“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)

Moving Shoreline

Moving Shoreline Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, February 27, 2016
1. Moving Shoreline Marker
Captions: (top left) Map of the original bay shoreline.; (middle left) Aerial photograph showing the Key Route and Oakland Bay Trail.; (bottom left) Map orienting the above aerial photograph in relation to San Francisco Bay.; (middle right) The Emeryville Race Track in 1912.; (bottom right) A Key System train and the Key Route logo. The train is heading towards Oakland, 1939.
Moving Shoreline

Oakland's 19-mile shoreline underwent continual change after the Gold Rush, as marsh and tideland was reclaimed for development. The natural shoreline now lies buried under dredged bay sediments and landfill. Here, by the Emeryville border, the West Oakland marsh once extended as far inland as San Pablo Avenue. The first reclamation projects in the area occurred in the late 19th century, when the marsh was filled for train tracks, factories, and houses. The elevated freeways mark the site of the old marshland shore


Marshy land, garbage dumps, and raw sewage flowing into the bay made this part of Oakland a backwater district for many years. Early residents included a community of Scandinavian seafarers. The city of Emeryville, north of here, was incorporated in the 1890s. For much of its history, Emeryville flourished as a blue-collar town of steel mills, factories, and canneries. It was also known as a "City of Vice" rife with racetracks, lottery shops, speakeasies, and brothels. Though factories and legal card clubs still exist, the city is now known for its upscale lofts and high-tech firms.

The Key System

The streetcars, trains, and ferries of the Key System, or "Key Route", once
Moving Shoreline Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, February 27, 2016
2. Moving Shoreline Marker
provided East Bay commuters with reliable transportation to San Francisco. From home to office, the trip could be made in less time than it takes to drive today. Though the railroad system was officially known as the San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose Railway, the name "Key Route" was coined in reference to the shape of the company's ferry pier. The pier had ferry slips at its end that resembled the teeth of a key. The pier itself represented the shank of the key and the east bay cities formed the key's handle.
From the beginning of its ferry service in 1903, until the opening of the Bay Bridge to trains in 1939, the Key Route dominated public transit in the East Bay in completion with the trains and ferries of the Southern Pacific. The Key System yards and shops, where the orange and silver trains were repaired and sometimes built, were located in Emeryville, adjoining the three-mile-long ferry pier. The pier lay alongside the site now occupied by the Bay Bridge. By 1949 motorbuses had replaced streetcars on local lines, though transbay Key trains continued running on the lower deck of the Bay Bridge until 1958. The tunnel visible to the west is a remnant of the old interurban train system.
Erected by San Francisco Bay Trail, Association of Bay Area Governments and Coastal Conservancy.
Junked Streetcars image. Click for full size.
By Unknown
3. Junked Streetcars
37° 49.699′ N, 122° 17.273′ W. Marker is in Oakland, California, in Alameda County. Marker is on Mandela Parkway near Horton Street, on the right when traveling west. Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 3701 Mandela Parkway, Emeryville CA 94608, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Oakland Ball Park (approx. 0.4 miles away); Key Route Terminal (approx. half a mile away); California & Nevada Railroad (approx. 0.9 miles away); Black Panther Party Stoplight (approx. 1.1 miles away); St. Augustine's Episcopal Church (approx. 1.3 miles away); The Black Panther's First Office (approx. 1.3 miles away but has been reported missing); Site of Saint Mary's College (approx. 1.6 miles away); Liberty Hall (approx. 1.6 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Oakland.
Also see . . .  When Trains Ruled the East Bay - Oakland Magazine. The opportunity for better, cleaner rail service was recognized by a coalition of wealthy landowners called the Realty Syndicate, which owned vast tracks of Berkeley, Piedmont and Oakland, and sold the land to real estate developers to build houses for the burgeoning population. They knew something that we are still learning today—that areas well-served by transit are worth more and develop faster—and so, in the spirit of good sense coupled with a healthy entrepreneurship, they began buying up the existing smaller train operators, some of whom had been around since the early 1890s, in an effort to consolidate service into a single competitor to Southern Pacific. (Submitted on February 28, 2016, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.) 
Categories. Railroads & StreetcarsWaterways & Vessels
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 142 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on , by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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