“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Albany in Alameda County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)

Albany Waterfront History(Post-1900)

Albany Waterfront History(Post-1900) Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Andrew Ruppenstein, June 2, 2021
1. Albany Waterfront History(Post-1900) Marker
Inscription.  The explosive powder industry developed around San Francisco during the Civil War to supply California's gold mines. A powder plant opened at Albany's remote Fleming Point in 1879. Others on the north side of Albany Hill followed. Nobel Depot, named for Alfred Nobel (inventor of dynamite and founder of the Nobel Peace Prize), was constructed near Albany Hill for rail access. Albany's shoreline was renowned for explosions until 1905, when the plants were removed. The largest explosion broke windows in San Francisco and was heard in Sacramento. The eucalyptus trees on Albany Hill were planted to muffle these explosions.

Albany's most infamous crime happened at the Nobel Depot. On November 7, 1930, a hijacker boarded a Berkeley train, commandeered it to the abandoned depot, and stole $60,000. Soon after the robbery, the depot was torn down.

In 1919, the State Lands Commission granted a 100-year tidelands lease to Albany to construct a harbor. However, the shoreline remained undeveloped, a favorite spot for summer fireworks, swimming, picnicking, clam digging, fishing, and duck hunting. Then in the late 1930s, a horse track

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leased Fleming Point. The hilltop was blasted away and used for fill to create the racetrack and its northern parking lot. The Golden Gate Turf Club was open for two days in 1941 before rains washed out the track. During World War II, the U.S. Navy used the site to recondition landing craft used in battles for South Pacific islands, sending the boats out again for the next advance. The track did not reopen until 1947. Today, Fleming Point is one of the few remaining segments of the Bay's original shoreline.

In the 1950s, Albany zoned its waterfront for industry. A small dump at the base of Buchanan Street expanded rapidly after 1961, when California removed its harbor requirement from Albany's tideland lease. Over the next 25 years, filling with construction debris created most of Albany's present shoreline, including the Albany Plateau, Neck, and Bulb. The new peninsula shifted currents, waves, and winds, leading to formation of sandy Albany Beach to the south and the bird-rich Albany Mud Flats to the north. Meanwhile, citizen protest against Bay fill was growing. The landfill was forced to close in 1984. In 1986, California declared the tidelands part of the "public trust,” preventing further filling of the Bay.

Ending a century of private ownership, in 1997 Catellus, the real estate branch of the Santa Fe Railroad, agreed to sell the racetrack to its

Albany Waterfront History(Post-1900) Marker - wide view image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Andrew Ruppenstein, June 2, 2021
2. Albany Waterfront History(Post-1900) Marker - wide view
operators and the remainder of the waterfront property to the State for the Eastshore State Park. The park includes about five miles of shoreline and 2000 acres of uplands and tidelands. Its segments from Emeryville to Richmond are linked by the Bay Trail.

Erected by City of Albany, California Coastal Conservancy.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: EnvironmentIndustry & CommerceParks & Recreational Areas.
Location. 37° 53.373′ N, 122° 18.694′ W. Marker is in Albany, California, in Alameda County. Marker is on Buchanan Street, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Albany CA 94706, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Albany Waterfront History (Pre-1900) (here, next to this marker); Albany Waterfront - Nature Transforms (approx. 0.3 miles away); Rose Wave (approx. half a mile away); Site of Albany's First City Hall (approx. 0.7 miles away); Site of Garbage Wars (approx. ¾ mile away); Site of Miller's Barn (approx. 0.8 miles away); Ranchos San Pablo and San Antonio Boundary Monument (approx. 0.8 miles away); Cerrito Creek (approx. 0.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Albany.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 3, 2021. It was originally submitted on June 2, 2021, by Andrew Ruppenstein of Lamorinda, California. This page has been viewed 235 times since then and 71 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on June 2, 2021, by Andrew Ruppenstein of Lamorinda, California.   2. submitted on June 3, 2021, by Andrew Ruppenstein of Lamorinda, California.

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Sep. 23, 2023