On San Leandro Bay

Melrose Station in the early 20th centuryThe marshy north shore of San Leandro Bay boasted only two small boat landings until the 1860s, when a rail line was established near the shore. The rail line, incorporated into the Central Pacific system in 1869, spurred developments on or near the marsh. The Pacific Cordage Company manufactured rope in an extensive factory near the Melrose train station. The Melrose Racetrack, a large oval course on the marsh, drew crowds to wager on fast horses. There was even an attempt to establish a town called Fitchburg, which was laid out near Damon's Slough, northeast of the bay. But Fitchburg remained a "paper" subdivision. In the late 1880s and mid-1890s much of the tract was sold and developed as a waterworks, fed by 60 artesian wells, to supply the rapidly growing city of Alameda.

Woodruff Minor
Historian

Oakland Museum of California Logo  "Walk Along the Water"
  Oakland Museum of California, used with permission.

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