On San Leandro Bay
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
"Walk Along the Water"
© Oakland Museum of California, used with permission.
back to history map