Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Oakland in Alameda County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

Oakland Railroad History

 
 
Oakland Railroad History Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Andrew Ruppenstein, May 10, 2009
1. Oakland Railroad History Marker
Inscription. The railroad industry transformed Oakland from an oak forest to a thriving city. Rapid growth began when the Central Pacific Railroad absorbed local rail lines in 1868 and was granted right-of-way to build a freight and ferry pier. The Oakland Long Wharf, which extended into the bay off the end of Seventh Street, was completed in 1871 and became California's principal rail terminus. Central Pacific reorganized as Southern Pacific and sustained a waterfront monopoly for decades until a series of legal, political and legislative actions returned the waterfront to municipal control. Oakland's Mayor Moti negotiated a compromise with Southern Pacific in return for a fifty-year franchise to continue rail, ferry and shipping operations. The wharf was dismantled in 1918, and city streets were extended to the Oakland waterfront.
The Third Street rail line was eliminated in 1998 leaving a single track on Embarcadero Street. Union Pacific and Amtrak trains continue to run through Jack London Square, serving as a vital link to international trade and passenger transport in the Western United States.
Donated in Memory of Kenneth E. McDowell, Jr.
9/1/59-12/27/99
By Sylvia McDowell, Mother and Mike McDowell, Brother
 
Location. 37° 47.668′ N, 122° 16.592′ 
Oakland Railroad History Marker - Wide Shot Photo, Click for full size
By Andrew Ruppenstein, May 10, 2009
2. Oakland Railroad History Marker - Wide Shot
The marker is visible on the right, just at the foot of the anchor-shaped hedge.
W. Marker is in Oakland, California, in Alameda County. Marker can be reached from Water Street near Broadway. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Oakland CA 94607, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Pony Express Ferry "Oakland" (within shouting distance of this marker); Origins of Oakland (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Oakland's First Wharf (about 300 feet away); Jack London (about 300 feet away); Live Oak Lodge U.D (about 300 feet away); Jack London Square Development (about 300 feet away); Jack London’s Cabin (about 500 feet away); a different marker also named Jack London (about 500 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Oakland.
 
More about this marker. The marker is located in a pedestrian area of Jack London Square, on Water Street, between Broadway and Franklin Street.

The wolf and pawprint visible on the marker are allusions to Jack London, in whose most famous works wolves were prominently featured.
 
Regarding Oakland Railroad History.

•Oakland's rail service began in 1862 with the San Francisco and Oakland Railroad, which took passengers and freight across the San Francisco Bay by ferry, and then into Oakland by train.

• The Central Pacific Railroad decided to make Oakland the western
Long Wharf from Goat Island, October, 1886 Photo, Click for full size
By Frank B. Rodolph
3. Long Wharf from Goat Island, October, 1886
In this photo, courtesy of the Oakland History Room of the Oakland Public Library, Long Wharf and a number of ships are visible looking east from Goat (now Yerba Buena) Island.
terminus of the transcontinental railroad, and bought out the San Francisco and Oakland Railroad. Central Pacific then greatly lengthened and expanded the existing wharf, renaming it the Oakland Long Wharf. On November 8, 1869, Oakland became the western terminus of the transcontinental railroad. Previously, Alameda, and before then, Sacramento, had been the western terminus of the transcontinental railroad.

• John Scott's 1871 pamphlet, Information Concerning the Terminus of the Rail System of the Pacific Coast, provides an undated quote from the San Francisco Alta Bulletin describing the Oakland Long Wharf, "A wharf, running 11,000 feet long,...having twelve railroad tracks upon its last 1,000 feet, a wide carriage way, a spacious passenger depot and railroad offices, warehouses and outside storage for 40,000 tons of grain or other large merchandise, three docks, one of which affords ample space for five of the largest steamers or clippers afloat, is not often seen, even in this age of railroad and engineering wonders. Such a structure has, however, recently been completed by the Central Pacific Railroad on the Oakland or easterly side of the Bay of San Francisco."

• The Oakland Long Wharf remained in service until 1958, and it was removed in the early 1960's to provide room for the expansion of the Port of Oakland's container ship facilities.
 
Also see . . .
Passenger train of the Central Pacific Railroad on the Oakland Wharf Photo, Click for full size
By Thomas Houseworth & Co., 1870?
4. Passenger train of the Central Pacific Railroad on the Oakland Wharf
Picture provided courtesy of the Oakland History Room, Oakland Public Library.

1. Central Pacific Reaches San Francisco Bay: Later Developments at Oakland and Alameda. The Central Pacific Railroad Photographic History Webpage reprint of Chapter XXIX of From Trail to Rail - The Story of the Beginning of the Southern Pacific. Includes photos. (Submitted on May 19, 2009.) 

2. Oakland Long Wharf. Wikipedia.org's article on the Oakland Long Wharf. (Submitted on May 19, 2009.) 
 
Categories. Railroads & Streetcars
 
Oakland Pier - Terminus of Central Pacifc Railroad Photo, Click for full size
By W.S. Jones, 1889
5. Oakland Pier - Terminus of Central Pacifc Railroad
This picture, from Britton and Rey's Picturesque Oakland: 1889 provides a closer view of the trail terminus. Rail cars and freight could be directly loaded onto ferries or cargo ships for greater efficiency.
Southern Pacific Rail Station in Oakland Photo, Click for full size
By Horace E. Smith, 1913
6. Southern Pacific Rail Station in Oakland
This 1913 photo, provided courtesy of the Oakland History Room of the Oakland Public Library, shows the Southern Pacific Rail Station in Oakland, located at Broadway and Embarcadero, less than 1,000 feet from the Oakland Railroad History marker. Oakland's Amtrak rail station is in roughly the same location today.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Andrew Ruppenstein of Sacramento, California. This page has been viewed 3,464 times since then and 157 times this year. Last updated on , by Andrew Ruppenstein of Sacramento, California. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by Andrew Ruppenstein of Sacramento, California.   5, 6. submitted on , by Andrew Ruppenstein of Sacramento, California. • Kevin W. was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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