White Gold on the Estuary  

Construction of ConAgra grain elevatorsWheat grown in California's Central Valley was called "white gold" because of the hard, dry, white grains produced by the dry valley summers. The Oakland Estuary became a central grain shipping hub. In the 1870s, nearly 400 vessels a year docked at the Long Wharf to pick up wheat, brought in by rail, for shipment to Europe. In 1922, two cooperative grain elevators were built on the Estuary to encourage consolidated bulk shipment of grain. The elevators have a capacity of 1.2 million bushels of wheat. By the 1930s, a flour mill had been built around the elevators.

Currently operated by ConAgra, the flour mill produces over a million pounds of flour per day. Employees work around the clock to mill flour and ship their product by rail and truck all over the West. You can spot this large industrial operation just south of Embarcadero Cove. Look for the ConAgra sign on the side of the building.

Deborah Cooper
Oakland Museum of California

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

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Link to 2009 photo of ConAgra elevators2009 photograph of ConAgra grain elevators - Waterfront Action


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