Marin City Flea Market, circa 1990 [photograph 005]
For two decades, the Marin City Flea Market, held on the weekends, was one of the largest outdoor markets in the Bay Area. Vendors and visitors came from throughout the area. Besides antique dealers, collectors and bargain hunters, the Flea Market featured live music, and food. Throughout much of its history, the flea market was Marin City’s only source of sales tax income. Dennis Monahan began the Marin City Flea Market in 1971, with only three vendors. It soon became an operation that attracted antique dealers, collectors, and bargain hunters from throughout the Bay Area. In 1974 and 1975, the flea market saw controversy. The lease for the flea market property was awarded to the Marin City Community Services District, and Monahan and Arlene Atkinson, who had run the flea market as private citizens, lost their ownership. The District then subleased the property to Lindsey Cage and Leon Howard. These actions were surrounded by a dispute involving alleged bribery and issues of race, over the transfer of management from Monahan and Atkinson, who were white, to Cage and Howard, who were black. Two District directors were ultimately recalled, with the flea market issue central to the upheaval. In 1995, the flea market ceased operation, as the Marin City Community Development Corp. shut down the market to make way for the Gateway Shopping Center as part of the $72 million “Marin City USA” project.
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