318 Caledonia St., Sausalito CA 94965 415-332-4318
Sausalito History Trivia Question: Where does Water St. Hardware’s name come from? Answer at the bottom of the page.
How can a hardware store be a small town institution? All it has to do is stay in business for generations while still adapting with the times.
One time we were looking for a big porcelain-coated pot that was needed to cook holiday tamales for family and friends. After calling all over Marin I drove into San Francisco to buy it at a Cow Hollow specialty store. Two weeks later I walk into Waterstreet Hardware to get some keys copied… and see the same porcelain pot sitting in the small kitchenware alcove of the store.
Anywhere else I’d have been surprised, but here I just sighed and realized that it is the mystical power of Sausalito. I had not thought of calling Waterstreet.
Marin County’s small family hardware stores — once a staple of every small town main street in the county — are almost all gone, the victims of the era of the Big Box Home Improvement Store and the regional shopping malls. Sausalito is a fortunate exception, and Waterstreet remains a busy store today. It helps that they are part of the Ace Hardware network, which gives them a way to offer lower prices on staple items.
Many Sausalito kids grew up knowing the secret of the quarter crazy-glued to the floor of the shop at the entrance, a treasure that every boy and girl reached for at least once. The grizzled prospector statue outside the store is likewise an institution here in town.
Answer: Water St. was the name of Bridgeway before the Golden Gate Bridge was built. To leverage the excitement about Sausalito being the northern link to the Golden Gate, the name of the town’s main street was changed from Water St, to Bridgeway in 1936.