick lumber company set up in Larkspur in the 1850s and quickly leveled the area's abundant supply of old-growth redwood trees. The logging left many of the hills in Larkspur bare, and dairy farms soon sprung up throughout the area.
In 1882, Charles W. Wright bought one of Larkspur's dairy farms, and within five years he owned half the farms in the town. He began campaigning for the Northern Pacific Railroad to build a station in then-unnamed Larkspur, but the rail company told Wright there needed to be five permanent residences in the town to justify a station.
So Wright built five Victorian houses. The rail station was built in 1891, and when the responsibility of naming the station fell to Wright, he let his wife have the honors. She decided to name the station after the lupine on the hills that she mistook for larkspur - and thus, the Larkspur Rail Station was established. With the rail station came more settlers. The current downtown, on Magnolia Avenue between King Street and Ward Street, started to take shape around the same time. Some of the buildings that stood in 1910 are still in use, including the hotel built in 1895 that was renamed the Blue Rock Inn in 1911 after blue basalt rock was added to its facade.
The city of Larkspur nearly doubled in population every 10 years from 1920 to 1970, from just 612 residents to 10,487. Today, Larkspur has about 12,800 residents. Through the years, downtown Larkspur remained basically unchanged. Larkspur residents have been quite successful in preserving the small-town ambience. A medley of specialty shops, boutiques, Queen Anne Victorians, cafes and first-class restaurants can be enjoyed by taking a relaxing stroll down Magnolia Avenue. Not to be missed are the Escalle Winery, built in the 1890's by the young Frenchman, Jean Escalle, who planted the northern hillsides of Larkspur with wine grapes; and the exquisite Murphy mansion, constructed in 1888 and now home to the world famous restaurant, the Lark Creek Inn. Larkspur extends north to the unincorporated area of Greenbrae.