Chileno Valley Ranch was purchased by Carlo Martinoiya from Henry Halleck in 1862. Henry Halleck then traveled to Washington, DC, where he became President Abraham Lincoln’s Chief of Staff. Carlo Martinoiya was Sally Gale’s great-great-grandfather. He married Katerina Traversi in Chevio, Switzerland, and together they had seven children. Carlo Martinoiya became a well-known banker and broker in California in addition to being a dairyman at what is now Chileno Valley Ranch. The youngest of Carlo and Katerina’s children, Anita Martin, married a hired man by the name of Peter Dolcini. Together, they had five children, who were brought up on a ranch in Nicasio Valley, a wedding gift to Anita from her parents. Peter and Anita had five children, the eldest of which was Arnold Tullio Dolcini. Arnold and his wife, Catherine Connolley, met when Catherine was given a job as a nurse in the Nicasio family home, to care for both Anita and Arnold, who were gravely ill. Arnold survived and they were married and moved to Hick’s Valley Ranch, where they raised six children, the eldest of which was Anita, Sally’s mother.
Meanwhile, Chileno Valley Ranch, being owned by many family members, fell into disarray and decay, until Sally Gale and her husband, Mike, returned from Hawaii to restore the ranch in 1993.
Since 1993, Mike and Sally have restored the buildings, fences, water systems, creeks, and native woodlands on the ranch, planted 400 apple trees, started a grass-fed beef business, and served as board members of local organizations such as Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT), Marin Resource Conservation District, Marin Organic, Marin County Farm Bureau, Marin Conservation League, and Marin Farmers Market. In 2000, Mike and Sally entered into an Agricultural Conservation Easement with MALT, permanently protecting the ranch from development and preserving it for agriculture.
Mike and Sally most enjoy their latest reincarnation as grandparents of seven lovely kiddos.
From the Press Democrat Wednesday, September 24, 1997
Visible from a half-mile away, the two-story Victorian is a commanding presence amid the rolling pastures of Chileno Valley.
But until Sally and Michael Gale went to work on it four years ago, the 1883 Romantic Italianate house was more eyesore than eye-opener in the rural valley running just south of the Marin County line.
“It was a wreck,” Sally Gale said succinctly.
Vacant for seven years, the house had taken a beating from the weather and vandals. There was a hole in the roof, all the windows were broken and graffiti covered the inside walls.
In the dining room, a freezer had leaked and fallen through the floor. Part of a staircase was broken up in the yard.
Contractors advised the Gales, who previously lived in Novato, to demolish it and start over.
But the remnants of grandeur remained, like the elaborate plaster medallions from which ceiling light fixtures had been suspended. And beneath its disheveled surface, the old house was solid, built of virgin redwood, Sally Gale said.