Evarts I. Blake.

Greater Oakland, 1911, a volume dealing with the big metropolis on the shores of San Francisco Bay .. online

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by wire, it is no longer necessary to take
the mill or the factory to the water-fall or
the mill-dam as the source of power, but
the power is brought to the place where
abundant labor, raw material and facilities
for transportation converge. Such a point
is Oakland, California. This fact is being
realized by its people; it is being recog-
nized by the world, and the result is already
felt in the tremendous impetus which is be-
ing given to investment and enterprise here.

Direct evidence of the new spirit which
is moving in Oakland is found in the large
civic undertakings in which the city is en-
gaged, especially the expenditure of $2,500,-
000 on the construction of a quay wall along
its inner harbor, to be equipped with mod-
ern warehouses, electric cranes and a belt
railway, for the transference of freight at
the greatest economy of time and effort; in
the elaboration of terminal projects on the
east bay shore, embracing in the reclama-
tion more than four hundred acres of sub-
merged lands, which are to be made avail-
able under municipal control for factory and
warehouse sites, with the command of
water and rail transportation; in the erec-
tion of a new city hall, to cost a million and
a half dollars; in the extension and elabora-

tion of a system of parks, boulevards and
public play grounds; in the equipment of a
municipal museum; in the installation of a
direct pressure auxiliary salt water system
for fire protection and the erection of a
new building to house its police and fire
alarm telegraph system.

Supplemental to these, the city is plan-
ning a bond issue of approximately $3,000,-
000 for the extension of its educational
facilities in the erection of a model poly-
technic institution, and also for the build-
ing of a municipal auditorium and conven-
tion hall.

Private and corporate enterprise is keep-
ing pace with municipal progress in the
elaboration of the railroad terminal and
local traction interests. Judge Lovett,
president of the Southern Pacific, recently
announced that his company had given evi-
dence of its faith in Oakland by appropria-
tions amounting to $10,000,000 for the
electrifying of local lines and other im-
provements. That corporation is also about
to erect a modern depot building at Six-
teenth Street Station for the accommoda-
tion of through trains and local traffic, to
cost $300,000.

The Western Pacific and the Santa Fe
Company are elaborating their local ter-
minal facilities; the United Properties Com-
pany, incorporated for $200,000,000, is put-
ting up an office building to house its ac-
tivities here which will represent an invest-
ment of $1,250,000. The new "Oakland"
Hotel, in the course of construction, will
represent an investment of $1,500,000; con-
tracts have been let for the new depart-
ment store of the H. C. Capwell Company,
which is to cost $400,000; preparations are
being made for the erection of the new Se-
curity Bank Building, to cost $350,000; the
new Perry Building will represent an in-
vestment of $100,000; the sale of the sites
of the First Presbyterian Church and the
First Methodist Church insure the removal
of these edifices and the erection of modern
business structures in their places, and also
the construction of new church buildings
to take the place of those to be demolished;
negotiations lately concluded insure the
early completion of the Claremont Hotel,
which will involve an investment of over a
million dollars. Specifications have been


Greater Oakland, 1911

The City of Oaklai



Greater Oakland, 1911

submitted for the new Wilson Block on
Fourteenth Street, between Washington and
Clay, to cost $500,000, and many other im-
portant improvements.

There is not only exceptional activity in
the erection of business blocks in Oakland,
but plans have been drawn for many mod-
ern apartment houses and family hotels in
anticipation of the vast influx of visitors
expected incidental to the Panama-Pacific
Exposition in 1915, in the benefits of which
Oakland will largely participate.

In the matter of re^sidence construction
Oakland continues to make tremendous
strides, the pre-eminence of this city as a
place of residence being generally conceded.
Not only is there a great advance in the
matter of the more moderate type of resi-
dence structures and the convenient cot-
tage and bungalow, but magnificent man-
sions involving expenditures of $100,000 or
more are crowning the sightly eminences
along the foothills from Berkeley to Hay-

The extent of Oakland's expansion is not
tf) be measured by municipal metes and
boundaries, because this city embraces with
its environs a quarter of a million people,
contained in a community extending from
Richmond on the north to Hayward on the
south. Within this area are ten adminis-
trative districts or local municipalities,
which have so grown together that they
are one in the civic, commercial and indus-
trial interests which center in Oakland, with
which all of these communities are con-
nected by local train and electric car service.

Oakland is further reinforced in its com-
manding position by the fact that it is the
county seat of Alameda County, which is a
rich domain in itself, containing an area of
eight hundred and forty square miles, with

a climate and soil adapted to the perfect
growth of a wide variety of fruits, grains,
flowers, vegetables, trees, tropical and semi-
tropical. The arable area of Alameda County
is fast being intensively developed through
the raising of small fruits, nuts, garden
truck and grapes, the growing of hops,
sugar beets and the production of poultry.

The producer in Alameda County enjoys
the advantage of proximity to the greatest
mass of urban population on the Pacific
Slope, with unsurpassed transportation
facilities. With its important back country
and the tributary territory of the great San
Joaquin and Sacramento Valleys, Oakland
is buttressed by resources that are practi-
cally inexhaustible, and with the growth of
population and the increase in productivity,
resulting from the extension of irrigation
and the subdivision of large land holdings,
Oakland is certain to become the city from
which will be drawn the supplies of the
largest body of consumers on the Pacific
Coast. All that is necessary is for her citi-
zens to lay hold upon the possibilities of
the present and the potentialities of the

Oakland, as well as the entire Pacific
Coast, is entering upon an era of expansion
and development, the magnitude of which
has not yet entered into the mind of man.

Truly has it been written by Morrison
Pixley, poet of the Pacific:

"Builders by the western sea
Where the golden rivers run,
Scarcely has your work begun,

Greater still your tasks shall be!

Here at end of all the world
Lies the goal of empire's course;
Here, centripetal the force

'Round which nations shall be whirled."

Eight Miles of Docks


Oakland's Docks Covering Eight Miles

Harbor Contains 27 Miles of Waterfront Tapped by Four
Transcontinental Lines and Dotted with Factories

^y T)aniel H. ^radley

HEX the present plans of the
city administration and the
railroad companies holding
franchises permitting them
to construct and operate
wharves upon the Oakland waterfront are
carried out there will be in actual use for
commercial purposes approximately eight
miles of wharves. This will all be exclusive
of the Alameda shore of the estuary of San
Antonio and will be confined entirely to
that portion of the inner harbor on the
north side of the estuary and the portion
of the west waterfront between the mouth
of the estuary and the Key Route mole.

The amount of effective wharf line indi-
cated by the figures above can be appre-
ciated when as a comparison it is pointed
out that the total waterfront on the west
side of the bay which has been improved
by San Francisco amounts to four and one-
half miles. In other words, there will with-
in the next three years be improved and
utilized for commercial purposes twice the
length of waterfront on the Oakland inner
and outer harbors than is now improved
and utilized for commercial purposes by
San Francisco.

Plenty of Room for More Wharves.

When this has been done Oakland has
by no means exhausted her available room
for building wharves, warehouses, belt rail-
road lines and facilities and appliances for
handling freight to and from ocean and
river craft.

The south shore of the estuary next to
Alameda will still remain to be counted in,
and the .\lameda bay shore, the shore north
of the Key Route pier, and the San Leandro
bay shore will still remain to be utilized as
the increasing commerce demands.

While it will probably be manj- years be-
fore all of the twenty-six miles of available
waterfront on the bay and estuary within
the limits of the city of Oakland will need
to be utilized, when that time does come,
Oakland will be equipped with more miles
of usable wharves than any city on the con-
tinent, with the exception of New York.

The people of today are, however, more
interested in the matter of what portion
of the Oakland harbor is to be made avail-
able for commercial use before the opening
of the Panama Canal than with the possibil-
ities of the next twenty years' development.
In other words, the waterfront that is of in-
terest now is that portion that is to handle
the goods and wares of the men who are
now in business.

A brief study of the map will aid the
reader to get a clear understanding of the
work being done on the harbor.

Inner Harbor and Waterfront.

The Oakland harbor is divided by the
government engineers for the purposes of
description into the inner harbor and west

The inner harbor of Oakland consists of
the estuary of San Antonio, extending from
the tidal canal to the Bay of San Francisco.
The terminal wharves of the Alameda
branch of the Southern Pacific and Western
Pacific mark the mouth of the estuary.

The estuary from the mouth to the Brook-
lyn basin is approximately four miles long,
and the channel dredged around the Brook-
lyn basin adds two miles more to the north
shore line of this inner harbor.

From the mouth of the estuary to Oak
Street, three thousand feet west of Brook-
lyn basin, the government surveys provide
for a depth of twenty-five feet between


Greater Oakland, 1911

Eight Miles of Docks


bulkhead lines, with a width of channel 800
feet. From Oak Street to the basin the
depth of the channel is seventeen feet and
surveys for twenty-five foot depth have
been approved. The channel around the
outer edge of the Brooklyn basin is dredged
to seventeen feet.

Forty of Largest Industrial Plants.

Along this estuary are grouped more than
forty of the largest industrial plants of the
Pacific Coast region. Among these the
shipyards of the Moore & Scott Company,
the Southern Pacilic and the United Engin-

portion of the north side of the estuary.

The waters of the inner harbor of Oak-
land are always quiet, even in the time of
storms that fret the outer bay.

Terminals of Five Railroads.

The west front harbor of Oakland con-
sists of the bay shore from the mouth of the
estuary to and including the Key Route
mole. Along this west waterfront are lo-
cated the deep water terminals of the five
transcontinental railroad lines that reach
this part of the Coast.

Preparations are being made to develop

North from Alameda Mole, California

eering Works are equipped with docks for
handling the largest sized vessels.

The investment of the industries in per-
manent improvements along the estuary is
estimated at more than $15,000,000.

The tonnage handled, exclusive of the
ferry business, on the estuary amounts to
more than a million and a half tons per

Extensive wharves have been constructed
along this inner harbor, though no more
than a small fraction of the capacity has
been utilized. The city of Oakland has let
contracts for the construction of 2900 lineal
feet of quay wall wharves along the central

the whole of the west waterfront and plans
for the expenditure of several million dollars
have been perfected.

It is difficult to segregate the traffic
handled over the Oakland wharves from
that credited to San Francisco, as the Cus-
tom House on the east bay shore is a
branch of the main office. Figures col-
lected, however, show that in addition to
the estuary traffic which has been referred
to, there was passed over one wharf on the
west front, the Long wharf, during the
twenty-four months ending June 30, 1910,
imported merchandise to the amount of
115,674 tons.


Greater Oakland, 1911

Eight Miles of Docks


Oakland enjoj-s the unique distinction
among Pacific Coast ports of having the
control, ownership and regulation of its
waterfront and vvharv^es in the hands of the
local municipal government. Where the
ordinary rule among Pacific Coast ports is
to have the harhor commissioners appoint-
ed by and responsible to the State execu-
tive, in Oakland the State authorities have
absolutely no control over or word in the
management of the waterfront.

The north shore of the estuary; the west
waterfront between the estuary mouth and
tile Key Route basin; all the shore of the
Key Route basin between the Oakland mole
and the Key Route pier comprises that por-
tion of the Oakland waterfront on both
inner and outer harbor that is to be at once
developed. A statement has been made by
no less an authority than the Commissioner
of Corporations in his report to the Sec-
retarj- of Commerce and Labor, "that the

Wharve.s and -Nhippiii

Advantages of Local Control.

One advantage of this local control is
readily seen. The business of waterfront
management, tlie regulation oi dockage fees
and the allotment of locations on the water-
front' as well as the expenditures for perma-
nent improvement, are at Oakland in tlie
hands of men who are direct'y interested in
the building up of Oakland business. As
cit}' officials the members of the Oakland
Harbor Board are directly responsible to
the business men whose interests they must
look after or be called to account.

g- at Oakland. California

three transcontinental roads will have vir-
tual control of all the practical waterfront
except that owned by individuals." This
statement so deliberately made in an official
document prepared by a government official
is challenged by the Mayor and City En-
gineer of Oakland. In support of their
cliallenge of the correctness of Commis-
sioner Smith's statement the Oakland city
officials submit the figures showing the
ovnership along the whole of the water-
f?-ont on both inner and outer harbor.


Greater Oakland, 1911

Eight ]\Iile.s of Docks


40,890 Feet Bulkhead Line.

Commencing at the tidal canal, which
connects the estuary with San Leandro
Bay, running along the north shore of
the estuary, thence along the West Oak-
land waterfront to the Key Route pier, the
l)ulkhead line measured approximately 40,-
800 feet, or a little more than eight miles.
Of this the city of Oakland owns and con-
trols 20,730 feet, or about four miles, and
the right to ownership of the abutting tide
lands is in question along 8000 feet, or a
little more than a mile and a half. This dis-
puted territory is that including the so-
called Stratton grant which the legal rep-
resentatives of the city have held to be null
and void so far as conveying title to the
claimants is concerned. This leaves two
and one-half miles of the total eight miles
in the possession and control of railroads
and private persons.

The detail of the ownership and control
of the waterfront can be shown as follows:

Controlled by Corporations.

Along the estuary the Southern Pacific
controls 1400 feet; Western Pacific, 2400
feet; Moore & Scott shipyards, 700 feet;
the Howard Company, 450 feet; Hogan
Lumber Company, 300 feet; Sunset Lumber
Company, 200 feet; City of Oakland, 13,650
feet, and the 8000 feet above referred to as
being in dispute is also located on the upper

The control on the west waterfront be-
tween the mouth of the estuary and the
Key Route basin is:

Southern Pacific, 2000 feet; Western Pa-
cific, 1300 feet; City of Oakland, 1080 feet.

On the Key Route basin the San Fran-
cisco, Oakland & San Jose Railroad (the
Key Route) has wharfing outright to 1000
feet frontage, and the City of Oakland re-
tains the wharfing outright to 7000 feet of

These figures would seem to sustain the
claim of the Oakland municipal government
that a fair representation of the situation
has not been given by the Commissioner
of Corporations.

Work of Development Started.

The work of development that is now in
progress, for which money has been appro-

priated, and in consideration of which
franchises have been granted by the city
of Oakland and permits and concessions
have been made by the federal harbor con-
trol authorities, can be briefly shown with
the aid of the harbor map.

The city of Oakland is engaged in con-
structing along the estuary between Linden
Street and Webster, 2900 feet of quay wall
behind which solid fill is to be made, ware-
houses erected, streets opened, the belt line
railroad and switching tracks constructed,
so as to give communication between the
wharves and the business streets as well as
between the wharves and the transconti-
nental railroad lines.

On this municipal wharf there will be
provided electric cranes and the most mod-
ern devices for handling freight to and from
the holds of ships.

The city is also constructing a municipal
wharf along the upper estuary which will
have the same facilities of communication
with road lines. For the completion of all
of this municipal work on the estuary funds
have been provided and contracts let for a
large portion of the construction work.

Largest Undertaking on Coast.

On the Key Route basin, while the work
to be done by the city will not make appar-
ent its importance at once, it will ultimately
prove to be the largest undertaking in har-
bor development on the whole Pacific Coast
of the United States.

By reference to a map it will be seen
that the Key Route pier leaving the shore
line at Fortieth Street runs seaward at an
angle so that if continued it would inter-
sect the extended line of the Southern Pa-
cific's long wharf. The Key Route basin is
the designation of the harbor lying between
these two piers.

By recent order of the War Department
the bulkhead line has been established 2000
feet further seaward than the position desig-
nated by former surveys, and the city has
been given the right to fill in the added
2000 feet behind the bulkhead constructed
on the new line.

The extension of the bulkhead line farther
seaward has diminished the length of the
possible wharf line between the Oakland
mole and the Key Route pier, for the rea-


Greater Oaklanmi, Kill

Eight Miles of Docks


son that these two piers incline towards
each other. The length of the new bulkhead
line is approximately oOOO feet between the
Southern Pacific franchise grant, the Oak-
land mole and the Kej- Route grant, includ-
ing the present Key Route pier.

Will Have New Lights to Wharfing-Out.

When this new bulkhead is constructed
the city will have the right to wharf out in
a northerly direction from a newly con-
structed mole immediately north of the
present Oakland mole of the Southern Pa-
cific, and the length of this section of the
wharf line will be approximately 2000 feet.
There is in hand and available for this pur-
pose sufficient money to construct the new
bulkhead and make the dredging and filling
necessary. The City Engineer has been in-
structed by the Municipal Board of Harbor
Commissioners to at once proceed with the
work on the Kej^ Route basin in accordance
with plans which have been heretofore ap-

It is not the plan of the city government
to at once completely develop the wharfing
facilities along the line of the bulkhead ex-
tending from the Oakland mole to the Key
Route pier, the 5000-foot section. It is the
intention, however, of the municipal author-
ities to at once make available for commer-
cial use the wharf along the 2000-foot sec-
tion which runs parallel to the Oakland mole
and fronts northward on the Key Route
basin. For this purpose a quay wall will
be built, a channel and fairway dredged in
front of the wall, solid filling be made be-
hind the wall connecting it and making it
a part of the fill of the Oakland mole.

Wide Street Open for Car Tracks.

To give access to this new wharf the city
has open and available for car tracks, team-
way and passageway for pedestrians, a wide
street crossing all railroad tracks and con-
necting with the business section of the
city. It is the intention to construct on this
2000-foot section of the Key Route water-
front warehouses, freight sheds and the
same modern up-to-date loading devices
that are planned for the municipal wharves
on the estuary.

The addition of 2000 feet of wharves on
the deep water of the outer bay in the pro-

tected Key Route basin will give to Oak-
land harbor an equipment for handling
freight to and from ocean liners, coastwise,
river and bay craft, that of itself will enable
this port to compete with the best equipped
Pacific Coast ports, and yet this 2000 feet
front is but a small part of the municipal
dock system on the Oakland harbor.

Improved Facilities for Unloading.

Great importance is being given by the
city authorities to the improved facilities
for loading and unloading cargoes. An illus-
tration of this was given by a representative
of one of the Pacific Coast ports recently
when he pointed out that a certain city had
a scale of dock charges of less than 20 per
cent of those charges at rival ports, but by
reason of the antiquated method of handling
freight the charge of the low dock charges
was more than overcome, and a ship can
really pass its merchandise through the port
where the dock charges are four and five
times as much and save money by the trans-

In addition to the immediate improvement
work by the Oakland municipal authorities
on waterfront, under the franchises recently
granted to the Western Pacific, Southern
Pacific and Key Route Railroad Companies,
these corporations are pledged to make ex-
tensive improvements within the limits of
their several grants. The Key Route will,
as soon as the municipal authorities con-
struct the bulkhead and fill in behind it on
the Key Route basin, fill in their own pier
and construct slips and docks fronting from
there on to the Key Route basin.

Key Route Frontage 1000 Feet.

This grant of the Kej^ Route covers 1000
feet frontage on the wharfing-out line. The
Southern Pacific on the other side of the
Key Route basin is obligated to cut back
the long wharf to a point even with the
outer end of the present Oakland mole, and
to develop 300 feet immediately south of the
present Oakland mole.

The Western Pacific, under the terms of
its franchise grant, must develop the whole
of its 1300 feet on the west front. A large
portion of this work has already been done,
and it is being pushed as rapidly as the con-
ditions will permit.


Greater Oakland, 1011

L3'ing between the Western Pacific and
the Southern Pacific franchise grant on the
west waterfront remains 1080 feet still in
the control of the city of Oakland. The
city has an open street which will give com-
munication between whatever wharves may
be located on this portion of the waterfront
and the business section of the city. No
plans have been announced for the imme-
diate development of this particular portion
of the waterfront.

Under the decision of the court the city
of Oakland possessed primarily the sole
right to wharf out from the low tide along
the whole of the waterfront. The occupa-
tion of any portion of this waterfront and
the exercise of wharfing-out privileges by
any of the corporations or firms named in
this description is by right of the grant
from the city.

The franchise grants to the railroads have
been made for a term of fifty years and on
the payment of an annual rental.

The policy of the municipal government
since the recognition of the grant to the
right of the city to control its waterfront
has been to ofifer proper and reasonable en-
couragement to the location of terminals
of the transcontinental or interstate rail-
roads on the Oakland waterfront. At the

Online LibraryEvarts I. BlakeGreater Oakland, 1911, a volume dealing with the big metropolis on the shores of San Francisco Bay .. → online text (page 2 of 30)