Thursday, January 01, 2009

Maps of Bay Point / Port Chicago then

A strange chunk of land, estranged from its history, with stories fenced

off into forgoten-ness. This crazy world with forces attempting to save

artifacts that no one knows the relevance yet no capital to follow up

these dreams, we can only write and tell stories of grander times. So

goes this town of Port Chicago.

Transfer of land holdings. First the Chupcan tribe of the Bay Area Miwok

walked. Am not seeing the title of this location during the Mexican

Rancho days, it appears wedged between Rancho Monte del Diablo (concord)

and Rancho Los Medanos. Then, the Americans moved into the area. While

boats were carrying cargo up and down Walnut and Grayson Creeks, while

the hamlet of Pacheco was continuously flooding and people were packing

up and moving to the town of Todos Santos / Drunken Indian / Concord (I

like Drunken Indian the best), this area, then known as Seal Bluff, was

being sporadically inhabited by new immigrants.

As with most areas of Contra Costa County, checkered regions of these
areas were company towns, and to do justice to the history, neglecting
the companies' and the industries' involvements would be sacreligious.
In the 1890's, Santa FE and Southern Pacific Railroads laid track
through this land. Also during this decade, Copper King Mines Ltd.
set up a smelter here, running its hand through hundreds of tons of
copper, silver, and gold ore but the company quickly folded.
According to Emmanuels, "the comapny's assayer was less than
competent. . . He ran off with an actress, leaving his wife and
children in Seal Bluff". Smith Lumber Co., operated by Charles Axel
Smith, set up shop in 1908, later named Coos Bay Lumber Co. The
lumber company also was responsible for renaming the area "Bay Point",
retiring the former label "Seal Bluff". All went swimmingly,
employing 190 men, if not more for the lumber company, until the
dreaded stock market crash of 1929, and they closed shop in 1932. An
olive oil plant opened up. Along came the Navy.

This last Photo taken during Port Chicago's zenith in the 1940's

Labels: , ,


At Friday, January 2, 2009 at 10:12:00 PM PST, Blogger shasta daisy said...

Interesting info Apollo...thanks.

At Sunday, June 13, 2010 at 3:51:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The street names noted were mainly those of former employees who came west from Minneapolis when the CA Smith Lumber and Manufacturing Co. establiched the town Arno Mureen set up hisone sawmill supply company later on. The whole town was abandoned circa 1925 when Smith died in Berkeley and a goodly portion of the land sold to the Navy at Port Chicago.

Wm. Kaminsky

At Friday, September 11, 2015 at 10:48:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pleased to see you blogging on Port Chicago. A little annoyed that you have lifted photos from my copyrighted "Images of America: Port Chicago", without mentioning the source. I spent 15 years researching the town and gathering the images. If you are still actively blogging, we'd love to have you involved in the Bay Point Historical Society. We feel that this town, and those surrounding it are worthy of having their history preserved and shared. One thing the Society really needs is an interested blogger to broadcast the research and writing that has been done and the hundreds of photos that we want to share. The society is a 501c3 non-profit and is in it's 13th year. This organization is intended to outlive all of us. Much can be accomplished by combining our efforts. You can google Bay Point Historical Society. You might want to attend the Annual Luncheon, where our role in the development of the new Regional Park on the Inland portion of the Concord Naval Weapons will be built. Dean L. McLeod


Post a Comment

<< Home