Key to the Bay
there were ferries. From the earliest days in Oakland, ferries
transported passengers back and forth between Oakland and San Francisco.
The ferries came to docks along the estuary. The foot of Broadway was
one ferry dock. But the estuary was shallow so ferry piers were built
where they could reach deep water. The railroad built the first freight
and ferry pier at Oakland Point. After expansion in 1882, it became the
Southern Pacific's Oakland Mole. Then in 1903, the Key System opened a
ferry pier that jutted three miles out into the Bay. Shaped like an old
fashioned key, the pier was one part of a local transportation network
of electric street cars, fast trains and ferries. In 1930 for example,
the ferries carried over 45 million passengers.
Then came the bridge. The San Francisco - Oakland Bay Bridge opened on
November 12, 1936. Automobiles were already beginning to replace street
cars, and now those automobiles challenged the ferry domination of the
Bay. But you can still ride on a ferry. Board one near Jack London
Oakland Museum of California
"Walk Along the Water"
© Oakland Museum of California, used with permission.
System pier and ferry photographs - Keyrailpix, John Stashik
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